Big September Interview
Yesterday I spoke to Graham ”Naylor” O’Neill from the band Big September on their new found success and upcoming ventures:
How long have Big September been together and where did you all meet?
”Well this line-up has been together for two years, but we’re all friends from school, all of us went to Pres in Bray. We all hung around together and the lads have been in the band together the past few years. It used to be ‘The Peakin Trippers’ and then I joined the band and we changed the name. That’s when we all really went for it and got all new songs and a new sound. That was two years ago this summer now. We’re all childhood friends, it’s great!”
Why wasn’t the name ‘The Peakin Trippers’ kept for the new line-up?
”Well they all wanted a fresh start anyway, but loads of people were spelling the name wrong when all the online stuff came in like YouTube, and all those other music sites, people were spelling it wrong and it just wasn’t working, you know? So then they changed to Big September and I joined a short while after that.”
You guys are playing a lot of festivals this year like Groove festival and many more, have you done the festival circuit before?
”Yeah, we did a good bit of it last year, but not as much as we wanted because we were still writing the album. We were only meant to do an EP early in the year of last year and recorded three songs, but The ‘Preacher’ did so well and got picked up by FM104 and got play-listed and stuff, so all through the summer it was a bit mad and we said to ourselves ‘lets keep recording’ so we concentrated on that more than doing the festival circuit. But this year we’re absolutely delighted, we’re playing most weekends, most haven’t even been mentioned yet , but we’re playing all over the country which great for five mates. It’s what we love doing, and it’s going to be great fun!”
There is a big gig coming up for you this Saturday the 17th of May in the Academy in Dublin. How does it feel to headline for a second time on such a famous stage?
”We can’t wait. The first time we headlined in December we nearly sold out the venue and that was brilliant. With this one it’s even bigger, the albums just come out and everyone will know the words and will be singing back to us and we’re just really looking forward to it. We have a lot of people behind us and we’ve realised we have a lot more fans than we thought we had. It has been a great week and it all leads up to this gig on Saturday, it’s a really big celebration, and hopefully all the hard work pays off.”
Your debut album ‘Ballroom Addicts” was released last Friday, has the fans reaction to your new music been exciting?
”Big Time! We’re very confident in what we’re doing ourselves. We wouldn’t put out songs that we didn’t think we good, or that we didn’t like. To have the reaction that we’ve had from people is an added bonus. There’s people of all ages; young kids were walking today and they were singing at me going down the road, they were only tiny like! And then my dad who’s 66, he loves all the songs, it really has been going to everyone! We don’t just do teeny bopper music, or music for the older generation, everyone seems to be liking it which is really, really good. And another thing is that no one seems to have a particular favorite (of the songs), we’re getting different reactions off everyone which is good. Some bands release albums and they just have one song which everyone loves off it, but everyone seems to be loving the whole thing, and for us and all the work we put in, all the rehearsals and everything, It’s really rewarding, we didn’t expect to have this good a reaction to our music. We want to thank everyone for that!”
Big September have some very dedicated fans, what has been our favorite fan moment so far?
”This week has been amazing! We’ve been walking down the town in Bray and the album has been blaring out of peoples cars, it has been surreal! We also did a few in-stores this weekend, and there has been young girls absolutely rattling coming up to get the album signed, and we hadn’t imagined anything at all like that would happen, that was really cool. I remember as a kid being like that with bands I liked, and all the stuff I dreamed of as a kid, being in a band etc… It’s all happening now, it’s crazy.”
How would you describe your sound to new fans?
”We love uplifting tunes. We all have common influences like the Beatles and The Stones, but uplifting music with a message is what we really like. We don’t premeditate the writing to do that, that’s the way it just comes out and that’s the kind of band we want to be. We want people to leave our gigs really happy, or listen to our album and feel motivated. The messages that we want to portray in our music are to be proud of who you are and to not be afraid of the world. Our sound is upbeat but with powerful lyrics. Our song ‘The Righteous Way’ talks about going down your own path, and if its not, sit back in a few years and laugh about it. We like to take a positive spin on things.”
Have you any dream countries or venues you would like to play in the future?
”We’re really lucky, we’ve ticked the boxes on most of our bucket list as a band; Have a song on the radio, be in the paper, chart a single, the late late show… The only one left is to play the Olympia, and we would love to do that, even more so than the 02. I used to work there in my teens, and I would look out at the crowd when I was roadying and dream of playing on that stage. It’s a massive goal, and I think we’re going to hopefully do it by the end of this year. It would be a dream come true. We would also love to play The States, I know people always think it’s outside of our ambitions, but we’d love to play America.”
America is most definitely not outside of your ambitions! It was great talking to you Naylor, and I can’t wait to see the gig on Saturday, best of luck!
”Thanks Ruth, great talking to you, see you on Saturday!”
Big September’s gig in the Academy is on this Saturday, the 17th of May, and doors open at 7.30.
Interview by Ruth McGovern