This is the best interview we’ve ever done. And the longest. So grab a cuppa and sit down here for the long-haul. It’s totally worth it.
In March 2016, a group of individual buskers in Galway City, decided to undertake a casual endeavour; to combine their talents and form a culturally diverse busking band. Proud owners of 6 nationalities (Ireland, United States, France, Spain, Germany, Argentina), and 9 instruments, the 12-member Galway Street Club has been described as a “United Nations of Street Performance”.
Thanks to their diversity and their energetic performances, they quickly gained public attention from locals and tourists alike, and within a matter of months they had thousands of followers on their Facebook page, a sea of videos on Youtube and had played at some of Ireland’s finest venues like The Róisín Dubh and Whelan’s, as well as at Ireland’s biggest festival, Electric Picnic.
In October last year, they embarked on a 3-month tour through France, Holland, Spain, Germany and Austria. Soon after their return, we talked to them to learn more about their experience busking, their recent tour, and their upcoming plans. The interview ended up being a little longer than we normally do (tl;dr they’re awesome), but they have such interesting and insightful answers that we thought it would be best to let you hear them in full.
So, here it is. Galway Street Club interview series. First up, let’s meet the band.
Camila: I’d like to start by asking for a small introduction. Just a little quote about who you are and where you came from.
Paul: My name’s Paul Walter Kimball. I’m a 28-year-old musician from Las Cruces, New Mexico. My father was a fairly versed trumpet player that used to gig regularly in Las Vegas, and when I was born that quickly got passed down. I started playing in bars when I was 11 (highly illegal in America mind you) and never stopped. After I got out of school, I joined the U.S Military and did 6 years of service. During that time, I got to go around the world and see many aspects of geopolitical unrest. Also during that time, I never got married, never had kids and never did anything outlandishly stupid with my money. Upon getting back to the states, I bought a house and paid it off with the money I had saved during my time in the service. Not wanting to go back to work for anyone after that point, I opted to pursue music full time and it’s been not only a profitable venture, but a fulfilling one.
Laura: My names Laura Corcoran, I’m from Laois. I play the ukulele and sing in Galway Street Club. I’d been in two bands before I started busking but there’s something about playing in the streets that holds a special place for me. Busking makes music so accessible to everyone. It uplifts the energy of the streets and just makes it a fun place to be. The community of buskers in Galway is so welcoming and unlike anything I’ve experienced before. Someone will always be up for a jam.
Adnaan: I’m a farm boy from the Appalachian foothills of New England, in the USA. I went to college, dropped out of college, and hitchhiked to Alaska because I couldn’t stand being dependent on my parents. In the intervening four years, I’ve been drifting around on four continents, making money any way I can; sometime busker, sometime teacher, sometime fisherman, sometime sailor. I’m not human like the rest of you.
Spud: My name is Spud Kennedy, yes, like the potato and yes, that is what my mother calls me. I started piano when I was 4, first public performance at 5. Since then I have been a praise and worship guitarist, a rockabilly guitarist and singer, front man to a metal band, and also operated as a solo singer songwriter throughout it all. Now I am part of one of the most rewarding, exhilarating and challenging projects I have ever had the pleasure of participating in; the Galway Street Club.
Ultan: My name is Ultan, I come from a small little place in North County Dublin, Ireland. As I abided away in this place I got to the middle of those angst-filled teenage years, I was supposed to be studying for school exams and decided it was the perfect time to take up the guitar. I taught myself how to play some notes on my older brother’s Fender, then, with my friends, I learned how to play some more notes…and I haven’t stopped playing since.
Johnny: My name is Johnny Irvine and I am 25 years old. I first started playing music with piano at 9 years old. I played and had lessons every Friday until I was 13 and picked up guitar two years later. I’ve been playing guitar since then and then began playing mandolin around two years ago, but with Galway Street Club the mandolin is now my weapon of choice.
James: My name’s James Dillon and I’m from Clonmel. I’m a former Astrophysics student and generally self-centered individual.
Merle: My name’s Merle and I play the fiddle, that sums it up pretty well.