GoldenBeck - Interview with Claire Beck
For listeners of Phantom FM you’ll no doubt already be familiar with Claire Beck who was one of the DJ’s with them and now hosts the daytime programme on TXFM, it’s new incarnation. Claire Beck and Ros Madigan both work with GoldenPlec, a music website and “labour of love” that was founded in 2002 to give more coverage and reviews to all acts around Ireland, big and small, and now together they have launched a new series of gigs in order to give acts even more exposure.
A monthly event GoldenBeck showcases different bands every month that would work well together and this Thursday sees a jazzy, funk, soul vibe consume The Workman’s Club with the 5th event in the series showcasing Zaska, Nova Collective and Ailbhe Reddy.
"We had all these bands that we were going to see all the time and that were sending stuff into us both at GoldenPlec and the radio station so we figured these acts deserve a platform. The idea behind GoldenBeck is that we kind of theme the nights so we curate acts that will go together really well. So it might be electronic, some might be more funk and soul, the one coming up is Nova Collective and Zaska so it’s kind of a little bit of funk a little bit of jazz thrown in and they compliment each other really well. It’s a fiver in, it’s not going to break the bank, we’re not looking to make money it’s more just push the artist so it’s been going really, really well so far and it has been really well received."
Were you responding to anything in the scene in particular? Or what was the drive to start this?
"Well there’s loads going on all the time. Sweeney’s have brilliant stuff going on, Workman’s have brilliant stuff going on too and they really push new acts and there are a some other great independent music nights going on. I suppose what we’re trying to do is not to have a particular style of music but kind of say that even if you haven’t heard of these acts 'trust us they’re really good come down and see them' opposed to saying 'oh we’re a rock night or indie night' any kind of music really. Knockanstockan really hit home over the weekend as there was so much talent and amazing bands. With GoldenPlec it’s great because we also do profiles online with the bands and as part of the package for the acts we also get a professional photoshoot as well as live shots on the night. It’s just acts that we really believe in and we want to share them with people.
I get sent so many CDs and bring them home and listen through to them and think 'God I’d love to be able to share all this'. I spoke to Workman’s and they were really excited about the idea. We’re like two little excited kids like “Guys Guys Guys! You have to come listen to these bands”, we really just want to share the music.
There’s so much going on out there and it’s so different which is great because of course you don’t want a whole pile of bands that sound the same. We saw this band that I’ve had my eye on for a little while, they’re called Bagels, they’re from Dundrum and they’re 16 years old and they’re not just good for their age they’re just good, they’re so so good. I’d heard a few bits and pieces of their recorded stuff and I really liked them and at their gig at Knockanstockan over the weekend I was just standing there like it was ridiculous, they’re so confident and self assured and talented. That’s why I love going to the smaller Irish festivals because you go around and you’re just scouting, purposely trying to go to bands you haven’t seen before and it’s great."
It feels like there’s a bit of a unified vision or ethos then through GoldenBeck, GoldenPlec and The Workman’s Club.
"Yeah, we have a really good relationship with a lot of Irish music so we’d have bands that we might spot early and you keep an eye on. Ros and I who run the night together also live together, and we were sitting around talking one night talking about a night I used to run with my old radio station, but it was kind of restricted because it was a certain genre, whereas we decided GoldenPlec would be open to all music. So we thought it would be great if we could do a night but not have to stick with a certain type of music, its just really good music and that’s it. So we just decided one night that this was a great idea and we went down to The Workman’s Club and they agreed. I think the whole ethos behind the place is so good, they’re so into it, they’re also lovely and it’s a great venue. They’ve also just put in a new sound system so it sounds even better. They’re great to work with, nothing is a problem and there’s no crap."
The Workman’s Club would have a good base audience. Do you find you’re getting new people into gigs and people who might have come along to one night and liked how it was curated so come back again?
"Yeah, we’ve seen a few of the same faces coming back which is brilliant, I think as well because there’s so much music out there and it’s so accessible now a lot of stuff could pass you by. It can be quite expensive. I’m quite fortunate because if I'm often reviewing a gig or know the promoter, I also work at a lot of the festivals anyway. But if you were to buy tickets for every gig you wanted to see you’d be screwed. If it’s an established band that you love then you’ll fork out the money for it, but for new bands you might think it’s a bit more of a gamble. We’d hope that if someone comes down and likes the band that they might buy a CD or EP or something while they’re there. In fact we’ve seen people leaving having purchased EPs and that’s a great feeling!"
So who have you had playing previously?
"Our first one was slightly electronic rock so we had Neon Wolf, Elaine Mai and the Dead Heavies. Then we did a singer songwriter one so that was Sive, Orla Gartland, Paddy Hanna and Jack Ryan. The exciting thing is people might say 'oh I like Orla Garland' and then they go along and see Jack Ryan as well and end up being exposed to something new. We did a funk and soul one which was Mongoose, Miss Kate and the Higher State and Barley Mob, that was brilliant, it was so crazy it was wedged and we did a Knockanstockan preview also which was the last one with The Eskies, Conor Linnie and Corroboree."
This month you have Zaska, Nova Collective and Ailbhe Reddy, tell us a little more about them.
"Zaska... I don’t even know where to begin, you couldn’t put them in a box it’s a little bit of rap, a little bit of funk and a little bit of soul. It’s really, really unique I can’t think of anything to compare it to and it’s just so interesting and it’s really upbeat, feel good music. Then Nova Collective would be similar like a rappy funk, they’re really different and they’re brand new, they’ve just put out a new EP bossanova band led by a pianist called Louie and it’s very interesting. Ailbhe Reddy is our latest addition to the line-up and she just blew us away at Knockanstockan."
Where would be your “go to” for new music?
"Well before I even started writing for GoldenPlec they would have been my go to for gig updates and they’ve really good photographers and reviewers for albums and live music. So even before I started working with them if they had recommended a band saying they’re really good I probably would have gone and checked them out. For me I would go to them for festival guides and news and then for some new music I’d also go to Nialler9, they would be my two go-to’s! Music Festivals in Ireland are great too for scouting new acts."
What would you feel is unique about the scene in Dublin?
"One thing that I think, I don’t know if other people would say otherwise but it’s just from having a lot of friends who are either musicians or involved in the scene in some other way, is everyone is so supportive of each other and so lovely and help each other out and back each other up which is lovely. So anything from needing to borrow backline or maybe if you’re a slightly bigger band you do something simple like a tweet from another smaller band's gig. I love when you go to festivals and you see all the bands are watching each other. From what I’ve heard that’s unique enough that everyone is so lovely and supportive."
GoldenBeck is on the last Thursday of every month (but the August one is going to be the week before because the last Thursday is right before Electric Picnic!) and this Thursday features Zaska, Nova Collective and Ailbhe Reddy in The Workman’s Club.