INTERVIEW WITH KEVIN MURPHY

tweety stuff @ronanfromcork

first published in @The Evening Echo 2015-02-12

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One of the more subtle success stories of the Cork music scene in recent years is that of Kevin Murphy, originally from Mayfield, who returned to the city after living abroad for several years and has ended up living in Australia and working with a major music publishing company. While preparing for his upcoming gig in Crowleys Musician Centre, his first in Cork in 18 months, he spoke with Ronan Leonard.

Firstly he looked back on how long it took him to play in public, “I’ve been playing guitar since I was about 12 years old like and I starting writing songs around that time too and that went on all my life. I ended up living in Amsterdam for about 5 years and although I was writing every few days I never played the songs to anybody, I was just too shy really. I was writing these songs in the attic of an old building in an old part of the ‘dam and it was just a ways of being creative. I didn’t actually play my first gig until the age of 27! That gig was in Cork and was the start of live performances for me.”

From there Kevin quickly became immersed in the local music scene and became involved with running weekly music sessions such as The Cheeky Social every Sunday night in The Slate on Tuckey Street. Over the years that developed into Modemusic, which Kevin has continued running while he pursues his own career elsewhere, “it’s a musical showcase that runs every week or two in Cork City in different venues and pubs and highlights the talent of Cork City’s singer-songwriters.”

His first foray out of Cork after starting to perform music was to move to Brighton to study songwriting, while working at weekends a fortuitous break went his way, “I worked in this cool bar once a week and an A’n’R guy used to drank there, I never asked him to listen to any of the music I made but after about 5 months the owner of the bar told him about what I played and eventually he asked to hear it and we took it from there”.

Eventually Kevin ended up signing with Domino Publishing, who also work with artists as varied as Villagers, Lisa O’Neill and Arab Strap, rather than resting on his laurels about getting such a deal he is candid about the scenario, “honestly, it felt like a good stepping stone to getting the music heard. While it did feel like a serious accomplishment there’s no guarantee that anything will happen just because I signed a publishing deal, and I was aware of that before I signed anything.”

Kevin quickly got to work on his debut record, and by his own admission he didn’t do it in a half measure, “I am very focussed, sometimes to my detriment, when I recorded the first album I lived like a hermit in Cork, not seeing any friends or family much and I spent my time on recording, sometimes I was only sleeping 4 or 5 hours every night for months.”

The process of making that album is something that Kevin notes as a milestone is his career, “I think I only found my own style when I dropped my expectations of what I should sound like and tried to be honest with myself and not try to sound like my influences. It wasn’t a major turning point but when I recorded my first album, that was a defining moment for me as I was finally happy with the group of songs and felt they reflected what I was trying to do and it sounded like that too. That would not have been possible without the input of Konoba (a Belgian producer he met via his time in Brighton) who added some beautiful production that complimented the sentiment and vibe of the songs.”

When asked what prompted his move to Australia in 2011, his one word response, “love”, shows that he hasn’t become beholden his contract, Kevin has found that move has also had an impact on his writing “I think the experience of going out of my comfort zone has allowed me to create new songs from the new stories of living there.”

When pressed on what material to expect from his homecoming concert Kevin promised that “there will be songs from the first album and my next album and also some other material that’s not on any album! I will have a band made up of plenty of local musicians such as Jack O Rourke, Dee Power , Ryan Parsons , Ray Horgan and Aaron Geary.”

 

Kevin Murphy play Crowleys Musician Centre in The Oliver Plunkett on Wednesday 25 February with special guests Diarmuid O’Leary and John Dunne, €7 before 10pm and €10 after.

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