Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

HWCH Q&A: Touts

Derry band Touts tell us where they’re at


Tue, Oct 4, 2016, 13:05


The word on the street from Touts, one of the 100 or so bands playing the Hard Working Class Heroes festival and convention this weekend. Catch them at The Chocolate Factory Stage 2 on Friday night at 10.30pm

If you were to point an Irish Times reader to the best example of your work, what would it be and why?

“The best example of our work hasn’t been released yet unfortunately, so for the mean time we suppose it would have to be our song “Marty”. However, the best example of us as a band and our work in general we feel is our live set.”

Why did you get involved with making music in the first place? Has it lived up to expectations?

“We all got involved in music differently. For some of us, it was the usual parents’ record collection; for others, it was by chance. Mine started when I was about seven when I first played Guitar Hero 3 and heard “Paint It Black” by the Rolling Stones and I’ve not looked back since then. I suppose it really has lived up to the expectations I had about making music.”

What was your experience of music at school and in the education system?

“Our experience of music at school is fairly mixed as two of us go to the same school and the other a different school and we are all in different years. If you have a good teacher or a teacher you like, it can be alright. It’s definitely more craic than other subjects, but in terms of what we do or what we aim to do as a band. music in the school education system has very little if not nothing to offer us.”

What’s the best piece of advice you got when you were starting out on this path?

“The best piece of advice we got starting out would be to take every gig you can get which we heard from the late Derry band Riot Upstairs and to also just write and practice as much as possible.”

What advice would you give to other bands or those who want to be in a band or make music?

“If you want to get a band going, like if you really want to, just stop thinking about it and do it. It can be hard if you live in a small town and in that case, try and write as much as possible and try and get your friends interested. If you put the work in, it will definitely pay off – music isn’t a dark art.”

Your favourite Irish venue to play and why?

“The Guildhall in our home town of Derry. It’s an old building with a big organ behind the tall stage. We had two back to back shows there around last December and it was a pleasure to play them just thinking of the people that stood on the stage like Rory Gallagher. Our dream venue in Ireland is probably the Ulster hall for the same reason.”

Do you still have to do other stuff to make a living? If so, what stuff? Does this frustrate you?

“Not at the minute as we are all, fortunately or unfortunately, still in education. This greatly annoys some of us more than others, but as a unit, it is very frustrating because all we think about is the band. When you’re in school you find yourself thinking ‘if we spent the time we did in school practicing, writing etc we’d be so far ahead’.”

Who was the last Irish act you saw and where/when?

“The last Irish act we saw was R51 in Belfast at a show we were playing for Culture Night. There’s a great buzz around the band especially in their town.”

If you’d one piece of advice for Heather Humphries, the minister for arts, about support for Irish music and musicians, what would it be?

“We’d advise her to get more venues opened and more opportunities for young bands because in reality the younger bands are going to take the likes of U2′s place. If she wants Ireland to continue being at the forefront of music worldwide, it’s important she tries her best to give younger bands opportunities.”

Aside from your upcoming show at HWCH, what else are you working on at present?

“At the minute we are writing and finishing off writing our second EP. We are working on mainly writing at the minute, though we have a few gigs coming in both England and Ireland, one of which is in the Millennium Forum in Derry supporting The Undertones. Later in the year, we have a tour coming up with a big band across Ireland which should be lethal.”