This is an interview I did with Richie Egan, aka Jape, for the Irish Examiner (my first print article). I haven’t changed anything, bar adding some italics, inverted commas for song titles and adding some links/embeds. You can read the original version here.

IN 2008, Jape’s album Ritual took home the Choice Music Prize, the Irish equivalent of Britain’s Mercury Prize. The Choice offers €10,000 prize money and plenty of exposure. But Richie Egan denies it helped establish his band as one of the most influential in the Irish music scene. “Jape is not that commercially successful,” he says.

Of Ritual, the band’s third album, Egan says, “it wasn’t that bad, but there’s stuff on it I definitely would change”. Surely he has felt under pressure to deliver the follow-up? “Not particularly, no, to be honest. I tend to just put pressure on myself to try and write a song that feels right to me. And if it does then I’m happy.”

Egan is certainly not lacking in confidence. Or talent. In the past three years, he has taken Jape around the world, returned to his ‘other’ band, the Redneck Manifesto, recorded an album with them and toured extensively. He also started a third band, Visionair, who have released two EPs. And now, Jape’s fourth record, Ocean Of Frequency, is ready.

Ocean of Frequency is less in-your-face than Ritual, with slower songs and less guitar. “It’s pretty much exactly how I wanted it to be,” says Egan. “I wanted it to have a different personality than the other stuff and I wanted to make a record that was more laidback and didn’t really jump out as much, but you have to kind of delve into it a bit.”

Egan recorded 30 or 40 songs since 2008 — “they tend to come out in either waves or trickles” — some of which, he admits, weren’t up to scratch. Just 12 made it onto Ocean Of Frequency.

“My whole musical metabolism,” Richie says, “is a bit slower than a lot of other bands, who seem to do stuff really fast and hard. I like to do stuff soft and slow, and just let stuff happen.

“You have to keep it interesting for yourself. That’s my whole thing because otherwise it becomes too hard, like a job. And for me, music is a love.”

Egan says that he works from 9am, gets a cup of coffee and goes on until his wife comes home from work in the evening. That’s middle-aged life, he says (he’s in his 30s). Does his wife act as his quality controller? “She used to. She used to listen to all my songs and everything, but now she doesn’t. She was listening to the album the other day and she was listening to one of the songs on it and was just going, ‘I haven’t heard that song before.’ And I was going, ‘that’s what happens when you get married.’ It used to be the case she’d always listen to them.

“That’s why I love her as well, because she’s not really into music.” But she loves Jape? “Oh she likes Jape, she loves Jape.”

The video for Jape’s song, ‘Floating’, has garnered over 1.5 million views on YouTube. The track was covered by Jack White’s Raconteurs and always gets the biggest screams when it’s played live. Egan says he is still happy to play it. “I feel like if it’s a good song you can play it forever. The only thing to be worrying about is if you were relying on it and you had no other songs.

“I’m a firm believer that if you’re getting bored by listening to something then you’re done, you can be guaranteed people won’t even get that far. They’ll already be bored.”

And for the rest of the year, you can be sure Egan will not be bored. Jape are touring around Ireland for the next month before heading to New York at the end of October, then the Redneck Manifesto are playing dates in Japan and straight after that Jape has gigs lined up in Australia. All this despite Egan admitting he isn’t into “hardcore gigging”.

“For me, making music is easy work and work that I love to do. I’d much prefer to just be making tunes.”

You get the feeling he isn’t lying, either. Regardless of how successful or otherwise Ocean Of Frequency turns out to be, you know Egan will still be working on his songs at home every day. Even if his wife doesn’t listen.

Ocean Of Frequency is out now.