Interview Project #15: Music For Dead Birds


Music For Dead Birds is the name for the music made by Jimmy Monaghan (vocals, guitar) and Donal Walshe (drums, vocals). They are from Galway and they come from the Rusted Rail stable of artists that also includes the likes of United Bible Studies, Mirakil Whip and an early record from So Cow. They specialise in a form of ever-so-slightly off-kilter acoustic folk, atmospheric but close-focused and endearing. Not the furthest thing in the world from Mt. Eerie at times, to my ears. Their 3″ mini-album And then it rained for seven days came out earlier this year on Rusted Rail.

Music For Dead Birds – Pill Oh

Music For Dead Birds – Ghosts and Water (demo)

Q 0.5 How are you?

Reasonably well.

Q1 Nowadays, when everybody has a decent computer and gear is more available, it’s much easier for anyone to make music and have it heard quickly – does the bedroom music explosion devalue music at all by making it so easy to do?

I wouldn’t say it devalues it at all, no. It may be easier to record music now but it doesn’t make it any easier to write ‘good’ music. Having lots of expensive gear and recording equipment doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to write something that people can relate to.

Q2 Is downloading a good thing? Does the fact that it’s possible to get so much music so easily and for free make it more disposable at all?

It’s up to the listener to decide how much value they put on the music they download. If you go around downloading like mad and you have hundreds of albums on your mp3 player, you’re more than likely not going to give the music the attention it deserves. Downloading IS a great thing… just don’t take the piss.

Q3 Is there anything that makes your music quintessentially Irish? Is it intentional?

I guess because I was born in the States and spent some time there, I was influenced as a child by the songs I was hearing on the radio.. Then coming over here and being exposed to a lot of Irish/British music made for this mash up in my brain of how music should sound. That sounds really dumb doesn’t it?

Q4 Do you find it difficult to self-edit, or to take a step back from your music and look at it objectively?

Nope, I’m my biggest critic.

Q5 Is there a Dublin scene, or even smaller genre-based scenes? Are you a part of one?

There’s some really great experimental/psych/folk bands coming out at the moment all over the country, and anyone who has released something with Rusted Rail is like a member of this little family, it’s great to be a part of it.

Q6 Name a non-musical influence on your music.

The weather.

Q7 Take one of your songs and explain the process of writing it from the beginning to the finished article.

Ghosts & Water:

I wrote this melody that was kind of nice and these lyrics about an orphan who has a panic attack by the sea.. I brought it to practice one day and this is what happened:
Me: “Hey Donál, I have this song but it get’s kind of repetitive towards the end”.
Donál: “What about if we make the last chorus really loud and heavy”
Me: Sound.

Q8 Has music criticism ever influenced your music, or at least made you think about it differently? I mean proper reviews, but also blogs or even just hearing someone you don’t know talk about you.

When I (or we) write music, there aren’t any critics in the room. If there were we wouldn’t write something we wanted to write in fear of ‘upsetting’ them. Hearing a critic’s opinion on your music is great, but more than likely isn’t going to change or influence your style. After a gig once someone told me I should try to write lyrics like Simple Kid, he’s great but I was like “Why should I if he’s already doing it?!”

Q9 Have you ever felt guilty for trying to get other people to take an interest in your music, if you aren’t making the effort with new music yourself?


Q10 Would you call yourself a traditionalist with regard to music, either as a listener or in how you go about writing/recording/performing?

I’m a big fan of using samples and electroincs, but when we play live it’s just an acoustic guitar, vocals and drums. Recording for us is fairly traditional… a four track, a microphone and a room with some sexy acoustics.

Q10.5 What’s something you’re listening to right now?

Black Moth Super Rainbow – Born on a day the sun didn’t rise.



10 responses to “Interview Project #15: Music For Dead Birds

  1. Is that Less Stress More Success Indie Rock for LC in his hand?

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