Here’s a reprint of my interview with Conchuir O’Drona (the mastermind behind From The Bogs Of Aughiska) that ran in Metal Hammer alongside its accompanying review.The self-titled mini-album is well worth checking out.
From The Bogs of Aughiska
From The Bogs Of Aughiska is a chilling dark ambient project which aims to recreate the bleak surroundings of the west coast of Ireland. Created by the fertile mind of County Clare native Conchuir O’Drona, the self-titled debut opus is an arresting experience from start to finish and his use of spoken word passages and elemental samples paints a decidedly dark picture of his homeland.
“When you think about Ireland’s history and the blackness of winter in Co. Clare (where I grew up) the music couldn’t be anything but dark,” he begins. “I wanted to express musically what it’s like to grow up in Ireland’s wild west. From The Bogs Of Aughiska is my take on creating the musical equivalent of standing on top of the Cliffs of Moher with a gale force wind in your face.”
An album that’s tailor-made to be listened to in a darkened room with your headphones on, the extremely eerie track ‘Aos Si’ is a particular highlight and uses samples from an old documentary to tell a tale of banshees that succeeds in being genuinely creepy rather than cartoonish.
“The sample for Aos Si is taken from the documentary Glenafooka: Glen Of The Ghost,” explains Conchuir. “This song is a reminder that despite the changes the country has gone through since the Celtic Tiger and all the rubbish that followed, we shouldn’t lose our legends and stories. It’s a very important part of what makes us Irish. I think real horror comes from mundane elements and that’s why the track sounds so creepy as it’s basically a 10 minute interview of various normal people taking about their experiences with the Banshee. Aos Si is a track that puts a chill down my spine no matter how many times I listen to it.”
While essentially From The Bogs Of Aughiska is a studio project, the recent critical acclaim for the debut has meant that O’Drona has received offers to perform the opus live and he is now currently putting together a show that will do justice to his spine-tingling sounds.
“I recently shot some footage to accompany the music around Co. Clare in bleak weather with Simon Lucas, who is camera man on [Living TV’s] Most Haunted as well as drummer in Winterfylleth and Atavist. I’m planning on the FTBOA live performance being a full on audio/visual experience.”
And though he admits that he’s surprised his album has captured people’s imaginations, he’s pleased that his rather personal record has found its way onto people’s stereos.
“I created this music for myself first and foremost, but I have been overwhelmed by the response,” he confesses. “I didn’t expect so many different people from all walks of life to be into what I’m doing.”
WHO ARE THEY?
LINE-UP: Conchuir O’Drona (keyboards, samples, loops)
SOUND LIKE: The soundtrack to a spine-tingling night in the west of Ireland.
CURRENT RELEASE: From The Bogs Of Aughiska (Lone Vigil, 2011)
FROM THE BOGS OF AUGHISKA
FROM THE BOGS OF AUGHISKA
Created by Conchuir O’Drona, this five track debut is full of dark ambient sounds that are inspired by the battered and bleak surroundings of the west coast of Ireland. An eerie and evocative effort, his experiments with elemental samples and subtle synths make the release an arresting experience and Aos Si especially is a bewitching piece of measured melancholy that features some genuinely creepy spoken word pieces about banshees. Only Of Gods And Fighting Men lets the side down a little and it isn’t quite as inventive as the brooding Leabhar Gabhala Eireann and the spine-tingling trance of album opener The Great Sea Stack At The Cliffs Of Moher, but the ragged final track Crosswinds ensures that he signs off the opus in style.