Hailing from Wexford, Ireland, Alan Donnelly is a skilled singer-songwriter fusing psychedelic-rock with indie-rock. We speak with him about his latest EP Session One, musical inspiration and discovering new music.
What can you tell us about your EP Session One?
Session One is my first EP as a solo artist and is made up of four tracks from my upcoming album The Shadows. The whole EP was recorded and produced in a shed during the lockdown and serves as a cross-section of the types of sounds you can expect from the album. I have been mulling over recording these tracks for so long and now just felt like the right time.
Do you have a favourite track and why that track?
For me, I think ‘Rain’ would be my favourite from the EP. It is a very personal track to me and deals with a key moment in my own childhood. It is very raw both lyrically and vocally and I think that feeling comes across well, particularly in the crescendo. There’s a lot going on in terms of instrumentation and because of this it was a great song to record and produce, I really enjoyed working on it.
If you could change anything about the EP what would it be?
I would like to have spent more time on it, I’m like that though, I could tinker with something forever, never really feel like it is done. There’s always something you could go at but really I am very happy with it overall I have to say. I always like music with that rougher edge, feels more authentic to me. It can be hard to stop trying to improve things and because of this that rough edge can go. You can almost polish a track too much it’s just hard to realise when this is happening. For this EP I really wanted to focus on the ‘feel’ of the tracks and I think it’s there for the most part.
What inspires you to make music?
Music is really an outlet, a way to express myself and give a piece of myself to the world. Now whether the world actually ever wants to hear me is a different thing but it’s out there for whenever people are ready. I can find inspiration in anything really. This particular album deals a lot with moments of my own life so it’s very personal, but I also love writing characters or compositions that deal with broader subjects or emotions.
What were the pros and cons of recording during lockdown?
The pros really are that I could afford the time to record the EP I suppose; that and having my kids and my partner around more. It’s always amazing to have more time with the family, so good to have that time to just be together.
The cons? Well, the lockdown was a very hard time for me and my family for personal reasons so having a lockdown that restricted movement preventing me from being where I needed to be only really served to make things extremely difficult, to be honest. Thankfully, I had my family around otherwise I don’t know if I could have coped with everything.
Use two sentences to describe your sound.
A fusion of dark lyrics and haunting fairytale-like melodies mixed with some tongue-in-cheek humour and pop elements to lighten things where needed!
What do you think is the best way to discover new music nowadays?
It’s funny really, with some many options available to find music you’d think it would be a breeze finding “good stuff”. I know that’s totally subjective and it is harder to find “good stuff” than before. There was a period where the internet was amazing for music, but it’s kind of left the hands of the people and control of things has gone to the bigwigs all over again. You have to dig beneath the surface to find what you might actually like, not what has been suggested or marketed towards you.
Do you have any future plans?
As I was saying earlier I plan to finish the rest of the album. It will continue in the vein of the EP and including those four tracks, I should have between ten and twelve tracks. I may put together a single before then just to keep things ticking but ya, the album is really the next big thing on the agenda. After that I’d hope, pandemic permitting, to wrangle a band together and do a few gigs. Oh, and one more thing if there’s time… world domination!
Do you have a message for our readers?
Support the creatives behind online magazines like Nexus Music Blog. It is so hard for artists to get their music out there these days so it’s great to have blogs like this that give artists like myself a platform. Also, support the artists, listen to tunes, spread the word and help get the artists out to bigger audiences: this will only work to ensure that you get more music from them in the future. Lastly, go listen to Session One!