To close out Issue One, we had a quick chat with Men Of Twenty.
Tell us about how your band came to be! Were you friends before the band or did your music draw you together?
We all went to school together. Myself (Daniel) and John actually started playing music together about 10 years ago. We listened to a lot of rock and metal but our biggest influence would have been Thin Lizzy. Myself and John played in a heavy rock band but wanted to start writing more instead of doing Metallica covers. So we asked Conor to join and eventually we tailored our own sound to what it is now!
You chose to change your band name from Animal Beats to Men of Twenty. Why and what made you choose Men of Twenty – any relation to The Dubliners song?
We had changed so much since becoming Animal Beats that it just didn’t feel write releasing new material under that name. We wanted to re-invent the band as our music matured so we decided we had to change the name to something more relatable to indie music and with a more serious tone. John had actually mentioned the name ‘Men Of Twenty’ to us on our way to a gig. It didn’t sit well with our bass player at the time. Later that week as he sat in the kitchen, he noticed a stack of books which hadn’t been there before. One of the books was the play Many Young Men of Twenty by John. B Keane. We took this as a sign and kept the name!
Who were your inspirations growing up and now?
Growing up we thankfully all had musical parents. All of our Dad’s listened to bands like Thin Lizzy, AC/DC, Queen, Deep Purple and Rory Gallagher, Status Quo and so on. We had no choice really, but I think for me and John especially, we hung out with all of these older guys who were in metal bands. We just wanted to emulate them and grow our hair long and listen to music all day. We started listening to bands like Metallica and Pantera. So really our taste in music was becoming more broad. Then later in life we began listening to bands like Kings of Leon and The Killers and other indie bands. So we took all of the energy in the heavy rock songs and combined them with songs we had written. Some of our earlier stuff is a little heavier actually. Now we listen to bands like The National, Foals, Jamie T, The Verve, David Gray and Irish bands like Little Green Cars and The Villagers.
You played at the Ruby Sessions in Doyle’s Pub in Dublin, following in the footsteps of acts like Hozier and Ed Sheeran. Tell us a bit about it all. Did you enjoy the intimate setting or do you prefer the idea of packed stadiums?
It was actually our second time playing The Ruby Sessions and both times were incredible. People are there to really listen to your music, whatever band steps foot on stage. We actually don’t mind playing either of those types of sets. Conor plays both drums and is a professional pianist so we’re prepared for all types of gigs.
You have a broad range of music: songs like “Cheap Carnival” are rich in electric guitars and snappy lyrics, where “Is it a Coincidence” is a much more poignant piece. Do you like to keep your songs mixed or is this experimentation, if not natural?
We have always kept our song writing as a diverse mix. If it sounds good, let’s work on it. We never have an agenda to write a particular type of song. We have tried to write that way in the past and found we either give up after an hour or two, or just throw the song out after a few shows. It has to come naturally or else the crowd can feel that you’re just not in to it.
Future plans? Are you working on any new singles, albums or hoping to perform in any upcoming gigs?
As of now, our schedule is empty coming up to September. We’re back in the studio over the coming weeks and are very excited about recording another single. Dates are still to be confirmed but we’ll be spending a lot of time on these tracks and can’t wait to show people!