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Seafoam Green - Interview

  by Carl Bookstein

published: 30 / 6 / 2017

Seafoam Green - Interview


Dublin born, Liverpool based musician Dave O’Grady of Seafoam Green speaks with Carl Bookstein about the debut album 'Topanga Mansion'.

With rich melodies and lyrics that often ring like poetry, 'Topanga Mansion' by Seafoam Green is a first-rate debut. Seafoam Green is the musical project of Dublin-born, Liverpool-based musician Dave O’Grady. The album is a blend of Irish folk, Americana tinged rock and more. Even a blues rock influence can be heard- perhaps attributable to producer and co-writer Rich Robinson, guitarist for the Black Crowes. 'Topanga Mansion', recorded in Santa Monica, California, is a musical amalgam of these diverse and varied sounds and styles. Music was always playing in O’Grady’s family home growing up. He has harnessed this long-time influence with great taste. The album opener,'Celtic Wanderings', captures a resonant musical flow from the start. O’Grady’s vocals are strong here too. “The light will stay forever more,” he sings. Also effective are the lyrics on 'Royal Call', capturing some poignant imagery: “Visions… endless wine flows… flash of hope and harmony…” The work is evocative. Dave O’Grady of Seafoam Green took the time to speak with Pennyblackmusic about music, influences and the highly effective debut album 'Topanga Mansion'. PB: How did you choose to go from Dublin where you were born to Liverpool where you are now based? How have these two great cities influenced your music? DO: It was a bit of a random decision, I got fired from my job and my girlfriend dumped me on the same day, a friend of mine was studying in Liverpool and said to come over and clear my head for a few days… Before I finished packing I knew I wasn’t getting on that return flight. PB: How did you happen to meet Rich Robinson (the debut album’s producer) and had you been aware of or a fan of the music of the Black Crowes? DO: I met Rich in Nashville in 2011, I was working with a Scottish songwriter and he was producing their album. I wasn’t really aware of the Crowes at the time so I asked him which record I should check out first, he said SHMC ('Southern Harmony and Musical Companion'). PB: I used to live in Santa Monica, California. What effect did recording the debut album there have on its creation? Is the album title 'Topanga Mansion', a reference to Los Angeles’ Topanga Canyon and does California have additional thematic importance in the songwriting here? DO: I think recording in Santa Monica instilled the idea that anything was possible, now that my music had taken me across the world to record it. Yeah, I lived in Topanga Canyon when I was making the record. The cover is a picture of the small house in the hills where I lived during the tracking and writing. I don’t think LA has a thematic influence on the album, maybe it does but it wasn’t in my mind when recording, it was just nice to be somewhere warm. PB: The lyrics of 'Celtic Wanderings' seem to somehow speak to or harness the divine. For instance: “If I could hold the wind, turn it back round.” Would you say that any kind of spirituality comes into play with your songwriting? DO: It’s a love song about doing impossible things for your love. I guess “love” is the divine and in that way yes, but I try not to be too spiritual when I’m writing. I try to be honest and genuine about what I’m writing about and if that happens to be cloaked in a spirituality but it's not my first intention. PB: There seems to be a range of musical genres employed on the album- from Irish Folk to Americana. Can you speak to your personal musical influences here? DO: I grew up in house that was filled to the brim with music, music was on the stereo all the time. I think John Fogerty was the most regular voice you would hear..including us who lived there! The older I got the more I worked my way backward in time with music, I started in the late 70s and worked back to what influenced those that influenced me. PB: What was it like co-writing songs with Rich Robinson? How did the two of you combine your talents and what did the two of you bring differently to the table? DO: It was really easy, we were friends before this ever came about so it wasn’t like being thrust into a room with someone that I didn’t know. He has always been really supportive in any way that he could, from sending me books to read or records to listen to. I would come to him with ideas for songs and he would cut through the fat to what I was trying to say and help me find a more interesting way of saying it, a more interesting guitar part or how to build tension. Other songs, he would have music that needed lyrics. I would record the whole day, we would have our conversations in between writing, and I would go back and study that night and get ready for the next day. PB: Are you currently or in the near future touring with this album and if so what is that tour looking like? Are you already contemplating your second album? 'Topanga Mansion'is very evocative. What might you hope to do on the follow-up? DO: I am always doing shows but yes, from June 3rd I will be touring the album pretty heavily until November. I have a couple of song ideas that will help get the ball rolling with the second album but I won’t really think about that until the New Year or maybe even later. 'Topanga Mansion' was my first album so you could say I’ve been writing it since I was 12 or 13, that’s 15 years of experiences and life that went into that album. I’m in no rush to try and put out another album just to keep up appearances. PB: Thank you. Seafoam Green will be playing the following dates this year: June 3 - PRIVATE SHOW - Cape Cod, MA 6 - Sally O’Briens - Sumerville, MA 8 - The Way Station - Brooklyn,NY 11-10th Ave Burrito, Belmar, NJ 14 - 10x3 - Cleveland, OH 15 - Blind Bobs, Melbourne, KY 16 - Camp Springs Tavern, Dayton, OH 17- The Station, Louisville,TN 18 - PRIVATE SHOW - Atlanta, GA 19 - Listening Room Cafe - Nashville, TN 25 - River Festival - Liverpool, UK July 14 - Club Velvet - Saint Malo, FR 15 - La Fabric - Saint Malo, FR 16 - The Dock - Saint Malo, FR 17 - The Frog Underground - Paris, FR 18 - The Frog Revolution - Paris, FR 19 - Mulligans - Amsterdam, NL 20 - LIMF - Liverpool, UK 21 - Wirral Earth Fest - Wirral, UK August/September/October 32 County Tour of Ireland TBA

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Seafoam Green - Interview

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Topanga Mansion (2017)
First-rate and evocative debut album from Seafoam Green, the project of Dublin-born, Liverpool-based musician Dave O’Grady

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