Gaining inspiration from Radiohead, REM and Oasis, Irish singer-songwriter David G Buckley is sharing a unique type of folk meets pop meets indie-rock. We speak with the Italy-based artist about his new single ‘Boomshot’, early memories, future plans and more.
OSR: What drew you to music?
Buckley: I think I would have to say when I was a very young kid, I heard Automatic for the People by REM. It was an album about death and a very odd album for a little fella to get into but it blew me away, especially the last two tracks. In fact, I still think ‘Nightswimming’ is the greatest song ever written.
Anyway, I was hooked on REM after that, but that came quite early on in what was a golden period for guitar music which we haven’t seen since nor will see again – between ’91 and ’97. Oasis came out with Definitely Maybe and Morning Glory, Nirvana had Nevermind, Blur did Parklife, Radiohead did The Bends and OK Computer, Pearl Jam did Ten, U2 did Achtung Baby and Counting Crows released August and Everything After. All of these iconic bands were releasing probably their best work in that pretty narrow window of time. It was amazing and I couldn’t leave music alone after that.
OSR: What is the backstory to your new single ‘Boomshot’?
Buckley: It’s a vibrant, energetic, dancey song full of hooks and good vibes. There’s no mention of summer at all but it has all the energy of the summer for me. I just see that as a song to sing and dance around to at some beach-hut bar on a Saturday night. It’s incredibly catchy and the most easily accessible song I’ve written.
Lyrically, there’s probably a bit more going on than meets the eye. I think most people will just enjoy the melody and the hooks and that’s what I want. However, there’s more in there for those who want to take a deeper dive. My last song was about cyberbullying and suicide, so this is a pretty dramatic left turn after that.
OSR: Did you face any challenges when writing and recording the single?
Buckley: Absolutely. There is a lot musically going on in this one and it was excruciatingly difficult at times. It’s the closest I’ve come to writing a pop song, which many presume are easy to write and record. My experience was the opposite – this one gave me sleepless nights. It’s very hard to get exactly the right vibe and energy in a song like this. Well, it was for me anyway.
OSR: What do you find more challenging – melody or lyrics?
Buckley: Melody comes to me instinctively, there’s no work or exertion involved. It hangs around and waits and waits and waits for me to give it some lyrics. I love lyric writing. It’s the strongest part of my songwriting, but it’s certainly more challenging than writing melodies.
OSR: 2021 sees your return to releasing music after approximately seven years hiatus. Why such a long time between releases?
Buckley: A lot of things happened in my life, the main one being that I quite impulsively moved to Italy where I still live. It’s the best thing I’ve ever decided but it has certainly been challenging in relation to the music. It takes time to find the right people to work with and all that. Also, I obsessed about this collection of songs I’m releasing this year endlessly and was never happy. I am now.
OSR: What inspires you to make music?
Buckley: Feelings and melodies. Both just happen and can’t be scheduled.
OSR: Do you think your Irish cultural heritage and the culture of your current home Italy has influenced your sound?
Buckley: Perhaps in the sense that my choruses are quite big and melodic, there’s probably a connection to the Irish ballad tradition in that. I don’t think being in Italy has particularly influenced my sound, but it certainly inspires me to imagine how songs can sound in certain settings. For example, I can imagine ‘Boomshot’ being sung and danced to in the early evening as folk enjoy their aperitivos after a long day in the sun.
OSR: Do you believe your sound now differs from your sound back in 2013?
Buckley: Yeah, it definitely does. I was a guitar, bass and drums act at that stage but there are a lot more elements – both musically and electronically – that are evident now. The keyboard is such an asset. You can just play what’s in your head from any instrument on the planet and then ask real players to come in and play exactly what you’ve already written for them, that has really opened things up for me. I wrote all the brass parts for ‘Boomshot’ but I can only play the guitar.
OSR: What is your earliest memory?
Buckley: Running off crying in the Community Games in the under 5 sprints when I realised I wasn’t going to win. I still stand by that reaction. I would do the same today.
OSR: If you could perform with any artist, who would it be and why?
Buckley: Someone awful so I’d sound great by comparison.
OSR: Are there any future plans for you as a musician?
Buckley: I have another single coming out in late summer called ‘Not Had Enough’. That’s my favourite song that I’m releasing this year, although most prefer ‘Boomshot’.