The day before the most electrifying weekend of the Irish calendar kicks off, Hot Press are announcing the line-up for the iconic Hot Press Chat Room 2023!
The team are prepped, wellies in tow, to chat to some of the creme of the crop of Irish and international musicians, and we’re so excited to tell you all about it.
Lucy O’Toole will kick of the weekend at the Mindfield, with King Kong Company the first act up to the plate! King Kong Company are an Irish dance band hailing from Waterford. The group met and started while attending Waterford Institute of Technology, however, a majority of the group aren’t actually from the county at all! Currently, their line-up consists of Mark White (bass guitar), Colin Hoye (trumpet), Tom Stapleton (keyboard), Trish Murphy (Dancer & Choreography), Aaron Mulhall (Drums), and Owen Corrigan (Guitar). The group have been together, in some formation, since 1996, taking a break for 11 years – between when the members finished college and reformed in 2011. King Kong Company are best known for their self-titled album released in 2016 and their quirky stage performances.
Up next, Jess Murray will be chatting to David Keenan. The Dundalk musician and artist is no stranger to the picnic, or Hot Press for that matter, with a career in music spanning far longer than his baby-face would suggest. Fresh off the back of a brand new single, and protesting how the government are handling the housing crisis in front of Dáil Éireann, we might even belt out a ‘happy birthday’ for the lad, who gave up his celebrations to stand up for what he believes in.
Irish post-punk band, Murder Capital, will chat to Lucy at approximately 5:30pm. Formed in Dublin in 2017, their music is described as dark, intense, and introspective, focusing on themes of vulnerability, self-reflection, and emotional turmoil. The group have been incredibly successful thus far – not just around Ireland, but internationally. Band members consist of James McGovern (vocals), Damien Tuit (guitar), Cathal Roper (guitar), Gabriel Paschal Blake (bass), and Diarmuid Brennan (drums). The five-piece released their debut studio album, When I Have Fears, to widespread critical acclaim, followed by sold-out tour across the UK and Europe in promotion of the album. The group have also performed as opening acts for Pearl Jam at the British Summer Time Festival and at the 22nd Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in April 2023.
Classed as one of the premier Smiths and Morrissey tribute bands or acts around, These Charming Men, hailing from Dublin, will join Jess on stage for a chat about their career, which stretches as far back as 1995. Described by Andy Rourke as “spooky” and “spot on,” the group have also been praised by Morrissey. “I’m very impressed and flattered by what they do,” the artist commented. Further represented as a must for all The Smiths and Morrissey fans, These Charming Men have been performing at the Annual Smiths/Morrissey Convention in Los Angeles since 2001 and were requested to appear in Morrissey’s absence at the Fuji Rock Festival in Japan 2004 to play to an audience of some 35,000 people.
Closing out the day at the Hot Press festival HQ, Molly Cantwell catches up with Kingfishr, a trio of lads, based in the Irish capital of music – Limerick. Kingfisher pride themselves on their musical independence, producing, writing and recording all of their own music at their home studio, which happens to be located on a dairy farm. Eddie, McGoo and Fitz met in 2017, studying engineering at University of Limerick, with their debut single ‘flowers-fire’ released the week before their final exams. Since then, they’ve sky-rocketed into major success, opening for the likes of Bruce Springstein, George Ezra, and Dermot Kennedy – an incredible feat in under two years. A fresh spin on Celtic classics is what underpins the band, with their first appearance at Electric Picnic slated to be an exciting one.
4:00pm – King Kong Company
4:45pm – David Keenan
5:30pm – The Murder Capital
6:00pm – These Charming Men
7:00pm – Kingfishr
Saturday kicks off bright and early – well, ish!
Jess Murray will chat with Dublin-based Ispíní na hÉireann who combine original songs and reimagined covers, with influence from the Irish musical tradition, and generally, having the craic. Banjo player Adam J. Holohan and guitar player Tomás Mulligan started the band, slowly but surely adding cellist Aongus MacAmhlaigh, bodhrán extraordinaire Cian ‘Kinko’ Ó Ceallaigh, and saxophone and Uilleann Pipes player Pádraig Óg Mac Aodhagáin. The group also occasionally features guest players from all over the island. The group insist there are layers of subtext and commentary, and a genuine method to all their madness, but they like to leave their art open to the interpretation of the listener.
Following that, Murray returns with White Horse Guitar Club. Founded 10 years ago in The White Horse in Cork, the group embarked on a journey that flourished into something they could never have dreamed of. Blending the finest Americana with Irish Roots, the 11 men, 11 voices, and 11 guitars, bring an unparalleled sound which the staff at Hot Press are incredibly excited to hear in our tent!
Minding Creative Minds is back with Stuart Clark taking the reigns for their 1:45pm slot. MCM mentor and consultant Sue Cullen and wellness coach Eoin Ryan will be speaking at the Hot Press tent, in no doubt another fascinating conversation with Clark.
Stuart will then stay on to chat with Irish singer-songwriter and rapper, Michael Stafford, better known by his moniker, Maverick Sabre. The London-born, Ireland-reared musician has been releasing music since 2008, with four albums out in the world – Lonely Are the Brave (2012), Innerstanding (2015), When I Wake Up (2019), and Don’t Forget to Look Up(2022). Sabre mentored Jorga Smith, working on a significant amount of music with her. His music has appeared on Grey’s Anatomy, as well as Jools Holland, and way back in 2012, the artist appeared on Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds – The New Generation in the role of Parson Nathaniel.
Brad Heidi pops by for a quick chat with Lucy O’Toole and a few acoustic tunes. The Galway-based singer-songwriter initially built up a following on the busking circuit after quitting school. Starting out travelling around Ireland with just his acoustic guitar; successful singles, and a lauded performance at Dublin’s New Year’s Eve festival helped him garner a reputation. Brad has now gone from the streets to selling out his first headline Irish tour and London show, as well as recently supporting Lisa Hannigan, Pa Sheehy, James Blunt, and Gavin James. Earlier this year, Heidi was crowned the overall winner of the A New Local Hero talent search by Hot Press and the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland (IBI) as part of Irish Music Month.
Dave Lofts & SAND follow, chatting with Lucy. Dave Lofts, a Wicklow native based in Waterford, had spent many years captivating audiences in the South East before handpicking the infectious five-piece indie folk band, SAND, to join him on his journey. As they gear up for an epic journey throughout 2023 and 2024, the supergroup of sorts are ready to take their music to new heights. Dave’s soulful and husky voice combined with the chemistry between the group members will eventually lead to the release of their debut album in 2024, promising to be a musical masterpiece music lovers across the emerald isle won’t want to miss!
Pat Carty returns with his beloved cowboy hat, chatting to Irish psych rock band based THUMPER. Founded in 2019 as a solo project by Oisín Leahy Furlong, the guitarist and vocalist expanded the group to perform the songs at festivals. Now including Alan Dooley (guitar, backing vocals), Alex Harvey (guitar, backing vocals), Dav Campbell (bass, backing vocals), Stevie D’Arcy (drums), and Benedict Warner-Clayton (drums), the group have found huge success in the Irish scene and further afield. Their debut album, Delusions of Grandeur, was released in 2022 and was nominated for the Choice Music Prize.
Stuart returns to chat all things Dec Pierce. The radio presenter and well known Irish figure is most popularly known for his radio show ‘Block Rockin’ Beats’, a ’90s dance music show, which the radio host has transformed into a touring performance of the world’s biggest dance anthems, featuring a DJ set with full live band, plus special guests. Recently, Pierce revealed he was hospitalised with a brain haemorrhage, but was back to work, presenting and on tour within a couple of weeks. The 40-year-old father of one is much beloved by the Irish public, consistently selling out gigs all around Ireland.
Pat meets Dingle singer-songwriter Pa Sheehy, who has broken out as a musical stand out upon the break-up of his well-known band, Walking on Cars. Having recently released his second solo EP Lost In A ‘90s Arcade, the artist has found his footing in the folk-indie scene, elevating his sound from that of his previous band. Following his appearance at 2023’s Electric Picnic, the musician is set to play an extensive tour throughout Europe and Ireland, winding down in his native County Kerry.
In an exciting interview, Stuart Clark meets Cian Ducrot, the Irish-French TikTok extraordinary, currently taking the world by storm. Featured in out Electric Picnic Hot Press Edition and having recently released his debut album, Victory, Ducrot will have lots to chat about. From opening tours for Ed Sheeran, Dermot Kennedy, and more, we’re extremely excited to hear the stories the Cork man will have to share.
Closing out the evening, Molly Cantwell chats to HamsandwicH just after their performance on the Rankin’s Wood stage. The indie rock band from Kells, County Meath, is made up of Niamh Farrell, Podge McNamee, and Brian Darcy. With four albums under their belt, the group are currently celebrating their 20th birthday year. Initially formed by John Moore, Podge McNamee and Niamh Farrell, the band expanded to bring Brian Darcy and Ollie Murphy on board. In 2010, Moore left the group, with David McEnroe introduced as his replacement. Following the pandemic, the group have shrunk back down to a three-piece, touring Ireland and the UK, playing various festivals throughout the summer of 2023.
1:00pm – Ispíní na hÉiereann
1:15pm – White Horse Guitar Club
1:45pm – Minding Creative Minds
2:30pm – Maverick Sabre
4:00pm – Brad Heidi
4:15pm – Dave Lofts & SAND
4:45pm – THUMPER
5:15pm – Dec Pierce
5:45pm – Pa Sheehy
6:15pm – Cian Ducrot
6:45pm – HamsandwicH
The final day of EP sees an exciting slew of acts come through the Hot Press doors (or whatever tents have).
Stuart Clark kicks of the afternoon with the Lightning Seeds. The English rock band formed in Liverpool in 1989 by Ian Broudie, formerly of the bands Big in Japan, Care, and Original Mirrors. Originally supposed to be a studio-based solo project for Broudie, the Lightning Seeds expanded into a touring band following the album, Jollification. The group experienced huge success throughout the 1990s and have become well known for their single ‘Three Lions’, a collaboration with David Baddiel and Frank Skinner.
Lucy O’Toole chats to two of our Hot for 2023 acts, Scustin and Big Sleep.
Purveyors of pub talkin’ funk, the Bray band, Scustin, are what happens if you stir together Blindboy, Mike Skinner, and Jamiroquai – and add a few pints into the mix. Passionate about their Guinness, excellent at whipping up characters, and putting pressure on the government (in an entertaining manner), Scustin are the perfect combination of hilarious and whimsical. Throughout 2022 and 2023, the band have been performing to sold out crowds, opening for the likes of The Scratch, and bringing their circus-like show to audiences across the biggest Irish festivals.
The Italian-Irish quartet, Big Sleep, are an indie-alternative group, taking influence from classic rock and funk – such as JJ Cale, Jamiroqaui, and Joy Division. Taking off while still at school, the group expanded to incorporate emerging talents from Dublin’s live music scene. The band now balances pop and soul while still maintaining an indie feeling, creating tunes that Irish listeners love. On the lead up to the release of their sophomore EP, the band are popping out banger after banger, maintaining a true-to-themselves sound that matures with the group.
Again, at 1:45pm on Sunday, September 3, MCM mentor and consultant Sue Cullen and wellness coach Eoin Ryan will return to the tent for a panel discussion with comedian, musician, actor and writer Tadgh Hickey; comic Ailish McCarthy; and Hermitage Green’s Dan Murphy, all facilitated by Stuart Clark.
Next up, the highly anticipated Indie trio, Rowan, made up of multi-instrumentalists Dylan Howe, Fionn Hennessy-Hayes and Kevin Herron, chat to Stuart. The group’s harmoniously rich compositions are laden with melodies that bring the listener to a familiar place, with a tasteful twist of their own nature. Naming their sound a “melange of Indie,” the group have created an impressive catalogue of music in their short life-span, with undoubtedly something for everyone in there.
Finally, Irish hip-hop duo, Tebi Rex, chat all things EP with Molly Cantwell. Described as alternative indie-hip-hop-pop, their sound by the duality between the duo’s two styles. The duo was formed by Max Zanga and Matt O’Baoill in 2016. Zanga is the rapper while O’Baoill is his melodic counterpart, providing exceptional hooks and choruses. The two are part of the Word Up Collective, a collective of independent Irish artists. Music from the two’s debut album, The Young Will Eat The Old, was featured in Normal People, Sally Rooney’s book-turned-television series. Tebi Rex released their second album, It’s Gonna Be Okay, in 2021.
1:00pm – Lightning Seeds
1:15pm – Hot for 2023: Scustin
1:30pm – Hot for 2023: Big Sleep
1:45pm – Minding Creative Minds
2:30pm – Rowan
3:15pm – Tebi Rex
Keep an eye on the Hot Press social media for more information, and to see any updates we may have as the weekend goes on.