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Interview with Phil Ireland
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Designing roller coasters..., I wish. I’ve always loved music, so there was never an exact point I got into it, it’s always been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. What got me into playing music was hearing John Paul Jones’s bass guitar growling through the mix of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Whole Lotta Love’. The bass part sounded massive and after that I wanted to play bass guitar. That was the start of my journey and I’ve never looked back since.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Years before writing songs I wrote poetry and now that I write music and lyrics, I get to put the two together when writing songs. I’ve always wrote my thoughts down, it helps with my mental health and it’s incredibly cathartic as a creative person, plus all this writing has also improved my dyslexia. It barely even exists now and I have my love of writing to thank for that.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I’m based in the North West of England in a little town with a big personality called Leyland. I’m right smack in the middle of the country, so it’s great for getting to gigs in Edinburgh and the same can be said for London. I gig a lot in Manchester with it being so close and I would say that city has definitely influenced my song writing over the last few years. These days, like most modern artist, most of my influences come from various different acts and styles because of the internet. That’s one of the better things about the internet; you’ll get an artist from Glasgow who plays guitar like he’s from New Orleans. All joking aside I’d say I’ve also been influenced by 90’s movies and T.V from growing up in that era.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
This is always a hard one to answer but I’d ultimately say it would have to be playing bass with ‘Prince’ and his band in his heyday.
I’d come away from the lead vocalist role at that gig and soak up the atmosphere, can you imagine.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Be yourself, keep it real, believe in your music, your act and use your experiences to grow as a songwriter and artist.
I stand by that knowledge now and I don’t really have any regents because it takes time and real experiences to learn these things (it can’t be learnt from reading a book) but I’d definitely tell myself this sooner if I could. Don’t pretend to be more confident than you are, that will come in time but it starts with your belief and that goes for anything you’re doing in life.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
My latest single ‘You Are The Sun’ means the most to me. I mean all my songs are my babies and mean different things to me as the songwriter but they all grow up once you put them out in the world. That’s the wonderful thing about song writing, everyone can get their own interpretation about what the song means. It’s a strange one with ‘You Are The Sun’ as it has a more direct message about coping with grief from a very personal experience of mine but I do feel the song has grown beyond my own experience and will reach out to people in its own way. It’s very much still a universal tune.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
I just want to write the best songs I can and hopefully people will be hugely entertained by my music. At the end of the day music is entertainment but it’s also art. I think some acts these days are one or the other but the best ones are both in my opinion.
I dig deep with all of my lyrics, some songs have multiple meanings to me and hidden meanings intertwined within the words but I still won’t jeopardise a good song to only get my point across.
I love people to be entertained, it’s where I’ve seen people at their best & my songs can be interpreted how the listener wants. So if I was to look for a message, I’d say my songs can say things better than I ever could. I’m very lucky to be able to express myself that way & if I reach the listener on a deeper level that’s a bonus. As long as people are listening & getting what they want out of my music I’m happy. It’s a gift to have that range.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
I also have a band that plays all my tunes as full arrangements & we had a great year in 2022 supporting some big acts such as Tony Hadley, Go West, Heaven 17, so we’re hoping to carry on that trend & support them again at some other big events.
As mentioned I have my new single out ‘You Are The Sun’ & a full studio album I released last year called ‘Ruling Days’ which is getting some decent plays. I’ve been writing new music with the band & it’s evolved my sound to the next level. We’re looking to get back in the studio later in the year & record ‘part 1’ of the next album. I’ve stepped back on to playing bass full time with the ‘Phil Ireland Band’ stuff, so expect some funkier tunes on the next record.