INTERVIEW// Hermitage Green

The Limerick lads are Letterkenny bound and we caught up with Barry Murphy ahead of next month's gig at The Warehouse Bar & Kitchen

Irish folk/rock band, Hermitage Green will be making their way to Letterkenny next month for a night of great music and unbelievable craic.

The five piece Irish acoustic folk/ rock band is made up with brothers Barry and Dan Murphy, Darragh Graham, Dermot Sheedy and Darragh Griffin.

The guys made headlines recently for rocking up to house party in Dublin and playing live but that’s all in a day’s work for the Limerick lads.

“It’s brilliant how much kudos we’re getting for basically going on the piss and playing at a house party. People are saying it’s the most amazing thing!” Laughs lead singer Barry Murphy when I caught up with him this week.

“It was such a laugh. Since day one we’ve prided ourselves on our gigs being more about the craic than anything else.”

Barry went on to explain how it all it came about. “There are a group of lads who keep coming to our gigs and sending us Snapchats and Facebook messages about having house parties and blaring out our music all night. I actually met one of them in Cork a few weeks ago and drunkenly said that we’d love to play at their house party. Then the very next day they were on to us about sorting it.

“There were about thirty or forty of us crammed into this tiny little room and we had a serious session. The response has been quite overwhelming really. We’ve had hundreds of different messages and emails from students all across the country looking to do something similar, so we’re trying to put together a plan because we don’t want to disappoint people.” So it could soon be; Hermitage Green, live at house party near you!

The guys pride themselves on their live performances and the great craic to be had at their gigs. With international tours under their belt, they have gained huge support from Limerick to Perth and everywhere in between. “Yeah, that’s what we have prided ourselves on right from the start. We played various pubs around Limerick and it just took off from there really” said Barry.  

“We were always known for our craic and our live shows and also how much energy we bring to gigs. I think at that time we were getting a lot of headway in Ireland because of the recession, people were looking for something to do and that’s why we had started the band in the first place. We were all looking for something to pick us up when the country was feeling so down but unfortunately a lot people had to leave the county at that time too.

“We started to receive a lot of requests, especially from Australia, just to go out there and play so we put together a tour and just went out. We had a thirteen gig sell out tour and on the last day there were 400 people who couldn’t even get into our gig in Perth. I honestly don’t think that any of them knew who we were, but they knew that we were an Irish band and wanted a taste from home.

“It’s so enjoyable though, we end up staying on people’s couches as we don’t normally book into hotels. It makes it all the more enjoyable, we get to meet new people and that’s what it’s all about for us.”

Hermitage Green - JENNY

Sony Ireland joined the long list of Hermitage Green admirers and the band signed on the dotted line in May of last year. “We had always been tip toeing around it for a few years” Barry told me when asked about signing their first record contract.

“They had been keeping an eye on us and when we wrote and released ‘Jenny’, they really liked and wanted to hear what else we had.

“They are really nice people first and foremost and that was important to us. They are people who have the same vision as us and gave us a lot of artistic control over the album.”

Their debut album ‘Save Your Soul’ went to number three in the Irish charts and the guys felt that producer Philip Magee played a big part in that.

“They often say that the producer can be the sixth member of the band and Philip certainly was for those few months” said Barry.

“He has worked with The Script, Kodaline and recently produced The Academic’s album. He’s a young guy with the same buzz as us but first and foremost he’s a top guy and great craic. He puts that first.

“He says he’s like the psychologist in the studio trying to appease everyone while driving in the right direction. We’re five opinionated guys each with a very different taste in music, so to blend all of those tastes and the direction that we had each wanted to go individually into one single arrowhead was no mean feat.”

Hermitage Green - Quicksand

So what about being in a band with his brother Dan… I wanted to find out if there are any similarities with another famous brotherly duo, the Gallagher’s. “There’s plenty!” Barry said with a laugh.

“We kill each other but in such a brotherly way. We shared a room for eighteen years so we’re well used to bickering and fighting over things. We have completely different tastes in music and both battle it out to be lead singer of the band. We both write so it’s a battle over who gets to sing what song, whose song gets picked, everything!

“Who gets to wear what t-shirt seems to be the most common argument we have because we generally dress the same, so it’s very annoying trying to not go on stage dressed in exactly same clothes.”

The Warehouse Bar & Kitchen will welcome the Limerick lads this Friday for what is sure to be a night to remember. “This will be our first time gigging in Letterkenny and we’re really looking forward to it” said Barry.

“We give everything when we play and from what I hear Letterkenny is a great town for music and a great town for a party. We’ve received a tonne of messages about after parties so we’ll hopefully rock the Warehouse and then get out and have a bit of craic around town afterwards.”

Hermitage Green, The Warehouse Bar & Kitchen, Friday 11th November from 9pm. Free in.

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