I’ll be honest, there’s not an awful lot I need to say here thanks to a set of comprehensive answers from the wonderful Brian Casey. I’ll just let you know that he is a magnificent songwriter who is well worth listening to, particularly due to his charming vocals. So without any further waffling from me, let me introduce you to Brian Casey;
Who are you, what are you and where are you?
My name is Brian Casey, I’m a musician, producer and general music addict from West Cork on the edge of Ireland!
Why did you start making music? Who were your first great inspirations?
I have no idea why I gravitated towards making music, but my earliest memories are looking in toy catalogues as a child wanting the toy instruments, or just passing a busker on the street being fascinated. Eventually I bugged my parents into letting me play the old piano in our house, taking an unused tin whistle down from the cupboard and eventually into buying me more and more musical instruments and recording equipment.
At different stages of my life different artists have been really important to me. Early on I was exposed to the Beatles and lots of classic records my parents had and for some reason I was obsessed with Bryan Adams when I was around 2 or 3, but that was mainly because I had the same name as him!
Over time my older brother got into Oasis, Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead and loads of heavier stuff, I got into playing trad and classical music, and then as a teenager I was listening to hip-hop, singer-songwriters and anything floating around.
Recently bands like The National, artists like Bon Iver, Ben Howard and Laura Marling have been influencing me but I’m still a complete genre hopper – my Spotify playlists and CD collection are frighteningly varied.
How would you describe your sound?
I would describe it as singer-songwriter/alternative folk, relying heavily on acoustic instruments but often being quite rhythmic and percussive. My new EP is very wintery sounding and atmospheric, where as my first EP is more rhythm and hook oriented.
Where should we be looking to find new music?
For finding my new music, www.briancaseymusic.com is the best place to start looking.
I generally find out about new music from friends, or simply from working with new artists in the recording studio I run. Endlessly searching on the internet for new music isn’t something I like doing too often, but Spotify is my platform of choice. If I really fall in love with an album I’ll then purchase it, preferably at the band’s show.
Who is worth keeping an eye on? (besides yourself, of course)
There are so many good artists flying under the radar at the moment, two that spring to mind are an artist from Dublin called Sinead White, who will be supporting me in the Dublin leg of my Irish tour, and Railroad Man, who will be supporting me in Cork. Both already have really cool music online and I think the best has yet to come from both.
What does music mean to you?
Everything. Aside from food it’s basically all I think about, even though I’ve a really wide range of interests and I love so many things in the world, I’m totally happy for music to dominate all that.
What are you hoping to achieve with your music?
If I can connect with people emotionally, help them feel good or even just sort through something in their mind then I’d be happy. On a selfish level I’d like as many people as possible to have that experience with my music, but for even one person to really connect with the music you make is the best feeling, whether it’s someone alone in their room listening on headphones, or someone drunk jumping around at a gig.
Why did you decide to work as a solo act?
Originally when I started writing this style of music I wanted to create a larger band with a lot of musicians, something closer to Arcade Fire or something, but I just couldn’t come up with a decent name, and I had gigs booked, so I went with my name.
As it turns out those gigs were mostly just with me on guitar/vocals and my friend Andrew on drums. Even though we’re gigging under my own name, it still feels very much like Andrew has some ownership over the whole thing too, which is a very nice thing.
I’ve had other people join in on and off for gigs and help out in recordings, but for practical reasons, as well as artistically, the energy always feels best playing as a two piece or solo.
Would you ever consider being part of a band or another project?
I’m always involved with other projects, be it as a producer, a writer or just playing in cover bands.
I have a band called Screenreader, which is a 3 piece alternative rock/electronic wall of madness, and we released an album called Disconnect the Dots in 2012, and there are drums and bass recorded for 4 tracks waiting on my hard drive at home, so we’ll have new music coming out before too long.
Tell us about your ‘Rain Songs’, what inspired you to make it and what’s the message you’re hoping it’ll get across?
Rain Songs is a collection of songs that all capture a certain kind of wintery mood, and I don’t think they’re supposed to be particularly happy or sad, they’re just journeys through different feelings, not meaning to sound too abstract about it or anything!
If there’s any message in it, it’s just that we’re all doing our best to keep going in life, and other than helping each other through whatever ups and downs come along on that path, we shouldn’t get hung up on much else. I suppose it’s just an EP written about how I feel about life.
Where can we see you live in the next few months?
I’m touring in Ireland from the end of November, in Cyprus Avenue, Cork on Nov 27, in Whelan’s in Dublin on Dec 3, in Debarras Clonakilty on Dec 4 (probably my favourite venue in the world), and in Monroes Galway on Dec 12. There are other dates also that you can check out on briancaseymusic.com or on Facebook.
Who is your least favourite cartoon character?
I usually don’t get worked up about cartoons too much, but something in my mind remembered the character Ash in Pokemon when you asked this question – I haven’t thought about pokemon since I was 9, but that guy used to annoy the hell out of me.
Anything you’d like to add?