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SXSW 2017 Interview: A.S. Fanning

By on Tuesday, 28th March 2017 at 3:00 pm

Irish singer/songwriter A.S. Fanning was unique among his Irish peers at SXSW 2017 in that he’s currently based in Berlin rather than at home on the Emerald Isle. Not having any previous knowledge of Fanning’s music, I was curious about what might have prompted him to make that choice. After hearing his set on Thursday’s Full Irish Breakfast at B.D. Riley’s Pub, I was able to catch him for a quick interview to find out more.

As Fanning explained to me, he relocated to Berlin several years ago, with his previous band The Last Tycoons. (Tangentially, a quick Facebook search reveals that Fanning was known as “Switchblade Steve” during his time in The Last Tycoons, a fact that I sorely regret not knowing at the time of the interview!) Finding Berlin less costly than Dublin, he simply decided to stay on after the band split up.

Musically speaking, Fanning’s life experience going back to childhood has led him to a rather enchanting blend of “dark folk”, Americana, and rock ‘n’ roll influences, which he talked about briefly in our interview just below. If you missed it earlier this month, you can hear Fanning’s current single ‘Carmelita’ in our preview of Irish artists at SXSW 2017, and check out his striking baritone vocals in the live video for ‘Dark Star’ at the bottom of this page.

A.S. Fanning has just finished recording his album ‘Second Life’, funded by a Kickstarter campaign that wrapped up in January. Its release is expected later this year, via Proper Octopus Records. Stay tuned to TGTF for more coverage of A.S. Fanning at SXSW 2017 in our upcoming review of the Thursday afternoon Full Irish Breakfast, as well as further news on the album release if that becomes available.


Special thanks to Candice for helping me coordinate this interview.



SXSW 2017 Interview: Hamish Anderson

By on Tuesday, 28th March 2017 at 1:00 pm

Melbourne blues rocker Hamish Anderson has been on my radar for a few years following my previewing of SXSW 2015. That year, Carrie pinch-hit for me, seeing him at Sound Gallery presented by Sounds Australia on the Saturday at B.D. Riley’s. This year, I got two chances to see Anderson: a special VIP invitation to catch him at the National Geographic closing party Monday night as part of the Interactive stream of the SXSW Conference / Festival, followed by his triumphant return to Sound Gallery on Saturday.

After his performance Saturday at B.D. Riley’s, Anderson was chilled out, having done his final work of the week, finally able to fully relax and take in the city. As I had guessed, there aren’t that many blues artists in Australia, so Anderson feels right at home when he’s in our country. I feel honoured that he introduced me to one of his guitars, Blondie, and he talks about how it felt so much more comfortable and felt more prepared the second time around showcasing at SXSW. We also talk about his debut album ‘Trouble’, which was released last year. Listen to the interview below. For more on TGTF on Hamish Anderson, including my coverage that posted yesterday of his performance at the National Geographic closing party, follow this link.

Hamish Anderson, Sound Gallery, Sounds Australia, Saturday 18 March 2017


SXSW 2017 Interview: Loah

By on Tuesday, 28th March 2017 at 11:00 am

Every year at SXSW, I hear at least one musician who takes me completely by surprise. One of the most intriguing artists I saw on the Thursday afternoon of SXSW 2017 was Irish/Sierra Leonean soul singer Loah, (known offstage as Sallay Matu Garnett) who performed on the Full Irish Breakfast showcase hosted by Music from Ireland at B.D. Riley’s Irish Pub. Currently based in Dublin, Loah cites time spent in Sierra Leone during her teenage years as a major influence on her music, as well as the more expected Irish music tradition, which she developed in her classical training at Trinity College. She melds aspects of classical Western and West African style together seamlessly, with hints of jazz and a strong soul foundation, to create a sound that is refreshingly different and stood out to me as quite unique among the other Irish artists on Thursday’s showcase. [Loah also appeared last autumn in Dublin at Hard Working Class Heroes 2016. – Ed.]

As mentioned in TGTF’s preview of Irish artists at SXSW 2017, Loah previously collaborated with 2017 RTÉ Choice Music Prize nominee and well-known fellow Irish musician Bantum on his single ‘Take It’, as well as receiving a co-writing credit on Hozier‘s hit track ‘Someone New’. Her own debut EP, titled ‘This Heart’, has been a long time in the making and is due for release at the end of April via Irish label Ensemble Music. The EP will include Loah’s first single ‘The Bailey’, streaming just below.

SXSW 2017 marked Loah’s first appearance in Austin, and she mentioned in our interview that she was eager to take in some of the city’s sights and sounds in her spare time during the week. Following her visit to Texas, Loah played a show at New York’s Irish Arts Center on the 22nd of March, which was previewed here in the Village Voice. Take a listen below to my interview with Loah, and keep an eye on TGTF for more about Loah in our upcoming review of the Full Irish Breakfast.


SXSW 2017 Interview: Magic Giant

By on Monday, 27th March 2017 at 3:00 pm

Los Angeles indie folk band Magic Giant showcased at SXSW 2017 for their third consecutive year at SXSW, but they only just crossed my radar earlier this spring. Their debut full-length album ‘In the Wind’ is due out in May, and I had the opportunity on the Wednesday morning of SXSW to sit down with the three band members, multi-instrumentalist Zambricki Li, lead singer Austin Bisnow and guitarist/cellist Brian “Zang” Zaghi (pictured from left to right, above) at the W Hotel in downtown Austin to chat about the making of that record, as well as their experiences at SXSW. The band members might look very serious in the header photo above, and indeed they clearly take their music-making very seriously. But I think the photo below is more reflective of the zany personality and brilliant energy they project both in conversation and onstage.


‘In the Wind’ was recorded in various locations throughout America while the band were on tour last summer, and the band members explained their very organic process of recording in scenic, outdoor locations, using solar power for their equipment. They talked specifically about the recording of their current single ‘Set the Fire’, which included sounds taken directly from nature; you can take a listen to the acoustic version of ‘Set the Fire’ in the video just below. The band also hinted at what might be involved in a Magic Giant live show, which I had the chance to experience firsthand later on Wednesday night at the Clive Bar on Rainey Street. (Stay tuned to TGTF for more on my Wednesday night adventures, as our extensive SXSW 2017 coverage continues.)


Magic Giant were nearing the end of their time in Austin when we did this interview, while I was closer to the start of my own, but as you’ll hear below, the band have big plans lined up for the remainder of 2017. They have a North American tour planned around the release of ‘In the Wind’, which is scheduled for the 19th of May via Washington Square / Razor & Tie, and they hope to bring the tour to Europe and worldwide later this year. You can check Magic Giant’s official Facebook for a list of their upcoming live dates, and keep an eye out for them on TGTF in case they happen to pass through the UK or Ireland in the coming months.


SXSW 2017 Interview: Ciaran Lavery, Jealous of the Birds, and Ryan Vail

By on Monday, 27th March 2017 at 1:00 pm

On the Tuesday morning of SXSW 2017, Output Belfast and Generator NI, along with the Belfast City Council, the Northern Ireland Department of Communities and Invest Northern Ireland, hosted The Boat Party 2017, a riverboat cruise and artist showcase set on Austin’s scenic Colorado River. The Northern Irish riverboat party has become something of an annual tradition since it began back at SXSW 2015, with two such shows in the same week. (If you missed it, you can read TGTF’s coverage of those events here and here.)

This year’s riverboat showcase featured brief live sets from three Northern Irish artists, singer/songwriter Ciaran Lavery, folk rocker Jealous of the Birds (aka Naomi Hamilton) and electronic musician and composer Ryan Vail. After the sunny riverboat cruise was complete, I took the opportunity to sit on the shady back patio of the Hyatt Regency Austin with all three artists to have a chat about the diversity of music coming out of Northern Ireland, the varying trajectories of their individual careers, and their experiences in Austin at SXSW. I’d never done an interview quite like this one, with several musicians all at once. But as you can hear below, the discussion moved along freely and easily, not at all unlike the placid flow of the Colorado River in the background behind us.

Many thanks to Ciaran, Naomi, and Ryan for agreeing to this impromptu roundtable discussion. Stay tuned to TGTF for further coverage of each of these artists at SXSW 2017.

Ryan Vail at Output Belfast Boat Party 2017

Jealous of the Birds at Output Belfast Boat Party 2017

Ciaran Lavery at Output Belfast Boat Party 2017


SXSW 2017 Interview: The Academic

By on Monday, 27th March 2017 at 11:00 am

Sometimes – okay, a lot of the time! – at SXSW, it’s hard to conduct an interview with a band because there’s a lot of distracting noise around you. These can be difficult circumstances. It could be on 6th Street as the world goes by. Or in this case when I interviewed The Academic after their show at the Velveeta Room Friday night as part of the Music from Ireland evening showcase there, I had to make do in what appears to be half a broom closet and a corridor being used by staff at the venue (which explains why some random people appear in our conversation below). On the other side of the wall of the broom closet, another Irish band was playing, so if you hear any instruments being banged, that’s it.

The Academic are a group I have wanted to see live for a long time, having heard of their long association with TGTF mates Kodaline, with whom they have supported quite a few times. The band explained to me they’re from Mullingar, which is essentially a village smack dab in the middle of Ireland proper, so unlike most of the Irish bands we’ve featured here in the past on TGTF, they aren’t from Dublin or Belfast, or even a town like Galway or Derry. Their music skirts that oh so wonderful line between pop and rock, and they’ve already made a good impression on the UK, having played a bunch of shows in blighty already to good crowds. As you will hear in the below interview, they seem to have a fixation with Stourbridge, one of the places they will tour soon in the first 2 weeks in April (more details here). We also talk about which bands they would love to tour with because you know, when you’re in a young band like theirs, you might just get what you wish for. For more on the Academic on TGTF, check out our coverage through here.

The Academic, The Velveeta Room, Music from Ireland showcase, Friday 17 March 2017


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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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