In anticipation of their October gig in Cyprus Avenue, Motley Editor Dan Webb sits down with Christy Leech, one half of Irish musical duo Le Boom.
Throughout the history of our country, something that has always defined us as a nation has been our music. Throughout many generations, we have so much passed to us by our ancestors; strong will, a rebellious nature and also a love of music. Our ancestors didn’t have all of the technological marvels that we are graced with ourselves today. Instead, they sat around the campfire sharing stories told through a very unique form, song. This strong tradition of spreading a message to your audience via song is still present in the Irish music scene today. One band that has taken a unique approach to this medium is Le Boom, an electro-dance band founded in 2016. In the lead-up to their upcoming gig in Cyprus Avenue on October 12th, I sat down with Christy Leech to have a chat about the band’s roots, successes and where they are going next.
Le Boom are, in their own words, an electric-indie-house-pop duo act. The band consists of Christy Leech and Aimie Mallon, both hailing from Navan, Co. Meath. Interestingly enough, they didn’t actually meet for many years despite living in the same town. Ironically, it took a large-scale move away from home for the pair to meet. Christy tells me that he spent a few years living in New York working in the dance music scene there, eventually deciding to return home to try to start his own band.
Christy met Aimie after a group of people he had been booked to play alongside were unable to do so. Christy told me that following an impromptu jam session with Aimie, he asked her to play a gig with him. The pair were still in that awkward polite phase even right up the night of the gig, but as soon as they stepped onto the stage, everything changed. Christy tells me “it was about halfway through the set, and the crowd were really going for it.” The pair soon realised that there was something special— in Christy’s’ own words, “shit this is great, the energy is on a whole different level.” This focus on eclectic live performances led to the group’s move away from indie music to electro-dance pop.
Something that has always fascinated me, both as a writer but also as a consumer of music, is how artists find inspiration when creating new songs. I asked Christy where he and Aimie usually start when writing a new song. He says initially they just wrote songs with a listening audience in mind, however as Le Boom’s strong focus on elaborate, colourful live performances persisted this too bled into the songwriting process.
“We were getting booked for hour long slots, and we only had like 20 minutes of tunes,” Christy says as he talks about how little time they had between gigs to write material. The band decided to take a few weeks ahead of their Irish tour in October to rest and to spend more time in the studio actually writing songs.
Christy says that having time off is very rare for them, and even when they do have a little bit of downtime they spend most of it in the studio getting ready for the weekend ahead. Christy also talks about keeping the music fresh even while gigging so much, saying “our setlist changes every three, four to five days, and our manager always kills us.” This, of course, would be very taxing on any individual involved in such a time-intensive activity. The band has decided to take a bit of an extended break following the end of their tour in October to recuperate mentally and to try and spend more time actually writing music and getting back to their roots.
Le Boom, being a band with a strong focus on live performances, are, not surprisingly, quite a big hit amongst the Irish festival scene. I asked Christy if there was something about the festival scene in particular that appealed to him. “Festivals are a great way [to start] out, for getting the confidence going on big stages, without the risk associated with the more intimate venues and having to draw a crowd.” However, for Christy, the real appeal of playing festivals is being able to get close to your audience, to reach out and actually touch them with your music.
In recent years, as a side-effect of Le Boom’s effect, Christy says “the stages are definitely getting way bigger, and we are definitely a bit further away from the crowd, compared to the more intimate low ceiling venues.” This year alone, Le Boom have played to packed stages at both Indiependence back in August, and more recently, Electric Picnic a couple of weeks ago, a fantastic achievement for any homegrown band.
Le Boom are set to grace the senses of the people of Cork again when they play their headline gig at Cyprus Avenue on October 12th. Christy was really enthusiastic about returning to Cork; “Anytime we are down there we get an amazing response.” He remembers the first few years of the bands career when they were focusing mainly on Dublin gigs, and then arriving in Cork. The pair were amazed to find an already existing fanbase. “I was like shit how did this happen?” Christy also comments on just how much energy people in Cork have, which helps to create an amazing atmosphere at the gigs. I asked Christy if we could convince himself and Aimie to bring the Le Boom experience to UCC Rag Week, an invitation which he replied to by simply saying “yeah, you can convince us.”
As our conversation was coming to a close, I decided to ask Christy if he had any advice to give to members of the UCC community who are interested in getting involved in the Irish music scene. At first, being the humble person he is, Christy was hesitant to answer, but eventually he left me with two pieces of advice: “if you are doing it, make sure you aren’t doing it just to break out.” Christy feels that if you are only doing it for fame or fortune then you aren’t writing for enjoyment or for yourself. Christy closed by saying “Avoid trying to be better than other people, try to be different and be the best that you can be.”
Le Boom will be playing Cyprus Avenue on Saturday October 12th. Tickets are still available via Cyprus Avenue, and Eventbrite. Thank you very much to Christy for taking the time to sit down and talk to me.
Photography: Peter Fleming