In the latest episode of the Point of Everything Podcast – guest-hosted by Bríd O’Donovan (who also took the two photos in the post) as I was feeling sick – Ros Steer, formerly of Saint Yorda, talks about her current band Morning Veils. Completed by Aisling O’Riordan and Elaine Howley, the Cork-based three piece have just released their debut album, Her Kind, on Ros’s own label, Kantcope, which she runs with Mary Kelliher. In the interview, Ros chats about how she developed as a musician and as a music lover, chats about the confidence that being in Saint Yorda gave her, her creative process, why the Kantcope released have been done on cassette, and more. I’ve transcribed some of the highlights from the interview below, but if you want to listen to the interview, click the Soundcloud player below or listen (and subscribe) on iTunes here.
On joining Saint Yorda:
…I was studying for my Irish finals and Kevin Terry sent me a message – he was in my jazz class – and it was like, ‘Hey, do you want to play bass in my pop band?’ I was like, ‘I don’t really play bass or pop, but sure, why not?’ So that was a huge learning curve.
Was that the first time that you’re playing original music?
Yeah, like I think me and Julia had a made-up band in fourth year for school that sang about bagels and shit, really shite stuff. Good fun though. So then I joined Saint Yorda with Kevin and Paul O’Reilly. And that was a huge learning curve, using an electric instrument and getting sound through amps; you’re not making the sound with your fingers. But I think it still stood me in good stead, that I learned to play acoustic first – most people start on electric bass and go to acoustic, but I do it the other way around. It’s good for me I think. And that just got me into music, like mixing with other people in the city who make music, which I didn’t really do that much before. I did the odd improv thing.
On releasing or not releasing music:
When you’re producing something with no intention whatsoever of the public, of any stranger – not even the public, someone you don’t know – ever looking at it, you tend to go at it with a greater sense of freedom. So sometimes I listen back to the first tracks I made and I’m like, ‘Those are mad, those are totally off the wall.’
On getting things done:
Yeah Kevin Terry pointed out, ‘I like things that end. You just get it done.’ I spose it just means it’s gonna drive you nuts if you don’t do it, if you have an idea and you don’t do it, it will haunt me forever. And sometimes they’re not good ideas, sometimes they’re terrible ideas and I do them anyway, but you learn. The great thing about this city is you can have an idea and there’ll be wonderful people around who’ll be like, ‘Yeah you should do that idea, I’ll help you.’ ‘Would you like any help with your idea?’ [They’re] really open to ideas of all different kinds and are very good at spotting an idea and carrying it through. I think that’s one of the things that makes Cork a great city, is that people in different contexts, different genres, different people that might never go for pints, but they might be like, ‘Oh yeah that’s a really good idea we should do that. Or ‘I’ll help you out with that cos it’s a good idea.’
Recording Morning Veils’ album Her Kind:
I guess if you’re going to make a record, you can try and recreate the live energy. I find it a weird thing to think about a lot, recording vs live performances. You can get really extreme things like big pop shows like Justin Bieber, Beyonce, where you’re recreating the music video and everyone wants to dance, your live show is recreating your record, and then the other thing where you want the energy, ‘I want it to sound live, lets all just record it like. So we did different things. We had loads of help. Dan Walsh produced the record and he a super job. He just invests in the project like it’s his own, and we got a lot of that from all the people helping us, which is such a cool gift to give, to actually give the time and attention to a thing and care about it that much. And he did a great job for us, just because he cares. And so that’s cool. And making the record, you have opportunities to make weird sounds you might not be able to make live or have more tracks and play with different sounds and effects so why not?
On releasing music on cassette:
Tapes because I was putting out a tape, and I was like, ‘Hey Mary, do you want to make that Kantcope?’ And she said yeah. And she made a beautiful video to go with the ‘Still Moving’ track. I spose tapes are, there’s a particular quality to them, I can only really say what I think about tapes, I don’t really know what Mary thinks about tapes – presumably she thinks they’re badass and cool – I like that people have to listen to them in weird and unusual ways cos not everyone has a tape player anymore, so you end up listening to them in your car and if you’ve got weird car speakers parts pop that you’ve never heard pop out before. That’s why I had the digital download too, so that you’re not totally to the wind with that, but y’know people listen to them on their old players they haven’t played in ages and weird places, and they have a particular quality to them, a particular sound quality which is nice. They’re affordable to make so you can afford to put out stuff so if, ‘I’m gonna make a weird tape’, you can afford to just put it out, even though no one has heard that music from you before.