By ERICA MCQUEEN.
Describe your sound in three words.
Souly, Folky & Acousticky.
Your name seems quite difficult to pronounce – did you consider creating a stage name?
To be honest, it did cross my mind early on. Everyday I experience confusion around my name which, I have to say, I enjoy as it is a nice conversation starter. A downside is it can be a bit tricky for people to find online, but at the end of the day I’m all about keeping it simple and being honest. I know that’s slightly ironic as my name is about as complicated as it gets, but I’m just a guy writing songs and I don’t want there to be any illusion or mystery, ya know? To my knowledge, I am the only Ciaran McMeeken in the world, why change it?
What was different in the way you made Screaming Man compared to the last record?
The last record, The Valley, we recorded in a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere, so it has a really earthy and simple sound. Screaming Man was recorded in Central Auckland with a big drum sound and a lot more action. The sound has definitely developed from record to record but the songs themselves are in the same vein and come from the same space and time. We actually tried to record four of the songs from the new record on the first one, but they just didn’t quite feel right amongst the other songs.
You recently released a very cool video for City – what was your inspiration behind that?
The main theme in City is about ‘moving on and manning up’. I wanted there to be a lot of urgency, movement and energy in the video clip to match the upbeat, rhythmic nature of the song itself. I thought that running would be a good way to portray that, which got me thinking about the rabbit from Alice in Wonderland! The idea grew from there, I did some brainstorming with the director Anita Ward from Fish ‘n’ Clips and we came up with the idea to introduce all of the characters from the story and go on a bit of a crazy adventure!
The artwork for the album is stunning! Who created that?
All the credit must go to my good friend and designer Seiya at Ogino Design. He has done all of my design work over the last few years and he has just been incredible to work with. The artwork portrays the outline of A Rhino’s head, which envelops a close up of its eye. The artwork was inspired by Rhino Peak, in Southland, which was the cover art for my first EP. The mountain has an uncanny resemblance to a man screaming up towards the sky; hence the title.
You made the move to Auckland to pursue your music career. What attracted you to the Auckland music scene?
Inevitably, I think every musician has to move to where the hub of the industry is at one point or another; there is just more going on and more opportunities. Dunedin was great for me, I spent 2 years hiding away working on my music and the supportive community down there really helped me develop. But ultimately I want to keep growing and take the next step. I felt that Auckland was the right move for me. It has been a great year. I have met some amazing people who have helped me out big time. I have learned a lot and I really enjoy it here.
Best place to get a coffee in Auckland?
Definitely Crumb on Crummer road in Grey Lynn. Go say hey to Hugo and the boys, they will look after you.
What are your major non-musical influences?
Friends, exercise and healthy food. All these things keep my head clear and in check and allow me to stay focused on my goals and what’s really important in life.
What are you listening to at the moment?
I have a bit of a mixed bag playlist going on in my car at the moment. James Bay, Maala, Josh Garrels and Sam Smith feature quite heavily!
What’s 2016 look like for you?
Exciting. I can foresee a lot of shows, an overseas writing trip and a full-length album!
If you could perform a duet with anyone, who would it be?
A duet with Tracy Chapman would be pretty cool I reckon!
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