A number of bands from across Ireland have recently had the privilege of going into a studio with one of the acknowledged masters of the mixing board, Rob Kirwan, as part of the Budweiser Future Sounds of Irish Music project.
Although Kirwan may not be a household name to most, he has had a hand in some of the best records of the last two decades, including albums by U2 and PJ Harvey and local acts Delorentos and Bell X1, as well as Depeche Mode’s most recent release, Delta Machine.
Gazette Music recently caught up with Rob just before the final stages of the competition to talk about the Future Sounds of Irish Music.
“Bands have submitted a track, one each, to the Budweiser Future Sounds website, and we have selected 10 of those,” said Rob. “That 10 will get one day in the studio with me. I will have one day to arrange, record, mix and master the track one band a day for 10 days.
“We have built a pop-up studio on George’s Street, where the Richie and Richie show on Phantom FM will be broadcasting. We will be working away downstairs, and when we finish the track, they will play the finished track [on the show] and the artist will do an interview upstairs, so it will be good exposure for them.”
Having worked on so many memorable and influential records over the course of his career, Rob was very clear about the criteria for selecting the acts who took part in the final stage of the project.
“In terms of selecting the bands, it’s the songs – you can’t get away from that. If you haven’t got the songs, you’re not going to lure people in, irrespective of how sonically brilliant you are. Basically, I have been listening out for good songs, and a bit of variety as well – we didn’t want just 10 indie rock pop bands.
“So, we have singer-songwriters, rappers, and the ubiquitous indie pop groups. Dublin is more well-known for that [style of music], it’s not really known for its hip-hop or electronic output, so the majority of songs I listened to was from bands that entered the competition.”
The acts taking part in the competition come from all over Ireland, from Offaly, Donegal, Galway and Cavan, as well as from Dublin itself.
Although Rob will be responsible for delivering a track for each of the groups taking part, he said that this could be a jumping off point for the acts.
“The project is a great opportunity for acts to take a step forward, produce a great track and get noticed.
“Many artists don’t know how to make a really good recording so I want to take the time to listen to their music, help unlock their sound and ensure the best possible track is produced on the day.
“The next stage after this is up to them. It’s very much up to the groups to take it to the next stage.”
For more information about the project, log on to www.facebook.com/BudweiserIreland.