I’ve been going to a lot of gigs since I moved to Dublin and one of my first nights out here was at the Hard Working Class Heroes festival where I first saw The Depravations play. I ended up going to several of their gigs and enjoy their music, its very mellow or maybe that was the alcohol….
Anyway I just did my first interview with them for Music Review Unsigned magazine. This site reviews unsigned artists and has even had it’s own awards show! Here is the interview as it appears on the site or you can read it below also. Check out their upcoming appearances on their Facebook and their music.
The Depravations are an indie folk group which formed in Galway in 2006. They have since built up a significant following and have enjoyed touring all over Ireland playing gigs and festivals such as Hardworking Class Heroes and Turning Pirate Mixtape New Year’s Eve gig in Vicar Street. They recently recorded and released their first album “Onwards Westwards” and are celebrating this with an album launch on May 2nd. I asked lead singer David Boland to tell me all about themselves, their first album Onwards Westwards, the issues facing unsigned artists and their magnificent plans for the future!
Hi David! So firstly can you tell a little about how the band was formed?
It started in Galway, in 2006, when I met a young lad called Otis Liddy. He was a first year in college, only seventeen and green as the grass. I, being a good four years older than him, took it upon myself to teach him the ways of extreme booze drinking, illicit bad boy drug taking and drug drunken womanising.
It took me quite a while to break down the walls that his strict and unfaltering upbringing had instilled in him and, in the meantime, we played guitar. I used music as a way of gaining his trust and our relationship blossomed. It was later to crash and burn. We rarely speak now, though he remains a committed member of The Depravations. In those early years we were joined by a lovely female singer called Emma Craig and a very lazy young man called Eoghan McGinley on guitar. We made soft folky songs and released a demo and played some gigs. After a year or so we went our separate ways.
When I returned to Galway in 2009, Otis and I went about writing new songs. Eoghan came back to Galway and then I met bassist Hob Junker. We all recorded an EP to entice a drummer called Mosey Byrne into the band. He joined and the rest, as they say, happened after that.
Who or what influences your music?
As a band I don’t think we have any collective influence. Personally, I love simple repetitive melodies like what David Kitt does and I think we’ve tried to get a sound similar to what Richard Hawley, Grizzly Bear and Beach House get. Not quite sure if that’s worked or not. In some ways it has I think, probably more so live than on the album.
What kind of challenges do you face as an unsigned act?
It can be difficult to get booked to festivals and the bigger gigs that you might like to do. Also, it’s hard to get played on radio I suppose. Basically you have to do everything yourself and, if you’re not good at the business side of things or don’t know the right people, it all looks a bit impossible.
How do you juggle going to gigs all over the country with your day to day lives?
It is a juggling act alright. Not for me, I’ve nothing else to do, but it’s hard to sort practicing and gigging around people’s schedules. We recently did a national tour which was stressful to book. We’ve taken to doing some three piece acoustic gigs now which is easier to manage. This will be influential in writing the next album which will be a primarily folky affair.
What do you think of how the music industry is changing i.e. the death of record stores and more people downloading music?
I don’t know much about it all but I reckon, in an optimistic way, that everything is a bit freer now, less rigid. We can do what we want. It has led to a lot of innovation and a sort of rebirth of the old DIY ethic that was prevalent in the eighties punk scene. Also, I think record stores will survive. Vinyl is the new Compact Disc.
You’ve released your first album Onwards Westwards, how did you find the
process of making and releasing it?
It was ruddy horrible. I spent the good part of a year in a small studio writing, recording, getting depressingly drunk, getting euphorically drunk (sometimes) and just being incredibly hungry. I forgot to eat quite a lot. I think I went a bit mad to be perfectly honest. I’m not sure if I’ll ever get that bit of my brain back. It is what it is. I wouldn’t do it again but I’m happy enough with how the album turned out. As for the others, I’m pretty sure they hated it as much as me. We try not to talk about it.
We released it online for free in January and then went on a bit of a tour. We tried to play interesting places with a bit of character and with people who also had a bit of character to them. We recommend O’Connors Hotel in Swinford and anything The G-Man does down in Cork.
The big night will be on Thursday May 2nd when we do the Galway launch in Arus na nGael. We haven’t played as a full band in Galway since the release and so we’re looking forward to it a lot. We’ll be joined by some of our favourite bands around (Oh Boland, My Fellow Sponges, The Followers Of Otis, Fellow Strangers, Rural Savage, Rivers & Crows).
What’s been the high point of being in the band so far? If you have a collective one?
I think we’d all agree that our high point as a band was playing the Turning Pirate Mixtape New Years Eve Party last year in Vicar Street. We were on the same bill as people like Neil Hannon, Cathy Davey, Lisa Hannigan, Richie Egan and loads of other people in that successful famous scene. Just for a moment it felt like we had arrived. Ah well. Still, got to meet Neil Hannon which was nice. He’s a perfectly formed owl-like genius.
Any mad plans for the future?
Yes we do. Onwards, Westwards is set to be the first of a trilogy of albums we release this year. The next one is planned as a folk album we release over the summer and then we’ll be doing a tight indie dance album in the winter. It’s pretty outrageous and I don’t think anyone else in the band is keen on it but we’re going to give it a go. There’s your goddamn exclusive!