Over the course of December, we’ll be running a series of interviews with Irish acts reflecting on the past 12 months, how it was for them and for music in general. As part of the 2013 round-up there may also be a couple of lists to sink your ears in to as well. Here’s the fourth act to be featured in the round-up, Sleep McEvox.

Steve McEvoy has been making music for a number of years, with the duo Datadrip and then under the moniker Sleep McEvox. Earlier this year, he released an eponymous EP on the acclaimed Bad Panda Records, played Hard Working Class Heroes shortly after, then headed on his travels to South America. He tells us about his year below.

How has 2013 been for you? What have been the highlights of the year, musically, for you?
This year has been an excellent one for me – I´ve done a lot of things I´d never thought I could do. I gave up my job, decided to go travelling, so here I am typing this from a hammock in Argentina! The highlight for me was releasing my EP. After some false starts, serious doubts, and many sleepless nights, I hit on what I wanted to make. Bad Panda Records were a perfect match for me too, they are so great to work with. I came through with a release I´m very proud of, but I also learned so much by making it. I now feel that something isn´t worth making unless it pushes you way past your limits, unless it punishes you.

You released your EP just before you started travelling. Have you made any music since? Do you think your style/influences will all have changed by the time you get back to Ireland? And how have the travels been?
Once I had my plane ticket bought, I knew I wanted to get something out before then. I managed it with a week to spare, and managed to play all the songs live, which was deadly. I haven´t made any music since I left – with the kind of music I make, it´s impossible, you need a studio. I am taking a lot of field recordings though, which is interesting – last week I got some great sounds of two penguins having a bit of a fight – which will probably make it´s way into future music in one shape or form! I think I´ve hit on the kind of music I want to make, though, I don´t expect to come back and make a samba album! Travels have been, and continue to be, really fun. I am spending Christmas in a hostel in La Paz, Bolivia. I hope they have a Christmas tree.

Best gig you’ve played? And best festival you played/attended?
Best gig I played was HWCH 13 in the Twisted Pepper. I didn´t dare look up until halfway through my second song – and seeing that stage room full of people, dancing their asses off, instantly made the months of work so worthwhile. It was such a blast, and I hope to play loads more when I get back.
As for festivals, Body and Soul was excellent as usual – I´ve been every year, and it´s still awesome. For me, it´s the benchmark Irish small festival.

What are some of your favourite songs of the year?
Roy Porter – ‘Cloud’

Daniel Avery – ‘Water Jump’

Jon Hopkins – ‘Open Eye Signal’

Blood Orange – ‘You´re Not Good Enough’

Which new bands/acts, Irish or abroad, have you been impressed by this year?
I really love the Lasertom album. It feels like a real journey, and has such an irresistable groove to it. And as a live act, he´s got it. It´s impossible to be in the vicinity of his tunes and not dance.

Also, I Am The Cosmos are really flying the flag for Ireland too. Monochrome is a savage album, which really stands out from the crowd. There is so much samey samey music out there, it´s very cool to see these guys making what they want to make. They both released their first albums this year – I was at the Monochrome launch party – they were supported by Lasertom, so it was an awesome night.

What plans have you got in the works for 2014, presumably when you get back?
I´m back in the summer of 2014. I am not going back to the healthcare job I was in, it took up all of my time, and made me unhappy. I´m heading back to college to do a master’s in Music – creating music is where it´s at for me, so I´m saying “fuck it” and throwing my eggs into that basket. There will be lots more to come music-wise – it´s easier to create when you´re not working 70-hour weeks! I´ll put out a single with those penguin noises probably.

What things other than music, have you been enjoying this year?
I´m terrible for watching things. I had a cineworld card for like two years and only went four times. The only TV I´ve watched is Twin Peaks and Mad Men – pathetic! I have been reading some books though, these are some that I enjoyed:
Don de Lillo – White Noise –
JG Ballard – Crash
Raymond Chandler – The Big Sleep
Ernest hemingway – The Old Man and the Sea
Michael Chabon – The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay
Philip Roth – American Pastoral