Australian alternative rock band Clann Zú frontman during the mid-2000, Irish Declan de Barra turns to folk music with the solo career. In his third album, « Fragments, Footprints and the Forgotten », released last spring, he chose an extreme minimalist songwriting: an single instrument (acoustic or electric guitar; accordion…) as a companion for his deep voice. Straight to the point, he here proves you don’t need more to be overwhelmed by feelings, Midnight Swell even makes you shiver. Intimate and possessed.
He’ll be in France for couple of gigs : Paris / Nouveau Casino (11/10) with Lisa Portelli, Paris / In The Garden (11/11), Pantin / La Menuiserie (11/12), Limoges / La Fourmi (11/16), a good reason to requested him to answer to the Automatic Interview. He did it the day before Halloween…
01. What were your dreams when you were a child?
Primarily, i just wanted to get the fuck out and see the world. Go to somewhere where big thoughts were encouraged. I grew up in a conservative, small village where thinking big was seen as something to be discouraged. The idea that you were « rising above your station » and « who the fuck are you to think such lofty thoughts? ». I always knew i would leave the country as soon as I could. I didn’t return to Ireland until that small mindedness was a thing of the past.
02. Do/Did you have any model/icon?
Back then growing up, in ancient history, there was not a lot to do, one or two channels of TV or Radio, most of it shit. I latched on to bands like Suicidal Tendencies, the Pogues, Slayer and Anthrax. I spent what little money I had on buying their records and travelling to see them when they played in Dublin. I was a big David Lee Roth fan too, that confident swagger was the complete opposite of everything around me.
I have always admired people who worked hard and set out their own paths with what ever talent they had, big or small. People like Henry Rollins or Felicia Day (an actress who writes and produces her own web series, The Guild). I have always respected those who fought for what they believed in. The rebels. The ones who were told to shut up but kept doing what they believed in anyway, even under threat of violence.
03. How would you described you work?
My music, painting, writing is all tied together. It is all stories, narrative in one way or another. I am a story teller and very happy to be one.
04. And in real life, what do you do?
It is pretty much 50% writing and touring with music and the other 50% is spent writing for film and TV (although this year has been less touring). Any spare time I have is spent fight training MMA, surfing or watching movies with my wife.
05. What’s up these days?
These days quite a lot. In terms of my work, I am writing new music, which i think I will release in the form of eps, all on different instruments. Ones I can’t yet play. That will keep me fresh and finding new ways of writing. I have a teen sci-fi TV series which should go into production next year and I am busy writing screenplays and pilots for TV. All very fun. Outside of my work, i am very impressed with all the rebellion at the moment world wide. I thought people had become soft, distracted and mentally flabby. I was wrong and I am very happy to be wrong, from Arab springs to the Occupy movement, people are standing up for themselves and calling for a decent future.
06. What’s your last artistic crush?
I’m reading a lot of sci-fi at the moment, the last one was Forever War. There is a lot of great street art here in Los Angeles at the moment. The new Tom Waits record is great. I usually don’t listen to music any more, many musicians will tell you the same. After touring a lot of musos want silence. I need silence anyway, I need my mind clear in order to let new songs grow. When I stop touring.
07. What was the last present you gave?
Some French chocolate from my last tour to a French friend here in Los Angeles.
08. If your house was burning, what would you take with you?
My wife and my emergency bag. Being LA there are earthquakes, so I have a bag with anything important in it, passports etc. beside my bed. If I had enough time, my LOWDEN guitar, we have been around the world together.
09. What are your plans for tomorrow?
Tomorrow, will be finisihing a draft of a script due, then sparring Muay Thai, patching up whatever wounds I will have, cooking a huge meal and watching whatever good horror movies are showing for Halloween.