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Ready, steady, goat

When mark o'sullivan made his solo debut in June on KT Tunstall's show at the Olympia, it was obvious the former Screaming Skies' frontman had found his mojo.

"I've been writing since I was 14," says O'Sullivan. "I was the singer as well in Screaming Skies, but it just didn't work out, so I gave that up around 2007 and began demoing stuff on my own. That's when Goatboy started." The release of his four-track Moon After Yule EP further illustrates how far O'Sullivan has come.

"I felt restricted in the band," he explains. "When I got home, I started doing stuff on the computer and adding loads of reverb, and it became sort of epic. I like my reverb. I like to get the songs sounding as big as possible. As I've added more instruments, like keyboards, to it, the sound has been getting more orchestral. That's the way I hear the next EP developing."

To further highlight his change of musical direction, O'Sullivan dubbed his MySpace site Goatboy as a homage to Bill Hicks. The name stuck. So it's Goatboy who has released Moon After Yule.

While he has been clearly inspired by John Martyn's use of echo, reverb and delay, Goatboy's EP also has uncanny similarities to Bon Iver. "He uses open tunings," explains Goatboy. "I tuned my guitar down to D for some songs and that helps. So I suppose I was also influenced a bit by Bon Iver."

But Goatboy's influences range wider than men with acoustic guitars. He cites Interpol, Camera Obscura and The LAs among a long list of artists he likes.

The release of his well-presented debut EP is an important milestone in a career that has been painstakingly slow.

"The song Winter Tears has been doing the rounds on the internet for a year or so and has been getting a great response," says Goatboy. "So I added the other three songs to it to get it out there and finally put it to bed. Now people in America have been contacting me and saying they like the songs."

Goatboy has an unusual way of working. He records in Dublin but also has a telling contribution by a friend in Norway. "I've a mate, Simon, who lived here for a few years, but he went home to Norway," explains Goatboy.

"He has his own little studio there, so I send tracks to him and he records the drums there and sends them back to me."

His old band are also on hand to help out. "When I play live, they come and back me up," he adds.

"I hope to be doing a gig in Dublin with the band next month, because there are people asking to come and see me," he says. "I don't sound like anything that's out there at the moment in Dublin." -- EC

Goatboy's Moon After Yule is out now on GB Recordings