Slow Place Like Home are an act that sit comfortably in ‘New Irish Rising’ group of acts. The Donegal based project created by Keith Mannion play delightful indie synth tracks like ‘Tiger Lily’, conjuring a mix of The Human League, The Cure, and Joy Division.
“After countless noodling with toys and gadgets in some spare time back in 2010, a pal of mine told me I should put a name to the byzantine jingles” Keith says. “So I saw a skulk of foxes on a walk in the woods beside my home and thought, this is where I draw my inspiration from. Nature and it’s pace. It’s sheer beauty and contrasting remorselessness.”
Despite it’s beginnings as solo project, Keith experimented with having a band in the live setup, which he continues to do so. Equally sharing the great sense of humour also are member Ciaran and Sean; “Ciaran (Bass) was doing sound for me for a bit and was keen to try a few practices. After he learned some of the tracks, it was obvious he was a good fit. He has also cleaned up the live set-up with some ingenious methods. Sean was living under a bridge in Derry and needed an out. He liked to make noise with tupperware and he had timing. He was in!”
Speaking about live shows, Slow Place Like Home had never intended to take it out onto the venue floor. Whether it is acoustic or electronic does not change the complexity of any live set as Keith tells me; “It’s not just drum machines and it ain’t merely guitar bass and drums, so really it was becoming comfortable playing in front of an audience which gave me more confidence. It feels more like an actual performance, than a recital now.”
Having shared the stage with acts like Glass Animals, Day Wave and more, I ask him it he feels it has been a sign of a complex idea being crafted into a well oiled machine? “Of course. Playing these acts off the stage is a great boost!”
Latest singles ‘Tiger Lilly’ & ‘Friday’ have received praise from the critics here at home, both of which were originally destined for a concept album. Kind of like Ed Hamell, Keith says, “l wrote a whole album (Choochtown) with unconnected narrative but characters who interconnected through participation in a fictional municipality. But both were finished almost at the same time and I felt they should be released as a double A-side. Much as I wanted to move the project along, I also wanted something on vinyl.”
Earlier mentions of the The Cure or The Human League do not seem to be in the mix of Slow Place Like Home’s influence playlist. Instead opting for “malevolent audible music’ that comes naturally without indulging in contemporary music or otherwise. Slowly progressing into something that sounds both pleasing and maturing naturally.
“For those reasons, I will stay well away from contemporary releases, unless I’m in need of fresh sounds and it’s by pure chance. Big acts like Radiohead, are over-saturating the airwaves and just bore me to tears anyway.”
It is also a busy summer ahead in terms of gigs, a show with Carriages and Bantum in The Workman’s Club, Dublin takes place on 8 July. A showcase that echoes a sentiment mentioned earlier as par of a new wave of Irish acts continuing to impress. This one stands out as a curation of a promoter and venue feeling that these three acts are now in the minds of festival revellers like those before them.
After that, opening for Dan Deacon at Galway Arts festival is another gig Keith is relishing, “Getting to have that long overdue chat about ‘Wham City’. Friends of mine ran events under Ping Pong in Cork and when he played his first Irish dates, they had him at Liquid Lounge. I barely got to yapp in his ear, such were his hangers-on but we did get a quick blether. Needless to say, his live shows are remarkable and playing with him in the Roisin Dubh will be insane.”
Slow Place Like Home performs with Carriages and Bantum as part of a triple header at The Workman’s Club, Dublin on Friday 8 July.