As we approach 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.
Dave Conway performed with his band Trip Hazard on October 10th, 2006. Here is our catch up....
Stephen - You were one of the first artists to perform on BalconyTV. What, if anything do you remember about the performance?
Dave - I just checked it out again after many years and the whole experience came back instantly. It was such a novel idea and you gave us a great welcome. The gaff was suitably 'busy' and the balcony was perfect, with a great view of Dublin Castle and Dame St. Unusual as the setting was, we really got into the vibe with appropriate encouragement from yourselves. It was all mad really, wonderfully mad. Pauline's hat was the real hit though!
Stephen - What was the song about?
Dave - The song was 'Come On', performed with my mates Robbie, Eugene and Paul, collectively we were 'Trip Hazard'. I was going though a difficult time in my personal life, and the song reflected my state of being at the time. Staying in a lot, feeling a bit miserable. The writing of the song was an antidote. Playing in a band with the lads was my happy time; looking at the BalconyTV video reminded me of how much I enjoyed. We went our separate musical ways some time later, but we're all still great friends.
Stephen - How long had you been playing before that point?
Dave - I've been writing songs and playing guitar since I was 16, so a long time! But Trip Hazard were my ultimate band, we really had a good sound going on. There were various line-ups but this one was the best and we'd been going for about 3 years at that time. Our last ever song released was 'The Next Life' and there's a nice video to go with it, featuring a real cruise ship on the Liffey. The expense we had to go to to make that happen!!
Stephen - What were your ambitions then, compared to what they are now?
Dave - Still more or less the same; to enjoy every single moment of being in a band, of writing and performing, and enjoying the amazing vibe that is the music scene.
Stephen - Are you still performing now? If not what do you do now?
Dave - I've never stopped performing, though less frequently in the last few years. I've always continued to write and record and since Trip Hazard split, I've made a solo album, an album with current outfit The DC Experiment (who also performed on the balcony), and have released some solo material recently.
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?
Dave - Yeah, we all had our MySpace 'pages', and it was good for a while until bought over by people who hadn't a clue what to do with it. It's taken a while, but platforms like Bandcamp, Reverbnation, Soundcloud have slowly become more user friendly, for both bands and fans, but there's room for improvement. An accidental outcome of the digital shift has been, paradoxically perhaps, a resurgence of the live music scene, primarily because access to local marketing of your material and events has been made so much easier via social media.
Stephen - What do you make of the Irish music scene?
Dave - It's incredibly strong. The number of top quality acts emanating from garages and sheds, as well as music colleges, is quite phenomenal. It's starting to get attention internationally as well. I'm privileged to be an active witness to it, through hosting a monthly showcase gig in a great venue on the quays, The Workmans Club. Every performance is of the 'wow' variety, the quality of the songwriting and musicianship is jaw-dropping across many genres. Hip-hop is really happening at the moment for example, and it's just the latest of so many.
Stephen - If you could give the you of 10 years ago advice, 10 years on, what would it be?
Dave - Don't ever contemplate hanging up your guitar, and never stop going to gigs!! I actually thought of doing both these things. Silly me.
Stephen - What has been the best thing to happen to you in music and life in the last 10 years?
Dave - It's hard to single out one particular moment as my constant involvement in music is a continuous joy, but I think the night of my birthday 3 years ago when I played a full set with a reformed Trip Hazard after 6 years, and then played a full set with The DC Experiment, probably encapsulates it well. I put on a hat for the latter gig. My daughter also produced a birthday cake between songs. As I said, joyous.
Stephen - What is the one song of yours your most proud of that people should check out?
Dave - I'm going to give the classic singer/songwriter answer here; the current one! For two reasons, we always think that our newest song is the best song ever (why would we write them otherwise?), and because the current one is the first I've written on piano, and there's a great video to go with it from Michela d'Andrea. And it was written for my late brother Tom.
Stephen - Who has been your favorite Irish artist of the last 10 years, and your favorite international or mainstream artist?
Dave - That's a terrible question to ask!! There's so many....the most innovative for me was Clockwork Orchestra. It's really one guy, Paul Mangan, and his album 'A Fish for a Heart' was a standout for me in recent times. We also had the pleasure of having a band set at our monthly gig.
Dave - Radiohead have always been one of my favourite acts. Are Arcade Fire mainstream? If so, I like them. LCD Soundsystem?
Stephen - Final question. What would your words of wisdom be for anyone starting out? Be as brutal as you like.
Dave - Do it! Be in a band because it's such fun, can be so creative, and you'll have friends for life, as well an occasional enemy. Write because it's cathartic, perform because it's a buzz. Enjoy losing yourself in the zone. This is success in music. The business, that's another thing.
Stephen - Thanks Dave!
- Stephen O'Regan