Date Published: 20-Apr-2011
Indie pop trio Squarehead have taken the Dublin music scene by storm in their first 12 months together, having penned one of the most critically acclaimed songs of 2010 and featuring prominently on the inaugural Popical Island compilation last summer.
The band bring their contemporary brand of 60s surf pop to Galway this weekend when they take to the stage of the Róisín Dubh for a gig on Saturday, April 23 supported by fellow Dubliners We Are Losers.
The road to Galway is one paved with happy memories for singer/guitarist Roy Duffy and his band mates Ian McFarlane and Ruan van Vliet. It was on their way to a gig in the Róisín last December that they received a phone call to tell them that Squarehead’s irresistible single, Fake Blood, had been voted song of the year on the online music blog, Nialler9.
The accolade capped a fantastic year for the group during which they fortuitously coalesced and embarked on a skyward trajectory that has seen them emerge from anonymity to become one of the most promising bands currently in the Dublin music scene.
“We were on a bus to Galway when we got a call telling us that we’d won single of the year on the Nialler9 blog,” recalls Roy. “That was really cool. Fake Blood has definitely turned out to be a major breakthrough for us, although we never really thought that it was any better or worse than the other songs we recorded when we started.
“A little over a year ago I was doing a solo acoustic set and I decided that I wanted to record a couple of songs with a few others. I got together with Ian, who I live with and have been friends with since we were 16, and Andy Walsh from I Heart the Monster Hero; and we recorded Fake Blood in some room and we put it on the internet.
“It started to get a lot of attention online and James Byrne from The Villagers, who also runs Any Other City Records, heard it and thought that we might have something there. We started handing out Fake Blood CDs at gigs and it just gained popularity from there,” says Roy.
The song has become the flagship track for Squarehead and has been covered by a number of other artists as its popularity continues to grow. It also featured on the Dublin music compilation Popical Island #1 when it was released last May.
The single’s almost viral popularity helped to bring the band and their other songs the attention that they were due. Their star has continued to rise throughout last year and 2011 to date as their rejuvenated surf-pop sounds attract a growing fan base.
Squarehead’s music is upbeat and energetic, funky and retro; echoing the summery sounds of the surf pop scene from the 1960s.
“The surf pop influence came from Ruan really,” explains Roy. “He has played in so many pop and rock bands, and he has a really eclectic knowledge of music and the 1960s scene – he introduced us to a lot of that. His drumming kind of suits that stuff as well.
“We’re all into very different kinds of music: Ian is big into funk and slappy bass, which is really the exact opposite to me. I was into poppy rock stuff when I was younger when the others were into heavier stuff but I listen to everything really. At the moment, I’m listening to loads of lo-fi American bands, Neil Young, the Beach Boys. Anything really.”
Squarehead was originally the name of Roy’s acoustic one-man band until he got sick of playing solo and decided to bring Ian and, eventually, Ruan into the fold. He had toured Eastern Europe with his solo act in the company of Hands Up Who Wants to Die in 2009, when he says he ended up “playing wimpy pop to crusties” that was only sometimes well-received.
“It isn’t as much fun playing acoustic on your own,” says Roy. “That’s the main reason I stopped that. If you play a really good gig, there’s nobody to turn around to and say ‘well done’. You can’t really give yourself a pat on the back. It’s a lot more fun playing with other people.”
The success of Squarehead over the course of their first year as a group has placed a greater demand on Roy’s time, and earlier this year he quit playing with Hands Up Who Wants to Die in order to concentrate on his own band’s fortunes. He had recorded an album with the rock band in Frankfurt, which was released last February.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Appeal for information following Portumna crash
Date Published: 08-May-2013
Gardai are appealing for witnesses following a single vehicle crash at the Portumna bridge this morning.
The road from Nenagh to Loughrea reopened shortly after 11 this morning following the completion of a technical exam.
Four men were travelling in a van when they hit the Portumna bridge around 6:30 this morning.
Gardaí, ambulance and two units of Portumna fire services rushed to the scene, and one of the men was taken to Portiuncula hospital in Ballinasloe.
He is being treated for head injuries, which have been described by Gardaí as serious.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Portumna Garda station on 09-097-42060
President Higgins among GMIT’s first ever honorary fellowships
Date Published: 10-May-2013
GMIT is to honour seven outstanding individuals including President Michael D Higgins with Honorary Fellowships at a special ceremony later this month.
It’s the first time in the 40 year history of the Institute the Governing Body of GMIT has decided to award honorary fellowships.
The GMIT Honorary Fellowships will be conferred at the g Hotel in the city this day two weeks Friday 24 May at 2.30pm in front of 200 invited guests.
Galway commuters hold their breath as LRC intervenes in bus strike
Date Published: 13-May-2013
Galway commuters are holding their breath as there has been a potential breakthrough in the Bus Eireann dispute, as both sides have agreed to talks at the Labour Relations Commission.
The LRC intervened this afternoon, on day two of strike action that has seen 95 per cent of bus services disrupted across the country.
The LRC’s Director of Conciliation Services, Kevin Foley, says the National Bus and Rail Union and the company have agreed to meet for mediated talks at 8 this evening.