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Where did music start for you? You grew up in a musical family?

My Dad’s an Irish folk musician and I suppose from the start we had music all around us and being in Ireland everyone sort of learns an instrument so I started on the flute and tin whistle and played a lot of traditional music. Dad was touring, and still is at 70 (years old) so we were thrown in the back of the car and followed him across Europe or wherever he was playing. So music was all around us from a very young age but it wasn’t til perhaps 17 or 18 that I started playing the guitar.


Fast forward to 2014 and winning the ‘Emerging Talent 2014’ at the Queenscliff Music Festival?

Well I moved to Australia and to be honest hadn’t really planned on staying long and didn’t even bring a guitar but things happen and I ended up staying and started on working out to record an album. I’d thought about doing a crowdfunding campaign and had been in touch with Queenscliff about my situation. They have a grant you can apply for and after taking some time to put it all together and work through it I was lucky enough to win the Emerging Talent award which was great. From there they’ve been really supportive with my promotion and I’ll be lucky enough to be on the festival again this year. I loved the festival last year – you can walk from tent to tent and get a completely different style of music and it’s a great size and setup.


Your new album Queen of Swords involved buying a Bedford bus, driving to the desert and recording wherever you stopped and thought was suitable – it’s definitely an interesting concept

Originally we were looking for a place to go to record. We were looking for a house or something like that we knew that I didn’t want to record in a studio as I like to be really comfortable with my surroundings and then in the meantime I’d bought the bus so I mentioned to my producer Mark (Stanley) ‘how about we record on the bus?’ and at first I think he just thought I was being a daft hippy but then he came back to me and said ‘well, there may be some merit in this. If we’re going to do it we’re going to the desert though’. I’d only ever stayed on the coast of Australia and hadn’t been anywhere inland so I thought that sounded great!


The album sounds honest and raw with mixes of traditional sounds and some layers and swells
too. How did you go working with (producer) Mark Stanley? Did it turn out how you originally envisaged?

There was definitely some songs that we took out there that didn’t make the album but then something would happen and I’d end up recording something different and it made the album so in terms of the album it turned out nothing like I thought it was going to but I kind of had a feeling tit was going to be like that with Mark. We work together collaboratively amazingly well. I’ve seen enough friends’ record and been around my Dad’s recordings enough to know that you either give up control completely to a producer or otherwise you’ve got to stand firm. So I really trusted Mark and he’s been around the scene a lot in Ireland so I gave over a lot of creative control to him but at the same time the two of us worked fantastically together. In terms of the space and the swells we both went in with the intention of creating an album with a lot of space – not just sounding like a singer songwriter and band. And what I really love about Mark’s producing
is he brings things in, he gives you a taste of them but doesn’t then drain the whole song in it. You know, something comes in and then disappears and you’re like ‘what was that?’ which is great. So many times I got a mix back and thought ‘you cheeky devil’ – he’s been amazing to work with.


Shane Howard is an Aussie favourite, how did his involvement on the album come about?

I first was introduced to Shane through a fiddle player Ewan Baker. I found out that Shane was a fan of my Dad’s and had met him 10 years or so ago so we built up a friendship from there. After we’d recorded all the album parts out in the desert we were working out how to get the band onto it. I’d been down visiting Shane and he has a big involvement with St Bridgid’s Church and Hall which is a cultural centre. We visited it and as soon as I walked in I thought ‘this is where we need to finish the album’, Shane was all for it and then between him and Mark I didn’t really have a say in it – they got stuck into it and Shane has been an amazing support and we can talk music and Irish history for hours and never get bored. 


Queen Of Swords is out on October 9. For more details, visit