The Eskies Ian Bermigham has released his debut solo single The Lucky Ones under his new name Old Sea Legs. He plays Whelan’s in Dublin on Sunday Sept 19. We asked him the BIG questions . . .
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“For much of my journey as a songwriter, I have veered towards exploring my own feelings and experiences by telling stories through the eyes of other people,” he says. “By donning fictional characters and creating heightened versions of myself.
“I am drawn to stories of high drama, full of colourful characters from faraway places but this song came through a lens far closer to home.
“The Lucky Ones is about the journey that a person goes on when one or more of life’s cornerstones are knocked out from under them. It’s about the shock, the grief, the punch-drunk stupor that you find yourself in after a lengthy, drawn-out stripping away of a support network.”
His Dublin date will be followed by a 20-date tour of the UK, tickets to which can be found on Old Sea Legs’ website.
Tell us three things about yourself?
I’ve been a songwriter and musician since I was about fourteen, I spent thirteen years in a band called The Eskies.
Since the pandemic, I’ve been working as a porter in a Dublin hospital. It’s been an incredible experience, getting way out of my comfort zone and adapting to a new environment. I’ve met lots of great people and found myself in situations that I feel like I probably would have wilted in, previously!
This is the first solo endeavour of my musical journey. I’m currently putting the finishing touches on what will be my debut album, due for release next year.
How would you describe your music?
It’s a sort of folk/gypsy/shanty/rock/pop/cabaret/theatrical type of thing. I do generally work off a bedrock of traditional instruments. There will be an acoustic guitar, a piano, maybe some organ and percussion here and there, an electric bass and some electric guitar but more and more, and particularly with this album, I’m starting to incorporate electronic elements into the work. Some synths for ambience and to pick up the occasional melody here and there and some electronic drums. I think there’s a kind of ‘otherworldliness’ in using a well-poised combination of the two.
Who are your musical inspirations?
I’m lucky enough to get inspiration from lots of different places, from books, poetry, movies, conversations, and just day-to-day life. The last book that really inspired me to write was A Country Doctor’s Notebook by Mikhail Bulgakov. Reading it, I felt like I could feel the floorboards creaking underneath my feet and hear biting cold wind, whistling through the keyhole. From poetry there’s always a lot of Kavanagh, and Yeats and then musically I’m all over the place, from the great songwriters of the 20th Century, Dylan, Cohen and Waits to Irish artists like The Divine Comedy, Villagers and Lisa Hannigan. I also love soundtracks and find myself frequently drawn to composers like Ennio Morricone, Danny Elfman and John Williams.
What are you most looking forward to post-lockdown?
Apart from all the obvious things like touring, shows, festivals, sitting in restaurants, meeting friends for a coffee, that one pint that becomes a few, shopping without masks, not judging other people for their shoddy mask etiquette, less PPE in work and simply getting on a Luas/DART/bus or walking down the street without the palpable anxiety we’ve all been wading through, this past year and a half!
What’s your favourite song right now?
I’m getting quite a bit of play out of Villagers latest album Fever Dreams and I’ve had a few favourites, already. Today I think it’s Circles in the Firing Line . . . “I’m doing circles in the firing line and I’m only ever losing time, in fact I’m late – I’ve got a date with doom.”
Favourite lyric of all time?
Some stiff competition for this one and – to be fair – it probably changes all the time, depending on what I’m listening to and what mood I’m in but today I’ll go with an old favourite from Tom Waits – “Did the Devil make the world while God was sleeping”. Gives me goosebumps, every time.
If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life what would it be?
There’s no way I could possibly pick one song from all of the songs that I know and love so I’m going to go for the awkward, difficult answer and say any song that I’m in the middle of writing, when I’m at that stage where it’s a half-formed whirlwind of possibilities and I’m totally immersed in it. Having a half-finished song buzzing around in your head is like having a secret weapon, a shield against any silliness or sadness the world might decide to throw your way on any given day! I would listen to whatever song that might be!
Where can people find your music/more information?
By visiting my website or on any social media platform, my handle is @itsoldsealegs or by searching Old Sea Legs on any of the usuals – Spotify, Apple Music etc.
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Behind the music – Old Sea Legs