THE HOT PRESS ROUND-TA­BLE

An even big­ger ta­ble than usual was needed this year as eight of Ir­ish mu­sic’s bright­est, plus our man Stu­art Clark, gath­ered for the an­nual Hot Press Christ­mas Sum­mit. From Har­vey We­in­stein and pulling crack­ers with Grace Jones to pri­vate U2 gigs and Rep

Hot Press - - Hot Press / 4121 / Contents - PHO­TOG­RA­PHY: KATHRIN BAUMBACH

Ev­ery­thing from Har­vey We­in­stein and pulling crack­ers with Grace Jones, to pri­vate U2 gigs and Re­peal­ing the Eighth are on the con­ver­sa­tional agenda, as a group of Ir­ish mu­sic’s best and bright­est dis­sect 2017 with sur­gi­cal pre­ci­sion.

If the 2018 Guin­ness Book Of Records hadn’t al­ready gone to print, there’d prob­a­bly be a new en­try un­der ‘Most Ir­ish mu­si­cians gath­ered in the one place be­fore 11am with­out vis­i­ble signs of any of them be­ing hun­gover.’ Clear heads and foren­sic minds are re­quired for to­day’s dis­sec­tion of a tu­mul­tuous year in not just rock ‘n’ roll, but also the wider en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try, which one sus­pects will be deal­ing with the im­pli­ca­tions of the Har­vey We­in­stein scan­dal, and oth­ers like it, for a long time to come.

It’s not all gloom, doom and Donald Trump, though, with the Crit­ics Poll in the Hot Press An­nual – still for sale, kids, with a pull­out U2 on the sou­venir cover – at­test­ing to the qual­ity tuneage that’s helped pre­serve our col­lec­tive san­ity. It was a damn fine year on the gig,

TV, film and pod­cast front, too, as we’ll be re­flect­ing.

Be­fore we get down to HP Xmas Sum­mit busi­ness, here’s who we have gath­ered around the ta­ble in our new favourite north­side wa­ter­ing hole, Bagots Hut­ton…

EDEN: Mak­ing mu­sic in his bed­room since he was a kid, the 21-year-old Dubliner, real name Jonathon Ng, has be­come a global pop phe­nom­e­non thanks to mil­lions of YouTube plays. “I love your track, ‘Sex’; it does some­thing very simple and in­tense to my brain,” cooed Lorde last year on Face­book. Al­lied to the same heavy­weight US man­age­ment com­pany as Justin Bieber and Carly Rae Jepsen, his de­but al­bum,

Ver­tigo, comes out on Jan­uary 12 and will be ac­com­pa­nied by a mas­sive world tour, which in­cludes an Olympia The­atre home­com­ing on April 24.

STEVE GARRIGAN: Join­ing us on Skype from their re­hearsal room, the Kodaline singer is gear­ing up for the spring 2018 re­lease of their as-yet-un­ti­tled third al­bum, which in­cludes in­put from Snow Pa­trol’s Johnny McDaid and Bey­oncé pro­ducer Jonny Cof­fer. Fans will be able to get a sneak pre­view on New Year’s Eve when they head­line the 3Count­down Con­cert out­side the Cus­tom House.

JESS KA­VANAGH: The R’n’B bel­ter par ex­cel­lence – think Ella Fitzer­gald with a dash of Lau­ryn Hill - con­firmed with sum­mer sin­gle,

‘Op­ti­mus Prime’, why her and her band BARQ are so highly thought of. In ad­di­tion to spread­ing their ag­gro-punk gospel, Jess is a vo­cif­er­ous Re­peal The 8th cam­paigner with a Hot Press front­cover to prove it.

EOGHAN McDER­MOTT: Proof of in­tel­li­gent life on day­time pop ra­dio, 2fm’s week­day drive man also fronts RTÉ’s Elec­tric Pic­nic cov­er­age with sta­tion­mate Jenny Greene, has ad­vo­cated on be­half of the Ana Lif­fey Project and isn’t afraid to say it like it is on Twit­ter – even if it does on oc­ca­sion get him in to trou­ble!

PETE O’HAN­LON: Fresh back from Ja­pan and look­ing for­ward to two months on the road after Christ­mas with his pal Paul Weller, the Strypes bassist is the only per­son in the room who’s pulled a Christ­mas cracker with Grace Jones (more of whom anon).

This has been the Ca­van rock­ers’ best year yet with al­bum num­ber three, Spit­ting Im­age, chart­ing on both sides of the Ir­ish Sea and a Fuji Rocks fes­ti­val ap­pear­ance con­firm­ing their A-List sta­tus in Ja­pan where they have their most ra­bid fol­low­ing.

ELEANOR McEVOY: The re­views were uni­ver­sally rave in July when the for­mer Woman’s Heart lynch­pin re­leased her 14th studio al­bum, The Thomas Moore Project. Along with a rig­or­ous bout of tour­ing – she’s off to Aus­tralia on Stephen’s Day – Eleanor has also found time to takeover as Chair of the Ir­ish Mu­sic Rights Or­gan­i­sa­tion.

JOHN GIB­BONS: Do­ing the ra­dio rounds here for over a decade - you can still catch him ev­ery week on Spin and Beat 102-103 - the Car­low DJ went su­per­nova in April with his bang­ing re­make of Michael Jack­son’s ‘P.Y.T (Pretty Young Thing)’. Snapped up by Good Soldier Songs who also look after The 1975, Biffy Clyro and Gavin James’ pub­lish­ing in­ter­ests, he’s amassed over 75 mil­lion Spo­tify plays and remixed the likes of Olly Murs and ex-Satur­days star Mol­lie King.

CAOIMHE BARRY: One-third of Wyvern Lingo whose su­per­funky de­but al­bum is in the can and await­ing Fe­bru­ary re­lease, the Wick­low multi-in­stru­men­tal­ist has also firmly nailed her colours to the Re­peal mast and, as you’ll dis­cover later, suc­cumbed fully to the rock ‘n’ roll life­style.

STU­ART CLARK: Still mys­ti­fied as to how he man­aged to sneak into one of Michael D. Hig­gins’ gar­den par­ties this sum­mer – they re­ally have to beef up Áras an Uachtaráin se­cu­rity – our man has spent the year pon­tif­i­cat­ing not only in Hot Press, but also ev­ery Fri­day on New­stalk with Pat Kenny who’s he man­aged to con­vert to the grime cause.

STU­ART: Morn­ing all, you’re the most punc­tual bunch

"Ap­ple, LinkedIn, Face­book and Google com­bined don’t em­ploy as many peo­ple

here as the Ir­ish mu­sic in­dus­try does."

of Sum­mi­teers we’ve ever had. Let’s see now if you’re the bright­est! An easy one to start with – your tracks and al­bums of the year?

JOHN: I’m ab­so­lutely lov­ing Noel Gal­lagher’s new one, Who Built The Moon? It’s so different with David Holmes pro­duc­ing; in places it crosses over into dance mu­sic. It’s what might have hap­pened if the Gal­laghers had done some­thing with the Chem­i­cal Broth­ers back in the day.

CAOIMHE: A lot of my year has been sound­tracked by SZA’s al­bum, Ctrl. I also re­ally like Princess Nokia. She’s a bit of a dick­head, though.

STU­ART: Can you ex­plain the na­ture of this dick­head-ry? CAOIMHE: The self-love is great, but too of­ten crosses over into van­ity… She’s al­ways in­ter­est­ing, though, so we’ll let her off!

EOGHAN: My band of the year hands down is All Tvvins. I can’t un­der­stand why they’re not big­ger than they are. Them at Lon­gi­tude is the best live show I’ve seen in a long time. I al­ways re­vert back to Michael Jack­son, which is ridicu­lous, but he’s what I lis­ten to in my car. New al­bum wise, Mack­le­more’s Gemini was a real curve ball. Along with the dance an­thems, he’s got a song called ‘Kevin’, which is about his brother who died from a drug over­dose. He’s rail­ing against the Amer­i­can phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try in an al­most Louis Th­er­oux-style way.

STU­ART: Talk­ing of Michael Jack­son; John, your ‘P.Y.T.

(Pretty Young Thing)’ remix was a mas­sive club hit this year. How did you get your hands on Jacko?

JOHN: Ah, him and me go way back… No, I’d al­ways wanted to do some­thing with Michael Jack­son and stum­bled upon this dirty, grainy a cap­pella on­line, which I think is one of his strong­est ever vo­cals. I did it as a boot­leg to play in my own sets but the record com­pany said, “This de­serves a wider au­di­ence” and then spent two years get­ting the nec­es­sary per­mis­sions! I was thrilled that Michael diehards, who are ex­tremely pro­tec­tive of him, all seem to like it.

JESS: I’m go­ing to sound like an ab­so­lute hip­ster wanker but I just got into vinyl and they’re all about fifty years old! Newer stuff I’m into would be Har­mony Of Dif­fer­ence by Ka­masi Wash­ing­ton who works with peo­ple like Thun­der­cat and Ken­drick La­mar, and Man Made Ob­ject by GoGo Pen­guin who are from Manch­ester and in­flu­enced by house, dance and Aphex Twin. It’s dark but very beau­ti­ful.

EDEN: Like Caoimhe, I love SZA’s al­bum. Process by Sam­pha is amaz­ing too. I’m re­ally ex­cited to hear the N.E.R.D. record, which is out this month. The song they’ve dropped with Ri­hanna, ‘Le­mon’, is just bonkers.

PETE: It came out at the tail end of 2016, but the al­bum I’ve played most this year is Public Ac­cess TV’s Never Enough. The stand­out track’s a punky one called ‘In Love, Alone’. They’re com­ing to Dublin in Fe­bru­ary and their bass-player’s go­ing on a pil­grim­age to Phil Lynott’s house in Sut­ton. He’s just go­ing to knock on the door, and hope Philom­ena in­vites him in for a cup of tea. An­other bril­liant al­bum is Le­mon Twigs’ Do Hol­ly­wood, which takes its cue from ‘70s glam.

ELEANOR: I re­ally like what Soulé and Ja­faris are do­ing at the mo­ment. The cross-pol­li­nat­ing of styles and back­grounds is one of the best things about Ir­ish mu­sic this year. A great old school al­bum is Mick Hanly’s Home­land. He’s the ul­ti­mate song­writer’s song­writer.

JESS: The scene now is so un­be­liev­ably di­verse. Grow­ing up, there weren’t many other peo­ple of colour, which made me and my Mam, who’s half-Nige­rian, think we were the only ones into funk, soul and R’n’B. We weren’t, of course, but I don’t re­mem­ber hav­ing too many con­ver­sa­tions about Ste­vie Wonder and Marvin Gaye at school! Now, you’ve peo­ple from ev­ery con­ceiv­able back­ground, which is im­pact­ing on the mu­sic be­ing made here big time.

STEVE: Rag’n’Bone’s Hu­man is in­cred­i­ble. We worked with

one of his guys, Jonny Cof­fer, re­cently in LA. Jonny’s also writ­ten and pro­duced stuff for Naughty Boy and Bey­oncé, so he’s com­ing from a place that’s to­tally different, but very, very ex­cit­ing.

STU­ART: So, we have our­selves a “Kodaline go hip hop!” exclusive.

STEVE: (Laughs) No, but Jonny took us out of our com­fort zone, which has tended to be slow, emo­tional songs. He was like, “Why limit your­self?” The most re­cent ses­sions were in Lon­don with Johnny McDaid from Snow Pa­trol who’s con­verted an old church into a studio, which doesn’t feel like a studio be­cause it’s so homely and chilled. We were sup­posed to be fin­ish­ing the al­bum last week, but ended up writ­ing loads of new songs.

STU­ART: I hear I’m not the only one who’s been hob knob­bing this year with the ruling elite…

STEVE: We played for 20,000 peo­ple in Jakarta who were go­ing berserk and scream­ing. Two of the guys in the band got mar­ried this year, so we’d taken a bit of time off and weren’t ex­pect­ing to have this mas­sive crowd singing songs back to us. I’ve no idea what he was do­ing at a Kodaline show be­cause he’s a big heavy metal fan, but the Pres­i­dent of In­done­sia was there! STU­ART: Any other stand­out gigs?

STEVE: Glas­ton­bury, which was made even more nerve-wrack­ing by Rag’n’Bone Man be­ing on while I was do­ing my vo­cal warm-up. I thought, “Fuck­ing hell, how am I go­ing to fol­low that?”

STU­ART: How did The Strypes get on open­ing for Liam Gal­lagher re­cently?

PETE: The gigs were amaz­ing – Touts, who are great and for once younger than us, were also play­ing - but we were too star-struck to ap­proach him. I got an, “Al­right, mate?” from Liam in Belfast which re­duced me to a quiv­er­ing mess!

STU­ART: I can only imag­ine what you’re go­ing to be like in Jan­uary when you go on tour with Paul Weller!

PETE: That’ll be okay be­cause Josh and me were part of his band for a Record Store Day thing he did a few years ago. He walked in to re­hearsals when we were tear­ing through ‘In The City’ at 1,000mph and said, “Lads, you’ll have to do it three times fuck­ing slower than that!” Any­way, we got to play ‘In The City’ and ‘Away From The Num­bers’ with him, which was all our Christ­mases and birth­days come at once. We’ll still be call­ing him “Mr. Weller”, though, when we do those shows with him.

STU­ART: You were also, like Jonathon, at

Fuji Rocks…

PETE: We ran into Bob Gruen, the leg­endary rock pho­tog­ra­pher, there, which was a bit in­con­gru­ous be­cause he’s the most New York man ever! We head­lined the main Mar­quee Stage – when I say ‘stage’, it was a cow shed, re­ally – and had a full house/shed of 12,000 peo­ple, which is one of the big­gest things we’ve done. It was mad do­ing promo there be­cause we had a trans­la­tor whis­per­ing into our ear the whole time.

CAOIMHE: You’re not flu­ent in Ja­panese?! JOHN: You could have made an ef­fort!

PETE: I know, poor!

STU­ART: Jonathon, you’re far too mod­est to say it, but things have ma­jorly taken off for you in the States.

EDEN: Yeah, the big­gest mar­ket for me at the mo­ment is Amer­ica. The two shows we’re do­ing at Irv­ing Plaza in New York sold-out in a few min­utes, and we had to move oth­ers up to big­ger venues, all of which is mind-blow­ing! I’ve a re­ally phe­nom­e­nal man­ager, Michael Ge­orge, who works with Scooter Braun. They look after ev­ery­one from Bieber and Kanye West to Dan & Chase and ran­dom coun­try artists, so it’s pretty wild…

STU­ART: With your de­but al­bum, Ver­tigo, com­ing out in Jan­uary, next year’s work sched­ule must be pretty scary.

EDEN: It’s crazy for me to think, “Oh god,

I’m not go­ing to be at home in 2018 at all!” My agents are al­most more am­bi­tious than I am. The Ver­tigo World Tour starts in March and they’re al­ready think­ing two tours ahead of that. Not that I’m com­plain­ing! Hav­ing spent the past three years trans­lat­ing the ideas in my head into an al­bum, I want to be heard by as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble.

EOGHAN: Good luck book­ing him for next year’s Round Ta­ble!

STU­ART: Peo­ple look­ing in from the out­side might think, “He’s been poxed lucky”, but you’d al­ready built up a huge global fol­low­ing when Scooter Braun and your State­side la­bel, As­tral­w­erks, came a call­ing.

EDEN: I started re­leas­ing mu­sic when I was 15 or 16 and had songs with mil­lions of plays on­line be­fore I had an email from a record la­bel or any­thing. The only rea­son I had to go into a studio re­cently in New York was that I couldn’t ship my bed­room over with me! I’d done ev­ery­thing up till then at home.

STU­ART: John, you’ve some heavy­weight con­nec­tions of your own hav­ing signed to the same pub­lish­ers as The 1975 and Biffy Clyro.

JOHN: I don’t know what it was ini­tially that

“I’ve no idea what he was do­ing at a Kodaline show be­cause he’s a big heavy metal fan,but the Pres­i­dent of In­done­sia was there!”

at­tracted them to me. What at­tracted me to them was the founder, Chris­tian Tat­ters­field, be­ing the for­mer CEO of Warner Mu­sic in the UK. I had a hun­dred songs I wanted to play him whereas he just wanted to hear one! He still hasn’t heard the vast ma­jor­ity of the stuff that’s there wait­ing. On the one hand it’s ex­cit­ing be­cause there are so many sides to my mu­sic that peo­ple still don’t know, and on the other re­ally frus­trat­ing be­cause at this rate it’ll take me ten years to get ev­ery­thing out there. De­spite all those Spo­tify plays, I feel like I’m nowhere near the point of crit­i­cal mass yet.

STU­ART: Snapping hard at Ver­tigo’s heels in Fe­bru­ary will be the first and as-yet-un­ti­tled Wyvern Lingo al­bum. I’m not sug­gest­ing that you’re in any way sloth­ful but it did take quite a while to as­sem­ble.

CAOIMHE: Ah, no, sug­gest away! We stared record­ing this Fe­bru­ary, so from start to fin­ish it’ll have taken a year. We did it in three parts, all of which were great ex­pe­ri­ences. The first ses­sions were in Hell­fire Stu­dios, which is a cool, vibey spot in the Dublin moun­tains. Then we went over to Lon­don and did some stuff with Neil Comber who’s worked with M.I.A. That was re­ally good too. My favourite bit, though, was record­ing some of our vo­cals in my Aun­tie’s house. We played cards and drank wine and Guin­ness most evenings like a bunch of old dearies.

STU­ART: Can any­one outdo Caoimhe in the rock ‘n’ roll dreams come true depart­ment?

STEVE: At the end of last year, U2 in­vited us to watch them re­hearse in LA and played a whole show for us. Bono put his arm around Vin­nie, our drum­mer, dur­ing ‘Ver­tigo’ and jok­ingly sang, “All of this could be yours!” It was such a ridicu­lous, sur­real ex­pe­ri­ence that we barely no­ticed Steven Ger­rard and Rob­bie Keane com­ing in half­way through and sit­ting down next to us on the couch! An­other sur­real one was be­ing heck­led at a show in LA by Sacha Baron Co­hen who was there with his wife, Isla Fisher. Af­ter­wards we hung out and had beers.

PETE: Rocket Mu­sic, which is Elton John's man­age­ment com­pany, has peo­ple from the ros­ter over in mid-De­cem­ber for a party. The first year we went it was us, Elton John, yer’ man James Blunt and Grace Jones at the same ta­ble. There was an aw­ful fight for the last piece of pud­ding!

STU­ART: What on earth is she like at a Christ­mas knees-up?!

PETE: It was a lunchtime thing, so rel­a­tively calm. There was only one cracker left, so we all pulled it to­gether. I think she ended up with the toy in the mid­dle!

EOGHAN: Evvvvvvvvvry­body’s been on the piss with Grace Jones!

STU­ART: There wasn’t mistle­toe in­volved, was there?

PETE: What hap­pens at the Rocket Mu­sic Christ­mas Party stays at the etc. etc.

JOHN: My celebrity en­coun­ters have a ten­dency to end in hu­mil­i­a­tion! About ten years ago I was in Mi­ami for the Win­ter

Mu­sic Con­fer­ence, which is a week of ma­jor dance in­dus­try net­work­ing. I was small fry and had ab­so­lutely no one to net­work with, but man­aged to sneak my way into this party where two ab­so­lute DJ he­roes of mine, Roger Sanchez and Rob Rivera, were chat­ting to each other next to a com­pletely empty swim­ming­pool. There wasn’t a sin­ner in it. Any­way, I el­bowed my way through the crowd with my shitty CDs and said, “Howaya, lads!” They to­tally ig­nored me, so I got a bit closer and said, “Howaya!” again. Same non-re­sult. I make a third at­tempt, stick­ing out a hand to Roger Sanchez… and fell into the fuck­ing pool! As I sur­faced there were CDs floating around my head. I was mor­ti­fied.

STU­ART: Eleanor, along with your own ca­reer, you now have the well­be­ing of IMRO’s 15,000-plus mem­bers to worry about. I’m sure there’s a Top 50, but what’s num­ber one on your list of con­cerns?

ELEANOR: The big­gest threat we’re fac­ing is the copy­right leg­is­la­tion that’s go­ing forth to the EU in Jan­uary. I’m lis­ten­ing to all of you think­ing, “If this were 15 or 20 years ago, you’d be mak­ing se­ri­ous money with the amount of streams you’ve had on Spo­tify.” PETE: That’s a shame…

ELEANOR: It’s just so much more dif­fi­cult now. One of the rea­sons so few mu­si­cians are mak­ing a proper liv­ing from their work is that the tech com­pa­nies are tak­ing the money. They’re us­ing your content to draw peo­ple in and min­ing all these peo­ple for their data so they can tar­get them later on for ad­ver­tis­ing. They’re get­ting the most fan­tas­tic build­ings and 24-hour chefs while you guys are suf­fer­ing. The wealth has been trans­ferred from one group of peo­ple to the other. YouTube and Google are great as pro­mo­tional tools, but you should be paid prop­erly for it too. Peo­ple look at Ap­ple and say, “Je­sus, they em­ploy loads of peo­ple!” The gov­ern­ment bends over back­wards for them be­cause, great, jobs! Ap­ple, LinkedIn, Face­book and Google com­bined don’t em­ploy as many peo­ple here as the Ir­ish mu­sic in­dus­try does. We bring €700 mil­lion into the econ­omy, but the gov­ern­ment doesn’t con­sider us to be a proper in­dus­try. Who’s the Min­is­ter with re­spon­si­bil­ity for it? There isn’t one. We’re call­ing for a cross-in­dus­try group that can talk to the gov­ern­ment as one. Mu­si­cians are not great at fight­ing for them­selves; we’re very frag­mented. I look at the film in­dus­try and

I’m so im­pressed how they’ve lob­bied the gov­ern­ment. Where’s the Mu­si­cians’ Union? Cre­atively I’m blown away by ev­ery­thing I’m hear­ing round the ta­ble to­day, but I’m also fuck­ing an­gry that you’re not get­ting the fi­nan­cial re­wards you de­serve.

STU­ART: Lisa Hannigan and Hozier both lent their sup­port to Septem­ber’s mas­sive Re­peal The 8th march in Dublin. Have you guys worked out to what ex­tent you’re will­ing to get in­volved with the Re­peal The 8th ref­er­en­dum?

CAOIMHE: We’ve a song that Karen wrote, ‘Out Of My Hands’, which is about the dan­gers of po­lit­i­cal ap­a­thy. She’s in­volved with a lot of refugee groups and is much bet­ter at speak­ing about mat­ters than I am, but we’re con­stantly talk­ing among our­selves and de­cid­ing if and how we’re go­ing to en­gage with is­sues. Re­peal The 8th is a very del­i­cate subject – no one’s a fan of abor­tion – but, ul­ti­mately, the coun­try needs to trust women to have the power to make their own de­ci­sions. As a band, we’ve al­ready played Re­peal aware­ness gigs and I’m go­ing to be do­ing one up­stairs at the Roisin Dubh in Gal­way on De­cem­ber 16 to which all

Hot Press readers are in­vited.

JOHN: I used to use my mu­sic to ex­press my views, but I’ve quite a young au­di­ence and, as an older per­son, don’t feel I should be telling them what to think. It’s a dis­cus­sion they should be hav­ing among them­selves.

ELEANOR: I keep mean­ing to not go on po­lit­i­cal rants, but I just can’t help my­self!

EDEN: Un­til now, I’ve not re­ally been asked po­lit­i­cal stuff, but I’ve thought about it a lot. If you be­lieve some­thing’s wrong and needs to be fixed, do you not have a sort of moral obli­ga­tion to use your plat­form to help refugees or help the en­vi­ron­men­tal cri­sis or help women with Re­peal The 8th? In a busi­ness sense, you don’t want to alien­ate peo­ple and mu­sic is sup­posed to tran­scend pol­i­tics. A lot of the time I don’t feel like I know enough about a spe­cific topic to be in a po­si­tion to lec­ture oth­ers about it. It’s some­thing I ob­vi­ously need to digest and think about more be­fore I start do­ing loads of press.

PETE: When I was 15 or 16 I thought I’d be the new Joe Strum­mer – “Ask me what I think and I’ll sort the world out!” – but like Jonathon, I’m not sure we’re well enough in­formed to be lay­ing down the law on volatile sub­jects. You re­ally need to know what you’re talk­ing about be­fore say­ing some­thing in­flam­ma­tory be­cause you’ll be hauled over the coals for it for years to come.

JESS: I’m fe­male, I’m mixed race, I come from a work­ing-class back­ground… it doesn’t make sense for me not to be in­volved in these is­sues be­cause they’re in­her­ently about me.

STU­ART: Eoghan, as an RTÉ em­ployee, you have to tread a fine line when ex­press­ing your opin­ions.

EOGHAN: Some peo­ple might re­mem­ber that I came close to los­ing my job with RTÉ when I told them to “go fuck them­selves!” on Twit­ter when they said I couldn’t voice an opin­ion on the Mar­riage Ref­er­en­dum. I was sup­posed to host an event in Vicar St. with Panti, Bren­dan Court­ney, Anna Nolan and some other peo­ple about life as a gay per­son in mod­ern Ire­land. RTÉ said I couldn’t do it and after the ref­er­en­dum closed, I got wildly drunk

“I came close to los­ing my job with RTÉ when I told them to ‘go fuck them­selves!’ on Twit­ter.”

and told them what I thought.

PETE: We’ve all been there!

STU­ART: I need a breathal­yser on my phone. EOGHAN: I know it sounds ridicu­lous, but you don’t get a book­let on the dif­fer­ence be­tween state and com­mer­cial broad­cast­ing.

I’d come from XFM in Lon­don, which had all these peo­ple like Alex Zane, Jimmy Carr and Rus­sell Brand who’d made their ca­reers on hav­ing opin­ions and ar­tic­u­lat­ing them loudly. The RTÉ Director Gen­eral at the time, Noel Cur­ran, could have just fired me on the spot, but very gra­ciously took me into his of­fice and said, “I un­der­stand your frus­tra­tions, but as an RTÉ con­trac­tor you’re paid now from the public purse and have to re­spect those peo­ple who have different opin­ions to you. That’s the rea­son you have to re­main neu­tral.” I now to­tally ap­pre­ci­ate that point of view.

STU­ART: Steve, hav­ing spent time in LA and pre­sum­ably heard some of the lo­cal en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try gos­sip, were the Har­vey We­in­stein rev­e­la­tions a com­plete sur­prise to you?

STEVE: Yeah, you can kind of sense that there are abuses of power go­ing on. Hol­ly­wood, in par­tic­u­lar, can be a dark place. It’s sick­en­ing, to be hon­est, and a breath of fresh air that these peo­ple are be­ing found out.

I’m a true be­liever in karma; do that stuff and even­tu­ally it’ll come back to haunt you.

STU­ART: Eoghan, you de­clined to in­ter­view Chris Brown be­cause he wasn’t pre­pared to talk about phys­i­cally abus­ing Ri­hanna, and took Twit­ter is­sue with Ryan Tubridy for treat­ing Mel Gib­son with kid gloves re­cently on the Late Late.

EOGHAN: I don’t know if he signed some sort of waiver in ad­vance, but Ryan should have asked Mel about that. Even if he’d wanted to do it softly softly, it was too big a topic not to broach. I know it wasn’t a one on one – he was over pro­mot­ing Daddy’s Home 2 with Mark Wahlberg, Will Fer­rell and John Lith­gow – but I think there should have been more than just a very gen­eral ques­tion about re­cent events, which only John Lith­gow ap­peared sin­cere in an­swer­ing. Ev­ery­one else fum­bled it. It was a weak re­sponse to the most ob­vi­ous train com­ing.

ELEANOR: I don’t nor­mally talk about it be­cause you’re seen as the whingey one, but even in small ways, you’re con­stantly hav­ing to deal with shit. You ask for a set of strings in a mu­sic shop and they say, “Are you look­ing to make jew­elry?” All the time in in­ter­views I get, “Who helps you write the songs?” I’m in my ‘50s, this is the fif­teenth al­bum of my ca­reer;

I’ve a fuck­ing mu­sic de­gree! There’s just no way they’d ask a male mu­si­cian that. You’ll go in and they’ll as­sume you’re the back­ing singer or some­body’s girl­friend. Chal­lenge that and you’re con­sid­ered ‘awk­ward’.

JESS: I’ve been on tour and had peo­ple as­sume I’m a groupie. Stuff like that hap­pens all the time.

STU­ART: Let’s end on an up­beat note. The films, TV shows and pod­casts that have kept you en­ter­tained dur­ing the year. I’ll start with Lo­gan Lucky, Sky At­lantic’s Baby­lon Ber­lin and the Blind­boy Pod­cast.

JESS: I’m a pod­cast ad­dict. The Guilty

(l to r) Jess, Eden, Caoimhe, John, Eleanor, Eoghan, Pete & Stu­art

Steve

JOHN GIB­BONS

JESS KA­VANAGH

ELEANOR McEVOY

EDEN

PETE O'HAN­LON

EOGHAN MCDER­MOTT

CAOIMHE BARRY

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