INTERVIEW: Hermitage Green
After a whirlwind two years of touring across the world, Limerick boys Hermitage Green are back on home soil to play at the Limelight in Belfast on June 5th, the gig launching their new single ‘Jenny’.
Starting out as five friends getting together for intimate jamming sessions, the band was born and they have never looked back with their debut EP ‘The Gathering’ soaring to the top of the iTunes chart.
High energy, rhythm and passion drives the unique sound of Hermitage Green. A multitude of instruments, perfectly synced harmonies with a twist of traditional music, expresses their natural bond and love of making music. Gigging NI’s Stacy Fitzpatrick caught up with Dan Murphy of the band ahead of their Belfast show to get to know them a little better.
You formed officially as a band in 2010…what is the story behind you becoming Hermitage Green?
“We got together pretty casually as a jam session in my brothers bar in Limerick back in 2010. We would meet every week and play covers of songs we liked. Gradually we started adding some originals to the set and then we started gigging on stage. The Hermitage is a housing estate me (Dan) and my brother Barry grew up in so that’s where the name comes from.”
How would you describe your sound and style to somebody who has never heard your music?
“Guitars, bass, four part harmonies, sometimes dobro, sometimes didgeridoo, and a sh*t load of drums.”
Tell me about your musical influences? Who got your excited when growing up?
“I was big into rock and metal music growing up. Darragh and Dermot are trad heads – and the other two would be big into folk and singer songwriters. There has always been a bit of a mixed bag.”
Since forming, would you say your style has changed or evolved?
“Yes we’re always experimenting with new sounds. In the last year we’ve added piano, more electric guitar, and a full drum kit. It’s a much bigger live sound than what we started with. Lasers and dancers coming next year.”
You hail from Limerick, yet you have played to crowds all over the world. Is there a difference in how the audiences receive your music?
“When we play abroad we get a lot of Irish people that have emigrated coming to see us – and they definitely get a lot more sentimental about Irish things when they’re away from home. The warmth we’ve been shown in places like Australia and Canada is incredible. Music can be a good way to transcend language barriers too – we played a gig at a festival in Czech Republic last year where barely anyone spoke English but they were still going insane to our music.”
And keeping with the abroad theme…have you had any language barrier problems or funny/strange stand out moments?
“I got in an argument with an Arabic man last year in Dubai – I asked him for a light and he thought I was giving out to him for smoking. We screamed at each other for a while, then hugged it out and had a smoke.”
Being on the road so much what is the thing you miss most about home and love about touring?
“I hate being away from my dog Monty – he’s a black cocker spaniel, I swear to god he sulks with me for a day or two when I’ve been away.”
Back home to Ireland to play in Belfast – have you played Belfast before?
“We played the Limelight 2 on our December nationwide tour last year. It was great, Belfast is a gorgeous city and the people have the same sense of humour as Limerick people.”
You have performed musically from one end of the spectrum to the other – from intimate jamming with your friends to gigging & touring across the world. What’s your ideal musical experience?
“Being on a stage in front of 6,000 people at a festival is a pretty unique feeling. But there’s something special about an intimate gig in a small venue with 30 or 40 people watching your every move. Those are the one that really get me nervous actually.”
Your last EP was released in 2013 – what are the upcoming plans now?
“Our single ‘Jenny‘ is released on June 5th – then its back to the studio for the Winter with a hopeful early 2016 release of our debut studio album.”
To me personally, your new single ‘Jenny’ reflects remembering who you really are and being who you are…what is the inspiration and meaning behind the song from your perspective?
“While touring around the world we came across a lot of Irish that had emigrated with big hopes but found themselves sort of ‘lost’ when they got there, in a ‘grass is always greener sense’. It’s definitely a sadder less talked about side of that younger generation that spread their wings.”
What are the plans for the rest of 2015?
“Touring for the next 6 weeks around Ireland while continuing to write, then hopefully studio for the Winter.”