Music Republic Magazine tip rising young Irish indie pop band Orchid Collective for good things, on the eve of their fifth single release…
Being in the right place at the right time and networking; two vital ingredients of the music business; no matter who you are or what your role in it is. Case in point…
Album launch for The Coronas in Dublin back in May, and I chat to the manager of another hot young Irish band, Orchid Collective. Fast forward a few months for a sneak preview of their imminent new single “L.A.Z.Y.”, due for release on 13th October. It should do well.
“L.A.Z.Y.” sits on a mid-tempo, feel-good vibe, with a heavy dose of rousing indie guitars and a dollop of warm and inviting vocals. An anthemic track that grows in impact on each listen, a new layer to discover. Destined to become a festival, sing-a-long favourite. Their sound will perhaps appeal to fans of the likes of Alt- J, Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver; enthusiasts of the alternative/indie scene.
I get a first taste of the song live at hip music venue The Workman’s Club on Dublin’s quayside, while the band soundcheck for that evening’s performance as part of the “Hard Working Class Heroes” weekend of music, set across five Dublin venues. The band’s second year at the event.
Four-piece Orchid Collective’s members all met at college, Dublin’s BIMM (British and Irish Institute of Modern Music), where Kilkenny drummer Darra Doyle is in his fourth year of the course.
All in their early 20s, singer David O’Shea from Meath, Derry man Shea Tohill who is the lead guitarist, bassist Huge O’Neill from Sligo and Darra on drums, the four fast built an early following and word spread soon after they formed a little less than three years ago, prompting them to write their own material. Song writing credits evenly split. They gained a valuable reputation from impressing punters at such gigs as The Sea Sessions in Donegal.
Drawing from an eclectic mix of musical sources as kids, especially their parents’ record collections; including The Beatles and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, while seeking out more contemporary artists such as Green Day and Fleet Foxes. The main aspect that unifies all four of them, is a love of vocal harmonies and well-produced music.
The guys now focus full time on the band and Darra fits in his studies for his final year. With the likes of Tom Robinson at BBC 6 Music already making positive comments, and other commentators comparing them to Tyneside’s Grand Father Birds, Coldplay and Gizmo Varillas, the buzz seems to be getting louder.
Recorded and produced by Declan Legge at Take 6 Studios in Newry Northern Ireland, “L.A.Z.Y.” winged its way over to Brian Malouf in L.A. for mastering, who has a wealth of experience with such mega-artists as Michael Jackson, Madonna, Toto and Celine Dion.
The song traces the path of a long term relationship where the couple discover that a break from each other, rather than a negative, becomes a positive when it provides the space to figure out what each person wants to achieve, without distractions.
“L.A.Z.Y.” is their fifth single and they also dropped the EP, “Courage” in October 2016, produced by Rob Kirwan, who has worked with U2 and Hozier among others. Hearing the earlier releases next to the new single, it is apparent that they found their own sound early on and are now set on letting it evolve organically, stamping a firm footprint on anything they do. The love child of a rock Father with a folk-roots mother!
There’s a sense that the band knew exactly the direction to take and hit upon a winning formula early on. Rich harmonies (all four sing), light and shade in the material and restraint when it comes to production values. After a relatively short time on the road since they formed, one could be forgiven for thinking they had been playing and recording together for a lot longer. Their stage presence and musicianship belies their tender years too.
The current route map is to forget a full album for a while, to focus on the release of more self-released EPs and singles. This strategy enables the band to to fund their growth organically without external pressures.
They have grabbed any gig offer they could blag over the last 18 months, to hone their chops and gain valuable experience for the long haul, and it shows. Playing a set of your own material as a new and young band on a circuit that caters mainly for covers bands, is a steep learning curve. But all part of their ‘apprenticeship’, and shows they mean business.
Their first foray into the UK festival circuit was at the ill-fated 2017 “Y Not Festival” in Derbyshire’s Peak District, which got hit by a torrential rain storm and was then cancelled. The bad luck with the weather actually gave the band a result of sorts, after the heavens opened and the tent they were playing in became a refuge for the festival goers, they ended up playing to a full house, who really dug their set and stayed dry at the same time. But the adrenaline soon wore off when the band had to wade through the mud to get their vehicle out of the swamped field. That’s rock and roll!
On stage they project much confidence and an energy that underpins a “no fillers” set. Big potential to do very well out there, and most definitely ones to watch… L.A.Z.Y. they are not!
9th November: The Church, Cork, 16th November: Roisin Dubh, Galway, 24th November: Bar Sub, Belfast, 25th November: The Workman’s Club, Dublin, December 29th: The Empire, Belfast.
Words and Photos: Ian Shipley