I was born and raised in a small town on the east coast of Ireland called Drogheda. The town has gone through many changes over the years, but it will always be where I am “from”. As a teenager I took up the guitar, and started to play gigs in Dublin when I was a student in NCAD. It was a great time, and the industry in Ireland was ripe. Damien Rice had helped sharpen the focus of the global light on Dublin, and and as a result, the bars were overflowing with singer-songwriting talent. Everyone I knew at the time had a guitar, and everyone I knew had a song that “floated like a cannonball”. It was a good time, and many many friends were made during this period.
Australia – The first time around
It wasn’t until I returned from travelling around Australia in 2004, that I realised my biggest passion in life was music. I’d written a bunch of tracks on my travels, and upon my return, started to get more and more involved in the Irish music scene. At the time, I just wanted to be part of the community, and contribute in some way.
I started a website called Dublin Singer-Songwriter and ran gigs all over Dublin, meeting what many would become some of my best friends for life. All of us were in the same boat, all paddling up stream trying to get out into the big bad ocean. This was another amazing time, and witnessed some of Irelands most amazing emerging talents such as Anthony Furey, Shay Cotter, Sj McArdle, Ray Heffernan, Gary Dunne, Fiach, Gavin Glass, Matt Lunson, Colm Lynch, and a host of others. All of whom are still playing and creating some of the best music in Ireland at the moment – so please take the time to check them all out.
By the time 2006 had come around, I had formed a band called Minus Circus, and was the principle songwriter and lyricist. We played some great shows, headlined some amazing venues in Ireland.
I took it upon myself to take the bands first demo EP over to LA and see what way the cards landed. It was a gamble that paid off. I’d booked a few shows with the help of my long-time friend Erin Alden. I slept on her couch and met and played some great shows with Saucy Monkey, Jocelyn Scofield and AM in Santa Monica.
My demo had since been passed over to musical director Cheche Alara, who at the time had just finished working with Pink, and few other well known industry names. I met up with Cheche in his studio, and played some songs for him. He made a few phone calls, and the next morning I was in the Hills playing in Rafa Sardina’s studio. (At the time, I didn’t realise it but Rafa had won 10 Grammys).
Later that day, Rafa called to offer me a production deal on my next EP. For any of you who don’t know what a production deal is, it basically means the producers will work on love and help build your career and help shop your material around to the labels etc. This was an absolutely amazing opportunity, and everything I had wanted. Not a bad outcome for a e499 Dublin/LA flight!
Hide & Seek EP -released 2008
I returned to Ireland full of confidence, and returned to LA several months later to record with a dream band made up of John Mayers touring bassist – Sean Hurley, an absolute gentleman, Pete Thorn – Don Henley, Chris Cornells guitarist, an absolute guitar God, and Toss Panos from Robi Draco Rosa/Steve Vai on drums, who was one of the greatest guys I’ve met. I remember sitting having lunch with the guys not having very much to contribute in terms of “war stories”! But we recorded 4 tracks in a few weeks that went on to become my first solo EP ‘Hide & Seek’.
The EP was received quite well in the media in Ireland and the US with some great reviews and gigs in Australia, UK, and Ireland.
“Minus Circus produces the kind of music that should be played on all radio stations….by law!”
Roddie Cleere (Irelands John Peel) – WLRFM
“Hands down one of the finest acoustic releases 2008. It’s not a question of if, but when international stardom beckons for Minus Circus.”
Australia – The Second time around
There was lots of positive things happening at this time, and I had met a girl, who had wanted to visit Australia later in 2007. I had to make a decision. Would I be able to return to LA? or would I return to Australia to be with the girl. The decision was quite easy. I followed the girl, and haven’t looked back since.
‘Estuary’ – The recording process and up until now!
I’d really wanted to start working on my album, but like every independent artist out there, I needed to work to save to record. I returned to Ireland in late 2009 to start the recording process of the album. From one thing to another, the process didn’t go too smoothly, and I returned to Australia empty handed.
It wasn’t until Melvin Tree, an amazing independent producer from Perth arrived to help re-shape the sound that never really came through from the Ireland sessions. We reconstructed 13 songs, and re-recorded many parts over and over again, until we got it “just right”.
At this time, I’d been introduced to Dan Conway, one of my now good friends. Dan was recommended to me by several people as one of Australia’s best guitarists. He’s an amazing solo-songwriter/performer, and is truly worth checking out if you have the opportunity. Dan played lead guitar on nearly all of the new album.
Anyway, as the months rolled by, ‘Estuary’ was born. It was one of the biggest roller-coaster rides of my life, filled with a lot of emotions along the way. The album would not have been possible if it were not for the dedication and passion showed by Melvin Tree. I want to thank everyone for their support in helping allow me to do this. It’s never forgotten.
So here I am and that’s my story….