Read part one of this interview here.

The Irish music scene is buzzing. It has been garnering so many plaudits from so many people in recent years, a long thing coming. You only need to look at the success of Breaking Tunes to see the plethora of bands coming through. Waterford may not be a city that comes to mind when you think of up and coming, exciting new bands, but The Casanova Wave’s Brian McCartan is adamant. Despite the effect of the recession, which, he says, hasn’t left many music venues open, it has forced the bands to take a more DIY approach, which Brian claims is a real positive.

“There’s no hierarchy of where people play,” Brian says. Everyone just plays in the same kind of pubs and art galleries and stuff. I think in terms of accessibility for people to listen to music, it’s great because it’s just there in front of you all the time. You can just stroll into a pub and O Emperor, Katie Kim, anybody, can be just playing there. It’s a very creative place, Waterford: a lot of theatre, art, music.”


Katie Kim – ‘Wicked Game’

Brian says a lot of the bands are crossbred – it’s not incestuous though – in that members of different bands have played with members of other bands. For example, Aisling, the Solar Taxi singer – more of which later – plays in Katie Kim’s band. “The familiarity means there’s always support there for everyone, which is great. It’s a big support to have people who you know are doing well for themselves and you’d see them out and about then they’re at your gig, cheering you on.” But Brian points out that there is another side to that coin, that bands can get into the habit of thinking bringing along a tonne of friends to cheer you on will win you more fans. “I find the Dublin music scene to be a bit of a popularity contest sometimes, like, who can bring the bigger bunch of friends. I think it’s bred into them, this rent-a-crowd, pull in as many of your friends, which I suppose there’s not anything necessarily wrong with, but I just don’t have much interest in it. If five people turned up to listen to me, off their own bat and taken the initiative to come and see me I’d be happy with that.”

Brian is also critical of battle of the bands competitions like Arthur’s Day, something that was recently discussed – and rubbished as being of no benefit to younger bands – on Jim Carroll’s blog, On The Record. “Music isn’t about being impersonal and it’s not about getting a load of likes on your Facebook page,” Brian declares. “It’s absolute nonsense. I don’t see how it’s productive to what the point of making music is. It just makes it seem like business and I hate that.” He adds: “These things to not be of much value to you. If they wanted to offer you something of value they wouldn’t make you pit it out and fight against other bands. They would just offer you a gig, you know?”

We could go on, but what about the music? As The Casanova Wave, Brian has to date just released the one EP. But he has also contributed two wonderful remixes, one of Trophy Boyfriend’s ‘Feels Like Autumn’ (The Casanova Wave ‘Feels Like A Caribbean Cruise’ Remix) and one for Solar Taxi’s ‘Glass Hearts’. Are remixes something Brian likes doing? “It’s a nice experiment because when I sit down with one of my own songs I’m constantly thinking that I have to reinvent the wheel and criticising myself, saying I have to go harder, try and do something that I haven’t done before. Whereas with the remix, it’s not that I don’t care, but that the pressure isn’t there. I’m just happy to go with the flow, put out whatever feels natural. It’s a different type of creative process and it’s a lot freer and a lot more fun, so I do enjoy doing it. I like the challenge of trying to take someone’s song and turning it into a different song, not completely and utterly, but as much as I can, so that the two songs can stand side by side as different songs and be equally as good. So I like that challenge as well.”

The Solar Taxi remix came about because that band is from Waterford and, as inferred from above, Brian knew the guys. They had seen him play at one of his first gigs, at a small festival in Kilkenny in September 2010 and they kept in contact since, culminating in the ‘Glass Hearts’ remix (The Casanova Wave ‘Sleep Tight’ Remix). Brian says: “When I do remixes I like to take the vocals and drop everything else, so that’s what I did for that one. Peter (Voegler, of Solar Taxi) just asked me to take the song and put my mark on it. I think I did that, I did something a bit different from the original. When I do a remix I like to try and create a new song out of the material. I’m very happy with how it turned out and the lads enjoyed it a lot.”

Of The Casanova Wave’s future, Brian says he is working on an album which he expects to complete early next year. “Originally I had plans of putting something out myself in March, but then I thought I’d wait ‘til summer. There’s no point rushing it or putting it out until it’s ready. During the summer I felt a little under pressure because I had to do the odd bit of actual work to make money, and then there’s gigging and rehearsing and working on music. It just felt I had no spare time. And then going into the studio in that frame of mind, it’s not very condusive to being relaxed. So I did a couple of days [in the studio] and I have a couple of tracks pretty much sorted. But I’m gonna wait until after the summer, once the gigs dry up and go quiet for a couple of months and hopefully, early next year, I’ll put the album out.”

Expect to hear a lot more from one of Waterford’s, nay, Ireland’s, brightest musical prospects in the future. The Casanova Wave: on the crest of a, er, wave. Brian plays Hard Working Class Heroes festival at the beginning of October in Dublin.

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