I didn’t grow up in a big musical household, but there were a couple of albums that would always be played, and Chris de Burgh’s Spanish Train and Other Stories was one of them. The song Spanish Train scared me because it was this epic story of God and the devil. That’s one of my first memories of music having a big effect on me. Even now I think the whole album is brilliant and full of big stories.
Supertramp were a formative act. One of my first musical memories was when I was about seven and we had a mains-powered tape recorder, which I used to bring into the bath. (I don’t know how I didn’t kill myself.) I found a Supertramp tape that one of my older brothers owned. I remember hearing The Logical Song and crying in the bath because I thought it was amazing. I didn’t know or care what the lyrics were about, and it felt like they were just singing to me.
We had some Dubliners tapes too, and they were a big part of my childhood. I love the way Luke Kelly sings and the way the melody wanders on a weird path. His voice just fills the air.
It took a while before I started discovering bands on my own. Madness were one of the first bands that I really loved in their entirety. You couldn’t fault them, could you? They were happy, and the videos were fun.
When I was around 10 I sang Nik Kershaw’s The Riddle in a singing competition at the Mission Hall in Crumlin,where they put on community events. I remember getting up and singing like a lunatic child that didn’t give a shit. I won an Airfix. I was blown away that I actually won. It wasn’t about the prize as much as the fact that I did it – I got up and sang in front of all those people.
One of the first albums I searched out for myself was from Prince. He was my first big influence. I remember seeing Cameo on Top of the Pops with the frontman who was wearing something like a jock strap. I only saw him for a minute and I thought he was brilliant, and later, when I went into a second-hand store, I bought the Prince record Dirty Mind thinking I was buying Cameo, because of the jocks on the front. It was a happy accident – Prince became my big go-to for a long time.
Julia Michaels is one of the best songwriters to come along in a long time. She reminds me of Prince, because everything she does is a little bit different. She's not doing the same song over and over again.
I’ve a big love of classical music. I think that’s why I use strings in most of my songs. I remember listening to Ravel when I was an older kid, at that age when you’re angsty. I’d blare Daphnis et Chloé on my headphones walking around Crumlin in the middle of the night. It’s supposed to be the start of spring, and it certainly sounds like the world is waking up. It’s amazing.
There’s a girl from Ireland, called Kynsy, and she’s great. I love what’s going on in Ireland at the minute. The music scene has really opened up in the last 15 or 20 years, probably because no one’s waiting on record labels any more.
Also, my daughter, Saoirse Casey, made an album that blew me away. I sound like an idiot father, but she's actually amazing. I don't mind bragging. She produced it herself, and she's got a strong direction. Breathe Easy is an instant hit, but after a couple of listens you truly understand how amazing it is. That song's a grower.
I know you shouldn’t choose your own music, but I picked Unspoken Prayer because I think it’s one of the most perfect recordings I’ve done. I didn’t try to control it or consciously drive it; I just played, and it really worked. I don’t think it’s for everyone in the world, but it’s perfect for me.
Paddy Casey and Mundy play Cork Opera House on Wednesday, October 20th. You can see more dates here paddycaseymusic.com