JFC Talk Debut Albums, Busking
And supporting the Rolling Stones
With Hudson Taylor
The former is 22 and the latter 20, and not only have the Dubliners gained a loyal cult following in the past few years, they’ve also supported The Rolling Stones with just 20 minutes notice, and they’re debut album Singing For Strangers is due to drop next month.
The brothers have certainly come a long way since they were first discovered busking in Dublin then, but they admit they still love to get out on the streets whenever they get a chance - hence the name of their first album.
“We used to busk when we were about 15 or 16 to make a bit of pocket-money,” Harry recalls, “and also just because it was fun. We’ll still do it nowadays every so often.”
“We finished that gig, had a few beers and got ready to go and watch The Rolling Stones, then our manager got a call asking if we would fill in for the support act. 20 minutes later we were up there in front of 50,000 people..."
Alfie continued: “Yeah, our manager originally saw us busking, so I organized a gig – an underage gig because I was 16 at the time, although the promoter thought I was 23 or something – but the promoter pulled it last minute because he said there were too many underage people coming. Quite ironically really!”
“To make up for her coming all the way over from London for the gig, we said ‘alright, screw it, we’ll go busking’,” added Harry, with his brother continuing: “It was the first time it had snowed in Dublin in a few years, so we went busking in the snow and that was the main discovery!
“We realised, yeah, there’s actually people coming over to see us from the music industry. We could learn a bit more about that and maybe live of music one day. It was freezing in the snow though!”
Since then, the group have released two EPs, earned widespread critical acclaim, and now made a long-awaited transition from the streets to the studio.
How did they get the gig? Tom Odell called in sick less than half an hour before the big slot. Hudson Taylor got the call from their manager, and the rest is history.
Harry recalls with a smile: “We were at the Hyde Park gig playing a small stage with 300 people on a hot summer’s day. It was a really nice gig. We were in a tent that was well air conditioned as well, so loads of people came in!
“We finished that gig, had a few beers and a bit of champagne to celebrate and got ready to go and watch The Rolling Stones, then our manager got a call from the promoter asking if we would be able to fill in for Tom Odell. 20 minutes later we were up there in front of 50,000 people, using all of Tom’s gear because they didn’t have time to change it.
“Our faces were blown up 100ft on the giant screens and then we actually got to introduce the Rolling Stones on the video as well!”
Alfie continued: “We got about an hour and a half of play time in Hyde Park that day. It was amazing. Obviously there was so many people that it’s hard to even see the people’s faces in the front row, but we think it went down really well. People came up afterwards and told us that they’d enjoyed it and our parents got to see all the action...