Hold tight, because of me being shit, this Q&A is a bit dated, so try and pretend it's May...wow I can't believe Sean Kingston crashed that jet-ski, can you? I introduce Sacred Animals, fronted by the immensely talented Darragh Nolan, whose emotive tones lull and croon and are simply gorgeous. I'll let the music do the talking because I'll just be bombarding you with superlatives as usual, but remember the name Sacred Animals, stunning. Sacred Animals collaboration with Ownesie, 'Cat and Mouse' was released October 24th and you can listen after you've read about the band, or whilst reading, go wild.
First off, where are you in the world right now and what're you working on?
I'm at home in Gorey, which is in the South East of Ireland. I'm in my little bedroom studio place working on some new tunes...
Could you give a brief Sacred Animals history?
I've been in a couple of bands before, the one prior to this was a 4 piece indie guitar band & I got to a point in the end where I just wanted to do something a bit different, regroup so to speak on my own & see what happens, with little or no pressure. The tendency when you write with a group of others is to all start playing at the same time to work out parts but sometimes in that process the songs get a little lost & I wanted to try building from the song up as opposed to anything I had been used to prior to Sacred Animals. I wrote a few tunes that would become the 'Welcome Home' EP while figuring out the sound using the instruments I had available, guitar, rhodes, drums.... I knew I wanted it to be semi-electronic but organic, giving the songs room to breathe, arrangement-wise. The name came around that time too... jumped out of the music.
Who did you grow up listening to?
The first thing I discovered in my dad's musical collection that had any impact was a Beatles compilation that had 'I Am The Walrus' on it. Listening to that on vinyl pumped up real loud with those crunchy drums, that driving electric piano, the almost nonsensical lyrics & the general weirdness that oozed from it was pretty much the first time I heard anything that was outside the box musically. It really opened my ears so to speak. There was also a lot of country records in the collection but Johnny Cash was a part of that so that was cool too..
Tell us a bit about recent offering 'Welcome Home'.
It was pretty much what came out of the whole finding my feet thing at the beginning, figuring out as I go. I still am I guess, maybe you always are... Chosen Seed was recorded first & kinda defined what came after it a bit. Welcome Home, the track came last but lyrically seemed to encapsulate the vibe of the EP so became the title of the EP. I prefer not to explain what songs are about in general for a few reasons. I think it can limit the listening experience if you have a stone image in you head of where the song is coming from, but if it's left a little open it can click at some point, maybe after years of listening & become something more powerful as it resonates with the listener. I think it's way more important for the music to move the listener than for the writer to put his or her cards on the table...
Having said that the term 'Welcome Home' is about finally finding your feet.
What's the weirdest thing you've ever written a song about?
Oh god, that's a tough one. I can only really write from emotional experience so every lyric has a base deep within, whether I realise it or not when writing. I'll always know when a song is shaping itself what it's about because the subconscious or whatever it is that is writing through you usually knows. Your conscious mind hasn't a clue, it's just the steering wheel. I guess the songs that I don't remember fondly because of their lyrical content are ones where I write from an angry place, giving out about someone through song. It's not good to be remembering anger. So the weirdest would be me giving out shit about someone in song. Delightful, & probably not that weird.
Are there any specific themes or sources of inspiration you find yourself revisiting often when making music?
That's a good question because you'd imagine with only one mind & your seemingly cyclical thoughts to go on you'd end up writing a load of songs about the same things. Turns out I don't, or haven't anyway... Maybe because you're in a completely different place (metaphorically) every time you write a song that the perspective you have on any situation is different each time. I have wondered about this myself before though, I often wondered when I'd start repeating myself. It' hasn't happened yet though.
What would you say was the perfect environment or situation to listen to your music in?
I don't listen to my own music so it's hard to know in all honesty. I listen to my favourite albums in the car, it tends to be my little sanctuary where I'm alone with my thoughts. If it's a good album it'll sound good in a car. I mean in a dreamworld where you could have anything you wanted the perfect & most romantic environment would be a large room with high ceilings, wooden floors, a record player & some really nice speakers. Somewhere you could lie on the ground & pore over the details of the album cover inside & out on a giant cosy rug, lie down, close your eyes & immerse yourself in the sound.
Where would you love to tour?
I think the US & Canada have the most appeal for me tour-wise. I think musically I have more in common with what's going on over there, or maybe I just tend to listen to more of what you guys produce. We have been over for one short tour already in March but look forward to coming back & meeting more people, playing with more amazing bands & hanging out..
Finally, what's next for Sacred Animals, future plans and such?
We're looking at doing a single or a split 7" pretty soon & then going for an album, which might take a little while to complete. It's all up in the air at the moment, which is the exciting part, never really sure where the next week will take you. Nice places hopefully...