Interview by Barry Egan
Watching lead singer Malachy Tuohy do a Bono-esque jump off the stage and walk through the crowd was one of the main talking points of the festival in Stradbally in Co Laois.
Roughly 60 miles away in Windmill Lane Studios in Dublin’s Ringsend, Little Hours have their own tale of The Riptide Movement.
“We were at the Meteor Awards last year. We came off the stage and we were kind of nervous. We were thinking, ‘Who do we know here’,” says Ryan McCloskey, one half of the Donegal dynamic duo.
The other half, John Doherty, takes up the story. “We didn’t know anybody. These three girls came over,” he says. “They said to us: ‘You guys are amazing. We really loved the set. You guys are going to win The Meteor Awards.’
“‘Oh, my God, this is great!’ we thought. We were kind of buzzing off it,” recalls John.
“Then one of the girls said to Ryan: ‘Oh, is this your friend?’” laughs John.
“No, he’s the singer! I was on the piano.” Suddenly, the penny dropped loudly on the floor. “No, you weren’t!” one of the girls laughed not believing John, who then walked away after he “clicked that they thought we were another band”.
Another of the girls then said to Ryan: “We love The Riptide Movement.”
“Then I just walked away in absolute shame!” laughs Ryan.
“We love The Riptide Movement but it was hard.”
Have you gotten over it? “We’ve just about gotten over it!” chortles John.
Something perhaps the hotly tipped outfit (who supported Kodaline at Kilmainham earlier in the summer) need to get over, too, is people mishearing their name when they say it with their distinctive Donegal accents. “We’ve been called Little Hoors and Little Arrows,” smiles John.
“It is usually when we go south. We played Derry recently and they got it straight away. Anywhere else and they just make up their own names. Some of them are so daft.”
Most of us know Little Hours from their debut single, It’s Still Love, in 2014 for which they were a Meteor Choice Music Award nominee for Song of the Year.
What’s the song about?
“It’s actually one of the first songs we wrote together and the first song we recorded together. It’s about being in relationships,” says Ryan.
“It’s a tender subject,” teases John.
“No, it is not tender,” laughs Ryan. What is most definitely tender is the stripped down, and beautiful — verging on ethereal — rendition of Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody. Little Hours performed it specially (and it was very special: I advise you to listen to it) for The Windmill Lane Sessions on Independent.ie. It was a magic moment to watch these two twentysomethings perform the Whitney classic.
Ask them about their musical influences growing up, they both rattle off everyone from Van Morrison to Thin Lizzy to Pink Floyd.
In terms of influences now, Ryan says that “it has changed over time. We have listened to a lot of chilled out stuff as well — like Bon Iver”, the American indie folk band.
I read that one of Little Hours’ jokes is that they will know they truly found success when they have their own helicopter.
“That’s not a joke!” laughs Ryan. “That’s not a joke at all. We’ll just fly it to Killybegs and land in the middle of the town and say: “Here we are.”
Little Hours play Whelans in Dublin on October 15, Roisin Dubh in Galway on October 17 and Dolans Warehouse in Limerick on October 24.
To watch the full interview with Little Hours, plus two exclusive performances, see The Windmill Lane Sessions on Independent.ie
LITTLE HOURS TIME: The Donegal duo perform in the Windmill Lane Sessions
Windmill Lane Sessions: The creative wisdom of the Young Folk