Locklin Talks First Single of Upcoming EP
Barry McLoughlin talks about his career, the current climate of the industry and how much he misses playing live music.
Irish singer-songwriter Barry McLoughlin has been working in the music scene since 2005 and has formed the band Locklin as his latest project. They have released an EP entitled “Never Forget” in 2018. Now, they’re in the process of releasing a second EP, and their lead single “Setting Sun” dropped today. Driven by guitars, this song offers a reflection of mortality in a song that made me do a little dance the first time I heard it. The vocals glide over the smooth instrumentation and make this a song that you should definitely listen to at least once. I got a chance to sit down with Barry and chat about his career, the climate of the music industry right now, and how much he misses being able to play live music, so keep reading to find out more!
Can you tell me a little bit about you and your music?
I started playing like anybody else would, when I was a teenager and all. I got into my first band when I was about 20. I’ve just been writing songs ever since then. Since then I’ve been in and out of other bands and doing things on my own and that kind of thing. I started this project called Locklin at the end of 2018 and I released an EP with them. Now I’m onto my second EP. That’s the first single that I sent you - that’s the first single off my second EP.
Okay, so can you tell me a little bit about that song, Setting Sun?
It’s indie rock I suppose. That’s the kind of music that I’m interested in playing. I wrote that song last year. It’s been a slow process and I've been sitting on it for a while. Last year, we took our time recording it. My friend has a studio in the town that I live in and I would go to him whenever suitable. We would record some tracks. We recorded “Setting Sun” along with three other songs. It’s to do with thinking about mortality, but not in a sad way. The whole setting sun is a reference to someone who has passed and gets you thinking about your own life. We all know people who have passed, maybe friends or neighbors or that sort of thing. But if someone you really loved passes, it has more of an effect on you, like if it was your mom or your dad. That’s where that song comes from and it’s the whole reference of the setting sun.
That’s really beautiful.
Thank you very much. I had it written in half an hour - it was just one of those songs. It just came out and I didn’t have to think too much about writing it. Those kinds of songs are the best ones anyway. The ones that come straight away.
The ones that just appear.
Yeah, they just appear. If you think too much about it, it kind of loses that spark, so you have to write it down straight away.
What made you want to pursue music?
I don’t know, I just liked it. I live in a pretty small town. There’s only like 10,000 people that live here. It’s not a big town at all, but it’s a very musical town. There’s a lot of people from here who are involved in music and the arts like acting and drama groups. Music is a big thing where I'm from. All my friends play music and in this town alone there’s a lot of bands. I grew up in this atmosphere where you kind of have no choice but to get into it. Everyone learns whether it’s the piano, the violin or the guitar. My mom used to listen to a lot of good music. That’s where I got my love for music.
With your mom listening to music and everything, did you find your influences in that kind of music or did you find your own?
A bit of both. My mom listened to mainly Irish artists - many Irish singer-songwriters. Christy Moore is a really big deal in Ireland and he has been for 50 years. He’s just one of those old-school singer songwriters. There’s been a lot of bands and musicians that have been on the charts and popular in America and the UK over the years. Growing up in the 90s, I got the tail end of Nirvana and grunge. I loved all that. In Ireland, being so close to the UK we also had Brit pop. I used to love all those bands. Oasis and all those kinds of bands. Foo Fighters and Niel Young, I love all that kind of vibe and that sound. They would be my influences. I’ve kind of stuck to that. I listen to that mainly. I find it very hard to get into new bands because it’s so different from the sounds of Tom Petty. All the new bands are trying to have a certain sound so they can get played on the radio. They need to have a certain sound and I get that. I understand that. I just keep going back listening to music that’s been around for 20-30 years.
Are you trying to create that sound that would be played on the radio or are you trying to stay true to the music you create?
I’m trying to get a bit of both because of course you want radio play. It can be hard to get on the radio - even in Ireland. Even though it’s so small, there’s still so many bands and it’s so difficult to get out there. There’s only a certain amount of specialist programming so a DJ will have a show that he/she will only play new bands like me, but that show may only be on once a week for an hour. It can be very difficult for the DJs to get to play everybody. Their mainstream radio is the same as everywhere - you turn it one and it’s Billie Eilish. It’s the same as America. I’m sure it’s the same kind of music played on daytime radio. I’m trying to get a mix of what I think the radio is looking for but trying to stay true to myself too.
Definitely a fine line I feel like.
Exactly. But once you enjoy music and once you enjoy playing it, what will be will be. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t ever get play time on the radio. You gotta enjoy it. That’s why you decide to play when you’re a kid. So it doesn’t really matter because I’m going to keep playing anyways.
What’s been your favorite moment so far while playing music?
I love the hometown gigs because you can get all your friends/family down. They may not be the biggest gigs, but playing with your friends gives a really good buzz and some good nights are had down at your local pub. I was in a band a few years back and we got to play some festivals and that was also a really good buzz. We got to mix with some big bands that were playing. It was a festival in Ireland - it’s called Electric Picnic. It’s the biggest festival in Ireland and we got to play that twice. That was a pretty good buzz because we played to like a couple of hundred people. To be playing at those kinds of festivals was brilliant. It would only encourage us to keep playing so that was cool.
You must miss playing live a lot.
I do and like I knew even his time last year that I was going to be doing this. Have an EP ready and do singles. I was really looking forward to organizing gigs. It’s really fun to play in Ireland because it’s so small. You can go to Dublin, which isn’t too far from me and you can go to all the major cities in Ireland. They’re all like 90 minutes away from each other. It’s fun to do a tour in Ireland because it is so small. But anyway, what can you do? It is what it is.
What’s one thing you wish you knew when you were starting out?
I wish I knew the direction that music was going. When I started out, it was less about social media, although it was starting to go that way. We started out with MySpace. It was like the social network to be on 15 years ago. There was no Facebook or anything like that. I think that the biggest challenge at the moment is trying to stay on top of social media while you’re in a band, or trying to write songs. You’re trying to do the best you can music wise but it’s so difficult when you have to maintain your social media presence.
Have you found it hard to balance the social media parts of it with making music?
Yeah, it can be, especially when you got the music done and it’s recorded. You have to get it out there. The way I got in touch with you - I saw you there on Instagram. You were doing blogging. Trying to get in touch with people like yourself. It’s difficult. You can spend all day in front of your computer sending emails and mp3s, and then you send an mp3 and they want a link. Everybody wants something different. Especially radio DJs and those sorts of people. They want everything sent in a different way, like Dropbox or links. I’m not very tech savvy so for me that’s a nightmare.
So what’s next for you and Locklin?
Getting the first single out and seeing how it goes. I have to try and get more on top of it before it’s released - just trying to get it out there. I got my artwork and all kinds of made up, but it’s still 5 weeks away before it's available online. I’m going to release single by single and I’ll try to release a second single in September or something like that. I’ll have the four songs then so maybe I’ll have an EP by the end of the year or early next year. It’s so hard to know the way things are. You can’t get a gig to promote it. It's kind of difficult to know what to do really. I’m just going to do it single by single for the time being.