Thursday 12 December 2019

'The Irish audience is always up for it!' - Gabby Young & Other Animals

OXFORD, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 06: Gabby Young of Gabby Young And Other Animals performs on stage at the Cornbury Music Festival at Great Tew Estate on July 6, 2014 in Oxford, England. (Photo by C Brandon/WireImage)
OXFORD, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 06: Gabby Young of Gabby Young And Other Animals performs on stage at the Cornbury Music Festival at Great Tew Estate on July 6, 2014 in Oxford, England. (Photo by C Brandon/WireImage)
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

British pop band Gabby Young & Other Animals went down a storm at the Fringe Festival last year and are now poised to return for an intimate gig at the John Field Room at the National Concert Hall.

The eight-piece band, who describe their difficult-to-define sound of gypsy, folk, rock and jazz as 'circus swing', will play as a pared-down trio for the gig on November 24.

Despite playing 150 dates a year for the past two years, Gabby says last year's Dublin show was a highlight for the band.

"The special ones really stand out and it was special," she says. "I loved that gig. Our drummer at the time was from Dublin so it was great to go back to his friend’s house.  They were so up for it. The Irish audience is always up for it!  I love the city too, it’s just so beautiful."

The gig is part of the 'Fear of Flying tour' (check out the single below, from their third album, One Foot in Front of the Other) and fans can expect new material as well as old favourites and other surprises.

"It’s an intimate, stripped down show but it’ll have the same energy," says Gabby.  "We’ll be getting people involved as we always do and there are going to be some songs we don’t play live very often as well.  Dublin is the guinea pig!  It’s just a really nice opportunity to play something different and use our voices a lot more as well."

At 22 Gabby was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, which threatened her singing career, but she recovered and went on to write and release three albums.  This one is the most personal the English star, now 30, has written.

"From the last album I’ve grown two years older, done more of my life, been on tour, met a lot more people, and I’ve let that come into my music," explains the flame-haired singer.

"We’re always all over the place with our music.  We call it 'circus swing', because it’s more hard to pigeonhole songs.  There are more introspective songs in there than I’ve done before."

She adds, "I like that I’ve got to a place where I feel brave enough to let the audience see a bit more of the darker, more of the shade and less of the light.  There’s a bit more of a contrast than there has been before. 

"It takes getting to know your audience to let them see inside.  It’s like meeting a friend and telling them your secrets."

Gabby's singing career was threatened in her early 20s when she discovered she had thyroid cancer. 

She would make for a really great interviewee as she has an interesting story to tell including overcoming Thyroid cancer at only 22 which led to her taking up a music career seriously.

The band used crowdfunding to fund the album.

"It feels like building a community around your project.  Why we did it was we wanted to get people involved in all aspects of what we did.  They’re so generous with us, we wanted to make this album something they could delve into," she explains.

" We did a Skype session with us in the studio.  It was amazing, people all over the world were suddenly on my iPad watching us in studio, hearing little bits they hadn’t heard yet.  It was a really special moment we shared with them."

As for cons of the process, she says, "I guess the only thing is that when you get a lot of people involved people feel like they have a say and if they're not happy with something they‘ll say it but we’ve been very lucky, that hasn’t really happened to us, but I’ve seen it happen with other artists."

One Foot in Front of the Other was released in June despite the band's relentless touring schedule.  Now the focus is already on album number four.

"It’s something I haven’t worked out – the balance of when to stop gigging and write and album," says Gabby.

" This is my career and my livelihood and without gigs ... it’s tough to put those on hold for a few months.  We try and play as much as we can while recording. 

"When you’re in studio you’re in a cocoon, you trap yourself away from the outside world, so going out to do concerts is special.  Daylight is pretty exciting! 

"So we’re trying to work out how to do that album number four.  Next spring it will be time to start breaking its back.  I’m very much a live performer, I’m all about the gigs, but there are always little voives in the back of your head saying you really need to start working on new material!"

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