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Music Generation: Where are they now? – with Mayo noise-rock band Nerves

Music Generation: Where are they now? – with Mayo noise-rock band Nerves

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Music Generation is Ireland’s national music education programme which aims to transform the lives of children and young people through access to performance music education.

The first programme of its kind in Ireland’s history, launched in 2010 with three locations. It has quickly expanded to 27 cities and counties across Ireland creating thousands of musical opportunities annually for the children and youth nationwide. Its mission strives for an Ireland where all children and young people from all backgrounds have the choice to access music. Its projects are created through a partnership model in each location which has resulted in a visible uniqueness of spirit in each area where a broad range of opportunities are offered from harp orchestras to urban hip hop hubs, to youth opera, brass bands and rock jams.  In addition to instrumental and writing skills, these creative spaces offer children and young people a platform to develop their identity, creativity, confidence and a sense of community. 

Now at the cups of nationwide reach, Music Generation is reflecting on its journey and the young people who shaped a decade of Music Generation experiences.

Alumni who experienced their programmes still to this day hold music as such a valuable part of their identity and lives with some returning to the programmes as educators and mentors and others continuing to perform on the traditional, classical and pop/rock scenes. 

Amongst those is Nerves, a post-rock band hailing from the Wesht. Singer and guitarist Kyle Thornton met drummer Adam Nealon at Music Generation Mayo’s The Core in Ballina. With limited opportunities and spaces for young musicians to perform, create, and establish their musicality, The Core at Ballina Arts Centre offers a dedicated outlet for young musicians to create, perform and produce. The centre features a dedicated rehearsal space with lots of instruments including electric guitars, drums, piano, synths, a range of amplification, PA, and studio recording equipment. Members of The Core also have access to a range of performance opportunities and industry workshops. 

The band established itself in Dublin where they met Galwegian bassist Charlie McCarthy. Following the recent release of their haunting  ‘Leigue’ filmed at ‘Achill-Henge’,  the band touched base with Music Generation on their journey to date. 

“We met loads of young people in bands like us when I previously thought we were something of an anomaly to be doing what we were doing in rural Mayo, and because of that we played loads of gigs off the back of it and made a lot of very good friends that we still work closely with to this day.” 

Thornton, still holds fond memories of his first experience of The Core, noting the most meaningful opportunity that still stands to them was access to performance and gigs at that age. 

“We had only played one show when we joined and getting gigs for a band that did mostly original songs was very hard in Mayo, especially since we were still in school and knew virtually no one involved in booking gigs, so the opportunity to play in front of people was something we jumped on big time with The Core.”

In addition to accessing skills in production, music business and collaboration the band were exposed to a broad range of genres and styles. 


“Our current style of music is a mix of Post-Rock and Noise-Rock I suppose, there’s a lot of variance between our songs but that makes sense because we all tend to listen to a lot of different stuff, Noise music, Hip-Hop, Pop, Indie, Folk music, Metal, Punk. You’d be hard pressed to find one thing that is unanimously our favourite.” 

Kyle’s words really press on how valuable this access to music was as a young person and the impact it has had in finding his vocation in life.

“I’ve lived the last five or six years of my life doing everything with a focus on furthering the band or pursuing music as a way to live, it’s in every facet of my life and the other lads lives, and that’s only become more obvious to me over the pandemic, so to say “everything” doesn’t sound like too much of a stretch to me anyways.”


Words of advice to a young person considering seeking out their local Music Generation… 

“Go for it, there’s no better time to start getting involved with a scene and meeting other musicians than right now. It’ll stand to you.”

Music Generation is Ireland’s National Music Education Programme. A Music Network Initiative, co-funded by U2, The Ireland Funds, The Department of Education and Local Music Education Partnerships.