I included Irish radio presenter Jenny Huston’s debut book In Bloom as part of my Christmas Recommendations post on Monday. I recently had the opportunity to interview Jenny about the book and have reprinted below;
How did you first become interested in music as a career?
I was approached by the university radio society at clubs day in my first year at college. I loved music but had never considered radio or being a DJ before. Presenting an afternoon rock show was infinitely more fun than studying for my Psychology degree and I was soon hooked.
When did you first decide to write the book and what was the catalyst?
I was approached last Christmas by Jo O’Donoghue at Currach Press asking me would I be interested in writing a book on emerging Irish bands but I was very unsure about the idea. One day someone asked me whether Bell X1 had broken up because things seem really quiet for them. I was really shocked, because Bell X1 had just done four tours of North America and had been on David Letterman, Conan O’Brien and Craig Ferguson, all prime time American shows. I realized that there was a huge gap in information; once a band left Ireland to tour elsewhere many fans assumed they were doing nothing. The bands needed someone to brag about them and complete their stories. We don’t celebrate other peoples successes enough in Ireland and I wanted to write about how well our bands are doing, not just on their home turf, but their progress internationally.
How do you discover new bands and music?
I receive a huge amount of CDs in 2fm. They are my first port of call, but if I miss anything generally a friend or fellow muso will tell me what they are excited about. We all talk and trade hot new favourites!
Do you think the music scene in Ireland is in a healthy state, both creatively and in terms of infrastructure?
We have a ridiculous amount of creative talent in this country. I think sometimes there is a lack of marketing regarding the support that is available to musicians. There is great help and advice available, if you know where to find it. IMRO and FMC are two organizations all musicians should be aware of and in contact with. I also think it would be great if popular music in Ireland had the same financial support as is given in countries such as Holland and Canada.
Having spoken to so many bands for the book, do you find that they have anything in common? Are Irish bands having the same experiences on the road to fame, and what are they, if so?
The main thing they all share is work ethic; you just cannot succeed in the music industry without working your butt off, talent is only part of it. Most of the top bands I interviewed take a huge interest in the business side of their band. Updating their websites, blogs, sending out newsletters to fans, printing t-shirts and posters for gigs. They don’t wait for or expect anyone else to do it for them. They share responsibilities amongst themselves. Most of them have had real struggles with confidence also, something that surprised me a little. You never expect talented people to be so normal!
Finally, what are your music recommendations for Christmas? Any albums or music related books or movies you’ll be buying as pressies?
I am a fan of re-issues and re-masters. Nirvana’s Lithium is out as are all of The Beatles albums. You can’t go far wrong with either of those! I am loving the Newfoundland band Hey Rosetta’s album Into Your Lungs, Them Crooked Vultures and Local Natives. I still love The XX, Temper Trap, Passion Pit, Wild Beasts and Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
Many thanks to Jenny for the interview and if you haven’t checked out In Bloom it’s in all good Irish bookstores and online at Amazon, so have a look!