Ahead of their sold-out date at King Tuts, I caught up with Cian Godfrey, frontman of Somebody’s Child. The Irish five-piece brought their indie rock anthems to Glasgow as part of their current sold-out UK Tour.
We chatted about the album release, tour, the hardships of being an up-and-coming artist during covid as well as dream venues and much more:
Your self-titled debut album was released on the 3rd of February, how does it feel? How have the last few weeks been for you?
“Yeah, it’s weird. Time is a bit of a warp at the moment with the tour, it’s our longest tour so I kind of forget it’s out because we are just doing these gigs every night. It’s a very surreal feeling. We’ve been working on this for, at the longest, fucking 10 years since I started writing. We started planning the album about 2 years ago, I’d say but some tracks we ended up taking from beforehand – Jungle, We Could Start A War, and Hold Me Like You Wanna. So really, it’s been 4 years of work, and there has been a lot of time, effort, and money put into it so yeah, it’s a strange feeling.
How would you describe yourself as an artist?
“I guess I’ve taken so many influences over the last 10 years. I don’t listen to music as much as I probably should just because I analyse it far too much and it seeps into my songwriting far too much. So, I just focus on my own stuff a lot of the time. I guess if you wanted to pigeonhole it, it would be in the indie rock realm. But I mean, from single to single at the start, it’s very different. Especially because it was just me writing at the beginning but now Shea, my bandmate, is part of it as well but it’s definitely developed a lot since then. At the start, we could go into a bridge and it would sound like Amy Winehouse or taken from The Doors or something and now it’s a little finer. We still have the creative freedom when we write and now, we have a producer that can tie it all together sonically. Which is, I guess, where we derive our sound from. We give him a certain amount of creativity within some boundaries we set at the start so yeah, I would say Modern Rock.
You touched on Amy Winehouse and The Doors just there. Who are your biggest inspirations?
“Probably not them, they’re a bit weird! I would say over the years quite a lot of different people have. Paolo Nutini definitely. Arctic Monkeys were definitely a foundation, like pillars for me, then I started going back in time. I learned all about music when I studied it at college and stuff. So, a lot of different people. At the moment we are working on the second album and it’s taking a lot more from the American side. This album was very much UK-inspired – It’s sad saying that coming from Ireland but a lot of the music that we listen to is born and bred over here so that’s why we recorded the album in London. It felt right to give it a nod.
The topic of your tracks ranges from honest confessions on growing up as seen in Broken Record to songs on corruption in the world as seen on the punkier Sell Out. What’s your motivation when writing tracks? What’s the process of writing and recording like?
“It was very open-ended at the start. Somebody’s Child was meant to take away the pressure of writing in a certain sphere because it was just me at the beginning then it became a band. There were no connotations associated with the name, it was quite anonymous at the very beginning, and I didn’t show my face. So yeah it’s developed a lot since then and we refined our sound – as every artist and musician does. The process is quite therapeutic so I just write when I feel like it, but it has become a little more clinical as, this album especially, we have a certain amount of time to write it. I try to just get away from that feeling and allow the song to write itself. You just kinda let the song take a sense of how you feel at the time. Generally, that’s how musically just singing and seeing, without sounding too wishy washy, what my soul is trying to tell me at the time. Like I’m talking to myself in the mirror or something, words just come out organically and suddenly the few words become sentences and I start to derive a narrative to write about. That’s how I’ve always been with writing music just exactly how I feel in that moment. The longer you leave it before you let the logic seep into the song, the better it is because it’s just come straight from the heart. It’s a strange thing to explain because I don’t think about any of that in the moment, it’s just how it is looking back. It teaches you how to be in tune with emotions and that helps in life in that sense.
We touched on them before, some of the songs on the album are also featured on your EP, 20-Something, re-imagined for slightly different album versions. What’s that process like? Taking a song that once ‘finished’ and altering it.
“It’s very tough. At the start, we were like ‘we don’t need them songs’ but by the end of it, a lot of what we were writing was inspired by that EP. Jungle was actually a single beforehand which was produced properly by an amazing producer over in Ireland, Ross. The two others, We Could Start A War and Hold Me Like You Wanna, were produced by just me and Shea just at the start of COVID. We didn’t really have the money at the time to come on board for the four tracks so we just did ourselves up to a certain point and then sent it to Ross to get it mixed. Because of that, there was a lot of space to grow their songs. They were only programmed drums so we just had to get some drummers on there and really just develop the sound vertically rather than horizontally and we didn’t have to change the arrangement. So that was very fun because it had been long enough, and we had changed it for when we played it live so we could go back and incorporate some of that into it. Jungle on the other hand was so big that we had to go back and change the actual feel of the song. The bassline had to change and we made it faster. We need to just re-imagine it and we did in a sense. I know people that have heard the old version will say that it’s better but anyone hearing the new one is probably gonna prefer the new one. You just need to accept that the old stuff is what it is and of its time and the new stuff is of this period.
Debut album and a sell-out debut UK tour with the European tour not far behind. Must be a proud feeling selling out venues across the UK and Europe?
It’s weird because we sat back during COVID and was like ‘Where is this going? We were unfortunately just coming up as COVID hit, we had like 14 festivals that summer. I don’t even think we have that much this summer, there was just this hype placed on us by the industry. We didn’t really have much to do with that but to be honest, we were standing on a glass floor and at any moment it could fall. We didn’t have fans, we just had people saying they thought we could be big, so we had to build our own fan base and our own brand. I’ve self-managed and taken it from basically scratch where we didn’t have much to finally geting a manager and even getting a record deal with Frenchkiss, which is just amazing. Frenchkiss came just in the nick of time for the album because we were so ready for it otherwise I just knew I had to save up, borrow and steal to be able to afford it. It costs so much money so to finally have a label behind us is great and to put the album out just in the nick of time, I’m just delighted to be able to do that. To see people coming out after COVID is just a huge weight off our shoulders because you don’t get to see what you’re doing for people, you don’t get to meet anyone for a drink or see anyone. It was just us in a room writing tunes with no windows. It was like a fucking box and you’re just stuck in it but you’ve chosen that career so you just need to keep going. It’s a weird one but thankfully it’s all paid off at this point and the album release has gone really well so I can’t complain. I just hope it continues.
You spoke about being picked up by Frenchkiss in the nick of time, must’ve been a big relief?
“Yeah, so we had been on a label before, a small one over here in the UK. But that was just for the EP we had a small experience of what it was like. We had our own ambitions and Frenchkiss were really into the music, Syd flew over from New York which is obviously quite telling. From the start, we had labels in touch but they would fly over and buy you lunch and nothing ever came from it just because of COVID and various other reasons. We saw ourselves going in a different direction, I think they wanted a more pop feel and that’s just not what we wanted to do. So, we stuck with our guns and thankfully Frenchkiss are right behind us and shares our vision. Everything we say they tend to agree with so we can’t ask for anything more.
The tour Including legendary venues such as King Tuts along the way too, how does it feel selling out King Tuts?
“It’s nuts. I heard you get a bottle of whiskey if you sell it out, but I’ve not seen any yet so we’ll need to see about that. Our label bought some of the tickets for our show in London, so this is actually the most tickets we’ve sold in all of the UK. To be fair this is kind of similar to Whelan’s in Dublin, it’s got legendary historical status around it. This has definitely been on the bucket list for us, it’s been on the cards for a while. We’re playing in Edinburgh next at the end of the year, judging off Spotify we seem to have some people there but it’s hard to see if that translates. So I’m very much looking forward to coming back already.
I like to end my interviews on a less-serious note and since you have a nice festival run coming up this summer, what would your dream line-up for a mini festival be?
“I’m going to say definitely The Strokes. It’s a tough one, maybe the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. There are loads more I’d love to see but definitely those.
Finally, a question I love to hear the answer from each artist is, what is your dream venue/stage to play? The one that you can say you ‘made it’ after playing.
The 3 Arena back home is the main goal, it’s hard to get past that. Obviously, there’s the Red Rocks in the US that people would say but a hometown gig in Dublin would be something special.
Cian fronted the band as they brought the energy to go alongside a run-through of their album. I found myself captivated by Cian’s immense presence on stage as he repeatedly found different ways to engage with the audience, continuously stepping off the stage and closer to the barrier while performing. The band too was having a great time, jumping around the Tuts stage and just generally having a laugh as they played – which is always good to see. The live construction of the album was great, and I thoroughly enjoyed the first time seeing them live. I very much look forward to seeing them again!
Thank you to Cian, the band, his team behind the scenes, and everyone at King Tuts Wah Wah Hut for an unforgettable night. Check out Somebody’s Child’s self-titled debut album below!