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Rags to riches

Daniel anderson was a self-confessed football buff before the influence of his mates rubbed off and he became obsessed by music. "People seemed to join bands because they wanted to wear leather jackets," he proclaims. "Which is cool because when I joined a band, music was the last thing on my mind."

But then the young Dubliner had a minor epiphany. "I found other bands frivolous," he says. "But I realised the people I was with were talented and that maybe I had something that I hadn't discovered in myself. I geared myself towards not hanging around after gigs but getting home to work on ideas and try to develop them."

Soon The Rags' brash throwdowns began to catch people's attention. An EP, Me and the Moon, announced the band as contenders. A follow-up, Monster and I, also copped some airplay.

It also got picked up for use in a television ad. "All we did with the money we received was record more songs," says Daniel.

"We feel we're doing something different. There's a depth to it."

Right now, The Rags are at a crossroads. They're a couple of remixes away from signing off their debut album, A National Light, which should be released in March. If the rest of the album matches the four tracks on a well-designed sampler that's floating around, then The Rags will have delivered an album of definite class.

"We believe in the material," says Daniel. "We disappeared for so long working on the album. We kept changing things and ended up with about 50 songs. It got to the stage where we had to give ourselves a deadline. The end of March is the latest date for release."

Sampling the reedy voice of James Joyce and referencing Yeats in the title track, A National Light is as audacious as it is fun. Anderson's street-savvy tempers his bookish inclinations. Think the swagger of Richard Ashcroft and the aspirational erudition of Pete Doherty and you might come near The Rags experience.

Eyebrowy guru Colm Russell has admired The Rags since the early days. His dramatic promo video (starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton!) for the band's Love Is A Lie has just gone up on YouTube.

Anderson reckons The Rags have served their apprenticeship. "We started as teenagers and we're in our 20s now," he says. "The band has been constantly changing. We've managed to probably insult everybody of any influence just by being insular. We prefer to focus on the music rather than the social side of thing."

Astonished at how vindictive some self-serving local radio producers are, Anderson states defiantly: "You have to be able to negotiate the bends. I can get my head around it sometimes but there are times I think the Irish music scene is so petty." - EC

Check Colm Russell's video for The Rags' Love Is A Lie on YouTube