Monday 20 November 2017

WATCH: Dublin band Valves poignant video featuring Irish ex-pat (81) who managed clubs in 1970s London

Valves - Underground
Valves - Underground
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Dublin band Valves have released a poignant new video for their new single, Underground.

The video features John 'J.C." Wooloughan, the 81-year-old granduncle of drummer Paul Stokes and the video's director, John Stokes, who was the manager of London's first Playboy club in the 1960s.

The narrative focuses on John's life in London as he reflects on a life of family, loves lost and gained, and a career as a manager of several London clubs and bars most notably London's Playboy Club, developing close relationships with countless celebrities including Elizabeth Taylor, Keith Moon of The Who and Muhammad Ali.

"JC is incredibly happy and successful," reveals Valves lead singer Ian Plunkett, "He ran the Berlin Marathon and the London marathon and still has amazingly positive friendships with his old flames.

Valves - Underground
Valves - Underground

"He's a true gentleman and working with him was such a pleasure. John and Paul spend so much time with him and he maintains an unflappably positive outlook on life. It's infectious."

"But I suppose he lives on his own in London and he’s at that point in life where he’s reflecting on different loves and family he lost along the way.

"Initially he was a bit emotionally detached [on the video shoot] but the more we worked with him and built trust, the more he opened up."

Given the Valves - Ian, Paul, Darragh Lynch, and Poj Flanagan - moved from Dublin to London a year ago this week they understand how difficult it can be to be away from home.

"There’s no doubt London can be an incredibly difficult city, not least because of the sheer distance you have to travel to meet friends and family members. There's so much culture and history but it can be draining at the best of times" he says.

"It’s totally different to the experience one would have in Dublin and I think we were aware of that as Irish people abroad, you feel that connection to home and probably consciously or subconsciously we felt a deeper connection to John's story.  We could end up being here for a long time too."

The move to London was prompted by frustration with the impact of austerity on labels in Dublin, with much of the infrastructure moving to the UK. 

"Bands like Hozier and Kodaline were being signed and we had been knocking around on the same circuit as them so we felt London was the right move."

On September 16 they'll take part in an industry showcase with managers and representatives present.  The night will also mark the release of the new single.  No pressure then!

"I think we're kind of just really focused on our performance, first and foremost," says a chilled-out Ian.  "We love playing live and performing the new track and getting the video out there will be really good.  We want to make sure everybody goes home feeling like they enjoyed themselves. That's always the aim."

Check out the video for Underground:


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