What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.
I come from a very musical family and we have been playing together at home and events since I was a child, so writing and releasing music was a natural progression.
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
Our debut album, “1st XI” is framed as a concept piece – comprising a study of love from its opening sparks to dying embers. The tracks were composed over decades based on real-life experiences but reordered linearly. It aims to track a lifetime’s ups and downs and bring the listener on a journey. Hopefully, the songs should resonate with people at different stages in their life.
The album prospers from a superb collaboration with renowned producer Chris Coulter, who recently took Arcane Roots to no. 1 in the UK Indie charts. He was fantastic in taking our more home-made recordings, some of which we had released before as singles, to the next level and beyond.
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
As a pianist, part-time guitarist and songwriter, Billy Joel is a strong influence. Britpop bands like (early) Radiohead, Suede, Oasis and Longpigs are favourites – although those are all more guitar-heavy than we are. We are often compared to post-Britpop bands like Coldplay, Keane, Belle & Sebastian or Arcade Fire. Much of our material was written before those groups emerged, but we took the 90s vibe in a similar direction, with a greater emphasis on piano and other instruments.
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
Or music can perhaps best be placed where indy rock or piano rock meet orchestral or classical music. The basic vibe is somewhere around piano rock, alt rock or “soft” rock. Some of the tracks are more Indy or Britpop, some more cinematic, some basically love songs. Guitar, rock drum arrangements and a rock rhythm piano dominate the soundscape. However, we’ve tried to be adventurous with instrumentation, including brass, wind, choir, timpani, woodblock, mouthorgan, church organ: all sorts of things. One track includes a solo with three lead guitars and French horn all together; another has an oboe solo, for example.
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
Albums: I’d trade in books and movies for more music, which would include: Suede – Coming up; and Coldplay – Rush of Blood; Lionel Richie is a guilty pleasure.
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
In the studio, you can make a better quality and more enduring products, “go for it” a few times, then cut out the very best bits and make music without pressure. From a musician’s perspective, the outcome is superior. I like playing live too because of the adrenalin, but it’s more stressful and needs more rehearsal time for lower musical returns. Playing live, it’s often tempting to tone down the level of musicianship or cut parts out in favour of being tight. Also, some of our music doesn’t work the same way without the best part of an orchestra, which has its logistical challenges. We like acoustic or pared-back versions, but it’s not quite the same experience for those playing or listening.
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
Probably the most unique thing about our album is that it was composed over 25 years, from 1993-2017. We picked the best tracks we’ve written, so it’s a “straight to greatest hits” or a retrospective debut. We’ve not seen that done before. Hopefully, it makes for an album of particularly high quality from front to end, with no “fillers”, since we had a lot of material to choose from. Some radio stations play-listed the whole album, which we found encouraging.
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
The opener, “Requiem”, is based on the Kyrie section of an orchestral requiem mass, played with full orchestra and choir but infused with rock drumming and guitars. We’ve not seen that done before!
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
Our last album took 25 years. We’re hoping not to take that long for our next release. A retrospective on middle-aged life does not quite appeal the same way!
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…
What is the “dinosaur eye” in your logo, album and single covers all about?
The first single we released, a few years ago now, was a track called “Waking”. The eye image aimed to depict something wide-awake, for the name of that track. It is actually a bird’s eye. We liked it so much that we enhanced the imagery digitally for the album and even incorporated it in the “O” of the DONEGAN logo, with modified versions in all our singles. Hopefully, it stands out a bit from the “blokes with instruments” covers.
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
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