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Meeting as teenagers while sneaking into Limerick’s only indie bar, and bonding over cheap vodka at The Velvet Underground, Ireland’s Whenyoung comprises Aoife Power on vocals and bass, Niall Burns on guitar, and drummer Andrew Flood. Channeling classic slides of ’90s indie with a smattering of pop, the three-piece wear their classic influences on their sleeve, driven by a proud celebration of their Celtic roots.
We recently sat down for a cuppa with Whenyoung and Eurosonic Festival in the fair Dutch city of Groningen to talk about Irish bands, Shane McGowan’s birthday, and Sinéad O’Connor’s head-to-toe camo-outfit, and to find out more about our Ticketmaster New Music pick. We then dragged them out into the cold and took pictures of them in front of a world-famous vending machine. So here’s how that went.
It feels like there’s a bit of a swell of Irish bands here at Eurosonic this week, what do you think has kicked that off?
Niall: It’s something that we really love but we began in London so we’re not really in that scene. We’ve kind of been able to watch it develop from afar but it’s great to see more Irish bands getting noticed. We’re big fans of Fontaines DC, The Murder Capital… all of those guys.
Aoife: Yeah, we love punk music and we love poetry. I think, like all those bands, we share an interest in a romantic element of Irish culture. We love the Pogues and maybe since we moved to London that’s become even more important. You get a bit homesick and you listen to Shane McGowan.
Didn’t you guys play Shane’s Birthday?
Aoife: Yeah, it was just a bizarre night surround by all these incredibly famous musicians.
Niall: It was in the National Concert Hall in Dublin and the line-up was mad. Bono was there and Sinéad O’Connor showed up last minute and sang this incredible song. She wasn’t on the line-up officially so when she got up on stage people went going crazy. She just sang a cappella dressed completely in camouflage… clothes, bag, everything.
Are there venues that you look back on now and identify as important for you?
Andrew: The Sebright Arms is a special venue for us, we had a couple of gigs there where some important stuff happened for us.
Aoife: I do feel like the The Shacklwell Arms was another venue that allowed us to grow a lot. We knew the promoter there and he used to put us on.
Niall: We used to live around the corner from it when we first moved to East London so we used to go in there all the time and meet loads of different people. It was a really exciting time for us.
Aoife: Yeah, really exciting. Coming from Ireland where there were less bands around it was amazing to have a place on our door step where we could see all the new bands. It’s a shame we don’t get to go there as much as we did now. I even miss the faux Greco Roman décor.
You have the Ninth Wave supporting you on your February dates, how did you meet those guys?
Niall: We’ve actually met a few Glaswegian bands, maybe it’s a Celtic thing or something but there seems to be something going on up there as well at the minute. Lucia, Walt Disco, Ninth Wave, and Rascalton who toured with us last year.
Andrew: We met them last year at Reeperbahn festival in Hamburg and then in Glasgow a couple of times, and then in London so they’re friends now.
Released back at the start of 2018, Pretty Pure introduced the world to the sound of Whenyoung.
Heaven On Earth showcases Whenyoung’s blend of indie and pop, with a hearty dose of retrospection.
Celebrating their roots, Whenyoung released a cover of The Cranberries’ Dreams in the summer of 2018.
For any current and future Whenyoung live dates and tickets, head to Ticketmaster.co.uk.