As its BalconyTVs 10th anniversary, I thought it would be interesting to interview some of the first artists that performed on the show and find out what has happened to them in the time since.
Colm Lynch performed in August 2006. Here is our catch up....
Stephen - Colm, you were one of the first artists to perform on BalconyTV. What, if anything do you remember about the performance?
Colm - I remember the novelty of the whole thing. This was before YouTube "content" was the all important thing, so I didn't really think much else about it at the time. Just turn up and knock out a tune!
Stephen - What was the song about?
Colm - "Bleed is dry" is about suffocating in one's surroundings, and wondering what the rest of the wide world has to offer. A "grass is greener" concept and a yearning to leave familiarity behind.
Stephen - How long had you been playing before that point?
Colm - All my life! But professionally, maybe 3 or 4 years
Stephen - What were your ambitions then, compared to what they are now?
Colm - I wanted to be a well known artist then. Where as now, I just want to be an artist. Possibly because the former seems so out of reach, but probably because the latter is the ONLY important thing!
Stephen - Are you still performing now?
Colm - Yes I perform for a living, 6/7 nights a week (I'm writing this in Cork,where I'll be performing tonight).
Stephen - The internet has completely transformed music in the last 10 years. When we started out, YouTube was just starting and MySpace was the thing. How have you found dealing with the digital revolution?
Colm - It has made me realise the value of art, which is so much more than money! All music is free to stream now. A lot of people think that's a bad thing, but I have to go back to my earlier point... Money should not be the driving factor, rather the art, and level of the artist's output. I mean, I would MUCH rather that somebody streamed my music for free and liked it, than receive money for it, and it never be heard. Obviously both would be nice, but if I had to choose....
Stephen - What do you make of the Irish music scene?
Colm - It's vibrant, so much amazing talent. Unfortunately, there is an apathy towards it within the general public. People seem happy with what they're fed, and nobody seems up for attending shows unless they've heard of the artist. People seem reluctant to even go 100 metres, to watch FREE, great live music. I'm not sure a lot of people know the difference! I know that sounds pompous but here's a scenario: it's quite common to be ignored when playing a few tunes down the local. But if you were doing the same few tunes at a festival, and word was around that you were the "hottest new act around", the same people that would ignore you in the local, would be front row centre at your festival gig. That's just my opinion, garnered over years of observing people. There's an "emperor's new clothes" aspect to the music scene.
Stephen - If you could give the you of 10 years ago advice, 10 years on, what would it be?
Colm - Just concentrate on music, your performance, your writing. Because the rest is utter bollox! The jumping through hoops, the constant badgering for attention... It's pointless. And I wasted so much valuable time over that period, doing pointless shit! But the ten years ago me would hate my guts for that advice. He would say I was a pessimist... But hindsight is clearest!
Stephen - What has been the best thing to happen to you in music and life in the last 10 years?
Colm - Well nothing tops my marriage and the birth of my kids. But professionally, the most rewarding thing, is that I've been able to maintain a decent living doing what I love... Without too much compromise.
Stephen - What is the one song of yours that you are most proud of that people should check out?
Colm - That's like asking someone to pick their favourite child! Check them ALL out :-)
Stephen - Who has been your favorite Irish artist of the last 10 years, and your favorite international or mainstream artist?
Colm - I think Conor O’Brien is the most interesting, original artist of the last 10 years. But if he was just a dude playing in a boozer, would anybody give him the time of day?? Sorry, just trying to reinforce my theory!
Colm - Ryan Adams is my favourite current artist, I love his work and his attitude!
Stephen - Final question. What would your words of wisdom be for anyone starting out? Be as brutal as you like.
Colm - It's a theme I keep coming back to but: don't focus on financial or critical success. Focus on enjoying your craft. Don't feel like you should hand your money to PR companies just because it's the done thing. More often than not, it will leave you poor, and no further up the ladder... Sure, try and promote your stuff, but try and come up with a different way of doing it. A way that's specific to you and your work, it will come across more personal. Don't waste your time badgering radio stations. They don't care about you unless you can make money for them, and you can't! And try not to rely on friends and well wishers for your live audience. It wears thin, for them AND for you.
But most of all, enjoy it! If you enjoy your job, it's not a job... It's a vocation, a lifestyle! (Takes long pull from his pipe and stares into the distance!!!) 😉