Friday 19 January 2018

In Wicklow, rock'n'roll dreams are coming true

Children of the Son in their video for ‘Do You Really Want Me?’
Children of the Son in their video for ‘Do You Really Want Me?’

Despite the proliferation of hip-hop, disco and a dozen other genres in the Irish charts over recent decades, the rock'n'roll dream still burns bright in the heart of many Irish kids who've strummed a guitar or sung a bar. But although many undoubtedly try, few ever ascend to the ranks of the Rock Gods they so aspire to.

Irish band Children of the Son – comprising Rathdrum brothers Jack (vocals, aged 15), Art (bass, 18) and Max (guitar, 20) Mathews as well as drummer Rob Kennedy – have already come closer than most to realising that elusive vision. Last month, they finished third in a readers' poll in Irish music bible Hot Press of the most promising Irish acts of 2014, and although yet unsigned, the boys will release their debut single 'Do You Really Want Me?' with an accompanying music video in April after a string of gigs in Dublin.

It's been a whirlwind experience for a band who first embarked on their musical journey in March 2011 when Jack was just shy of 13. What followed was around eight months of writing and underground performances mired by occasional line-up changes before they caught the attention of veteran rock photographer Robert Knight.

'He saw a video of Max playing guitar and thought he was amazing, so flew over to Ireland to see him,' Jack recalls. 'He saw the band and just loved us. He came back a year later and heard our demo, which he sent to Warren Huart – Aerosmith's producer – who said get them on the next plane over. It was incredible.'

What followed was a month recording in Los Angeles from October of last year. During these sessions, they committed five tracks to record, including 'Do You Really Want Me?' set for its big release in a few weeks' time.

'In April there'll be a whole set of gigs,' Jack explains. 'There's a whole lot of record company buzz around us right now, which is great.'

Although all three brothers went to St Saviour's National School in Rathdrum, both Jack and Art had their tenure in secondary school cut short by their involvement in the band, an unusual occurrance at a time when education is of paramount importance for many Irish kids. But Jack is under no doubt that he has found his calling, and is determined to pursue music as his vocation.

'I left in first year to pursue the band and Art left in third,' he says of his short spell in secondary school. 'We just played music all day in a little cabin in the garden. I only got about three months into secondary school before the band really started taking off. We got so into it that I just left. This is what I want to do for the rest of my life, so I'm going to do it. I still get home schooled through.'

But despite having fewer academic pursuits than many of his contemporaries, Jack insists that his workload is no less daunting, spending many hours jamming in isolation with his siblings each day to produce new material.

'We're isolated in a little house in the countryside on our own,' he says of the group's current work dynamic. 'Max writes most of the material and then we jam together for a good six or seven hours a day to make the songs what they are. We've written 300 songs since April 2012.'

And like one of their biggest influences – the Gallagher brothers of Oasis fame – working together in close proximity for such long periods can on occasion lead to friction

'There's definitely a bit of brotherly rivalry!' Jack admits. 'Being in a band with two brothers you see 10 hours a day gets a bit stressful – but we get on very well.'

Despite any difficulties, he remains adamant that the efforts they've put in so far are beginning to bear fruit, with their single release embellished by a huge music video shoot at Charleville Castle in Tullamore.

'Things are really going to take off,' he enthuses. 'We really feel that this is going to be the start of something big. The songs are sounding awesome, and the video looks amazing. It was shot at Charleville Castle and it just looks incredible. All the hard work is paying off.'

And amid the myriad of manufactured hits spawned by the likes of the X Factor, he is quietly confident that the time is right for rock to regain its place at the pinnacle of the modern music scene.

'I think it's the end of pop,' he concludes of the state of the contemporary music. 'People are really getting bored of fabricated pop – what they really want is a good rock band again ... hopefully one particular rock band from Rathdrum!'

Bray People

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