Interview with Kevin Murphy – Slow Moving Clouds – Part 1
by Killian Laher
No More Workhorse caught up with Kevin Murphy just before the world changed to discuss Slow Moving Clouds, Blind Stitch and a few other anecdotes.
You’re busy aren’t you? I know you through Seti the First… Interference…
Inetrference was a long long time ago. There’s a gig in the National Concert Hall, I’m not involved, there’s a film coming out. Basically Glen Hansard is the singer now. It was focused around Fergus O’Farrell. When we came up to Dublin first we lived in a warehouse for two and a half years. It was insane, it was brilliant. Glen was around at the same time and he was very taken with the band. I think the Frames’ very first gig would have been supporting us, with Eoin O’Broin on bass! Maybe they weren’t called the Frames, or they called themselves the Frames that night? I’d completely forgotten that he (O’Broin) was a bass player back in the day.
After that, was Seti the First the next thing you did?
I was in Interference in my twenties on and off, I was a session musician more than anything else, a badly-paid session musician. Then I had a band called Igloo for two years, I was very very involved in that, it was probably my first real band where I was writing stuff and thinking it was a big deal. It was the classic story, we were over in London, it was only a matter of how much you wanted it, we had the suitcases with us. Then… I don’t know, within a week or two you could tell, all the phone calls stopped. This was 1996-1998.
I was done, I went back to college, I was messing around all the time but I went the whole way through PhD, masters, I took ten years. And then near the end of it I thought, fuck it, I’ll go again and Seti the First was the thing. That was definitely a departure in that everything before that I was trying to write songs. Now, I wasn’t trying to write songs, so in a lot of ways the pressure was off and I really didn’t think anybody would be interested. So there was no pressure. It was probably the first time that I wasn’t writing songs that I thought maybe record companies would like or whatever. Amazing that when you give up suddenly people take interest in the thing again! That went very well for a while, John Kelly played it incessantly for a while, then we went off to do another album. We did it but at that stage Thomas (Haugh) wasn’t really that interested anymore. Funnily enough we’re talking about doing a third Seti the First album. He’s doing a masters so it will be the summer before it’s finished. My plate is seriously full!
You’ve got a lot on!
Yep, with Slow Moving Clouds and my own thing. I’m really enjoying my own thing. I’m calling it Blind Stitch. I agonised for the last two years, I knew I was going to do something, would it be Kevin Murphy? There’s another Kevin Murphy who’s a singer-songwriter. It doesn’t bother me too much, but on Spotify he’s there. There’s also this guy who writes songs for Liverpool supporters who is huge! So then I was going to call myself Kevin Thomas Murphy, a few people are sticking the middle name in, and I had a list of names I was firing off to people to see which was the best one and they all came back with a different one! It was really wrecking my head so I gave up, it was going to be Kevin Murphy. But then I saw the name of a book – The Blind Stitch. It’s a poetry book written by an old English teacher I had who went on to have a load of success in America. Greg Delanty is his name. I really liked the book and I thought the name was deadly. It didn’t give me the horror the next day or the day after, I still really like it.
I didn’t know what it was – it’s an actual stitch apparently. It described the sound of it. Girls would come up to me of a certain age and told me when they were learning sewing, they learnt it.
Is it mostly you doing the music for this?
It’s pretty much all me. I’ve done three gigs now so I’m going to have to develop what I’m going to do live. I want the thing to stand up on its own first. In that if I had to go around the country, just me and a cello, can I entertain people for an hour? I feel like after 40 minutes, if it was me I’d like to hear something else. At the same time I have it now that I can do it for an hour on my own and I’m happy out. I’m very self-critical but I’m actually happy that this works. I’ve really worked on it, every single section of each song has to bring something new, there has to be some kind of contribution, it can’t just be rolling out the same thing.