What is your background in music?

I discovered a love for punk and rock in my early teens. This inspired me to learn drums with the legend (RIP) Chris McGann. Drum teaching happened to me accidentally, people like Chris would refer me students despite my resistance and imposter syndrome feeling in the early years. I’ve had the privilege of teaching for well over a decade. I toured Ireland, UK and Europe with bands. Promoted and organised many festivals and gigs locally. Later I’d become the youngest Rockschool examiner in the Southern Hemisphere with AMEB when I spent time in New Zealand. Music is intensely special to me.

What instruments do you play?

Drums. Guitar.. Pots ‘n’ pans.. anything reachable.

How long have you been performing?

15 years for paid and regular gigs. I wasn’t the best drummer then. But I was solid, always learned the songs and was reliable so I got work from early. It was exponential. Thank god YouTube and camera phones weren’t such a thing then. I think back to the drum solo I played in school (the Collegiate) at 15. Art teacher Ms. Stephenson told me I should go pro. I didn’t believe her at the time, I’d never even considered it a possibility but kind people like her helped me find my confidence - thank you Ms. Stephenson.

Where do you perform? Do you perform solo or part of a band(s)?

Usually with bands. As a drummer.

More recently the majority of it is me singing badly with an acoustic and friends. Which I find terrifying and exhilarating. It’s like starting over!

What is your favourite song/piece of music to play and why?

‘The Parting Glass’ with Na Cruithne because it worked on so many levels.

What has been your biggest gig to date?

Probably MetalDays in Slovenia. Mainstage, supporting the likes of Opeth and Marilyn Manson with Na Cruithne. Also Bloodstock in England two weeks later. And some pretty big O2 venues around Europe with Darkest Era in the previous years. Na Cruithne particularly were all so much fun.

Any gig/rehearsal/festival stories?

During the biggest gig I’d ever played fans ran to the stage to hear us, then ran away 20 minutes later when a massive storm hit! It was epic. We had to evacuate the stage and during the drama, one of the backstage drumkits got blown a few metres back by a massive gust of wind that caught the curtain, sweeping me and a stage tech off our feet. I landed at the back of the stage, centimetres from a 10ft drop..rain pelting, thunder and lightning cracking, the stage tech jumped to his feet, put out a hand like a superhero and shouted “Go, Go, Go!” As he took my hand, we jumped up and to safety. When I turned around he’d disappeared to help others - I never got to thank him. But I passed on the good karma the next day when I managed to save a woman from drowning in the Soka river. She was by herself. Dingy deflating to near nothing in the only real deep area of the river. Panicking and unable to swim. Shouting, stressing, she was starting to go under. Less than a minutes difference could have been a very different story. I managed to calm her with words on my way over, a recent education in psycho/hypnotherapy definitely helped. I got her to safety on my wee float. It was by far the coolest thing I’ve ever done or ever likely will. Mostly cause I didn’t spill my beer. She spent the rest of the festival drunkenly bumping into me, crying and thanking me!!

The day after that I ate amazing fish from that river at a nearby restaurant where the chef was later that year voted the best female chef in the world. That week changed my life in every way, empowering big decisions and sling-shotting career choices. It may be a long festival story, but the festival was a week long so....

Who are your major influences?

Annie Lennox. Courtney Barnett. Jane’s Addiction. John Grant. Lady Gaga. Whitney Houston. Aurora.

Old local bands like ‘The Watch’... too many to name.

Too many influences. Mostly locals.

What would be your dream gig?

Something deep in the heart of nature. Maybe in a forest. And a beach festival somewhere hot.

Best moment as a musician so far?

Probably signing a record contract given by the same guy who first signed Metallica and Slayer.

What’s the best thing about performing?

Making people dance or express themselves is an amazing feeling. As is becoming ‘the other’ persona onstage. Once I am set up for a gig.. I sit down.. Breathe.. recite a few short mantras and feel immensely powerful - this ritual was years in the making (through trial and error) and comes easy now. Nothing ever goes to plan onstage. So you learn to flow with it, learn to enjoy it.

What does the rest of 2020 hold for you?

Lots and lots of Baking and Cooking. Lots of my dancing and singing as I bake. I have started ‘The Fresh D’oh Food Co.’. a business I’m extremely passionate about - ask your local shops to stock our products; follow our socials for competitions and updates.

Any last words?

Local musicians. Get organised if you haven’t already. Set a price. Don’t be tempted to take easy, small money from pubs and parties as things open again. Undercutting damages everybody’s future pay including your own. So set a price as a community and don’t go below. I hear whispers of New Zealand and Belfast musicians having done this. Please be smart like them!

There are rumours of local young-uns complaining there are no gigs anymore.. why not do as we did when we were 18 and wanted a gig to play or go to.. ORGANISE ONE! Be the change you want to see. Ask me or any of the other older musicians/promoters for advice and we will be glad to help.