Read the interview with lead singer Anthony Furey below the video.
Although lead singer Anthony Furey grew up in a family of musicians – his father George and three uncles formed the famous Irish folk band The Fureys – it didn’t necessarily form his taste and interest in music. “I was around instruments an awful lot, everyday, all day. But it didn’t really influence me music wise. More so, I would say, Paul Simon and Bob Dylan. And then I discovered my own music; Ryan Adams and people like that. I got into Neil Young when I was fifteen, sixteen. A lot of the americana stuff influenced me more than the traditional Irish music.” Furey tells me he was a late bloomer. “I was eighteen when I started writing songs, where as people nowadays are often thirteen of fourteen. I didn’t have anything to write back then, I was out with my friends playing soccer and other sports.”
The Young Folk started out as Anthony Furey And The Young Folk, which they shortened after they found out that the name Furey actually worked against the band, with some radio presenters refusing to play their songs. “That’s why we got rid of the ‘Anthony Furey’.” Nowadays, it’s the word folk in the band’s name that sometimes causes confusion, since they don’t play (just) folk. “It’s starting to hold us back a small bit, but everyone’s telling us not to change it because they like the name. It’s not worth it. So, we’ll see in the near future, when hopefully people will know us for the music, not the name.”
“I met Paul (keys, vocals) through college, and I met Tony (bass, mandolin) through work. Alex (trombone, banjo) came along last year and Patrick (drums, percussion) only joined the band about three weeks before the Paradiso gig. That was his very first show, a nice one to start on.” Playing in the main hall of the Paradiso in Amsterdam was an amazing experience, Furey confirms. “I’ve watched so many shows that were in Paradiso. The Lumineers recorded one of their shows there and I’ve been watching it the past few years. Just to be up on the same stage where The Rolling Stones and The Waterboys played, is amazing.” Watch a video I made of Way Home live at the Paradiso, right here.
Although The Young Folk have already toured around the United Kingdom and the United States, it feels like this year the focus of the band lies on touring abroad even more. “We already released The Little Battle in Ireland last year and we can’t really go any further there until we release the second record, which is pretty close to being done. It will be released at the start of next year.”
“The first album was more of a live thing, basically my first ten years of songwriting. Now things have gotten a bit serious. I wrote all but one song on The Little Battle, now Tony, Paul and I all write songs. Now we have a deadline and I’m maturing as a songwriter. There are more decisions to be made. The next album will feature about four of my songs.” It doesn’t mean Furey can take it easy though. “We all have to make each other sound at least as good as on the last one. It’s a tough process but it’s going well.”
Having Gavin Glass, who’s well known – apart for his solo work – for producing and playing with Lisa Hannigan, as a producer must be very handy then. “We’ve been recording demos with Gavin for the past year, but we’ve only been recording the second album for the past two months. It’s been great. I’ve known him as a musician and as a person for about fifteen years. He is the missing link for us in the studio. We need a person like Gavin. Actually, we don’t need a person like Gavin; we need Gavin, to get the best out of us.”
“There are an awful lot of bands in Ireland that know and support and work with each other. Sometimes bands come out of nowhere and work with a band that’s been around for the past ten years. There is a girl that looks after us, Una Molloy, who runs Turning Pirate and organizes an annual New Year’s Eve party; which is a mishmash of musicians playing on one stage on Vicar Street. From Lisa Hannigan to us – I sang a song with Lisa last year, which was amazing to do – to a lad called Declan O’Rourke and just so many acts. Gavin plays in the house band. We all know and help each other as much as we can, but we’re all just as busy as each other. So we don’t meet up and talk a lot, but when we do, we do have a lot to talk about.”
All photos by Matthijs van der Ven.
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De Balie, Amsterdam