INTERVIEW WITH WYVERN LINGO

tweety stuff @ronanfromcork

first published in @The Evening Echo 2015-01-15

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Wyvern Lingo, a three piece band from Bray County Wicklow, made up of keyboardist Karen Cowley, guitarist Saoirse Duane and Caoimhe Barry on percussion, made tremendous progress in 2014 which was capped by being the opening act for Hozier’s triumphant national tour in December. Karen spoke with Ronan Leonard ahead of their return to Cork to play Coughlans as part of their debut headline Irish tour.

The band have received lots of positive feedback about their lush harmonies and how they have managed to mould a myriad of varied influences into a coherent sound, Karen thinks the fact their band’s dynamic is slightly different to most groups has helped them, “ I guess we are a little bit different from some bands since we all write and sing, what we’ve been doing so far was writing separately, bringing the bones of the songs to each other and working on it from there, but more and more we’ve been writing completely together, trying to be more collaborative. Usually by the time the song is ready to be played live it’s got everybody’s stamp on it not just who wrote it initially. We don’t specify on our recordings who wrote what, they are Wyvern Lingo songs.”

Their songs feature many vocal lines which was a very natural decision according to Karen, “since we’re all singers it was pretty organic that we’d all do harmonies, it’s something we became kind of obsessed with and liked being able to do them well. We were just friends who started playing music together so it did happen organically in that sense, there is an element of business in it now as we’re trying to do it full time, but we are trying to keep in natural. Stuff like the harmonies we’ll keep working at it and trying to bring it to new places.”

While they are all in their early 20s, all three have been making music together for nearly 10 years, which means they built up a wealth of experience already, as Karen puts it “we all met when we were very young and we’ve been playing music together for years, but we’ve started doing it seriously in the last 2 or so years, we’ve all went to college and were working and doing separate things, and now we’re all back living at home again too!”

The fact they are all living back in Wicklow has made meeting up to play a lot easier, which has also aided how they now write music, “we’d always have our phones out and be recording ideas and stuff, but because we all live near each other again we normally just play it to each other in person, and while we might demo a few things we don’t really start recording without us all together. We’re always showing each other lyrics and ideas for songs, it’s really nice in that way.”

Another person they grew up with was Andrew Hozier-Byrne AKA Hozier, who they have remained connected to, as Karen continued, “we’ve known him for years, long before all the success he’s had, we’ve all played music together and stuff like that. Caoimhe and I sang backing vocals with him which is a lot of fun but we decided to focus full time on Wyvern Lingo. We did a few gigs again with him in September and then the national tour we just did with him, that was our last stint with him.”

Karen is still buzzing off the experience of doing such a tour, “it’s been an amazing experience, just seeing how much you can reach people is incredible. The crowds each night were absolutely huge, and it was such a pleasure to play to them. The venues were all packed out early, so people weren’t streaming in as we were playing instead they were already in front of us. They were very nice and we got a great reaction from them. The status Hozier has reached became so obvious after the tour as our twitter and facebook followers went up by loads, it became clear we were reaching an audience that we wouldn’t have got to without that opportunity.”

Another recent gigging experience that Wyvern Lingo had that has fueled their ambition was their appearance at the Other Voices festival in Dingle, “Other Voices was amazing, it’s such a great festival to be a part of and we were delighted which to be invited to it. Everybody there was really enthusiastic, we did a great video shoot out in the Gaeltacht outside Dingle and it was brilliant. We’re looking forward to seeing it now; we are on episode 5. We played a full house at our gig and lots of interesting people came to see us.”

Wyvern Lingo play Coughlans on Thursday 12 February, tickets are €10 and available via www.uticket.ie

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