Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: What type of artist are you?
TD: The Donaghys are an indie-rock, alternative three piece. We’re hugely inspired by the likes of Jimmy Eat World and Arctic Monkeys. We’re a bit of a throwback in that our on stage sound isn’t too overproduced and we tend to just ‘plug in and play’ we believe that less is more. I’d like to think that we make a hell of a lot of noise considering there’s just three of us!
PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.
TD: Well myself and Scott (who plays bass) had been in a different band together when we were teenagers. After that band separated I went off to Uni and did some solo acoustic bits at open mic nights, I’d been attempting to write my own material too. Scott saw one of my performances once, we had a drink afterwards and began discussing the idea of forming a new band. We drafted in his younger brother on drums and I suppose the rest, as they say is history.
PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
TD: My biggest personal non-musical influence would be my family. They introduced my to music early on in my life and the idea that talent isn’t much when you don’t put the work in. It’s actually a bit of a cheat that one because my dad is also still to this day a lead guitarist in a blues band so I was heavily influenced on a musical level from a young age anyway.
PD: What are your dreams and goals?
TD: That’s a tough one. We aren’t 19 anymore and so realistically we aren’t going to be performing at the Superbowl Halftime Show anytime soon but your perspective changes. I’d like our musical releases to be as big as they possibly can but considering some of the places on a personal level that these songs are born from as a concept, to even perform them in a small room and having people sing them back to you is nothing short of amazing. I’ve never really stopped to think too much about it. I suppose a dream of mine at the stage would be to play a really, really big gig. How big? I don’t know but to put it in perspective, a dream of mine when I was about sixteen was to perform the “Authority Song” by Jimmy Eat World as lead singer of a band. I lived that particular dream about five years ago.
PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?
TD: I’m James, I’m the lead singer and guitarist and I write the songs. That’s slightly misleading though because in recent years we have found the best formula to be that I come up with chords and lyrics which act as a skeleton structure for a particular song, we then get together in the practice space. The boys only really need me to run them through it a couple of times before it gets fully fleshed out and I never fail to be amazed at what we can come up with together. In general the lyrics vary. I enjoy writing about myself and personal experience but I also like the freedom of writing about totally fictional scenarios. In my opinion some of our best songs have lyrics that are grounded in real emotions.
PD: How do you promote your band and shows?
TD: I would have to give Nathan and his girlfriend Nat the bulk of the credit for that. I like to knock up gig posters on my PC because I like to flex my creative muscles and me and Scott use social media as much as possible but those two really step up and put serious work in. I’m talking electoral campaign levels of promotion. I can’t thank them enough.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online?
TD: I don’t have a problem with it personally because the world is changing and everything seemingly is at your fingertips but on the other hand I hate seeing music shops closing down. I’m of an age where I can remember saving up money and making a special trip out into town to buy a CD you’ve waited all week for. I remember buying the first Arctic Monkeys album and staring at the cover on the bus home, then putting it on my dad’s CD player at full blast. It seems moments like that may well be gone, but at least I managed to enjoy them.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
TD: “How To Save A Life” by The Fray. I just love the energy, flow and overall message of that song. I can’t call myself a huge Fray fan but I bet they gave themselves a huge pat on the back when they came up with that one.
PD: What are some of your pet peeves?
TD: How long have you got?
I’m not a fan of talent shows, never have been. Not on a serious level anyway, people who told me when I was younger that I should ‘audition on X-Factor’ and all that carry on. No thanks.
I hate it when bands act ‘the big I am’. We were young once and I guess when you’re playing in Manchester and you’re top of the bill, it can go to your head a little but we genuinely as we’ve gotten a bit older we want to meet the other bands. We’re not competitive like some bands are, we know we can deliver on stage and we want to enjoy what these other folks can do. There’s no point in being a d*ck really. Our basic rule is to be pleasant and at the very least, say ‘well played’ to the other acts as they come off stage and mingle.
PD: What is your proudest moment in music?
TD: As a band, it has to be our first headline gig in Manchester. We sold loads of tickets, we played really well and people loved us. On a personal level though, it’s got to be when I performed a solo acoustic gig at one of the pubs I used to work at, a colleague of mine used to say he listened to my stuff and knew all the words and even his two-year-old twins would listen along to my tunes. I thought this was nice obviously but it was only until I was about nine songs in on the night I caught him in the crowd (acoustic remember so it’s just people sitting in a quiet bar area) he was holding his daughter in his arms singing ever word of one of my songs to her. Wow, it’s moments like those where you notice that even if a song doesn’t particularly mean much to the writer, I can be shared with people who may find some small meaning somewhere. It was beautiful. A reminder to keep going.
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
TD: “These are confusing times” as the Incredible Hulk once said. All of us have jobs which require us to work through the lockdown so we remain busy but not being able to go out and experience things at night really does have an effect on the writing process. Be that as it may, I’m still coming up with ideas here and there and sending them over to the guys so that they can have input. It’s a slow process. We feel like we have enough material under the belt or ideas forming that once things return to normal, the first place we will be headed is the studio!
PD: What music have you available online and where can we buy it from?
TD: As of the 15th January, we now have two EPs available on Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube. The first is “Turning Heads” from 2018, the other is our latest release “Don’t Mind Me”. We are hugely proud of both of these and both of them contain songs that took five to ten years to perfect.
We’re on YouTube too but it’s a brand new channel, we’re working on building up the content*.
*(sod the pandemic)
The songs from “Don’t Mind Me” are available to purchase on Amazon too so please take a look!