INTERVIEW: The Gloaming

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Friday January 06, 2012

from Journal of Music

Interview with Martin Hayes and Iarla Ô Lionáird of The Gloaming
By Paul O’Connor

After their first ever concert, which took place in the National Concert Hall, Dublin in August last year, I spoke to Martin Hayes and Iarla Ô Lionáird about their new band, The Gloaming, which includes in its line-up Dennis Cahill on guitar, Caoimhín Ô Raghallaigh on Hardanger fiddle and Thomas Bartlett on piano.

Paul O’Connor: That was a powerful reaction from the audience after that first sequence. There were some people getting to their feet there and then.

Martin Hayes: There is a moment of expectation in the first set of the first gig of a new band. And deciding to start your band with a concert in the National Concert Hall adds to it. It didn’t seem so outrageous an idea early on, but as it got closer I realised we were biting off a lot.

We didn’t have any idea how people would respond. I was ready for it to go either way, to be honest, and I was really pleasantly surprised when I saw that response. After all, we have all had experiences in our lives where there wouldn’t have been huge reactions to things we’ve done, especially when you step outside your norm just a little bit. I was really happy.

Iarla Ô Lionáird: We were maybe a little unsure because we were delivering songs and tunes within somewhat larger movements of music than people are used to ‘” something we wanted to stop us from being too archeological, stop of us from reverting to our default way of presenting material, and also to give the audience the chance to get more out of it and feel more. It was a gamble for sure, but when we finished that first sequence it was a moment I’ll never forget.

POC: A lot must have happened during your ‘creative retreat’ together in Grouse Lodge earlier in the year.
MH: The instrumentation was agreed, the melodies were there, the general sketch of the arrangements was there, but they were very much sketches. There’s a lot of on-the-spot decisions being made live. There are stretches where Caoimhín and myself are going ‘what’ll it be tonight I wonder?’. And there’s definitely big chunks for Tom to produce something different every night. We’re enjoying that ‘” there’s a kind of formation process going on live, where we are leaving plenty of freedom for each other.

IÓL: We prepared material together in Grouse Lodge, but to see Tom in full flight on stage is a very different experience.

POC: Thomas is obviously an important factor in the sound you’re producing.
IOL: He’s very powerful and he’s very surprising and potent. He’s a great believer in the moment because he can be. When you have those kinds of abilities and such a command of your instrument, you can believe in the moment and you can wait for it to come.

Read the full article here