We said previously “mixing elements of René Magritte, Sparklehorse, Edward Lear and whatever you’re having yourself, Foreign Owl makes quite extraordinary sounds” and now new song “Jump” (produced by Rory Moore) confirms everything we thought previously and more. It’s a jumped-up catchy-groove, with wonderful vocals over(under?)laid with a tale of divers taking a dangerous leap into the unknown. It’s the most original song you’ll hear today or most other days for that matter and we’re delighted to give you an exclusive preview over the weekend before it’s official release on Monday (16th of April).
The band from Derry is made up of Eoghan Donegan (Guitar & Vocals) and 2 Hiberno-Japanese brothers Míchéal Okura McCay (Bass & Vocals) & Ciarán Okura McCay (Drums & Vocals) and they are fast becoming a SWIT fav. We were delighted to catch up with them to find out a bit more. File under “Owltastic”.
When did your musical journey begin?
There was an unused drum kit, an unamplified Spanish guitar, and a bass guitar + practice amp. To us that seemed like the perfect starting point for a band. We didn’t really think this far ahead but I don’t think any of us could have stopped playing music once we started.
How did the band come together?
We would hang out in Ciarán and Míchéal’s house making dodgy short films and ads. One evening we decided to try and play music together, we spent a good few hours trying to learn how to play Come Together by the Beatles. We were all hooked after that.
What are your plans for 2018?
We want to get on the road. Gigging gives us purpose. I heard something about this band, Chasing Abby, they did 200 shows last year. I think we can top that.
What was the first piece of music you loved, and why?
Eoghan – Arcade Fire’s Neon Bible. It was the first album I bought with my own money and I would listen to it in the car with my mum. We knew all the words, expect the French words but that didn’t stop me trying to sing it.
Ciarán – The ZZZ’s. Me and Eoghan saw them live in Letterkenny a while ago. It was the first big live gig we saw and it blew our minds.
Míchéal – Orange Range, If I was to be honest. I loved Anime songs (still do) so Orange Range was my first love.
What is your favourite song that you’ve written and why?
“Improve Yourself”. It was written along with a batch of other songs that we took to Japan. Through all the songs we’ve written, Improve Yourself has stayed close to our hearts. The title is a message to ourselves every time we play the song. I think Improve Yourself contains all the hallmarks of the band, it’s all the little things we do in songwriting formed into one cohesive piece.
What artist(s) has been your biggest influence and in what way?
The RHCP’s and Radwimps. We all loved them. They were the first bands we all equally got really into. Past that, we all have our own influences but none directly affect the band.
As a band, do you argue much about songs, musical direction etc.?
We talk about everything! Songwriting is automatic, we’re able to play through a song completely before it’s even been written, but before we play a song to an audience, it’s gone through a microscope. A lot of diplomatic conversation goes into the finished song, and even a finished song of ours constantly changes.
You said your tour of Japan ignited your passion for writing and performing, tell us more.
Going to Japan to play music was our dream. It was incredibly fulfilling to complete our dream at such a young age. It instilled a sense of “if we want to do something we can do it, it just might be very very very hard, but we can still do it.”
What song by another artist do you wish you had written and why?
We’ve too many of our own songs to write to worry about that! We love music so much, I think anytime we hear any song we all have a feeling of “oh man I wanna write/play that song with those guys’.
What’s the best (other) new band you’ve heard recently?
The Derry / NW scene seems pretty vibrant at the moment, any thoughts as to why?
Everyone’s super nice. We all know each other and love to do amazing things. Derry has a healthy scene, it’s got the room for anybody to try something new, and people have been doing so. When you have that freedom, great songs get played and it inspires established musician to try harder. It’s a snake eating its own tail type deal.
What’s the best phrase you’ve picked up in another language?
Eoghan – Otsukaresama deshita “Thank you for making me honourably tired”.
Ciarán – Saiou ga uma – It’s a story about an old man who gets a horse for really cheap and everyone’s like “Good for you, great job!”. The old man said “Ah well, ya never know..”. His son was riding the horse and he fell off and broke his leg, and everyone said “Ah man that sucks” The old man said “Ah well, ya never know…” and then a war started and his son didn’t have to go to war because his leg was broken. “Ah well, ya never know..” “Saiou ga uma”.
Míchéal – Que sera sera. I think it’s Spanish.
What’s your idea of success?
Being able to eat food to stay alive and to play music. Life has lots of ways of getting in the way of that so the fun bit is trying to get to the point where you don’t need to worry about anything other than the food and the music.
What question would you like to be asked that you never are and what would your answer be?
“Would you like me to give you enough money so you can drive around playing gigs and not have to worry about money anymore?”
Does the path of excess lead to the palace of wisdom?
Ciaran and I were talking about this question and he said “…Crisps and peanut butter are kinda alright. Is that Wisdom? I don’t know…” so I think that’s the best answer we have.
The chaps also did this wonderful (weird?) photo which we will be adding to our gallery soonest!