With their release coming out exclusively on Bandcamp and Minm, we caught up with the genre-spanning duo, One Morning in August.
We talk about their background in rural Wicklow, the inspirations for their latest single and what the future holds for the band.What is your ‘origin story’ as a band?
One Morning in August is a two piece band: John F. Phelan on guitar and vocals and Stephen T. Byrne on drums. We are both originally from Kiltegan, Co. Wicklow which is a beautiful village in West Wicklow. It also sits on the Carlow border. We went to the same national school, and we’ve been friends since the ’80s. In the late ’90s, we began to play at a blues session in Kiltegan every week, and Stephen (who is a few years younger than John) started to play drums as a 15 year old and sat in every week. From then on, we’ve played or jammed together.
One Morning in August started as a band in 2018 when John started to write some demos, and once Stephen was on board the band was born. We released our first singles ‘Reverb’ and ‘Long Time Coming’ in June 2019. Over the next year we recorded and finished our self-titled debut album with producer David Ayers who also played bass and guitar on some tracks. Claire Cummins added vocals to ‘End of Days’ and ‘All the Same’ and we also had Ian Doyle join us on ‘All the Same’.
Stephen and I did have an ‘Ah Ha’ moment! ... I always know if I’m on to something decent by Stephen’s reaction and this got a very positive response.
We released it on August 28th 2020 (one morning in August actually), and we were so honoured when, on the week of release, it was album of the week on Tom Dunne’s show on Newstalk and Martin Bridgeman’s Ceol Anocht on KCLR FM. It was also Marty Whelan’s Album of the week on RTE Lyric FM in early October 2020.
In October 2020, we signed to Cork based record label FIFA Records (Frank & Walters, Emperor of Icecream, Lorraine Nash, Cat Dowling, Klubber Lang etc) and we have released two singles since: ‘Get it Right’ in March 2021 and ‘Lovers by Surprise’ in June 2021. We were thrilled when the latter was on the RTE Radio 1 recommends list for two weeks. ‘A Wasted Love’ will be our third release on FIFA Records.I’ve been lucky enough to catch ‘A Wasted Love’ on the radio. Love the hook at the start, was there an “ah-ha” moment when it, or even the whole song, just came together?
‘A Wasted Love’ actually came together in two parts. The original demo was mainly the verse part with the main verse ‘riff’ being the core of the song. The chorus came later when I was finally sitting down to finish the song. Once that part was added, Stephen and I did have an ‘Ah Ha’ moment! I tend to write the songs at home and send Stephen the demos that I have recorded to a drum machine. I always know if I’m on to something decent by Stephen’s reaction and this got a very positive response. Once Stephen added his brilliant drum part, we felt it was good. David Ayers, our producer, plays bass on it too.
I have seen people in relationships that I suppose I always knew weren’t going to last, but it’s nearly impossible for people in those scenarios to see that. Is it A Wasted Love or was it all worth it?
The main sentiment in the song is one of regret for time wasted on loving someone who doesn’t love you back. I have seen people in relationships that I suppose I always knew weren’t going to last, but it’s nearly impossible for people in those scenarios to see that. Is it A Wasted Love or was it all worth it? It’s probably only years later that will be reconciled in the person’s mind.The song has a pretty upbeat tune, despite covering what sounds like quite an emotional breakup. Were you conscious of playing around with that dichotomy?
When I write songs the melody and sound and overall tone comes first and then the lyrics later, so I suppose I just made the words work around the melody. I wasn’t really conscious of that when I was writing it!The use of auto-tune adds an interesting dimension to the song, especially considering your debut album was mainly acoustic/rock. What was the inspiration behind adding this electronic element?
We have used very affected vocals in the past on songs like ‘Time’ and ‘Believe’ and the original demo for ‘A Wasted Love’ had a hugely digital vocal effect in it that I really liked, but we pared it right back on the final recording. The way we record is to multi-track everything and add effects we like and then mix it back to a final edit.Who do you make music for?
We make music purely for ourselves. As long as Stephen likes a song, then I’m happy. Once an act starts playing to the gallery, it’s over!Do you expect we’ll see more fusion & experimentation like this from One Morning in August?
Our songs are very diverse anyway. From classical songs like ‘Amelie’s Theme’ and ‘Anna’s Theme’ to grunge inspired songs like ‘Fight’ from our debut album, we are happy to record in different styles.What are your hopes for 2022?
In 2022, we hope to finish our second album and get out to play more gigs! We were only getting started when the world shut down, so it’ll be nice to go meet people and play some loud music.
Follow One Morning In August:
Buy & support their music on Bandcamp: onemorninginaugust.bandcamp.com