This week Out On A limb release their first split 7 single since 2006. Featuring Windings and Vertigo Smyth, the single has left everyone on a high. Last week, I spoke to Ciarán Ryan, founder and co-runner of the label, Steve Ryan (no relation), lead singer of Windings, and Mr Vertigo Smyth. Read it all below. The original feature appeared in this week’s Clare People newspaper

Above: Windings

IT IS not often that you hear of a council getting involved in the music business, but this week sees the release of a Clare County Council assisted record.

On Thursday, Out On A Limb records will release a split 7” vinyl single featuring new tracks by two up-and-coming Irish artists, Windings and Vertigo Smyth. It is the first big release by the independent label in almost a year, and was made possible with funding from the Clare County Council arts office.

Ciarán Ryan, who runs the label with Richard Burke, says that he didn’t even know that a record label could apply for assistance. “We had never got any funding from anybody before because we have never really looked for it – we didn’t really know what avenues to go down,” He says.

“By chance, by looking online, I knew that Clare County Council’s arts office were running the arts’ assistance grant, which they run every year. I contacted Siobhan Mulcahy, the arts’ officer, and she was really quick to get back to me, and any information I needed she got back to me quickly. She was really helpful.

“When you are putting out indie music, or punk-rock or whatever, you assume that people in those positions, be it arts’ councils, or county councils or whatever they are, don’t want to entertain the notion of dealing with people who run independent record labels. But it was quite the opposite when I started dealing with her.

“So basically I built up an application form and went through that process and we were lucky enough to get funding, which has gone a long way towards the pressing of the record. It is something we are incredibly grateful for, and you have to admire Clare County Council when they go, ‘Yeah, maybe we can fund more traditional arts or whatever, but we can also fund emerging local talent as well.’”

Out On A Limb began in Limerick in 2003 and has seen numerous acclaimed released from the likes of Crayonsmith, giveamanakick, and Hooray For Humans.

With Ciarán now based in Kilkee, running Radio Corca Baiscinn, and Richard Burke hailing from Cratloe, Out On A Limb is very much a Clare label, and will release a single from Ennis-based Cities! before the end of the year. But Ciarán admits it has been tough time.

“About 12 months ago, we got to the stage where we hadn’t put anything out in a long time and we were at a crossroads stage where we were thinking should we keep this thing going. We sat down with the bands and we discussed it. They were all buzzing with ideas. Some of the things they were coming back with was the limited releases. We took all of that stuff onboard.”

Windings is Steve Ryan, Liam Marley, Patrick O’ Brien, Stephen Purcell, and Aaron Mulhall. They released their debut album, essentially a solo effort, Steve admits, in 2005. Since then, his time was split between Windings and his now defunct band giveamanakick (“As much as I miss it, I am happy with how things finished up. I have the fondest memories of it.”), but now he is focused only on this band.

Vertigo Smyth is essentially one man and his ukulele. His first gig was in Limerick five years ago, and in 2008, debut ep, ‘Future Happiness’ arrived, and received a lot of attention.

It was Steve and Vertigo Smyth who suggested releasing a limited edition 7” record. Steve suggests that it was a simple idea. “We had been talking about doing something like this for a long time. We both have
a love of vinyl, and we both have record collections, and we thought it would be nice to make a record of our own. So we in Windings, and Vertigo Smyth thought it would be a good idea.”

Windings’ contribution is a track called ‘Old Like J’, an ode to the legendary J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. Vertigo Smyth’s offering is ‘The Armada Song’. Influential Irish music blogger Nialler9 describes the tracks as “properly great slices of indie-folk”.

Windings – ‘Old Like J’

Vertigo Smyth says that he went “all out” on ‘The Armada Song’. “We did a lot of hard graft on the song and I think it shows, and pays off as well. I have heard Steve playing ‘Old Like J’ for a few years now too, so to have a version of that on vinyl is great. I am dead chuffed with it.”

With an album due in October, the next year looks like it will be the busiest yet for Windings.“Our sight is set on getting this album out and playing as much as we can, and getting as many people as possible to hear it – that is our ultimate goal,” Steve claims. Having recently supported Teenage Fanclub (“absolutely brilliant”), and Irish band-du-jour Villagers, Windings are well on their way.

Vertigo Smyth’s future seems focused on expanding his record collection – he is currently in search of a Divine Comedy record – as well as going into the studio to make an album.

Ciáran, meanwhile, says that 2011 will prove to be a much busier year for Out On A Limb, and is enthusiastic when asked about the health of the Irish music industry. “There seems to be tons of good bands out there,” he says.

With funding from Clare County Council, the forthcoming release has rejuvenated the label, provided Windings with the springboard for national success and added another string to the bow for Vertigo Smyth.

OOAL 0013 will be released on July 29. Windings and Vertigo Smyth play The Hub
in Ennis, on Thursday, August 19.

Full Tour Dates

Thu 29th Jul 2010 windings & Vertigo Smyth De Barras, Clonakilty Split 7″ Tour

Fri 30th Jul 2010 Crayonsmith Captain’s Live, Blanchardstown New Breed show

Sat 31st Jul 2010 windings ArtBeat, Waterford

Sun 1st Aug 2010 windings & Vertigo Smyth The Loft, Limerick Spit 7″ Launch Tour

Thu 5th Aug 2010 windings, Strange Brew Summer Shindig Roisin Dubh

Thu 12th Aug 2010 windings & Vertigo Smyth Whelan’s Upstairs, Dublin Split 7″ Tour

Fri 13th Aug 2010 windings & Vertigo Smyth McGinnitys, Cavan Split 7″ Tour

Thu 19th Aug 2010 windings & Vertigo Smyth The Hub, Ennis Split 7″ Tour.

Out On A Limb Website
Out On A Limb myspace
Windings Myspace
Windings Twitter
Vertigo Smyth Myspace
Vertgio Smyth Website