A Chat with
über coolness that is KATIE LAFFAN
Date: 22nd April 2016 @ 12pm.
Location: Second Space, 19 Upper Stephen Street.
For Gardiner Music.
GM: The Klares who played the launch gig for Gardiner Music claim that they’re off after the Leaving Cert. What are you up to at the moment? Did you go on to study Music Production as outlined in your future plans during an interview for Foroige back in 2013 aged just 17? Have you even got time for studies?
K: I’m in college right now. In Ballyfermot for the last 2 years. This is my last year in college and I’m finished in two weeks. Sound Engineering and music production. I’m a little bit behind on assignments but it’s great and I love it so much.
GM: A bedroom studio, what does it consist of? A sprinkle of quirkiness and …. What else have you got in there?
K: I just really have a laptop and a keyboard. It sounds a lot fancier than it is but it’s just a laptop and a keyboard and a microphone as well. I have sound proofing on my walls. It’s not mathematically sorted out for acoustics, it’s just up there for decoration :)
GM: What was your first instrument to pick up as I’ve read that you play the drums, guitar, the ukele and the keyboard?
K: The first instrument I ever picked up was the drums. I used to do Irish dancing when I was younger and I used to love the hard shoes and I was trying to think of an instrument to pick up and my Mam said, “what about the drums?” And I did and I loved it. I played them for about 7 years but then I started learning other instruments and they started to take over.
GM: What instrument would you like to be able to learn to play?
K: I’d love to own a zuitar, you know the Indian guitars? I’d love to own one of those. I don’t know why but I definitely want to learn to play one of those.
GM: What instrument is the one that you’ll trick about on the most when knocking about the home studio?
K: Eh, probably the keyboard because once it’s plugged into the laptop you can have access to like any instrument so that’s probably the one I’d use the most.
GM: Is there music in your family?
K: Em, there’s big music listeners in my family but nobody really plays any instruments. My brother kinda plays the tin whistle and that’s about it. My Mam and Dad are big into listening to music and their record collections and stuff like that.
GM: What kinda stuff would they listen to?
K: Diana Ross, Jamiroquai and people like that and that’s where the funk comes from.
GM: Was there ever a tune whereby the lyrics came into your head first before the music?
K: Well usually I’d write the title first for a song. I’d think of a strong title and think of a story around it.
GM: That’s nearly like being in school and the teacher says, “I’m gonna hit you with a title, come up now with the story.”
K: Hahaha yeah it’s a great way of doing it.
GM: Where did the title for your debut EP come from?
K: I called it Dead As Disco because I feel like it’s most likely funk music on it and people like…you know that joke that people say it’s dead as disco I thought it would be ironic to call it because funk is on its way back up. Well it’s already here I suppose.
GM: The artwork for your Dead As Disco EP is deadly, who did it for you and did you have any input into the design?
K: My brother’s friend actually did it. He has his own art design company and his name is Joe. I just got in contact with him and asked if he could do it.
GM: Did you just give him free reign?
K: I gave him a photo of me and I said to just make it trippy and that’s what he came up with. He’s brilliant. He’s so good.
GM: And he knows you of course and he’d know your style.
GM: How did the Guinness Amplify/Windmill Lane Studios recording of two tracks off the EP come about?
K: Well I entered a competition for that and they called and said you won the studio time and I didn’t know what to do with it because I like doing it myself in my room but em sure we went anyway and I brang the band.
GM: And did you learn much then to take home to your home studio?
K: Loads. I was doing assignments at the time and I had to do one on acoustics of a room or something like that and I didn’t understand it at all and it was great having the engineer there to help me with my assigments hahaha
GM: Who are the heads in your band? Where did you meet them?
K: Well there’s Mick, he’s there the longest. He’s our drummer and I met him through my friend. He was her boyfriend at the time and I bumped into him at The Square and he had drum cymbals on his back and I was looking for a drummer.
GM: How long ago was that?
K: Last year! And we are such good friends now and it’s crazy. Then there’s Dan on the bass. I met him through Nick in BIMM and then Rob who plays the keys now, I met him through college. He’s my best friend.
GM: How did you hear of the Acatel/Hot Press ‘Big Break’ competition? You won it at just 17. What material did you submit?
K: I had one song at the time. I only had the one which was ‘Soldier’. I don’t have that on SoundCloud anymore. I entered with that and got into the collective roundup. They wanted three songs and I didn’t have three songs to give them hahaha so I wrote ‘Bubbly’ and another song ‘Say It to My Halo’ for it and I won! I got off school for it and everything!
GM: No way. Did it take you long to write them?
K: No! I did them in a day and I recorded ‘Bubbly’ in a day as well but it was a bit of a bad recording of it so I had to re-record it hahaha But eh, that’s how those songs came about. They were written for that.
GM: How did you come to play at House of an Art Lover at Glasgow?
K: It was through the Big Break competition and Alcatel were having their Xmas party there …
GM: I thought you were going to say, “my aunt was getting married and I was asked to play” but no!
K: No no. It was their Xmas party and it was really cool.
GM: So, you’re off to play in Cork this weekend. What have you got lined up for the summer?
K: I have a few fesitvals lined up this year which is pretty cool. For sure I’m playing K-Fest on the Abner Brown stage with White Mice and Naoise Roo. I’m really excited about that.
GM: First live gig, when and where was it?
K: My first ever gig was in the Pigeon Club in Ballyfermot. I was the drummer in a band called 3point2 and em no one was listening to us but everyone found out that there was a girl playing drums and it was novelty.
GM: How long ago was that?
K: That was about 6 years ago. I was only 12 :)
GM: Most memorable gig that you’ve performed at to date?
K: It was either Sweeneys or the Mercantile. It was one of those low key gigs that no one would ever go to on a Tuesday night. We were supporting this like alternative rock band so my stuff was a bit far out. Their whole crowd was there and they were like metal heads and rockers and I was playing jazz songs and they asked for one more song! The only song I had was like a proper jazzy song, a poppy cheesy song and they started moshing to it! Hahaha which I found really funny :) So that’s probably the most memorable gig.
GM: Have you managed to attract any mad fans yet? The Klares have :) They have this mad fan who follows them around the country. She’s comes up from Limerick to every gig.
K: Ah that’s nice.
GM: Yeah it is. Do you ever stand and look out at the crowd and spot someone and go, “they were at my last gig.”
K: I don’t know if my ma counts! Hahaha
GM: No she counts! She counts! Hahaha. Any gigs you’re attending this year as a punter?
K: I really want to go to Longitude this year and see Kendrick Lamar.
GM: When not gigging and writing music what else do you like to do? I see skateboarding features on your Instagram feed and on the cover of ‘Bubbly’. You as hot on the board as you sound to music lovers’ ears?
K: No I’m not that into it anymore. Like I used to be mad into it when I was younger.
GM: Do you get to a stage you get the fear where you say, “no, I don’t fancy falling today?” You know, not like kids where they get up in the morning knowing that they’ll most likely fall 15 times that day and it won’t phase them.
K: Ha! Yeah that’s probably my biggest fear about it. Breaking my leg!
GM: Any videos planned?
K: Em, yeah I really want to do a video for the next single but they’re so expensive so I’m just gonna take my time.
GM: Well if you need an auld wan in it with blonde hair or you know if you have any sort of a spec going like that would you consider me? :)
K: Hahaha [tuts] yeahhhhh :) Not that you’re an auld wan.
GM: I am. I’ve just got a filtered thing going on at the moment.
GM: Can you tell us a bit about WordUp Collective? When did it start and what’s your involvement in it?
K: It started this year. I’m an artist in it. Em it’s this collective of like minded artists so we all share the same visions in music. It’s really cool and fun to work with these people. My managers, Phil and Annette asked me to be part of this collective and it was really like low key at the time so I wasn’t really sure about it but I just went for it and said yeah it’s like the best thing I’ve done musically. It’s just a collection of really like minded souls with the same ideas. Really cool people behind it to work with as well.
GM: I saw you played the Bello Bar beginning of April with Aik-J.
K: Yeah he’s lovely. So tall!
GM: I absolutely love Trial & Error’s ‘Cried Wolf’ with your vocals on there. How did that collaboration come about and have you any more collaborations on the way?
K: The guy from Trial & Error, Seán…he’s in my college and he told me he had this dance tune going and he wanted me to sing on it.
GM: Aw your vocals are brilliant on there.
K: Thank you. He sent me the song and I just wrote the song over it. We never met up.
GM: Are there a few remixes of it?
K: Yeah, there’s one or two :)
GM: Kate, it’s been a pleasure. Best of luck in Cork :)
K: Thank you :)
Before Nic left the Second Space she bought this dress and like a five year old she changed into it and wore it home! ^^ GM purchased a pair of ear-rings for Katie too because women of the arts are soooooo worth it.
Looking for something different, cool, trendy and hip then we shouldn’t be telling you about a little secret that is Second Space as we’d like to keep it to ourselves but go on. Check it out for yourselves!