Monday, 3 December 2012

winter break

winter entered vioently and suddenly last wednesday night while we slept. there we were at midnight standing outside the venue in regansburg in the mild autumn rain and on thursday morning, a freezing snowy world awaited us outdoors. last night, nature repeated itself in bruxelles, with our first snowfall at about 3am - it had been rained on and washed away before this morning, but watching the snow fall on the rooftops opposite as i fell asleep last night was quite beautiful!

wallis and i have just arrived home after a long tour ending with some arena dates with german singer, ina müler. on arriving in belgium and before getting home, i met up with the italian weather ladies in the very special bar des etoiles - an intimate woodland venue perched on the top of a hill in the countryside near ottignes with a warming welcome, a brilliant sound system, an open fire and an beautiful audience warmed by it.

this thursday 6th, i am going to play a solo show alongside ivan tirtaux, one of my favorite bruxelles singers, at another lovely intimate venue, le chat borgne in bruxelles... in the mean time, i've been putting together remix packs for anyone who may want to fuck up my songs (see here for more) - a lovely way to end a heavy touring year. please join us at the show or on the mixing desk!

then it's time for two weeks of christmas markets and mulled wine before popping back to dublin for the festivities - this break is the longest i've had since feburary... ten months of touring - the ups and downs, the highlights - so many, dornbirn for birthday champagne stands out! the spills, the thrills - lots of thrills - but not much sleep - time to play catch-up :)


Monday, 23 July 2012

press for our (aidan & the italian weather ladies) debut album, "le grand discours"

in march, we released our debut album in germany. because of this, the press has mostly been german, and my german is not very strong! we've spent the past few days tracking down and translating what various publications have been saying about our album. it's funny to read how people hear it... some say its a light and fun album, while others say it's a rich meloncholic album! most loved it, some hated it, but, thankfully, there was nothing in-between - happy my music, at the very least, moved you :)

le grand discours

i try not to read stuff written about me, anyway - my objectivity suffers and my ego grows, but i found myself obliged to do so this time. so, in the heights of my ego, i thought i'd share some snippits with you... i think i kinda learned something from it! now, learn with us (lets not forget the italian weather ladies)...

"evokes an enormous mental cinema of images and feelings. 7/10" - crazewire
"welches ein enormes Kopfkino an Bildern und Gefühlen hervorruft. 7/10" - crazewire

"it's simply wonderful melancholic music orchestrated with a full band... Highly reccommended! 6/6" - stadt magazine
"De la musique mélancolique tout simplement merveilleuse orchestrée par un groupe complet...  Vivement recommandé! 6/6" - stadt magazine
"ist es einfach wunderbar melancholische Musik in voller Bandbesetzung... Ein absoluter Tipp! 6/6" - stadt magazine

"an infinitely rich, moving and natural piece of folk art, which offers continuous surprises. A diamond debut." - glitterhouse
"De l'art folk infiniment riche, touchant, naturel et toujours surprenant. Des débuts 18 carats!" - glitterhouse
"ein unendlich reiches, bewegendes, natürlich fließendes Folk-Kunstwerk entstehen, das immer wieder neue Überraschungen bietet. Ein Debut-Diamant." - glitterhouse

"beautiful songwriting debut for the year-end list... stunning. 4/5" - schallplattenmann
"Joli travail d'écriture qui aura sa place au classement de fin d'année... Magnifique! 4/5" - schallplattenmann
"wunderschönes Songwriting-Debüt für die Jahresendliste... atemberaubenden. 4/5" - schallplattenmann

"There is so much to discover in "Le Grand Discours", people who love Elbow, Nick Drake and John Martyn, will accept it with open ears." - Suite 101
"Il y a tant à découvrir dans "Le grand discours". De quoi ravir les oreilles amoureuses de Nick Drake, Elbow ou John Martyn." - suite 101
"Es gibt also viel zu entdecken auf „Le Grand Discours“, das Menschen, die Elbow, Nick Drake und John Martyn mögen, mit offenen Ohren aufnehmen werden." - Suite 101

"repeatedly enchants the artist's audience with simple, effective melodies and his unique voice. 9/10" - powermetal
"Immer wieder verzaubert der Künstler seine Zuhörer mit einfachen, wirkungsvollen Melodien und seiner einzigartigen Stimme. 9/10" - powermetal

"Very melodic, very quiet, very skillful: Belgo-Irish singer/songwriter pop." - Frankenpost Magazine
"Sehr melodiös, sehr ruhig, sehr gekonnt: Singer/Songwriter-Pop in irisch-belgischer Zusammenarbeit." - Frankenpost Magazine

"Aidan is an artist with heart and soul."
"Aidan ist ein Künstler mit Leib und Seele."

if you have thoughts or feelings about the album, please share them - amazon allows user reviews!

buy "le grand discours"

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

livingroom concert video: believe by aidan

livingroom concert video: believe by aidan
live at darmstadt, 22nd november 2011
captured by

last summer, i came across the living room concert concept when i received an odd email from my friend elvy, advising me that he was doing a show in bruxelles but he couldn't tell me where! it had been some years since i had seen him perform so, even though i wasn't sure if i would make the show, i signed myself up as an audience member... i did make the show (nearly a half hour late!), and it was the lovliest and most intimate show i had been to in ages - about 30 or 40 people sitting around in a gentleman named frederick's home. frederick opens his doors to strangers for the love of music - the same spirit that i imagine public houses to have been conducted in, before 1869, and the way i wish people were still free to act now.

it was for this reason that, last november, when we were booking some shows, we tracked down some of these unique venues: home concert in bruxelles, where i saw elvy, and where i hope to play during the soon-to-be-announced september 2012 tour with ben kritikos; motoki wohnzimmer in köln, who are so successful that they rarely get around to emails; bedroom disco in darmstadt, who organised for charlie barnes and i to put on a show in a student-appartement kitchen last november; ...

this show was a very special show... again, 30 or 40 people, almost sitting on top of each other... full of energy and involved - you had to be - it was a kitchen with 40 people rammed into it! at the start of the evening, we all grabbed a cushion and had a great feed, before charlie opened the show. he played a great set, with his off-the-wall live sampling and effects... this was the 3rd and last show that charlie and i were doing together, after this show, he was returning home to leeds, and i was continuing the tour on my own - it couldn't have been a more perfect final evening - dominik looked after us so well and put us up in his home when the time came to find a pillow to fall on... i can best describe my show by sending you to the video that was filmed there by jochen and dorota:

this is where music lives :)

Thursday, 19 April 2012

bells of the morning video

it was my great pleasure to stumble into a partnership of two of my favorite graphic designers: félicie haymoz (CH – fantastic mr. fox / girls in hawaii) and les tontons racleurs (BE – including nico belayew who does our design work).

i think it was last august, when the sun was still pumping through the front window of les tontons racleurs workshop space in recyclart, in bruxelles. nico, maud and pierre-philippe had been there for a month already and were to remain for another couple. they had hosted a few concerts, worked on collaberations with olivier vidal (portrait artist) from canada, macloud zicmuse (les hoquets and madideas man), leo vancauwenberghe (drawings) and oliver cornil (photographer) from belgium, the italian weather ladies (my band), and now it was time to bring the wonderful suisse illustratrice, félicie haymoz (character designer on fantastic mr. fox / designer of my favorite girls in hawaii t-shirt) in for a project.

when i heard this, i set up camp outside with my nose pressed against their window for weeks straight trying to catch a glimpse of what they were doing... as the 20-floor building on the opposite side of the street crashed down, they recouperated lengths of wood and constructed an immense frame which would house about 200 5x5x5cm cubes. they then silkscreened on 5 sides of about 500 such cubes - all red and blue and green - sometimes giant drawings, sometimes patterns being screen-printed onto about 40 cubes at a time, never again to find themselves beside one another, but each to be reincarnated hundreds of times over as a building block in frames of animation.


when this was done, they attached a digital-camera to the top of the structure and the stop-animation machine was complete... feeling sorry for me, standing in the dust cloud outside, nico invited me in for a cup of tea. i took it as an invitation to invade their space and for three days i moved cubes around until i had enough material to make a music video for “bells of the morning” (taken from the album “le grand discours” by aidan, released with hazelwood vinyl plastics / roughtrade, march 2012)...

please check it out and leave a word or two :)

Friday, 20 January 2012

day 09 :: dornstadt, DE :: solo tour, november 2011

20th november 2011 :: dornstadt, DE :: obstwiesenfestival tanke solo with charlie barnes

as i was leaving yellowstone this morning, i got a phone call from timo to ask how everything was going. its with the help and hard work of timo and julian that i am on tour this month. i left the studio before anyone else arrived with a sadness that it'll be gone before i pass back through and a note to offer my engineering skills, if they ever need them!

- the broken beats -

the sun took me away this morning... it was blindingly beautiful as i drove to the ulm hbf stopping only for fried potatoes and veggies. with wallis, we always stop at the big rasthauses, this time, i'm stopping at lay-bys and smaller, more independant truckstops - so far, i've been pleasantly surprised and have even saved some pennies - every little helps :)

today, i was picking up charlie barnes. charlie is a live sampeling songwriter and pianist from leeds. he is going to be playing a set on the next three shows and joining me in the car.

- 31 knots -

its an industrial part of germany... factories billowing smoke sit next to windfarms - how long will it be before someone writes a horror movie about aoleans?! brilliant and inspired but scarily imposing!

- the miserable rich -

the last time i was in ulm, was for the ulmer zelt festival with wallis last year. it was the first show after my friend, denis, had died and it was a crazy show... the storm outside building to a volume greater than our gig during measuring cities, so we joined in and got louder and louder until it started to subside - we sat around a campfire in the backstage after the show and sheilded ourselves from the cold... a guitar was being passed around - it was a funny vibe, nice but i was distracted - my head still in the storm from earlier!

i can't remember why, but i wrote "thees uhlmann" in my notebook with no explination! charlie is a lovely guy. i can tell that we're going to have a good laugh! he films his days on shitty low quality digital cameras - watching them must be like the oft-hazy memories i have!

as we arrive at the dornstadt exit, we are directed to a very abandoned looking hotel and truckstop. in the carpark there are a few parked trucks and weeds pushing up through the tarmac. we parked and walked around the various buildings and outhouses, kind of looking for the venue, but mostly exploring! we were early, so it was a nice diversion :)

the venue turned out to be the petrol station - one of the wierdest and nicest venues i've played in - great team, great sound, great audience! we hung out with them after the show and had cake. charlie and i spent most of the evening saying "brilliant brlliant brilliaant"... it was brilliant!

on the drive to the hotel in ulm, we took backroads and realised that in this fine fancy car, i can see the stars while i drive!

we got locked out of the hotel... it's one of those little-bit-fancy, cheap, modern, horrible hotel chains that have replaced the receptionist with a computer and the key with an 8-digit code! i had written it into my notebook, but it turned out that what i had written down was my booking reference and not the door code - soooo many numbers :(

charlie eventually negociated with a guest to let him in so he could try and get the room open to get the code we need to open the carpark... the only problem being that the code he would need to open the bedroom, was in the bedroom! during his corridor wandering, i managed to coax the computer into giving me the door code, so i got in!

i went straight to bed and as charlie was getting into bed he mentioned that he likes to sleep with the curtains open to allow the morning light in - me too!!


Saturday, 7 January 2012

day 08 :: frankfurt, DE :: solo tour, november 2011

19th november 2011 :: frankfurt, DE :: occupy frankfurt demonstration solo

i must have looked odd to the many truckers wandering around the carpark, struggling to get my pants on in the back seat of a shaking car as the sun came up.

i woke up at about 8am and went for a quick walk to allow the morning air to wake me up properly. the dew hung beautifully on the autumn landscape, dressing her in faded foggy colours, but it was not a very interesting place here, so i decided to drive a bit and find somewhere more interesting to stop for breakfast.

- blah - a compilation i made (see "mixtape" blog from oct 2011 -

i continued where i had left off last night. talking with claudia and ilo (2 ladies at last night's show), they asked me where i was going next.
- "i don't know! maybe mainz maybe frankfurt, somewhere around there anyway!"
i have a car, a sleepingbag, no plans and a radio full of friends!

i pulled over at a charming truckstop at sessenhausen for breakfast - there are few of these in germany, most are now horrible overpriced sanifare... all those 50cent pieces going down the toilet. this one was in the middle of a woodland set enough back from the motorway that i could sit outside over my croissant and coffee listening to the birds sing the day in, it was a lovely diversion!

on the next streatch i got flashed coming into a 100kmh zone - balls! i rarely break the limit, but here was one of those moments where i didn't slow down quickly enough! the last time i remember getting caught speeding was in hamburg, driving 45 in a 30 zone!

i arrived into mainz and parked by a lovely park out near the university for a quick walk before meeting marcus for lunch. marcus is a great friend and the soundengineer who is currently mixing my studio album and who also mixed the live and sans souci album last year.

mainz seems pretty. i went for a walk to town through the park in the low autumn sunlight... narrow streets winding down the tram tracks to the old city. i found myself in an internet café to catch up with online stuff. on the radio was elevator versions of my heart will go on and other classy hits!

i drove to the other side of town to meet marcus for lunch, so i could get straight on the road afterwards. i got stuck on the bridge at the hbf and every time i tried to get under it i was on top of it again... marcus was waiting underneath! round and around i went, until i finally gave up and phoned marcus to come and find me!!

we found a restaurant and geeked it up about wallis' and my albums, mics and preamps and general geekery - i am a geek at heart!

it was a short 30 minute trip to frankfurt. this evening, i play on the stage at the occupy frankfurt protest. willybrandtplatz, the square surrounded by enormous concrete and glass buildings housing europe's biggest banks, was taken over with tents and animations. dotted around between tents are information points some with poems and art, others with texts explaining various different banking scenarios and systems... unfortunatly there was a large percentage of drunken people - more than i like to see at this sort of event, but i suppose when you take into account that they've been camping here for two freezing cold months, the thirst can be forgiven. but still, this should be taken seriously and i had the impression that everyone i spoke had a different idea of what they were trying to accomplish - not a good start :(

i was greeted by isaac, a lovely gent who was also filming a load of stuff to put together a representative documentary of what's going on and the changes that need to come about.

i played for about an hour, with a random drummer joining me about halfway through the set!!! it was fun and ended in a long discussion about the distribution of wealth over a cup of tea, before hitting the road for hazelwood studios, wherein lies my bed for the night.

yellowstone studios is in a warehouse space converted in 1996 to this wonderful recording space. the live room is generous with a stage at one end - i was to do a show here, but unfortunatly, the studio is having financial difficulties at the moment... it's such a shame that bands don't realise the benefit of recording in a nice sounding room anymore... this struggling haven, and then you have the guy who, only last week, closes down a business with an annual profit of 4 million dollars, leaving all its workers unemployed because he feels like it - distribution of wealth, yeah? - he doesn't sell it, or pass it on, or get someone to look after it for him - he closes it down!

the hazelwood label, yellowstone's house label, is the home of daniel johnston. the guys that greet me are really lovely and take me on a tour of the studio explaining different acts that have passed through these rooms and giving me a few albums to check out... while i wish that this gig had gone ahead, i had a very interesting day... order of the evening? dinner and a beer, a shower and then bed ^_^