Ella Bowler catches up with alt-pop singer Rebecca Locke and alt-indie band Mothmom to talk about fostering creativity in a city that doesn’t always facilitate the arts.
“I think as a whole, Ireland is not a great country to be young in. But on another note, it doesn’t even matter about the place, it’s about the people and the energy in a certain area,” says Mothmom’s Eoghan Leahy.
With that in mind, Rebecca Locke and Mothmom’s Lauren O’Hare, Oisín Ward O’Brien and Eoghan Leahy shared what keeps the Irish music scene thriving, despite its lack of young creative spaces.
Creating music since 2018, Locke released her most highly anticipated single ‘manic energy’ earlier this year. The anthem serves as an unedited stream of consciousness about what it’s like to be mentally ill in your early twenties.
The Dublin-based alternative indie rock band Mothmom, emerged in 2020, with their single ‘Emo Boy’ followed by the release of their EP How to Cut Your Losses in 2021.
Mothmom played alongside Locke at Electric Bricnic - an online Minecraft performance in aid of MASI (Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland)- a performance which Locke describes as a “breath of fresh air”.
Both Locke and Mothmom hone in on how it is the energy within the Irish music scene that keeps it one of the best in the world.
“It’s a really lovely, vibrant community of young artists who are trying their best to make it in a city where everyday something else gets knocked down to become a hotel,” says Locke.
Mothmom emerged from DCU’s AIMS (Alternative Indie Music Society) and agreed that AIMS played an integral role in fostering Mothmom’s culture, and fundamentally providing them with a free and consistent space to share ideas and perform.
“There were Members Music Nights where people would send in their own original music - it was so cool to see how many talented people are in there making music.” says O’Hare.
Society life was also important to Locke’s introduction to music. Locke met her producer Conor O’Boyle, producer of ‘manic energy’, through UCD’s Music Society. “He’s really sweet, he’s one of my best friends and we met in college. And then in late 2019 I asked him to be my producer and we started working together and it was so much fun,” says Locke.
Locke believes accessibility is an integral part of the arts and something she is constantly perpetuating - if a venue is not fundamentally accessible, then certain demographics are consistently eliminated from the social and creative setting.
“Accessible music is so important; accessible venues and accessible music nights where you don’t have to pay anything to go in are really few and far between, because Dublin is getting the life sucked out of it.”
“I found it really hard to make friends in college,” Locke continues, “a lot of societies had barriers to them, like social or money barriers, But music society was different, it was one of the only ones that didn’t have any barriers. You could just rock up to any of their events for free, without knowing anyone.”
It was through UCD’s Music Society, that Locke fell in love with event planning. Through planning inclusive and accessible music events through the society, events that “cultivated community”; Locke maintained this ethos when setting up Indigo Sessions.
“Indigo Sessions actually started as my 21st birthday. All of my friends are quite musical, so I thought I’d do a gig instead of a party; the only thing that I didn’t like about it was that I had to ask everyone to pay a fiver to rent out the venue,” says Locke.
“For the second ever Indigo Sessions I booked Workman’s Vintage room, which is free to book. They gave me the main room for free because they had a cancellation.”
Indigo Sessions provides a curated space for people to see Dublin’s underground artists free of charge.
Locke is a perfect example of the perseverance within the Irish music scene - despite Ireland being sometimes inaccessible to young creatives, their drive to create and share art dramatically overrides it.
And in a wink to Locke, Mothmom say they would love to play at Indigo Sessions post-Covid.