One To Watch: Musician Noel O’ Brien
It’s not often you come across someone who stops you in your tracks. It’s not often you come across a voice like this where you feel compelled to blare the radio as loud of it will go, and you hope that the song never ever ends. It’s not often you come across someone with pure talent like this – it only happens once in a while. But if one thing is for sure, it’s that Tipperary man Noel O’Brien has the ability to do all of this.
- Hi Noel. Firstly, tell us a little bit about yourself!
I’m Noel O’ Brien, I started writing my own songs about 3 years ago and just played guitar up until then. I self-recorded, produced and released my debut EP last year and I have enough songs for a new release so hope to get started on that soon.
- When did you first realise that you wanted to pursue a career in music?
I’ve always wanted to do music from the start. I don’t remember any particular moment but I have always had musical ideas and been writing guitar parts from a young age. I don’t really think of it in terms of a career to be honest but the simplest way to put it is that I enjoy writing and recording music and I’ll continue to do so. It’s my favorite thing to do and pretty much the only thing I’ve ever really been interested in.
- Did you find that studying music has helped you better understand the ins and outs of the music industry in Ireland?
Yes, I suppose I learned a fair amount about the Irish music industry in general but studying it gave me a greater insight into the overall workings and strategies behind writing, recording and releasing music, and to be honest, I don’t really think I’ve applied much of those approaches to my own music but I just want to do what I do and keep it as real and pure as possible. All the same it was a benefit to me!
- Who are some of your biggest inspirations?
My main influences are folk artists like John Martyn and Nick Drake as well as classic 60’s bands like The Doors, Pink Floyd and The Beatles. I listen to a fair amount of electronic music like Aphex Twin too and I’m into metal also. But for the most part, anything dark, experimental or guitar-orientated really.
- Where do you get the inspiration for writing the lyrics to your songs?
I write the lyrics at the very end, if there is any true meaning behind the lyrics it’s usually something fairly cryptic and something I would only understand. It depends on the song too though. Sometimes I’ll try different things though, like on the third track (which was just kind of thrown in at the last minute). I tried to write Bob-Dylan type lyrics. Often times they aren’t necessary relevant to me but just random things that come to my head so they don’t always even make sense. Overall I’m more about the musical side of things. I find that I can say a lot more by something without lyrics… if that makes any sense!
- Tell us about the first song you ever wrote?
I can’t remember to be honest but I think ‘Yet to Come’ was the first proper song I wrote and after that they just kept coming. I’ve about 10 new tracks so will probably put out another EP when I get a chance to record again!
- If you could have written any song yourself, which one would it be and why?
The End” by The Doors or “Small Hours” by John Martyn. I love songs that create an atmosphere and place you can get lost in.
- What are your hopes for the future?
To keep writing, recording and releasing and sorting out my live setup for gigs!
- Who would you compare yourself to, if anybody, in terms of your sound?
That’s a tough one, I’d imagine my sound is a combination of my influences but I don’t really know. Some people have told me it’s similar to Radiohead. It depends on the song too I think. Some are completely different but I suppose it can be generalised as alternative folk but it all just kind of comes together naturally, so it is was it is!
- If you weren’t pursuing a career in music, what would you be doing instead?
I honestly don’t know! I can’t think of anything else!
- What has been your highlight so far?
Getting the masters back for the EP, I spent forever editing, mixing and re-editing over 8 months and it seemed never-ending so it was satisfying to get it finished. Having said that, there’s still a lot i would change to make it better
- How would you describe yourself and your music in three words!
Prolific, creative and unbounded (in terms of music, I think!)
Listen To Noel’s Debut EP HERE
Follow Noel O’Brien Music on Facebook HERE