Since Eoin O’Callaghan, AKA Best Boy Grip, released his first EP ‘Barbara’ in late 2011 to critical acclaim, he has not only received the attention of music lovers throughout the country, but internationally as well, and has been hailed as the ‘next big thing’ to come out of Northern Ireland.
HIs punchy lyrics, refreshingly orginal tunes, combined with the creative composition of each and every song, make Best Boy Grip a must have band in your music collection.
With the release of his debut album just around the corner after 4 yrs of writing and recording, we caught up with the man himself.
How do you think you’re time with the Codetta Choir has influenced your work through Best Boy Grip, both in writing and recording?
Well, I’d say that my time with Codetta has been invaluable. It makes sense that if you work with close, complicated harmony on a relatively regular basis, then it should be an advantage to helping you understand pop music.
Pop music is generally much simpler music than a typical Codetta repertoire. In saying that, simple and good is not necessarily easy to create!
Your debut album is available to pre-order through Pledge Music, what are the advantages of this approach?
Well, it means that (with funding) I’ll be able to finalise the album and market it infinitely better than if I was trying to do it on my own.
The music industry is changing dramatically. Its becoming more and more difficult to stay afloat in this game and the major labels are feeling it too. With major labels tried, tested and safe methods of song writing are generally given the financial support and are in turn sold through heavily marketed/manufactured acts.
The advantage for the labels is that they have low risk. The disadvantage for the rest of the world is that we’re fed the same song over and over, produced slightly differently and with a new face each week but essentially, its a never ending cycle of safe, familiar formulas.
Best Boy Grip wants more than that. Best Boy Grip wants to be free. Pledge Music and the support our friends and patrons are giving enables freedom. Freedom to be different and interesting. Freedom to be ourselves.
Have you a name yet for the forthcoming album, and when will it be available?
No, there is no name as yet. It’ll be released on 7th Sept.
Since your collaboration with Guillem Balague, have you seen an increase in attention internationally?
I’ve certainly had a few interesting tweets from important people in the football world.
Guillem is massively respected in his field and when he shares my songs or the collaborations we did, there is always a steady stream of feedback from many his 850,000 Twitter following. Guillem will be back visiting me in Derry in the summer and we’ll do a gig or something to celebrate.
People try to find some kind of similarity between different artist’s, you yourself have been likened to The Beatles, Neil Hannon and Radiohead, (that’s a great mix by the way) do you find this frustrating or do you think it’s simply people trying to find a personal connection to your music?
I don’t mind be compared to that list at all! Amazing acts and I’m a fan of them all. I suppose if you wanted to get a friend to listen to a new band, it would be tempting to find a comparison to another band.
Its a fast way to judge wether or not you should pursue your sell. Music mags have been doing if for ever...’sounds like...’. I don’t mind it as long as the comparisons are good acts haha.
You have shared the stage with some big names, artists such as Pete Doherty, those experiences must be invaluable as a performer.
Well, it has helped me to see how imperfects many ‘professional’ performances are. Its taken the pressure off in a weird way. I used to think that if something went wrong that it’d be the end of the world.
I played piano for McFly last year in front of 6,000 people. Back stage they were messing around and jocking each other, then they went out and mimed guitar and drums to a backing track.
To be fair, they said they like playing live but sometimes its handier for the promoter if they just mime. Backing tracks are everywhere.
It actually brings everything down to earth. When you think your band sounds ‘thinner’ than your favourite band, its most definitely because your favourite band is playing with a CD.
Also, huge stars are just people when the cameras are turned off. They have insecurities like everyone else.
How do you rate the music scene in Derry at the minute?
I think there are many great acts that desperately want an audience. There are a bunch of dedicated people behind the scenes who are desperately trying to make the scene bigger and better but the hard truth is that many Derry people need to make an active choice to turn off X-Factor and go pay £3 to hear something real on your doorstep.
Many gigs have the same dedicated punters at them every week and its people like that who help keep the scene alive. If you’ve not been to a gig in a while, go an’...give it a go!
Have you any gigs coming up or touring plans this year?
A full tour will be announced as soon as the album is ready!