Méadhbh Crowley chats with Sean ‘Neddy’ Arkins of the band behind hit track ‘Stars In My Eyes’
The Original Rudeboys have only been around since 2011, but it seems that they have been engraved in Irish music history for much longer. The band consisting of Sean “Neddy” Arkins, Robert Burch and Sean Walsh have had great success in such a short space of time, selling out the Olympia Theatre, playing Reading and Leeds and having two Top 5 albums, to mention but a few.
Speaking with Neddy Arkins he first reeled back the years telling Motley the origins of the band in inner city Dublin. ‘We had a jam session in my house one night with a few beers expecting nothing from it,’ he explained, ‘a mate who was there suggested filming it so we agreed. He put it up on YouTube and told us it was getting a great reaction; there was no coming back from then on.’
Band names often have an interesting story behind them and with the Original Rude Boys it is no different, as Arkins divulged ‘the name came from a t shirt I was wearing one night at a house party. The three of us were, again, messing around with some guitars in one of the quieter rooms in the house when a small group listening asked us where we a band. At the time we weren’t but we went along with it and said yes, telling them we are The Original Rudeboys and my t-shirt was official merch of ours. They believed it and it kinda stuck.”
Although, last year they did attempt to change their name to ORB, it didn’t go down quiet as well as they had planned. ‘The name change was never supposed to be anything major,’ he admitted, ‘we noticed a lot of people online, particularly Twitter, were shortening everything so we changed our name on Twitter to O.R.B for a while, we were still the Original Rudeboys but the media saw it and blew it out of the water [laughs]. Nobody stopped to ask what O.R.B actually stood for. So it was never really a name change.”
Not only are The Original Rudeboys interesting in name but also interesting in nature, as Arkins tells Motley the vast variety of genres that the band incorporates in their music. ‘Our influences range so far between the three of us; we love everything from The Beatles to Kanye West,’ said Arkins, before going on, ‘what we look for in good music is solid melodies with lyrics that really make you think, like Bob Dylan or John Lennon.’
The band since its inception has been making a big noise in the industry and their success has grown each year. Speaking of the greatest moment in their short career, the examples Arkins gives shows how rapidly successful the band has become in such a short space of time.
‘For us personally, playing and selling out The Olympia Theatre 5 times was a huge highlight as a band and the fact we love to play that venue so much adds to it all the more. In terms of supports we’ve been very lucky to play alongside some amazing acts that we love like Kanye West and Eminem.’
But one of the most memorable for the band was their time supporting The Script on tour. ‘The lads brought us on the road playing most of the UK and Europe plus Australia!’ he said enthusiastically, ‘it really helped push our music and make us tighter as a band plus us three and the three Script lads got on great making it extra special!’
Despite the hectic few years and all their success, they still remember to give back and in November the boys will be embarking on a charity mission supporting charities Walk In My Shoes and Console. The band will be visiting ten schools to talk about their lives in a successful band, and their experiences (good and bad) in the music business. They have also invited special guest speakers from the two charity organisations.
Speaking with Arkins, it was clear that mental health was very important to the band O.R.B who sadly lost a good friend in 2009. As he explained, they took their music and used it to help bring attention to suicide and mental health. ‘On our first album we had a song called “Sunny Days” which is about our friend who passed away through suicide. We wanted to do something which would get the word out there about suicide and hopefully help people so we found Console and donated the proceeds from the track to them. The same with Walk In My Shoes which is all about young people and Mental Health we wanted to help the youth speak up about their emotions.’
The school tour was an idea that the band came up with as a way to try connect with their younger audience in a way that is meaningful for them.
‘It was just a small chat about getting the word out there. We thought the new Single “Never Alone” will be on radio and the internet for people to see but how do we target the audience most important to us about this song. That’s when the idea of going to schools came about. That way we get to come face to face with young people talk to them about Mental Health and maybe play a few songs while where there.”
Arkins’ parting words were inspirational ones, giving advice to anyone suffering from mental health issues.
‘The best advice we can give is to “Speak Up” and we get it that that’s easier said than done but speaking to other young people who were once in a dark place and finally opened up helped them so much and they are so happy they spoke to someone about it.’
The Original Rudeboys play their 5th sell out date in the Olympia Theatre on the 13th of December. Their charity single “Never Alone” will be released on Friday 14th November on iTunes and all good digital platforms, with the profits from sale being equally distributed between Console and Walk in My Shoes.