2FM 2moro 2our presents: David Geraghty (Bell X1), Concerto for Constantine (ex JJ72 and Idelwind) and Ham Sandwich.
David Geraghty: Following a brief flirtation with the art of the stuntman - Lee Majors has a lot to answer for - David Geraghty set his heart on music early on in life. The moment young Geraghty's hands were big enough, his Dad drew guitar chords out on little charts and his love affair with a cranky old acoustic began.
His first musical obsession was with uber-acapella troupe, The Flying Pickets. After a National Stadium show in '85, young David got to meet his idols and fixed his sights on the wild world of Picketesque rock and roll. Further, somewhat dubious, musical liaisons followed, in particular a furious enchantment with Doris from Five Star. His parents, almost certainly despairing of David's musical leanings, brought the 12 year old to see Bowie at Slane in '87. He was sold, the Pickets and Doris consigned to faded family Super 8 performances.
From there on out, Springsteen, Bowie and Philo kicked from Geraghty's tape player. In his early teens he formed a multitude of bands, teaching himself a host of instruments from drums to guitars to piano. His early live memories are on the sticks with a band in Barnstormers on Capel Street, the Grattan and The Whitehorse Inn, where the floor used to bounce.
Aged 18, having always been interested in art and graphics, Geraghty decided to take a computer animation course in Ballyfermot. Though enjoying the creative ambience of art college, song writing and performing were his true passion. Geraghty had recorded a four track demo in his Uncle's home studio.
His then girlfriend brought these recordings to the attention of her classmate, a young Damien Rice. Along with Paul Noonan, Brian Crosby, and Dominic Phillips, Rice had a band called Juniper. The group had made a demo and were happy to utilise the skills of a multi-instrumentalist, allowing themselves more freedom to swap instruments on stage. Upon meeting the band, Geraghty was impressed that unlike most would be rock stars of his acquaintance, Juniper actually had a novel idea: a game plan.
Joining the group, they holed up in a house in the middle of nowhere and began writing and rehearsing, slowly but surely building a Juniper fanbase gigging across the country. Having seen the band perform in Dublin, Polygram Ireland were suitably impressed and soon the band were offered a deal. Releasing two pretty successful singles and an EP, the future was all shiny and bright for the boys.
An album recording session was set up with producer Mike Hedges (Manic Street Preachers) and as the band were packing their sports bags to head to London, Rice made the decision to leave the band. Obviously the rest of the band were somewhat thrown by the news, concerned that the label might not be as enthusiastic about Juniper minus Damien. Fortunately, Polygram Ireland assured them of their continuing commitment and encouraged them to regroup and begin writing as a four piece.
In the meantime, Polygram became Universal Music. While many bands were lost in the mix, the Juniper boys kept their heads down and weathered the storm, emerging relatively unscathed to produce their first demo for Universal. Deciding it was time to erase the past, the hunt for a new moniker began.
In a Fleetwood Mac type scenario, minus the class A's and the partner swapping, the band locked themselves away and spent days flicking through a rainforest of magazines and books in search of the holy sobriquet. It was in the illustrious Guinness Book of Records that they found the BellX1, the first plane to break the sound barrier.
The maiden voyage of the Irish BellX1 was at Whelan's in Dublin and the audience embraced the new line up without a flinch. Nick Seymour produced their debut album Neither Am I, which consolidated their position as one of Ireland's most promising emerging acts in many years.
Following an approach from Roger Bechirian (who had worked with The Undertones and Elvis Costello), BellX1 found themselves under the guidance of a well-established manager. Bechirian took the band to Universal in the UK, they demoed some tracks, which would become their second album and signed with Island.
Recording the album with producer/engineer Jamie Cullum, Music In Mouth was released in Ireland and the UK, hand in hand with a slew of touring and promotion, finding success on both sides of the water. The third album Flock, produced by Bechirian, debuted in Ireland at No. 1 and tours of Europe ensued. Irish gigs sold out in days and BellX1 had proved themselves one of the most popular Irish bands of the noughties.
After an exhilarating adventure with BellX1 and with time on his hands following Flock, Geraghty decided it was his time to explore his own personal musical leanings. All along he had been collecting songs and decided it was time to take the leap and release a solo record. The result is Kill Your Darlings, a ten track personal reflection that tips its dark, broody hat to the work of Buckley, Martyn and Drake.
The album features many well-known talented performers: Clare Finglass brings her Julie London style dusty tones to the recordings; drummer Kevin Brady and double bass man Dave Redmond inject a smoky, backroom feel; and Cora Venus Lunny adds majestic violas and violins.
Geraghty confidently grips his new sound in a tight embrace, welcoming influences from outside the rock arena, the jazz and country flavours bringing a new dimension to the old time songwriter aesthetic. Kill Your Darlings marks a strong arrival for the solo work of Geraghty, which will continue to co-exist alongside his collaborative work with BellX1. Kill Your Darlings is just the first movement in an as yet unfinished symphony.
Geraghty strides into a new realm. The step is all the more considerable for the fact that it would have been a safe play to rest on the leafy laurels of BellX1's success.
Concerto for Constantine: Concerto for Constantine is three Dubliners: singer and guitarist Mark Greaney (formerly JJ72's frontman and songwriter), bassist Gavin Fox (formerly of Turn, Idlewild and Vega4), and drummer Binzer (formerly of The Frames, BellX1, and Halite; he also plays drums for Mundy and My Brighest Diamond).
In the summer of 2007, Mark and Gavin found themselves bandless simultaneously. They had, over the years of knowing one another, sporadically yet passionately discussed the notion of forming a three piece rock band. It was time for action. The first, and only, person to be sought for drumming duties was Binzer. He has been referred to as "the Irish Jimmy Chamberlain". Enough said.
A rehearsal took place in August 2007. It was raw. It was visceral. And, having enough gigs under their collective belt from over the past decade, they knew immediately that it worked. Spines shivered, hearts beat faster and ears hurt. A beautiful thunder was born. As individuals, the experience and talent is impressive. As a band, it is colossal. This is three men at the top of their game, playing the music that they have always wanted to play.
Expect Concerto for Constantine to release recorded material by the end of 2007.
Ham Sandwich: Ham Sandwich, fronted by Podge and Niamh, have cut their cloth as a sterling underground treasure with an almost cult like following the likes of Weezer or early Flaming Lips, a following that knows wherever Ham Sandwich goes fun and madness intrinsically follows.
The name is a simple, effective decoy, just like there's a computer called Apple, a band called Ham Sandwich manages to dispense with the expected cliches of what a modern indie band should be and instead have allowed themselves the space to build a performance that is outstanding in giving people what they want to see, strange outfits, bright colours, a sexy front woman and a lunatic like front man. Their underground status and cult acclaim has seen them guesting alongside such reknown performers as Electric Six, I'm From Barcelona, Whitesnake, Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan, My Morning Jacket, the Bluetones amongst others.
Ham Sandwich will release their next single 'click...click...BOOM' in Ireland in mid November to co-incide with their appearance on the RTÉ 2fm 2moro 2our. This is following the success of singles 'Sad Songs', 'St. Christopher' and 'Words'. True DIY enthusiast they have spurned the norms of booking themselves into a studio... to instead build their own studio in Headfort House, Kells (their hometown) with the help of Frames producer Karl Odlum. Their hometown fondness has also seen them turn this 18th Century mansion into the location for their music video for 'St. Christopher' which includes their followers dancing along to their music in the house's expansive ballroom.
Their music has garnered them a wide selection of admirers including legendary Beach Boys producer Van Dyke Parks, Pat kenny, and Bono, who vehemently advised them to change their name and Smashing Pumpkins front man Billy Corgan who requested copies of the bands music prior to his solo performance in Dublin earlier this year and invited them along to his show. For novices of the Ham Sandwich live experience here's some advice: leave your prejudice of what an indie band should be safe at home, stock up on lots of funergy and bring your dancing shoes because live... these guys are deliciously stunning.
Johnny put the idea of playing together forward at a crucifixion party on Good Friday, 2003. He had known extrovert frontman Podge since they were toddlers, met Darcy in English class where they shared the same teacher credited with inspiring Tommy Tiernan, Dylan Moran and Hector. Drummer Ollie he met during a bizarre accident involving a thumb ring and a fire engine and the stunning Niamh he befriended soon after she returned to Dublin after a few years in Glasgow.