Every Monday we will be bringing you an unsigned singer or band as part of our Independent Music Monday feature. This week, we caught up with Owen Denvir find out more about him…
Where are you from and how did you first get into music?
I’ve lived in Belfast for most of my life. I grew up playing violin in my school orchestra under iron-fist tuition, similar to the movie Whiplash. Anything beyond classical music was forbidden. I’d “rebelliously” gotten into Damien Rice and Radiohead around the age of 13 so I taught myself guitar from home.
Who were your musical influences when you were growing up and who are your influences now?
All of my early songwriting was a clone of either Damien Rice or Bell X1 to begin with. I’ve always had a pretty eclectic taste in music so I’ve tried writing in a lot of styles: Muse, The Smiths, Ryan Adams, The XX, Sufjan Stevens, Jeff Buckley, Coldplay, Interpol, Bloc Party, Bon Iver, The Strokes. Recently I’ve been following a lot of Folk and Indie acts that I usually discover through Spotify, like Declan McKenna, Local Natives, Tame Impala and Christine and the Queens.
How would you describe your sound?
I tend to flick between folk and pop – I’ve not got the greatest attention span with sticking to a genre. When I perform live I like to have a varied set to explore, so it’s important that anything I release can translate to a live set, either solo or with a minimal band. Indie music lends itself to sparsity anyway. I think it’s one of the reasons it’s so popular at the moment: that it sounds more personal and immediate.
What’s your local music scene like?
I’ve lived in a few different cities, but Belfast (and around NI) has a really exciting scene for new talent. Everybody collaborates with everybody, people share ideas and stages, and there’s a real sense of community surrounding bands and gig-goers.
What do you have planned for the next 12 months? Any albums or festivals?
I’ve been sitting on a lot of material for a long time now. I record and produce a lot from my home studio, but at the moment most of it has only been heard by close friends and family. Recently I’ve been collaborating with a fantastic producer called Tre Sheppard, who’s been finishing off some of my projects. I’m really excited about where he’s taken them to, and will be releasing singles soon.
Is there anyone you’d love to collaborate with?
I’ve been obsessed with ‘I Feel It Coming’ by The Weeknd & Daft Punk. Usually when Daft Punk release new material it’s all I listen to for a month, so I’d like to collaborate with them please and thank you.
Any funny stories surrounding your live performances?
I try to make all my live shows funny experiences for everyone involved, usually with bad jokes. Probably the strangest story was when I played in a small independent bookshop for a Sofar Sounds show. The owner was a lovely, slightly eccentric older lady who let us rent out her shop for the night. People ended up sitting on stacks of books because there wasn’t enough space or chairs for the turnout. It was a nice intimate show in an unusual setting. But she’d only registered my name after I said it during my set; she came to me after the gig and told me she was a Denvir as well. It turns out we were related! Eccentricity runs in the family.
What is the one thing that you want readers to know about you?
I can do a mean Arnold Schwarzenegger impression.