Interview with Tadgh Billy King
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
- My dad is a musician himself so music, both listening to it and making it, have always been around me and a part of my life. I started learning the guitar when I was really young and then I started singing when I was maybe 9 or 10. I can’t remember when the first impulse to write a song came, but I remember when I was given my first electric guitar. There were always loads of guitars around the house that I was free to play but this one was mine. I would sit in my room for hours learning Green Day songs or Nirvana songs and then I just started writing my own ones and bringing them to band rehearsals.
If I wasn’t making music I would probably be doing something else creative or artistic. At least I hope I would. I feel like that energy would have to be channeled somewhere or else I’d probably combust.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
- When I’m not playing music, I’m usually doing something else creative. I find it quite hard to sit still and relax. I’m trying to get better at it. I love theatre and performance and film so I may work on something in those fields. I’ve a lot of friends who are theatre-makers, film makers, poets, artists other than musicians. I’m an actor as well. I find that because I perform in other ways (through acting or whatever else) and have spent time studying performance in college my music can often take on a dramatic flair. The music that I’m releasing at the minute is definitely affected by this. I like using mediums of art and performance other than music as influences. I also read a lot; I’m reading Murakami’s “The Wind Up Bird Chronicle” at the minute. I also just watched “Beef” on Netflix… both are very good.
How long have you been making music?
- I’ve been performing and writing music since I was maybe 10 so that’s like 13 or 14 years.
Where are you based and how did that influence your music?
- I’m based in Dublin, Ireland at the moment. Its where I’m from. Ireland’s musical history is so rich and deep, and I find the land itself often speaks through the music. The trad music here is fantastic (go listen to Lankum immediately), but the rock and pop that we produce, as such a little island, is incredibly impressive. Ireland has a very complex history and for such a beautiful place there is a lot of sadness in its history. I think it all speaks through the music made here.
Tell me about your most memorable shows, if you haven’t played live what is your vision for a live show?
- I’ve played in bands before, but now that I’m doing the solo thing I have the opportunity to give everything a little more thought. I want to eventually have my show be more than just a gig, but an experience that brings together many different mediums of performance and art. I’m planning something at the minute.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
- There’s something about Fibber Magees… It’s this rock bar in Dublin with a smallish stage. I’ve played there before in another band. There’s something about the pure hard rock energy of the place that I find really fun. There’s music lovers of all generations that move through that place.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
- Oh man. I have no idea what order the lineup would be but Nirvana, JPEGMAFIA, Radiohead, Tyler, the Creator and Nine Inch Nails have to be on there. That would be an absolute monster marathon of a show. I also feel like The 1975 should be in there as well; they put on such a good show.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into making music and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
- Remember that it should be fun. If you find yourself not having fun during the creative process than try giving yourself some space and perspective. Yes, this is the career you want and yes it needs to be taken seriously, but the best stuff comes from a certain level of relaxation, experimentation, and freedom. That’s probably how you found out you enjoy making music in the first place. Also, go outside. Don’t spend all your time every day in the studio. Make sure you have something to write about in the first place. I think Joe Strummer said something like “there’s no output without input.” Make sure you give yourself the time needed to hone your craft, but don’t give up one your social life, seeing the world and experiencing life… it will make your art better.
- To my younger self: keep taking the piano lessons.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
- This is going to change all the time. Right now, it’s a song that I haven’t released yet called “patience.” I think it’s going to be the last track on my album coming in September. It’s important to me because it serves as a reminder to give myself the space to have patience with things in life. I can sometimes be impatient but that doesn’t serve me well.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
- I’m really excited to start gigging with this new material so I may have to get back to you on this one!
What is your creative process, and what inspires you to write your music?
- I’ll pick an instrument and mess around for a while until something catches my ear and then build off that. The music seems to always come first followed by the melody and then the lyrics. The inspiration for what the song is about is taken from feelings that the music gives me and how it relates to whatever is going on in my life or whatever is on my mind at the time. I kind of just write whatever words come to mind by trying to be as present as possible in those feelings and thoughts and then decipher, edit and hone them in as I move forward. Sometimes I’ll change lyrics on the day I record the vocals!
Do you have messages that you like to get across in your music? if so please tell me about them.
- I think it’s important for me to try and leave my songs off on a hopeful note. I talk about a lot of existential, internal, sometimes angsty themes but it feels important and good to try and find silver linings where I can. My message is that life is really, really strange, and things can come at you fast, but it’s also really wonderful and we’re all just trying to figure it out. So, let’s all try and be as compassionate and considerate to the person next to us as possible.
Do you have any new singles, videos, or albums out that you would like to tell me and your fans about?
- I’ve released 2 singles so far, “sit and wait” and “mirror.” There’s a music video for sit and wait out now that’s very cool.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
- There will be a music video coming very soon for “mirror” and then after that, on the 21st of July, I’ll be releasing my third single “breathe out,” followed by a video for that. In September I’m going to release a full length album. I also have my first show coming up on the 25th of July in Anseo here in Dublin. I’m really excited about it because it won’t be like your everyday gig, there’s going to be a lot more than just music happening. More info will come soon for that, follow me on Instagram to stay up to date!
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
- Definitely go follow me on Instagram @tadghbillyking. Instagram is kind’ve where I live online. In my Instagram bio is my link tree https://linktr.ee/tadghbillyking where you can see links to my YouTube where I post longer form video stuff, my Bandcamp where you can purchase all of my music for however much you like, and my email list that people can sign up to and get access to some special exclusives. There’s also my website that has a merch store in there too!