INTERVIEW: Myles Manley talks gigs and 'Cometh the Softies'

Bennigans, Friday 12th July


Above, Myles Manley, photo and painting by Salvatore Fullam.

Earning plaudits across the country, Myles Manley has gained a reputation as Ireland's foremost DIY popstar and praise for his unconventional yet profound songwriting.

The Dublin based musician will be in town this weekend for a welcome return to the city which he is no stranger to. “I'm really looking forward to playing in Derry again yes” said an enthusiastic Myles, when asked about his return to Bennigans Bar. 

“It will be me, Chris Barry and Solamh Kelly, the three-piece that I've been touring with for the last couple of years or so. I love Bennigans, I get the feeling that they value music there. I think it's my fourth time performing in Bennigans. It's felt very homely and tolerant. We played in the Glassworks in Derry last year too with Strength N.I.A. for a big show of theirs which was great” said Myles.

And what can Bennigans expect on Friday night? “A GOAT Irish songwriter” declared Myles. “At the minute we are working on some new chanson type material, Chris on keyboard and Solamh on drums while I croon. But we will mix it up with older material. We have extraordinary range. I'm working out my sexuality.”

The guys have been touring extensively this year, taking in various locations across the UK and Ireland while honing their new album 'Cometh the Softies' which is set for release later this year.

“It went very well” said Myles when asked about the tour. “It's about our fifth time touring the UK as a band and so it felt more like a routine or work than before which was interesting” said Myles. 

“The first few times felt maybe more like a crazy adventure but it was also quite stressful because we didn't know how it would work out financially, etc. We tour in a very DIY manner and there are inevitable ups and downs, but there are quite a few people that have put us on repeatedly and seem to really like us and value us and that's very gratifying. There's a much more established DIY ethos than in Ireland. You meet a lot of interesting people and bands and you feel like you can play to people that want to hear interesting music, skipping the middle-man.”

The Sligo born musician seems to revel in the busy schedule as this year’s tour shows no signs of let-up with a trip to Scotland still to come next month. 

With no date yet set for the release of the new album, we were keen to get the lowdown, starting with the meaning of the proposed title, ‘Cometh the Softies’.

“There are a few things going on in the album thematically. I was thinking about Irish nationalism and then nationalism in general through the context of childhood bullying” revealed Myles. 

“The album uses a lot of childish playground insults type language. I got thinking about Walter and the Softies from the Beano.

“It has 10 tracks” said Myles. “We recorded it live in the studio as we play it live and the sonic's are kind of punk rock or post-punk rock music, very minimal. We listen to quite a lot of that kind of music in the car as we tour around and that's kind of our home base as a band, the tradition we're from. But rhythmically it's pretty different from traditional punk music, I wrote the drum parts on a drum machine which Solamh then translated into insane human drum parts. It's a mixture of influences. I always want to write catchy songs at the end of the day.”

Myles revealed where he gets his inspiration: “From all the wonderful music that has soundtracked my life” explained Myles. “I'm inspired by vocational artists, for instance I've seen Jinx Lennon at least once a year for about 8 or 9 years. He says "I'm here to uplift you", and he does it! He always seems to have a load of new material.”

You can catch Myles Manley at Bennigans Bar on Friday 12th July from 10pm, £4 on the door.

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