Artist Showcase: Banríon

This week’s Artist Showcase will take a look at the work of Banríon, a Dublin based indie-rock band. Eric Ryan spoke to members of the band to find out more about the creation of their debut project Airport Dads and their plans for the future.

Bands lead singer Róisín Ní Haicéid. Photo credit Banríon.

Banríon is a four-piece indie-rock band from Dublin, Ireland, who are relatively fresh to the music scene, with their first release only coming in June of this year. Originally formed when lead singer Róisín Ní Haicéid wanted to take her solo music to stage, the band promptly gelled and began recording and releasing music.

Led by the captivating voice and songwriting of Ní Haicéid, the band came out swinging with their debut project Airport Dads, a mature and cohesive project from a group of musicians that had only been playing together for three months.

Airport Dads is a short, well-balanced project that doesn’t beat around the bush. The band immediately assert their presence with a dynamic sound, meshing soft indie rock with elements of post-punk and a strong DIY aesthetic. Completed with songwriting that details the turbulent nature of young life in Ireland, the EP touches on topics such as relationships, disability, emigration and heartbreak.

Cover art for ‘Airport Dads’, Banríon’s debut project. Photo credit Banríon.

Banríon waste no time in flexing their collective musical muscle with their opening track ‘Yesterday’s Paper’. With instrumentation similar to that of Snail Mail, the jangling guitar, bass and drums strike harmony with Ní Haicéid’s vulnerable and lulling voice, which is calling out for the repetition of the past as its certainty offers a sense of comfort and security.

“Yesterday’s paper” from Banríons debut project ‘Airport dads’

Equally as haunting and captivating are the following tracks. ‘Ouchie’ is a powerful ballad that describes the turmoil and pitfalls of young love and heartbreak, while ‘Bunkbeds’ is a song about emigration which is sure to have you staring at the slats of the imaginary bed above you, missing those you love most.

The project, which was influenced by artists such as Frankie Cosmos and Julia Jacklin, gains its DIY aesthetic from the fact that it was recorded in drummer Michael Nagle’s home in Connemara, as storm Jorge made its way across Ireland in late February.

On recording and mixing the project, Nagle said, “A lot of the things that may sound like creative decisions were more compromises we had to make. We recorded in a room where the snare drums, base drums, and vocal mic were all bouncing off the walls”. He added, “I realised it had to change direction. I thought I could try and tighten this down, or I could lean into it.”

Lead singer Róisín Ní Haicéid and drummer Michael Nagle. Photo credit Banríon.

But, like most artists, Banríon’s progress this year has been halted by the coronavirus. What was shaping up to be a stellar debut year for the newly formed band was hindered by restrictions limiting rehearsal time and the cancellation of all gigs.

Ní Haicéid spoke about how this particularly affected their “fast pace” process of creating music: “Before lockdown, I’d write songs right before practice and then immediately show them to the guys. We had only ever practiced ‘Ouchie’ once before performing it and then recorded it the next week”.

She continued, saying “the way I write Banríon music is at this really fast pace, and the bit I love most is bringing it to the guys and working together”. Nagle added that “Creating music for the band has been more difficult when you have no grasp on what’s going to happen”. 

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