Local folk band Oisín ó Scolaí & the Virginia Slims are on the cusp of releasing their debut EP.
‘One for Sorrow, Two for Joy’ will be released through Super Native Records on May 10th with a launch gig planned for the Playhouse Theatre on May 27th.
We caught up with the main man, Oisín ó Scolaí to find out more about the EP and the future plans for the band.
Who make up the band?
Myself and bass player Chris Doherty are the only constant members ever since I added the backing band, other than that Ruairi Coyle plays the drums, Rebecca Nicell on keys/organ and Stephen Cassidy plays lead guitar. All those guys hail from other bands, each fantastic in their own right.
Where do the Virginia Slims come in?
The Virginia Slims line up is constantly changing, every few months the band completely changes and that comes from the abundance of great musicians in Derry. We find that working with so many musicians makes each gig a little different from the last, some songs I’ve recorded in the studio are melancholy, stripped down folk laments but when played live they sound like a circus.
What were your musical influences growing up?
There was a lot of Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen and Dylan around the house when I grew up. I remember finding a shoe box full of Cohen mix tapes that I think my dad may have made. Considering the first song I learnt to play at a guitar lesson was ‘Hot and Cold’ by Katy Perry I was pretty pleased to find out about these guys, and that music could be great.
You released your debut single ‘Every Day & Every Night this month, how has the reaction been so far?
I’m pleased with the reaction. Most of the Spotify plays have come from Morocco strangely enough but I’m glad someone is listening to it other than my Mum!
What is the track about?
I’m not entirely sure. I wrote it when I was thirteen maybe fourteen so around seven years ago. It’s the oldest song I can remember to play so I thought I’d stick it on an EP with two new songs.
It’s certainly obvious the song is about writing songs and not being able to sleep, most of my music is written after two in the morning and there was definitely a theme at the time.
Your debut EP’ One for Sorrow, Two for Joy’ is due out on May 10th, tell us a bit about the new EP?
Well we’ve been working on a record called ‘An EP Full of Water’ for a year and with the constant changing line-up and the fact I wanted this EP to have the full band on it, it’s taken forever.
I mean we’ve had three different drummers on it. During this grim process I recorded an EP by myself and played all the instruments on it, it was nice to work alone and produce something myself, at least I can say I’ve done it.
Where did the title of the EP come from?
Well One song is sad and two are happy, hence the title but happy by my standard is still pretty grim. I’m going to start writing party anthems in the key of C major and sell them to Avicci if the folk thing doesn’t work out.
How did you find the process of recording it?
As I said it was peaceful working on my own for a change but sitting in a studio alone can be a dangerous thing. I definitely got weird with synthesisers and trippy delays and when I showed it to a friend they were like “just stop” and I stripped it back.
There’s still some weird techniques other producers wouldn’t agree with but the next one is being mixed by Paddy Danagher who I’m incredibly lucky to have looking over the project and mixing it. I’ll try not to intervene in his process to much.
Any gigging plans for the launch?
Our label, Super Native Records is holding a launch gig for the EP at the Playhouse Theatre in Derry on the 27th of May. It’s going to be an honour to have John Ross and Easy Street Pickings supporting me. They’re two hard acts to follow but we are working on some 3D projections for our set which could be cool.
Plans for the future?
I’ve always promised myself we would do two EPs and an album and I’m pretty confident in the current line-up of The Virginia Slims to complete it. But first I think I’ll take a break from the mixing desk.