This week, we caught up with Dublin five piece, Afterbliss to discuss their latest single, Kiss & Tell, the Dublin music scene and how you can support local bands during lockdown…
1. How did you guys form?
Ally Pender (drums) and Alex Burcea (lead guitar & synths) are the founding members. They met while in another original band. They found that they had a creative spark together and decided to start their own project. They met up to write songs and record demos before starting the hunt for other band members. They used boards.ie, a popular discussion forum based in Ireland to put out an ad to find members. They tried various musicians before recruiting James O’ Gorman (rhythm guitar) and Evan Cassidy (lead vocals). I (Shane Waldron – bass) was the last to join in June 2019.
2. How would you describe your music to new listeners?
Our music draws on a wide range of influences from five musicians with different backgrounds. We would classify our sound as melodic rock. We like to describe it as a mad – cap recipe combining ingredients from Editors, Muse & The Killers. We have a strong indie rock backbone with pop sensibilities. We like to create songs that we enjoy to play, while also keeping the listener in mind; we want people to be able to sing and dance along to our tunes!
3. You released your latest single, Kiss and Tell last month, how was it releasing music during a pandemic?
It’s uncharted waters really. Everyone is making it up as they go along. In one way it is more difficult as we can’t gig to promote it. We are missing out on those all important support slots where we get to tap into another band’s fan base. In terms of releasing online, there are certain advantages we think. Everyone one is at home, checking social media so there is a captive audience in a sense. We were lucky to have done most of the recording during a more relaxed phase of lockdown. Coming up to the release, Ireland was in a pretty severe lockdown and we weren’t meant to meet anyone outside our household. This made recording a music video very challenging. We got around this by passing recording equipment and a green screen from person to person. We all recorded our scenes individually and Alex (lead guitar) edited it into the finished project. You can see the video here:
4. Is there a particular meaning or message you wanted the song to represent? .
Ally (drums) wrote the lyrics to this one. He described it as being about a situation where, when a relationship ends, people often know damaging or very private situations about their partner. This song is about taking the high road even when you are hurting. It’s theme is a little darker than our debut single Until Sunrise and this is reflected in the instrumentation; Kiss & Tell has a darker, broodier mood.
5. You are based in Dublin, can you describe the local music scene over there pre covid?
Dublin has a fantastic music scene (normally)! Live music is very popular in pubs and can range from traditional Irish music to heavy metal. There is a pub/ venue to cater for all tastes but singer songwriters and rock bands are probably the best represented. There are loads of great small to medium sized venues with gigs happening most nights of the week.
6. What’s been the most memorable gig you’ve played as Afterbliss?
Ah….. we are in the unusual situation of having released two singles without ever gigging! From the outset we wanted to wait until we were a “finished product” before we started gigging. We have all been in bands before where we rushed onstage as soon as we had five or six songs, but nothing to promote in terms of a release. We wanted to have music ready to sell and hit the ground running. We spent the first 18 months of the band’s life writing, jamming and recording demos together. Although we missed out on gigs, we feel that this was time well spent because we are launching ourselves with a fully formed view of our sound and ambition. Who knows, maybe our first gig will be an album launch???
7. Your influences range from Muse to The Killers to Manic Street Preachers. what is it about those bands that drew you to them?
I guess there are different elements of each of those bands that we like. Personally it is often the instrumentation that draws me in. I love a good riff or a punchy bassline. For others, like Evan (lead vocals), he would be drawn to strong vocal melodies. We are all probably drawn to the instruments that we play!
8. What venue are you most looking forward to playing when things get back to normality?
We have provisionally booked a gig in Whelan’s in Dublin in July. At the moment it remains to be seen if government restrictions will allow us to play or not. You would need a crystal ball to try and plan these things! We are also looking forward to getting into a festival circuit, hopefully summer 2022! At this stage we would settle for busking!
9, What are your plans for the future… any more releases in store for fans this year?
YES! We have loads of releases planned this year. We are releasing another single in early May and an EP during the summer. After that we will have to see how it’s going. We have tons of great songs we are dying to get out there. We are nearly finished recording an album worth of songs (12 – 13), which will be released piece by piece over the next 9 months. We have been recording in Windmill Lane Recording Studio with producer Alan Kelly.
10. Covid has obviously had a horrible impact in the local music scene across the UK and Ireland, what’s the best way to support bands during these times?
Yeah, the arts community has been hit really hard during Covid. It has forced everyone to rethink the playbook but at the end of the day, musicians love being onstage and having a live audience in front of them. Live music is what keeps artists going creatively, emotionally and financially!
There are loads of ways in which people can support bands during this time. Most of them cost nothing! Liking, sharing and commenting on social media is so important. It gives the band an emotional pat on the back to see that their work is being well received but it also helps spread awareness of the band. All of these interactions help to boost that post in social media algorithms. That way, potentially even more people will see it. When you are younger, you think being in a band will be all playing guitar and partying all night but it’s really a mix between music, marketing , PR and business, music sometimes taking the back seat!
Apart from that if the band has any merch for sale, buying it helps to support them massively. Most up and coming or unsigned bands end up pouring all of this money back into recording more music! Buying music helps give value to music. Even if songs are available on Spotify, buying them on Bandcamp or iTunes shows the artist that you value what they do!
Make sure you keep up-to-date with Afterbliss via their social media below: