Interview: Ciaran Lavery

Hey guys,

There is so much talent on this planet - especially in the music business.
But you know what's the problem?
The charts always seem to feature the same artists and it's so hard for indie musicians to make it these days.

But luckily house in the sand is always excited to show case these absolutely talented people.

Ciaran Lavery is a singer/songwriter from Aghagallon, Ireland.
His music is passionate, expresses all different states of heartache and could be classified as alt-folk.

He's been making music for quite a while and already released a debut album ('Not Nearly Dark') and two EPs ('You Will Be A Stranger Now', 'The Maker Of Things').

With his new record 'Kosher' coming out in June we had enough to talk about.
Make sure you check out our little chat!

house in the sand: Hi Ciaran, how are you doing? What have you been up to lately?
Ciaran: I'm fantastical, things are really good here. I've been busy readying my new record for release this summer, booking shows/festivals and teaching myself the piano between times.

house in the sand: I really enjoy your music, it's slightly dreamy, still edgy and just great to listen to. What or who inspires you to write?
Ciaran: I suppose I should thank my brother in law for opening my ears to music like Neil Young and Grateful Dead as a young teen. I was very impressionable. I also loved English, though I never read for fun back then. To be honest I can't remember the first song I ever wrote, I think that's maybe a sign I've either supressed the memory of it's horror or like most things lately I've kind of forgotten. As I get older I see more around me and can draw on things from the past. I remember reading Bukowski's 'Women' and the whole simple style of writing blew me away, nothing was spared and I guess the bruises were put on show - that had a huge effect on how I thought about writing from then. 

house in the sand: Besides music - what else do you do to be happy?
Ciaran: I like to hang out with my girlfried, friends and family. I have a really close network of good people around me that keep me grounded. I live in a tiny village and that mindset sticks I think, I have an appreciation of small things.

house in the sand: What is your favourite piece of lyrics you've ever written?
Ciaran: I don't think I have any, I'm probably far too critical of my own lyrics and my music in general. Not that I don't rate it, I just like to move constantly, so I never sit long enough to admire any of my work. I constantly look to other artists as benchmarks, so I could easily tell you some of my favourite lyrics of someone else much quicker. For the record; Bob Dylan's lyrics "I can't remember your face anymore, your mouth has changed, your eyes don't look into mine" from 'Idiot Wind' are so profound. It could be the way he says each line but it's always memorable, there's so much bitterness and pain.

house in the sand: Do you have a bucket list? If so, what is on it?
Ciaran: I try to not think too far ahead but I guess short term I would like to get this record off the ground, see what people think of it. Down the line I would like to work on another project, something a little different from Kosher. But for now I'll keep my head down, I learned growing up not to make too many big plans incase I end up disappointed so I focus generally a few steps ahead and just see what happens. My grandmother always tould us that "what's meant for you won't pass you by" and I really believe that. Still, it doesn't mean you don't have to work your ass off to get it - I also believe that.

house in the sand: Assuming, since you've played gig before, you've also been backstage a few times - what's the coolest thing you've ever seen backstage? Any fancy couches? Great food?
Ciaran: Ha, there's been a few leather couches, even a display of chocolate bars. Generally backstage is an uncomfortable place for me, I never really know what to do back there and I like to watch other bands. I was in a band for around 7 years, I remember once being backstage at an all day show. People were drinking boxes of wine by the pint full and for some reason there were about a million cherry tomatoes kicking around; the whole thing was a bit surreal but all in good fun.

house in the sand: Who have you been listening to lately? Any insider tips you can share with us?
Ciaran: I recently bought the new Sun Kil Moon album 'Benji' it blew my mind. I think it could be one of the most important records released in a long time, from a story telling point of view. Besides that I also got into some Hiss Golden Messenger, the 'Bad Debt' album is class. A good friend of mine and serious songwriter Ian O'Doherty is releasing a new single that I think everyone should check out. Generally I go back to the old faithfuls I've loved for years, people like Dylan, Tom Waits, The Band. Those three are always my 'go to' at a jukebox.

house in the sand: Which musicians would you say have you learned from?
Ciaran: Everytime I play a show with another artist I learn something, I study what they do generally. Recently I played a host of shows with Anthony Toner, he's one of the best songwriters I've been in the company of and his songs are like little movies, I really cherished those shows and it gives my songwriting a kick up the ass. Tom Waits has always taught me to take risks, and not to be afraid to change things up. I love the rough and ready as much as I love the sampled sounds, and I think I owe that to his music. 

house in the sand: A song, nobody would expect you to like?
Ciaran: I have a real soft spot for the 80s. I even went as far as recording an EP of covers at the end of last year mostly from that decade titled 'Other People Wrote These' it was a blast. I have no idea what draws me to this song but 'Together In Electric Dreams' by The Human League gets me everytime. If it's ever on the radio I'm paralysed until it finishes; maybe I'm hypnotised by the synths - who knows.

house in the sand: Your upcoming record is called 'Kosher' - how did you come up with that name?
Ciaran: Kosher to me means authentic or genuine, which is what I feel this record is. I actually wanted to use it as a song title but could never work it into anything and I see no point in forcing it. The record is a little step into the unknown for me, embracing a more commercial edge but one that interested me, the songs were written to come out this way. I'm very proud of Kosher and am always indebted to those who made it happen including the players and producer Barrett Lahey who I pretty much owe my life to.

house in the sand: Please complete the following sentence: I am Ciaran Lavery and I ...
Ciaran: ... am bearded.

house in the sand: Thank you very much for chatting with us! All the best for your future and your upcoming projects!
Ciaran: Thanks, I hope to speak again soon.

 Ciaran Lavery online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | YouTube

Thank you for reading!

Credits // Text & Questions: Vanessa Jertschewske | Photography, Video & Answers: Ciaran Lavery


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