Artist Interviews

Q&A: Villagers

By | Published on Thursday 10 June 2010


Irish singer-songwriter Conor J O’Brien began writing songs for his latest project, Villagers, the day after his previous band, The Immediate, split. Formed into a five-piece not long afterwards, the band released their first EP ‘Hollow Kind’ in 2009, leading to comparisons with Bright Eyes and Sparklehorse. Villagers have since toured as support for Neil Young, Tracy Chapman and Bell X1, as well as appearing at several festivals last summer. Following the release of their first single in April, Villagers have just released their debut album of the same name, ‘Becoming A Jackal’, on Domino Records. With the band set to perform at Meltdown later this month, we put the Same Six Questions to Conor.

Q1 How did you start out making music?
My mother took me to the cinema when I was four years old. ‘An American Tale’ was the name of the film. I’ll never forget it. I sang the music from it for at least two years afterwards. “Somewhere out there, beneath the pale moonlight, someone is thinking of you and loving you tonight…” I’ve been trying to reach this level on enchantment ever since. But things keep getting in the way. So I focus my attention on these ‘things’ instead.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
Growth, change, mutation, mutilation, power, worship, death. I was inspired by the idea that you can become whoever you want to be when you write a song. It can be a very powerful way of maintaining one’s own individuality.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?

The process is never the same – it changes from song to song. In general, I tend to feel the songs out in a disorganised and playful way.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
Henry Darger and The Beatles.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?

I would say: “Hey, I’m going to go over here now. Hope you dig the music. It’s okay if you don’t, though”.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
Ambition can be a dangerous thing. I guess I want as many people in the world to hear it as possible. As far as the future is concerned, I’m going to let it decide my ambitions for me.