Not since the heyday of Therapy? and Ash has such a glorious din emanated from the North. With the recent successes of Two Door Cinema Club and And So I Watch You From Afar putting Northern Ireland back in the spotlight, Aoife Barry digs a little deeper a
OU’RE not a hair’s breadth away from Northern Ireland becoming the next Portland, Oregon or the next Seattle, Washington.” This might have sounded like a bold statement for Andrew Ferris of Northern Irish record label Smalltown America to make a decade ago but, with the recent success of And So I Watch You From Afar and Two Door Cinema Club, it’s clear that musicians in Northern Ireland have moved in to the spotlight.
“This is potentially the biggest year for Northern Irish music ever,” says Rigsy, presenter of BBC Radio Ulster’s Across the Line. “There are four or five crucial second records from bands that made a bit of an impact with their first album, like General Fiasco and ASIWYFA. Then there’s this new wave of alarmingly young bands coming up behind them.”
Adam Turkington, the arts and community co-ordinator for the Waterfront in Belfast, who programmes the Trans: Belfast festival, points to the success of Two Door Cinema Club. “This time last year you wouldn’t have seen that coming. I think you can trace a lot of that back to Snow Patrol and people getting a degree of confidence. I’m really excited with what the Richter Collective label is doing with the bands here – giving them a platform and allowing them to make exciting records.”
Chris Jones, editor of Belfast-based AU music magazine, says bands should focus on getting out of their home town. “They need to wake up, and I think bands from the South need to come up here and play more.
“The last five years seem to have been a big jump. I would say that it is a vibrant scene, although we’re going through a certain group of bands – ASIWYFA, General Fiasco, Two Door Cinema Club – who are off touring a lot. Now that they’ve been successful, we’re waiting for the bands that are going to come through and fill that void. ”
And So I Watch You from Afar performing at The Retro in Portrush, Co Antrim.