Christina Hendrix talks with editor
and BLKSTF’s radio personality Sean McDonnell about recording
his latest two singles including ‘Amsterdam’.
C: Back in August 2016, you and the band were in the
studio with Rocky O’Reilly (Start Together Studios). You
recorded two singles – Can you elaborate more on your
experiences in the studio and the choice of songs?
Sean: We recorded the first 2 in Start Together Studios with
Rocky O’Reilly and went in with the initial intention to record
‘I Stole The Plans For The Deathstar’ and ‘Amsterdam’ but
Rocky thought that due to the close proximity of the releases,
the 2 styles of those songs were a large contrast to each other
and thought a song more akin to our typical style should be
swapped in for ‘Amsterdam’, so we chose to record it ‘Uranium’
instead under Rocky’s instruction. That was weird for us because
we had never been given that type of instruction before
to go against our opinion and take on the view of someone listening
on the outside and I definitely think Rocky called the right
move. He also helped us to shorten it down to make it more impactful
as a single which was also weird because we had to say
goodbye to pieces of the track in the best interests of the song.
We’re glad now that we have taken our time to go back and release
‘Amsterdam’ after a while because it’s a completely new
style for us, it’s definitely a lot light and melodic than before and
by waiting to drop this later on I think we’ll be able to shock a lot
more people. We recorded this track with Josh Robinson this
time and he added a completely new production dynamic to
the song. He was adding subtle sound effects, claps and vocal
pieces into the song that I don’t believe would have worked in
our previous work but having someone work with us on this
new style, he helped make the transition with those type of things.
C: Amsterdam has been a feature of your live set recently
and the flag is a nice touch – can you tell us what the
song is about?
S: The song actually comes from a trip we had to Amsterdam
itself and tells the story of the cultural switch we experienced
and some of the antics we got up to (particularly
Murph but that’s a story for another day).
C: What inspired to become a radio producer?
S: Initially, my enthusiasm for the local scene drove me towards
producing my own radio show on Belfast Underground.
I’ve always been a big supporter of local music and had an
awareness of some of the bands that not a lot of people knew
about. I wanted to share my love for their music with a wider
audience and the radio was the best medium for that. I also
wanted to give a platform for my friend’s bands to promote their
own music. In February 2016, I had gained a year’s worth of
radio production and saw a vacancy for a fluent Irish-speaking
radio producer on Raidio Failte. They were looking for
someone who had an interest in sound engineering and could
carry out training courses in radio production. All these factors
applied to me, I thought the stars were aligned for this
job offer and I went for it. I’ve been there since and thoroughly
enjoying my time with the station.
Interview by Christina Hendrix
Photos by Carrie Davenport