'I had writers block... but now I've a fire in my belly again to make music'

Ronan Leonard meets Dave Geraghty of Bell X1 fame to discuss the process of recording and bringing his new album to audiences
'I had writers block... but now I've a fire in my belly again to make music'
Join Me in the Pines play Coughlan's Live on Douglas Street, Cork on October 18.

DAVE Geraghty is not just a multi-instrumentalist but also a multi Choice Music Prize nominee — both with Bell X1, of whom he is a founder member, and also with his solo work — his latest album ‘Monomania’, the fifth to be released under the moniker of ‘Join Me In The Pines’, was released at the end of August.

Reflecting on the substantial break between his previous album ‘Inherit’ and his latest one, he explained he’s never wanted to rush his work. 

“People wonder what’s been going on with ‘Join Me In The Pines’ in the last five years, thinking it’s some sort of ‘side project’ from Bell X1, but it has always been something that I kind of pick up and put down. I come back to it when it becomes an itch I need to scratch, that urge to create is when it’s entertaining. I don’t want that to be the case anymore though. This time around, I’m excited and reinvigorated with this new approach ‘Join Me in The Pines’ has taken.”

He speaks freely that rather than blaming the hiatus on writers’ block, it was more a sense of falling out of love with making records. 

“I was a little bit disillusioned, you know, I needed another spark, something perhaps to kind of make me fall in love with the idea of going through the arduous process of making an album again. This is actually the 11th one I’ve been a part of between BellX1 and Join Me In The Pines.

“I can’t tell you what it is that makes it become arduous. I think any creative process that somebody is doing; the closer to completion it gets harder, it’s easy starting something but not as easy finishing it. I was trying to finish the same process for an eleventh time and that’s where my co-producer in this album, Mick Major, swooped in. You need people to bounce off, well I do anyway. I mean, there are some painters, sculptors and some musicians who work out what they are trying do on their own but I just didn’t want to do that again.”

Join Me in the Pines play Coughlan's Live on Douglas Street, Cork on October 18.
Join Me in the Pines play Coughlan's Live on Douglas Street, Cork on October 18.

One of the key reasons David was drawn to Mick’s attitude to creating was his refreshing alternative to David’s established methodology, “Mick has his own band, he kind of does his own thing, he doesn’t really bother with the whole record industry. He is an artist, he does it for the purity for following the creative urge. Basically I kind of shared my frustration with him, just in terms of ‘here I am making another album, it’s feeling like a slog, what am I doing this for?’ He said, ‘why don’t we do this record just for you’. He said there’s some really great stuff here and we just started to work on the songs on a purely social level. So I kind of coasted on his energy, just enjoying the process, his energy of ‘don’t be worrying about crossing T’s and dotting I’s’ and just enjoy the artistic expression of creation on its own — don’t be worrying about anything else.’ It was lovely for an album that was was going to be solo become a social you know.”

While he has normally paused after making an album, David has a fire in his belly to continue.

“I want to nurture the creative level I’ve got to, after so much solitude with music I’m excited about making new music with the live band that I’ve put together. There’s already a good half an hour of demos — another album — being worked on. Normally by the end of an album process, I’m just done making music for a while but this time I’m having a good time — I just want to keep going!”

Keeping going, of course, necessitates playing concerts in support of this album, as opposed to solo concerts. He felt this album was best represented by forming a band. “When the album was finished I started thinking about what I was going to do live. Alongside Mick on bass, I’ve got Marc Aubele on keyboards and Tim O’Donovan on drums. Both Marc and Tim have played with Bell X1 so we’ve been playing music together for a long time.

“We’re a bunch of very different guys but a lot of common ground in terms of music. We all come from four different places as well but it’s such easy company.

“If I want to continue making this kind of music, then it seems like it should be continued as a social endeavor. The social interaction and collaboration makes sense since we are performers on the road playing the songs, and we get to understand each other more as musicians and becoming more fluent with each other, in what it is we produce as artists.”

David does concede that his intentions for Join Me In The Pines to continue at this pace can’t be done for nothing. 

“This new direction and momentum is apart from the fact that it’s kind of difficult to keep doing music at a certain professional level. You need to have money to maintain it; the main things like videos, nice packaging, getting your physical albums printed, and then all the other things. They all take time and of course it costs money, so immediately there’s the call for you to be professional but I really want to continue building momentum.”

Join Me In The Pines perform live in Coughlans Live on Douglas Street on Friday, October 18. Tickets available at www www.coughlans.ie. His latest album ‘Monomania’ is available now via Decal Records and www.joinmeinthepines.com.

More in this section

Sponsored Content