What is it about the Irish? I swear it’s not on purpose, but for some reason I continue to find the most interesting people to Feature who just happen to hail from the Emerald Isle! Aindrias de Staic and the band, The Latchikos, are no exception.
With St. Partick’s Day upon us, I thought this Galway based band would be a great fit to celebrate the holiday. Although there are no leprechauns, you may certainly find these boys worthy of a pot of gold.
The Latchikos have a style all their own, in fact, they have their own genre. With a wild mix of music and spoken word, they are an amazing fusion of Blues, sprinkled with Gypsy notes and Gaelic undertones.
Having a chance to catch up with Aindrias, he was excited to share about his journey, how The Latchikos came to be and the anticipation of their upcoming Australian tour. So enjoy the article, check out the videos and listen to some of their tracks. I think you’ll find it quite stimulating!
Hello Aindrias! Please introduce us to the band lineup!
Oh the line-up is ever changing as we tend to pick up apprentice Latchikos wherever we go. Currently, it is (myself) Aindrias de Staic on fiddle n vocal, and the multi-talented Tim Scanlan playing everything else. We’ve got a few other musicians/ DJs/ Producers jumping on and off the band wagon in the coming months for our Australian tour, and back home in Ireland we work with Eimhin Craddock on percussion and vocals.
Have you always been musically inclined? Did you know early on that music was something you wanted to pursue?
Yes, music is our first language; it’s how we communicate with each other, and to the world. And when people are dancing to our music, it’s pure heaven for us, we are addicted to that.
Any type of musical training you been able to undertake, and how important has it been for you to experience this type of structure in your learning process?
We’ve both traveled extensively busking and playin’ music around the globe which kinda informs our raggle-taggle approach to the way we communicate. Having worked with ethnic music for over a decade, we kinda allow the singing and dancing and melodies to emerge from our on-stage improvisations. Maybe even our background in comedy informs this too, as we love to let the audience drive the improv energy. We make up lyrics, tunes and grooves, but it’s usually always in an ethnic/world music setting so it’s dancy, wholesome, real and rootsy.
Aside from your fabulous violin/fiddle, do you play other instruments, and any you would like to?
I like to mess around with bouzouki, Spanish guitar and T-chest bass and I have an old trombone at home, which sometimes makes a ludicrous appliance.
When and how did the band form, and how did the name The Latchikos come to be?
The word Latchiko has many uses and connotation in Irish colloquial dialects, and it’s not always positive! It can be used to describe a lazy, work-shy lay-about or hobo type traveler – so it was often yelled at us when we started busking in Melbourne and Galway. We also like how the word Latchiko is Irish, but also Spanish or Basque sounding, which seems to resonate with our interest in the Atlantean theories about the Black Irish and our ancestral links with North Africa.
The band’s sound has been classified as Gyp-Hop (Gaelic gypsy hip-hop!). Can you give us some insight on that, as well as how much evolution occurred for the sound to get to that place?
That term came about as a joke. We were listening to a lot of French language Arabic Hip-hop…then I used to do a bit of a comedy/spoken word sketch in Gaelic language with a fast- paced raggle-taggle tune polka, and it sounded a bit like Gaelic gypsy hip-hop and suddenly; the term took-off…now it’s our genre!
The band’s first single, Off to Bondi Junction has become quite the breakout song, with the extended video version, Bondi Junction, being very well received on YouTube…what was the inspiration for the song as well as the video?
Ya, it’s not as gyp-hop as our other stuff, but somehow the song was written in an Irish pub style about all the emigrants from the west of Ireland who were heading to Australia. I wrote it in Sept 2011, on the boat coming back from a gig in London to Dublin. Every young person I met was immigrating to Australia. It was kinda sad, but happy they’d have their fun overseas. It was also important to us to highlight the greed of economics and other political references in the song which have caused all these young Irish people to emigrate.
The band has also released a 10-track CD, Sugarbeat Sessions. How was the recording process? Anything significant you learned along the way? Things you might do differently in the future?
Ha! We did that album in one night! We were on the way back from a festival in Kerry, and we stopped in Ennis, met a new friend in Ennis and did the album the following evening in his front room! It was rushed, mostly first or second takes on each piece! But we had picked up some female hitch-hikers who added a good buzz in the studio. The energy of the weekend and the great summer is also there. It’s rough n RAW – that’s how we like it!
As far as the songwriting process… how collaborative is it, who writes music/lyrics? Where do you gather songwriting inspiration from most? Are you very different in style?
We all bring something different to the sound, and it changes from gig to gig depending on the line-up and the audience. Timmy has a background in reggae, Celtic music, Australian and a genuine busking sound. He’s usually the back bone of the rhythm section! We all write the tunes, and we have our own songs that we share with the band. Usually each gig, we try out a few songs that we’ll improvise on. And sometimes for a sit-down audience, it can be more stories and dancing, it can be wild gyp-hopping banging dance tracks. I think in most cases, our inspiration comes from the crowd, if they hook onto some of the lyrics or respond well to something, we’ll give it to them!
Any specific influences musically that have impacted your sound or in the way you’d like to pursue performing?
In the late 1990’s when I was at high school there was a raggle- taggle style of music in the west of Ireland. Bands like The Waterboys, The Big Geraniums, early Saw Doctors, Judas Diary etc…there was a whole sound of this raggle taggle acoustic jamming of world music, with a strong Atlantean accent. This was a mega influence on all of us. Since then, we’ve all played around the world on our solo work, so when we get together we each bring our experiences and travelling stories to the melting pot. Last October, we played for the World Surf Championships in Hossegor Beach, Biarritz, France. And we found we really had a surfy dancy sound that kept them on their toes for hours. We love to play good hard acoustic dance music, with strong rootsy instrumentation.
Anyone in particular you would really like to perform and/or collaborate with?
We always love playing with interesting musicians on the road. I’ve been in contact with Estas Tonne, and there’s rumors we may work with Gypsy Dub Sound System later this year. Lately I’ve enjoyed collaborating with theater directors and film makers. Ray Keane (Barabbas Theatre) will be giving some creative direction to a new piece, The Man from Moogaga, this summer. In Canada last year, we had a great tour where we shared the stage with Delhi 2 Dublin, a great dance act in Vancouver, where we also worked with C.R. Avery. Our friends for Gordie MacKeeman and His Rhythm Boys should have a welcome for us on the east coast of Canada! Ya, we love to meet musicians and artists at the various festivals along the road to jam, or sometimes collaborate further.
What is your favorite thing about being involved in the whole music experience? What gives you the most satisfaction and what frustrates the most?
The on-line work is the most frustrating and I’m upset when it drags me away from actually playing and writing. But what I really love is jamming with other musicians, especially if we are playing a new piece, and letting it come to life.
Your performance genes are not only found in music, as you are also an accomplished and award winning actor/comedian/writer/producer. Where do you see yourself further down the road? Would you like to continue to pursue music? And what would you see yourself doing otherwise?
I really don’t know. I’ll always be a musician and entertainer. What I love is the variety. I get bored really easily so I love when one art form merges or transforms to another. Screen work is good fun, but I love the live stuff more. Touring can be stressful, but as long as I’m doing what I love I’m happy. I try to let the inspiration dictate, like usually an idea can be both a story and a song and a piece of music…and it has a life of its own which may drag me to Theatre, Music Halls, TV or a comedy venue. I’m usually pulled by the piece.
** Here is a clip of Aindrias performing his award winning one man show Around the World on 80 Quid live in Campbells Tavern, Cloughanover, Galway. **
Any advice for someone starting out in music and looking to progress into recording and performing?
Focus on the art, let the music happen, try not to get bogged down by the bizz…keep playing, and enjoy the music.
Future gigs or tours in the works we can look forward to?
Ya, we’re flat out for March doing a few extra dates to our Australian tour, then we take a break, and it’s looking like a European tour in summer.
Tell us something that might surprise us about you!
I don’t drink or smoke, eat mostly raw foods and I love to Party!
Well, this has been awesome! Thanks so much Aindrias, for taking time to share your journey and music with us! For everyone who would like to connect and find out more with The Latchikos, as well as snag up some of the music, be sure to check out all their social media venues; webpage, Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, and iTunes! I would also like to thank Sherry Perkins for her help in facilitating this Feature! And now, as always, lets have a go at the Fast Five!
Fast Five – Questions for Fun
Favorite food indulgence? Haha, we’re on the raw food diet mostly, but sometimes on tour I’ll enjoy some fish, and when I’m back in the west of Ireland I’ll catch a fresh mackerel!
Last song/band you listened to (excluding your own music)? Feist! – I feel it all, I feel it all!
Define happiness in one word? Dancing. Dancing is the ultimate expression of joy and happiness.
Which Superhero would you choose to be? John the Baptist…the RAW food fasting!
Celebrity crush? Miranda July…creativity turns me onwards.