Raglans’ self-titled debut album was released in March 2014 and reached no.5 in the Irish Album Chart. They have toured around Ireland, the UK and Europe, as well as supporting bands such as The Strypes, Haim, The Courteeners, The Fray and The Libertines.
Formed in a festival tent in 2010, Dublin foursome Raglans are keeping it real. We catch up with them in Liverpool about life on the road.
Tell us the story of how you formed in a festival tent all those years ago?
Stephen: I was at a festival as a punter, and Rhos was playing in a band. I bumped into him late one night at a campsite party (we were both pretty drunk), and I asked him if he wanted to start a new band. He said no! A few days later I found him on Facebook, sent him a couple of songs I had, and he liked them. So we met up and played the songs, then Rhos brought Con along, and Dan joined about a year ago. The festival tent story is a little grimmer than that, but I won’t go into detail!
And now you’ve toured with timeless bands like The Fray, how was that?
Rhos: We have. The Fray tour was great. So much fun, the lads and the whole crew were really nice. It was a long tour, and every venue was packed!
Conn: It was our first time playing around Europe too, so that was cool. Europeans are really into music which is class.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Stephen: The View said they don’t look at how many albums they sell – they just like playing gigs! So I think the best piece of advice is just to keep playing. Everything else is kind of a little superficial, but if you’re actually playing in front of people that’s what it’s all about. That’s how you build a fan base.
Have you met many big egos on the road?
Conn: We’ve been lucky, we’ve never really met a lot of arseholes. What we’ve found is, it’s never the band. It’s usually the people they’re surrounded by. As a band we make sure we’re always surrounded by cool people.
Stephen: When we were in Australia playing Soundwave festival, there were a couple of relic bands who were throwing their hotel keys at reception…
Conn: ‘My beer wasn’t cold enough!’
Stephen: ‘The mini bar was lukewarm! The Wi-Fi? What fucking Wi-Fi!?’
Conn: First-hand experience, never be that guy. Never surround yourself with people who are like that.
How did the album come together, do you write collectively?
Stephen: Yeah. Someone will bring an idea forward for a song, and the way we present it as a band is that we all come together so that it’s a Raglans song.
What are your plans after festival season? Is there a second album on the way?
Stephen: We’ve constantly been touring since our debut album last March. Managed to get a few songs going, but we’re gonna take a month out when we get back to Ireland next week after playing a festival in Holland. We’re gonna go to the country and live there for a month, work on some songs… become best friends.
Your music videos are a lot of fun! Who came up with the idea for Natives?
Rhos: When we release a video, I only look at it once and then never again. But I looked at Natives the other day, and I was like, that is the weirdest fucking video.
Stephen: Finn Keenan is the lad who directed it, he’s the only director we’ve ever worked with. We like working with Finn. He’s got a very good sense of humour, it’s a strange sense of humour, but he gets us.
Conn: His sense of humour comes across really genuine too. He’s not trying to make people look cool, he’s a massive music fan and he’s just trying to make something that’s real good to watch! Genius.
Rhos: There’s a lot of bands who do the whole standing in a room, serious face, rocking out thing – fuck that! We wanted to do something left of centre and in sync with our music.
What are you expecting from Liverpool Sound City today?
Dan: It’s our first time in Liverpool.
Stephen: Yeah, and it’s been a long time coming! This is the 7th or 8th time touring the UK and this is our first time playing Liverpool. We’ve always wanted to come, this is a lovely area. All these abandoned dock buildings are really cool.
Conn: Anytime you’re near the water it’s always good.
If you could curate your dream festival line-up, who would headline and why?
Stephen: Probably Nirvana.
Conn: For a bookable band, I’d say Manchester Orchestra. They’re playing Reading and Leeds, I’d love to go watch. I’d like to see them have the chance to do a longer headline set.
What do you hope the crowd takes away from your live set today?
Stephen: Our music is really positive so we always want people to enjoy themselves, not be shy and have a good time.