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A Galway-based band who cite Pink Floyd and David Bowie among their influences, launch their self-titled debut EP, JANAJ, with an all-ages gig in Monroe’s Live on Thursday next, April 20.
JANAJ are John Martin Tierney, Alice O’Donnell, Jack Sinnott, Niamh Tierney and Charlie McCarthy. The band formed as teenagers, when they met at Access Music Project’s School of Rock summer course.
“Niamh, who’s my cousin, was going as well and I’d be friends with Alice from school,” John says. “Part of the school was splitting into bands, so we said we’d go together. We were talking to this guy Jack, who’s now one of our best friends, and said ‘ok, you’ll play bass!’.”
The newly-formed band hit the ground running, writing songs from the get-go.
“We wrote our first song for the School of Rock, because that was one of the first things we had to do,” John says. “That was an acoustic song about Bilbo Baggins! It was a bit all over the place, but the creative juices were flowing from day one.”
In late 2015, the members of JANAJ decided to up their game when they heard about the Irish Youth Music Awards (IYMAs).
“We said we’d enter it, we had a couple of ideas,” John says. “We got jamming more often, and decided we’d get a good solid song for that. When we were picked to represent Galway, we thought ‘yeah, maybe this song-writing this is cool!’. We just kept doing it then, and we haven’t really stopped since.”
The band ended up winning the IYMAs, which were held in the Aviva Stadium. John recalls their debut Dublin show.
“That was class,” John says. “Driving up to the Aviva and seeing it coming into view, getting bigger and bigger, and then getting inside. Obviously, it was in the conference centre, but you could look out the window and the pitch was there, and this massive stadium. There were people everywhere, and a great buzz.”
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.