DAY 6 INTERVIEW: John Deery & the Heads

12 Days of Christmas - Give the Gift of Local Music this Year

Known for their thought provoking lyrics, John Deery and the Heads have been stirring audiences far and wide ever since bursting onto the music scene back in 2010.

Their debut release ‘Smoke and Mirrors' was recorded in a picturesque French farmhouse by former Frames guitarist and Grammy award-winning Irish producer Dave Odlum, who was so impressed after hearing John’s early solo material, that he had got in touch to ask if he could record their album.

The Heads second album, titled 'Horizon' was released in December 2013 to critical acclaim, cementing their reputation as one of the city’s finest bands.

The band is made up with the man himself, John Deery on vocals and guitar and his fellow heads consisting of his brother Matt on electric guitar, Grahame Bradley on bass and Steve Sheridan on drums.

This year, the local band decided to do things a little differently when it came to financing their third studio album, ‘Nothing Permanent Lasts’. They embraced the ever changing landscape of music production by making a leap of faith and using Crowdfunder to finance the release.

One great advantage of using the crowdfunding method, apart from the obvious donations, was the daily interaction between the band and their followers. The various updates and a personal thank you which John made for each donation which had been pledged.

The support shown by their followers has been well and truly rewarded by the production of yet another incredible album, one that has been described as the best yet from the local four-piece.

“It was a great success” said an appreciative John when we caught up this week. “We were delighted with being able to raise funds to cover the album costs, because it's a very expensive process. We would definitely consider it again, but for now we're just happy to have such a great album coming out of the process. We're going to enjoy this one for a while before thinking of the next one.

“The Crowdfunder allowed us to engage with our supporters like never before and they literally became part of the production of the album, which was a phenomenal thing to be involved with. Following the release of the album it has been promoted as we normally would through our social media and so on, but I think the good will of the supporters helped a great deal to promote the album before it was even out, so that was a fantastic help to us.”

Crowdfunding is a method which is now being used more and more by artists, and it is a process which John would recommend. “Definitely” admitted John. “Especially if you go the flexible funding route, because you keep what you earn, minus Crowdfunder's percentage and costs. But it's very worthwhile, even to raise a small amount, because there is no money in music anymore and it's a labour of love, so getting a bit of help financially helps a great deal.”

John Deery and The Heads - Nothing Permanent Lasts live at Cottage Sessions

It comes as no surprise to find out that the new release features highly in this year’s stand out moment from the local band. “Definitely the new album ‘Nothing Permanent Lasts’” said John. “It was great to get another studio album released and we're all really proud of how it came together in the end.”

The guys have also been thrilled with the reception: “Delighted with it” said the frontman. “We have been blown away by the reaction from supporters and from critics, who seem to all agree it's our best album yet. Including many thinking the best song we've ever recorded is on there, but I'll not tell you which, you have to pick your own” laughed John.

Speaking about how critical local support is to the development of local music, John revealed: “It is really critical actually” admitted John. “I think now more than ever the money has gone out of music and everyone expects to stream your music for free, with artists getting literally a tiny fraction of a penny for every play, so you need to be getting tens or hundreds of thousands of plays to get any money out of it at all.

“This means that local artists who write, record and release their own music without a record company behind them, do so at great personal expense and very often don't make a fraction of that money back. By supporting local music, buying from a local record store or from the band directly, you allow the band to sustain themselves and continue to make music.

“We see so many great bands breaking up having endured too much of the struggle of making music, so if you want these bands to stick around and continue to make music, you should get out and support them. Not to mention the fact that some of the best music in the world is coming out of Derry and the North West at the minute, it doesn't take a lot to support either, buying a CD, T-shirt or LP can make a big difference.

“I genuinely believe some of the world's greatest music is being created here. From young and upcoming musicians to established artists who have mastered their craft over years playing on the local scene and beyond. You just need to look at the quality of artists like Rosborough, Paddy Nash, Our Krypton Son, Invaderband, Roe, SOAK, Paul Casey, The Wood Burning Savages, Reevah, Ryan Vail, PORTS, Conor Mason, Marty Coyle, TOUTS, Ciaran Lavery, Eoin O'Callaghan, Joshua Burnside, and so many more that I could be here all night, to see that the music is here.

“I do think that more could be done to support all the great artists making music, from getting out to gigs, buying their music and seeing more done to promote local music to the wider world, because there is a treasure trove of great music here just waiting to be heard.”

Next year will see John Deery and the Heads push the new release even more. “We expect 2018 to be mostly promoting the new album” said John. “Getting a few gigs lined up and getting a few music videos up for people to enjoy.  We appreciate the support for the new record so far and feel that more people should hear it.”

With so many incredible local acts on the scene at the moment, it’s a great opportunity show your support by giving the gift of local music this year. You can purchase merchandise from the band via their official website and be sure to check them out on Facebook and YouTube too! Don't forget to enter our competition here, where you have a chance of winning a host of merchandise from all the acts involved in the campaign.

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