Music: Lemoncello “the songs are made like a conversation between the two of us”

by James Hendicott
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Lemoncello’s debut record, an indie-folk offering that’s both deeply personal and, in clever ways, conversational, is the work of long-time friends Laura Quirke and Claire Kinsella. Released last week on Claddagh Records, the self-titled album is already expected to be one of Ireland’s top folk-tinged releases of 2024.

On it, the pair explore personal and vulnerable themes, but also modern society’s dingy corners, like doom scrolling and unfiltered takes. Above all the exploration, though, it is their vocal interplay that really stands out against the backdrop of playful strings. 

“The record is personal but the songs are made like a conversation between the two of us often,” they say. “Claire will come up with an arrangement or production idea that answers the words in the lyrics or that pushes the melody in a direction where it can be more powerful. I think the same thing happens in a good chat with people you really trust, they take what you say and give it back to you in a way you wouldn’t have thought of.”

“Putting things that have happened or things that interest you in a frame of music or art is definitely a means of therapy. It’s storytelling I suppose. A way to make sense of things. Also, as it comes straight from the subconscious, things arise that you’re not even aware you’re thinking about sometimes.”

“We recorded and mixed the whole album to tape so I suppose that simplified things in some ways, but also made it more complicated in others. Julie, the producer, cut her teeth working at Strawberry Studios, engineering on recordings of artists like Joy Division and New Order and was front woman in punk bands like Thrush Puppies or her own Bridget Storm project.” 

“Her style very much made it into the production choices of the record and just the overall feeling of the thing. Recording to tape definitely gave us some limitations that you wouldn’t have with digital recording, but I think those limitations, for the most part, served the music. It was like being back in a playroom as a child, instruments, toys everywhere and a big tape machine to record all the play and no screen to look at.”

“Touring as much as possible will be our reward for all the work making the record and putting it out. It’s such an important part of the process, sharing the music live. We can’t wait to play the album for people and let it live and grow in the room with an audience.”

“I would say we try to be as present as possible in the music when we’re on stage – playing off each other, locked in – responding to each other in the moment. I think the songs and the music are a bit moody and introspective maybe and we like to lean into that dynamically so it can go from very quiet to quite loud pretty quickly.” 

“Every night the song is delivered a bit differently, depending on what the crowd is like, their presence comes into the songs. This also makes it a very intimate show often – everyone in the room is a part of what’s happening. I think there’s a bit of drama in there, in our performance. Performing is cathartic for us and we can only hope it would be like that for the audience as well but neither of us can stay in the moodiness for too long without trying to make each other laugh in between songs, or telling a story that’s too long.”

‘Lemoncello’, the debut album from Lemoncello, is out now on Claddagh Records. Visit www.lemoncelloireland.com for tour dates. 

Picture Credit Ellius Grace

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