28 September 2022

5 Minutes with modernlove.: The up and coming Irish indie-pop band on their debut headline tour and the importance of introspection

HUNGER chats with the group following the release of their new abrasive single, ‘Take Me Far Away.’

Despite coming from the small town of Drogheda in Ireland, modernlove. are making larger than life indie-pop anthems being heard all across the world. The band features Barry Lally (vocals/guitar), Graham Fagen (guitar), Daniel Rooney (bass), and Cian McClusky (drums), a group of childhood friends who came together to form modernlove. in 2016. The group have become known for their relatable storytelling, youthful honesty and enticing future-pop sonics.

Today, the band continue their hot streak with their latest single, ‘Take Me Far Away,’ which sees the band shift gears stylistically, producing an abrasive punk-inspired banger whilst still maintaining their infectious melodies. Following the release of their latest EP, Oh My Mind, earlier this year, modernlove. have built up a remarkably dedicated following resulting in an upcoming debut UK and Ireland tour, which sold out months in advance. As the band prepares for their first headline tour, HUNGER catches up with modernlove. to discuss their new single, musical evolution and childhood inspirations.

What’s your creative process like at the moment?

All four of us write pretty constantly, the band is all we’ve really done for the last 5 years for fun. With so many ideas up in the air all the time we just kind of just share back and forth and write parts for each other’s songs and jam them out. We all record and produce so there are A LOT of emails with different demos. When a song comes up that feels kinda special we all jump on it and make it sound as banging as possible.

Were there any artists you really looked up to growing up?

We all listened to a lot of different stuff growing up but we all shared a love for British indie and new wave music. The likes of Bloc Party, Bombay Bicycle Club, New Order and the Cure got us really excited about starting a band. U2 are kind of inescapable too when you’re from Ireland and are definitely a kind of band to aspire to.

How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t heard it?

With everything we’ve released up until now, the narratives have all been set to a backdrop of being young and going out and falling in love and drinking too much and things getting a bit hairy. I think that’s informed the sonic aspect of the tunes. It sounds like one big crazy night out.

What were the first albums you each bought/listened to?

Barry’s was probably (and regrettably) McFly, Cian’s was something by Blink, Danny’s was probably something really weird and emo and Graham’s was definitely any one of Prince’s 3,000+ albums.

How would you say your music has evolved since you first started?

The more we’ve written with each other, the more a clear idea of what the band is has emerged. We feel a lot more confident in writing about more nuanced serious subjects and experimenting with different genres while keeping it consistent with the modernlove. vibe as well so that’s something people will get to hear soon.

There seems to be a lot of introspection in your music, does music feel like a way for you to get all of those feelings out in the open?

Writing and releasing these songs has definitely been a cathartic experience for us, to write about something that’s really ruining your life and to then be able to sing and dance to it on stage and make all that shit into something kind of beautiful and see your feelings mirrored back by the audience makes you feel, kind of, not so alone in all of it.

Your new single ‘Take Me Far Away’ seems different stylistically from most of your other songs, do you enjoy experimenting with your sound?

We all kind of listen to everything so we want our music to reflect that as much as we can, up until now we’ve released a lot of indie, dance and electronic stuff so it’s been nice to channel some of that pop punk, emo stuff that we grew up on like Taking Back Sunday and Brand new.

Are there any other styles of music you’d like to experiment with in the future?

Country/folk is a big one, we know how that sounds but trust us, we’ll make it work. We’re thinking of the likes of Joni Mitchell, Willie Nelson, and Joshua Tree-era U2. No one needs another Old Town Road.

You’re about to go on your first headline tour, how are you feeling about that?

The band kind of formed around us all just enjoying jamming out and performing together so a headline tour was always the end goal. To finally be able to do that after years of lockdown and covid, with the tour selling out like it has been is a dream come true. We’re still pinching ourselves.

What can we expect from a modernlove. show?

We want the shows to be cohesive with the world we’ve been trying to create with our music. Sort of just a place to escape with us and we can all sing and dance and smoke too much and fall all over the place in love. In a very practical sense though, we’ve been practising our asses off so everyone can have a bop. The live stuff is what we do best.

What’s one venue you’d love to perform at and why?

Radio City Music Hall in NYC. America is kind of the dream for any rock band, it’s also been our life goal to live in Manhattan, everything seems to happen there.

How would you say growing up in Ireland has affected your musical style?

There’s definitely a mix of appreciating where we’re from while also trying to escape it and get the hell out of here. We’re all from a smallish town in Ireland which isn’t where you wanna be when you’re a band. We love acts like the Cranberries, Sinead O’Connor and U2 but there are a lot more US and UK artists that we’ve aspired to be, simply because we aspired to be over there.

You’ve been to London recently too, what are the best/worst things about the city?

We’ve found the best thing about London is the tube. The whole city is so well connected considering how sprawling it is, you can be anywhere you need to be really quick which is new for us being from Ireland. The worst thing about London is also the tube. Being so far underground with huge amounts of people and how hot it is can get pretty claustrophobic, especially with a hangover after a messy night out.

How are you feeling about the music scene in Ireland right now?

I think because we’re all from down the country away from Dublin and because we don’t necessarily sound like an Irish band we’ve never really been part of the scene in Ireland. That’s not to say that there isn’t a lot of amazing music coming out of Ireland. From the likes of Fontaines to Biig Piig and NewDad, a lot is happening (Listen to NewDad).

What’s the goal for modernlove.?

Like with any band (if they’re being honest) it’s world domination. But that sounds really hard so for the time being, I think our goal is to have the music we’ve documented our whole lives with, be heard by the people that it might mean something to. It’s one of the best feelings in the world to express yourself and to be heard and to really feel understood.

  • Writer Chris Saunders

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