I must note, that I arrived at the venue early. The music was scheduled to kick off at 5pm, and it is now sometime around 7:30pm. The music they're playing inside is good music, who doesn't love Daft Punk, and Jamie XX? In the back of my mind I'm wondering when these artists are going to get their chance to thrash out their soul on stage, to expose the music and excite the crowd.
Alex kindly agrees to an interview, and among the wrappers we begin.
Just a bit of background; how long have you been making music for?
"I've been playing music for 10 years, and I started writing music about 10 years ago. I was in a band with my friends from primary school, we used to play in this shitty band, we had a synth, a drums machine- that was the first outlet I had for writing music. After then I left it for a while, and I came back and was in a band with my friend in secondary school. It was only about 2 years ago I started writing my own songs, which are sort of instrumental acoustic pieces. The songs I make are interesting, not intricate but they're nice pieces. As I kept writing music and writing music, I got more interested in having a loop pedal and sample pad. It's semi-ambient sort of music, electronic, instrumental.''
"I'm influenced by Tycho a lot, I think his stuff is really cool, every song is good. I just love the bass. Destroy You, Explosions in the Sky, they're influenced me. How their songs are a constant build up of relaxing music. Being influenced by that, but also having my own vibe to it. Ben Howard as well, when I was writing all the acoustic songs he was a massive influence on me because I just love his music and I love what he writes. But I listed to pretty much everything, pop music, rock music, everything.''
"It was pretty hard. And I don't really consider myself in the scene to be honest. You see all these bands that are just starting off and they're getting all these really good gigs- and you're thinking 'how did they do that?', 'Is it who they know or is there someone there at their gig that sees them and helps them out with these sorts of gigs?'.
Dublin, it feels like everyone's in their clique. They're getting slots at EP (Electric Picnic), Longitutde, and all these things. It's hard to get in, especially since my music is instrumental, it's not really popular. Everyone's going for bands. I think in Dublin it's really who you know. I'm from Swords, and there's not a big buzz there for music. You have to play as many gigs in Dublin as you can and hopefully you'll meet some people that will show and interest in your music and give you those gigs.
I applied, and I actually didn't get picked to play Canalaphonic. I got really down, I wanted to play it. I thought "I've worked hard enough the last few months to get a slot''. I know a guy, he has a few slots and he just rang me up and asked me. So again, it's who you know at the end of the day. Once you're in it you're golden and you'll get those gigs.''
*Hums thoughtfully* "A good few. I can't really think of a few off the top of my head. Chanele McGuinness, I played with her a few years ago and she's really good. I think she lives in London now. She's on that Galaxy ad, the Galaxy Duet ad; she wrote a song for that, and she's getting a good bit of publicity. There's a load, BARQ, they're doing really well. There definitely are lots of women there, independent acts that are getting recognised.''
"I don't know if it's easier. If the music is good it's definitely going to get noticed, but I think it's more assumed that if you're going to see a rock band, it's going to be lads playing together. I don't know...I've only been doing this for a few years, for me I think it's equal. There are definitely more women in bands singing, or on bass guitar, only recently. It's even though, especially at this stage, especially in Dublin. Everyone's cool enough. There's no sexism going on.''
"I think the Internet has changed music a lot, like Spotify, Soundcloud and all of those things. And I think that the whole music thing is on Facebook. But I can't answer that question.''
"I did. I did until a lot of venues started closing down out of nowhere. I think that DJs are becoming more popular in Dublin, in places like Hangar. I played there recently. But I think it's definitely getting bigger. Stuff like Canalaphonic, and you see stuff like Electric Picnic getting bigger and more festivals happening. Lunasa festival was really small, it's cool to be something that small and you can expect that it's going to get bigger every year.
So many bands are getting signed, and the Irish, smaller independent labels are getting more invested in. And we have those venues, like Whelans, that are recognised all around the world.
I don't think it'll ever come to a halt, it might be the cycle where bands will constantly grow over the course of ten years and end up getting older, maybe they'll have to get jobs. It'll definitely keep growing, a constant cycle.''
But you were saying venues are closing down. Do you think that'll be a problem?
"For the bands it will. For me, I think that DJs are getting more popular and everyone's, not wanting to be DJ, but have more interest in seeing a DJ at 3 in the morning than a band. You pay €15 in to see a DJ that you don't even know, you haven't heard of him, you don't know what music he's going to play. But you wouldn't pay a fiver to see these 3 bands that have been working their arse off for months to play this gig.''
"No... You do see bands putting up their own posters around Dublin, but I think everything's done on Facebook these days. Everything. It's a good thing and a bad thing.''
"Recently, poached. I used to be a scrambled man, but then I went on to these.''
I'm thinking about the music now. I'm hoping that the acts will start soon and I can see these people that I've just spoken to do their thing.
It can be hard to get opinions about gender issues out of people. Some may feel that it's too controversial to open up about in a recorded interview, it's possible that they can't find the words to express the situation as it is- or maybe they don't want to.
Music is for everybody, but it's clear that entry to its production is not so universal.
With this heavy and unending research, I'm constantly thinking of different angles on this question: where are all the women?
Let's consider gender discrimination; whether it is intended or not, it has been found in workplaces across the globe, and has contributed greatly to attitudes of what women can work as and what they should work as. The limits of their ability. Another possible factor to consider is access to technology, and women's domestic role. Gender roles are often enforced, directly or indirectly from a very young age, in toys, school subjects, and host of other areas. The notions of 'men as men' and 'women as women', doing certain things, become so ingrained in life over time that we may not even notice it until a much later age.
People have told me "Maybe it's purely a taste thing. Women just don't like engineering and technology.'' This is not an answer.
Of course, I have a lot more research to do. Many more interviews to hunt down, many more gigs to spend the night in. The Red Bull pyramids help.
Later on I meet RSAG, a one man band with a wealth of experience and energy under his belt. More to follow...