Ulster Sports Club
Monday 8th November 2021
Words and Pix - Sarah

NewDad have not long since begun a meteoric rise to the dizzying heights of the dream pop shimmerati. From the practice rooms of leaving cert music assessments to the stages of some of the best loved venues across Ireland, the UK and Europe. From home recorded demos to Radio 6 A Listers, this Galway quartet have won the hearts of a legion of adoring and erudite new fans.

With their blend of hazy pop melodies washing over a sea of crashing, distortion driven guitars and rolling basslines that weave in and out of a propulsive drum beat. NewDad bring together a sound that is far greater than the sum of its parts. At times evoking the shoegaze of Slowdive and the Cocteau Twins, at others the dark playfulness of The Cure or the jagged roaring pop hooks of The Pixies.

All of that considered NewDad are very much a band of the here and now. They are obliquely seductive with an air of defiant vulnerability and a wall of sound that has taken them to the forefront of an exciting renaissance in the Irish music scene.

We caught up with them ahead of the first gig on their sold out UK tour in the Ulster Sports Club.


Watch our NewDad featurette including Interview ‘How’ Live & Loud from Ulster Sports Club, Belfast here:



Dramatis Personae:

Sarah - Interviewer

Julie Dawson - Vox/guitar

Áindle O’Beirn - Bass

Sean O’Dowd - Guitar

Fiachra Parslow - Drums

So we’re here with the irrepressible Newdad, purveyors I think, of the finest shoegaze and dream pop in the northern hemisphere. Just before your sold out gig at the beginning of your UK tour in the Ulster Sports Club in Belfast. Guys are you excited for the beginning of the new tour?

Super excited!
Very excited!
That was very good as well…
It’s easy when you’re reading it.
So excited
So excited, so excited.
It hasn’t really hit us yet.
Yeah. I think ‘cos we were home this morning and just drove up and we’re gonna be home tomorrow…
We haven’t even got our ? yet
It doesn’t, it doesn’t feel, yeah… It’s like every time we’ve come up here before or gone to the UK or anything it’s been a whole trip, but now it’s like we’re here now and I promise you by the end of this interview I’ll be sitting here with my leg hopping cos it will hit me that we’re playing.
You’re not on a school trip anymore.
It’s so nice as well to be playing in Belfast, cos we recorded all our music here
Just round the corner, literally.
And like, we got to play with Fontaines in Belfast and that was like our first you know, big proper gig. So it’s like Belfast is almost like a second home to us, it’s such a lovely city.
Tell us a little bit more about where you recorded, who you recorded with…
Down the road.
Just down the road. Start Together Studio with a guy called Chris Ryan. He produced and recorded both of our EPs. The one that’s out and the one that’s coming out.
Since the very start, even the singles
Yeah even the singles
We had him mixing just through email, just sending little cute flirty emails to each other.
I like it.
He signs everything with ‘thanks babes’.
Ah you’re doing well!
He’s a keeper
He’s a keeper. Well he’s making some good music as you are. He’s making your music sound the way that you want it to.

So I guess what I’m going to start with is… for the uninitiated in the ways of the NewDad. Who are you? And that can be… literally introduce yourselves. Then who are you as a band? Where are you from? Both geography wise and where’s your sound from? And Why? Why does everyone need to hear your music?
That’s the big question. I don’t know.
So we can eat.
I’m Áindle
I’m Julie.
I’m Sean
And I’m Fiachra
And together you are…
We had to get the cheese in there didn’t we?!

So you are NewDad and I believe you formed during secondary school. You were doing some kind of music practical assessment…
We did.
Yeah. We were in the same music class and I hate playing alone, so Áindle played the bass, Fiachra could play the drums, so we were like… it makes it a bit easier on all of us. Then Sean joined nearly two years ago now.
Yeah, I was a year above everyone and I’d gone to college and done a bit of music tech and stuff, so I wanted a band to record demos with and that slowly became me playing with the band and now I’m here!
You’re here in Belfast… in your second home of Belfast. Now what I think everyone is going to want to know is what grade did you get for that practical assessment, do you remember?
In the practical I think we got, like it was a good score, but I think our overall grade brought us down.
Probably yeah, cos they didn’t give it out separate.
I nearly failed it in the leaving cert, so that says it all… I hope everyone is looking forward to tonight, you’re in for a show! (laughter)
Like, the practical was everything, our written exams… I know if you’re the same as me; it was awful…
See I’m so bad at music theory…
God that was terrible, that was one of the worst exams!
My practical was what made me not fail.
Yeah, yeah. Same here.
I just liked the Gerald Barry stuff.
Yeah, that’s pretty sick in fairness.
King. What a legend.
We don’t have a lot of time, cos you’re due on the stage quite soon. So I won’t ask you to elaborate on the Gerald Barry stuff…
Just give him a listen, just give him a listen.
Piano quartet No.1
It’s crazy, it’s crazy.
It’s a vibe.
Well listen, you can say to your music teachers, who needs theory when you’ve put it into practice really. Your Steve Lamacq session was amazing. I first heard you actually on Steve Lamacq…
No way.
Was it a self produced single ‘How”?
Yeah, that was our first.
I remember seeing a demo - NewDad and I was like God am I going to be able to find this anywhere? So I listened to it on the show and I was furiously looking for it because I just fell in love with your sound.
Thank you!
That was our first single.
That was done in Julie’s room.
Yeah, I got the basics, got in, had an interface and speakers and that was it for the first 8 tracks
We just recorded it all in Julie’s room. I think we had a day to just get the drums in.
For how it was, I live an hour outside of town with traffic, so there was one day Sean was like we need the drums for ‘How’ and I recorded it on my phone and I was like that’s the beat. That’s the best I can do. When literally I set up the phone on the far side of the room, played the drums; it sounded awful, but thankfully he was able to pull out the right things from it. That was the start of lockdown, where none of us could see each other, so it was extremely DIY.
Yeah, it was like phone calls and emails with Chris to get it done.
And phone calls and emails between ourselves even. We couldn’t meet up. It was crazy!
I think that’s something that’s really interesting, because it’s your first single in the wider world. I’m sure that you’ve written and played other stuff.
Much worse… that will never see the light of day.
To do that and to have such a great effect from it and a great sound from it that people are falling in love with it and not being able to be in a room together to record that… You must be so proud of yourselves.
I think at the time we were like, ok. We’ve recorded it, this is the best we can do; we put it out there. Only looking back on it now, I’m like; we actually did a pretty good job. That’s one of my favourites of our songs, even compared to the newer stuff that was properly recorded; it’s still my favourite song.
We got a chance recently to revisit it as well. We recorded the EP, our second EP recently, and we were able to… while we were in the studio we were able to re-record some guitars, re-record some drum bits and touch it up, then we released the video.
Even then it was hard, cos we were so happy with it. It was just like building on something that we were already happy with and we were like… why are we doing this?
We just wanted to make it a little bit bigger, cos when we play it live; it’s actually huge! It doesn’t quite come across as much on spotify. You’ll hear it later on; it’s a lot bigger live. So we just wanted to make it a little bit more that. Even at that, there wasn’t much we could do
That’s how we plan on selling tickets… you have to see us live. It’s better live!
That’s what I’m really looking forward to, because you can get that impression from hearing it, but I can’t wait to be in there and see it get up, take on legs and walk around the room; shake us all by the heart and give us a kiss! That’s what I’m looking forward to! In these covid times it might be an elbow bump.
A kiss is always good

So we’re talking about your sound, and the live version of your sound, the recorded version of your sound. So how did you arrive upon your sound? Because I imagine you have different influences, your community, where you grew up , the geography of it…
I think that what kind of lent itself to our sound was that we had some similar interests but our musical tastes would be vastly different. So we’re all pulling from different places and then at least it’s not just stagnant and you’re not just repeating yourselves, like if everyone likes the same thing. So you can bring a bit of everything, even with the new Ep;. Fiachra’s an accomplished trad musician.
Sure I do my best…
Terrible at the Irish dancing…
But plays a mean bodhrán I’ve heard…
Yeah. That’s the one.
For some of our new tracks we’ve been incorporating bodhrán and a bit of ?, It’s all… we’re all pulling from different places
I think that’s the sign of a really good band and an exciting sound, that like you said; it’s not going to be dad rock, abc, beh beh beh. The fact that you’ve just described to me what you’re bringing into the new tracks going forward sounds really exciting!

Speaking of new tracks, your new track ‘Ladybird’ has over 100,000 streams in under two weeks, just around two weeks. You must be so delighted with that!
Yeah, my mum’s just happier…
We have a rule where she’s not allowed to bring up the streams unless it’s like 100.000 and then 500, so she got to talk about it yesterday.
No, we’re delighted. We’ve been getting so much love for it and we love it as well, we’re so happy with that.
That was one of the first ones we did after our first EP, and it’s a bit scary when you go from releasing a collection of songs…
And then will people like them? Oh God, I hope they like the new thing…
You’re starting from the beginning again, so it was a kind of comfort to be able to write something that we were proud of.
Yeah. We were proud of it, so that always helped. But I think you are always so nervous about how people are going to react to new songs. Even if it’s like, my parents would be like; oh that sounds very newdad now. I’m like worried every time if it doesn’t sound exactly like one of the old songs; I’m like ’no-ones gonna like it’.
It’s like sending a child into their first day at school almost. Are they going to get on with their teachers? Are they going to get bullied?
And we’ve been playing it and Ladybird… I’m so sick of hearing that song. Because we’d be playing it non stop, practicing even for going and recording and stuff, so by the time it’s getting to two days before it’s out… that’s when you’re really like… ‘What if this isn’t good?’ Because in your head it’s already gone past the stage of being good, so you’ve no idea.
It’s just noise.
Yeah. You can’t really hear it anymore, because you’ve heard it so much it’s almost inaudible to you it’s just…
You know what’s coming next, I know exactly what’s coming next because I’ve heard it so many times, so it’s just like noise…
Ah now, after the practice last week, I’ll beg to differ…

Every now and again I slip up.
Ah now Fiachra what was going on in the background?
I like to keep them on their toes a little bit, just to make sure they’re clued in.
No. It happens to us all.
That’s the trad musician in him there…
It’s all about the feel…
Ah, you just slipped into a jig did yeh?!
D’you know what, you’re playing SXSW as well next March. Wow!
That’s big!
We’re so excited!
Just to go to the states like
That’s one of the things we’ve been loving. I’ve never been to America and just to go to America… and we were in Amsterdam the last week and I’ve never been to Amsterdam and just going there just to play music… and then you get to see the sights as well! It’s amazing!
Like…We’re a band! I’m a proper functioning human being… I travel for work; you know.
And talking about travel, it’s not that long ago that you couldn’t go further than the end of your own field or barn or whatever, you know what I mean? The fact that you’re doing something you love, people love what you’re doing and you’re getting to travel doing that..Could you have ever imagined that in your wildest dreams? When did that seem to become a reality for you?
It still hasn’t hit! It’s just insane.
It was always the dream. We always said, d’you know, if we could make just enough money every year to get by… even if we only live week to week, where we’re playing music for a living; that’s incredible. And we’ve said for so long that’s all we wanted to do, so now that we’re actually able to make that a reality is crazy. It’s a dream come true. It’s really cool!
You know, you’ve garnered loads of fans, from… you know; I’m thinking of Jack Saunders on Radio 1, Steve Lamacq on Radio 6 and I’m sure there are so many others. How did you first go about getting music to them? Because back in the day when I was in a band a hundred years ago and Jesus was playing fullback for Israel, you’d send your demo into John Peel & Steve Lamacq (luckily they got played; not as often as yours but two plays by John Peel and five by Steve Lamacq did me ok.
Yeah, it’s alright. It’s a long time ago now. How did you go about that? Do you think it’s easier for bands in a social media age, or did you just literally send a demo? How did you go about this?
At the very start it was just kind of like; it was completely DIY. We didn’t have anyone helping us, we had no proper connections or anything, and so we had to just literally find emails of people whether they were Irish, UK, European, anything and just try to get it out there. Then as we developed we got a bit of a team behind us and they knew people; but even then when it all kicked off with Steve Lamacq and with the Radio 1 support, even they were surprised by the support that they’d gotten for us. They were like… Woah these people really love your music, which is so amazing to hear.
It was our first song out and for it to be on the B list and then A list they were like…
this is insane…
this is crazy…
And our Radio plugger who, like we got into BBC 6 ’cos they have the connections already; they’ve worked for so long… but for them to be shocked knowing these people that they’ve sent the music to and they will have only sent it thinking; they’ll like this, and they were still shocked that it did so well. It’s Incredible! I guess it’s kind of a confidence boost cos it makes you realise that the music must actually be decent. If people are responding to it; it must be alright.
I can vouch for that 100% as can many other people who will see you tonight. It has been a meteoric rise and long may it continue, so just speaking about the tour. You’re going to your home town in Galway and then I believe you’re playing the Working Mens Club in Dublin, then you’re travelling over to our old friend of Glasgow!
So excited to play there.
Have you played in Scotland before? I’m sure you have.
We’ve never even played in Dublin!
Well, covid…
We’re very non experienced.
The Roisin Dubh on Wednesday, we’ve played there so many times… like all of our gigs were in the Roisin, cos you just play any the local gig you can get. So we haven’t played together outside of Galway, there was one gig in Limerick and I couldn’t make it so we haven’t played together…
And Sean wasn’t in the band at that point
Yeah, so we hadn’t played together outside of Galway until a year ago, if even. It was more recent than that I’d say.
Yeah, It was like two months ago.
We had our first headline show the day before lockdown started. We were the last gig in Galway.
That’s got to be the name of your next EP by the way. Last gig in Galway!
Last gig in Galway. Yeah that’s a good one.
Although people might take that the wrong way…
And then the next gig we played was with Fontaines in Custom House Square just down the road.
Yeah ridiculous.
It was insane.
Well one of my cousin’s children were there and I say children; he’s eighteen, with his friends and suddenly… I’d been playing you and really excited about you and suddenly I’m hearing this younger generation of people discovering you and being so excited about your sound. They’d gone to see Fontaines and they were like ‘Oh My God. The support band were absolutely amazing! Have you heard of NewDad’. I was like… ‘Have I heard of NewDad?! I’ve heard of Old Dad! So it’s really nice to see you getting traction. I saw recently in an interview you said, you know, this is music for teenagers but it’s something that your Dad will come and love as well.
It was actually a little bit… not a problem, but at the start there were so many people coming to us and people our age would message us and say ‘Oh I love this - I heard you through my Dad’, and it was so many people who listen to The Cure and Pixies and stuff could recognise bits of that in the sound, so would listen to it and then told their kids, so we’ve broken into our own age through their parents.
Which is cool because I feel like it’s a bit of a stamp of approval, because I just feel like the older generation; they’re picky about their music. They’re selective and it’s like for them to be… a new band - that I like. It’s like… ok!
That’s where we got our tastes.
We kind of got, like you get all your taste from your folks.
That’s what happened with all of us and so then to see people’s parents showing their kids our music is like, it’s come full circle.
It’s so cool, I love that.
Yeah, it’s brilliant.
And it fits in nicely with the name as well doesn’t it.
It does.
It does.
Yes, perfectly.
Yeah, look at this. It’s all like a perfect circle.
It’s all working out.

You touched on playing with Fontaines DC and I’ve noticed that there’s a plethora of really exciting, hugely brilliant new bands coming out of Ireland; the whole of the island of Ireland at the moment. You’re spearheading it, there’s Pillow Queens, there’s Fontaines DC and many more. Why do you think that is? Do you think it’s a cultural thing? Is it like a perfect storm?
I think it’s always been there.
It’s always been there.
Yeah that’s the thing. It’s always… there’s always been amazing music coming from Ireland.
It didn’t have the attention.
I think it’s finally getting the spotlight it deserves.
Thanks to bands like Fontaines and stuff, people are like ‘Oh there’s really good bands in Ireland and now they’re looking.
And it’s become easier as well with social media and everything.
Yeah, that’s definitely a part of it.
But it’s definitely always been there. No matter what kind of music you play, there’s always music. No matter what town or city you go into in Ireland…
Yeah music’s a big thing in Ireland…
It’s huge. It’s part of the way of life.
There’s always a little scene of bands and everything going on.
Yeah, we grew up in a little Galway band scene. We’d always play with the same kind of bands, cos we all grew up together, so it’s always been there and I’m sure it’s there in every town and city, and then it’s people like Fontaines who are really just make you realise this is a good scene.
Yeah and they have the nice accent as well. It’s double charming like.
We in Ireland, we are a nation of musicians and storytellers.
Absolutely yeah.
Even somewhere as small as Warrenpoint, there’s always been a music scene there. There’s a trad night in Fegan’s on a Monday and young people will go to that with older people, learn the banjo, hear the stories it’s passed down.
We’ve always had poets and writers.
Absolutely, when I was younger I used to go around the country to different trad nights and that was cos I grew up playing trad music.
Yeah, but you kept getting kicked out of them.
Yeah well…
Banned for life from a few.
There’s always be festivals in the tiniest little towns that are one street long and you’d have thousands of people going.
And that’s the best craic as well.
They’re the best craic.
Say even the small venues like Mike The Pies…
It’s a legendary spot…
It’s in the most randomest place ever but it’s legendary and there’s so many of those spots all over small town Ireland.
Like you said, small town Ireland, everywhere you go… craic, storytellers and music.
And if you think nothing’s going on, you step one foot inside any pub there is music, there’s laughter you know, it’s everywhere, it’s ingrained into the way of life. We came from musicians and storytellers, so it’s in everyone.

So I’ve got one last question… and this is a Repeat Fanzine question it’s been asked by me to Ash, to even The Strokes, The Libertines. What’s best, Chips or cream buns?

Chips or cream buns?
That’s a random one, but chips.
What’s a cream bun?
I don’t know, like a bun with cream in it, I was always gonna choose chips so I never bothered about it.
Like an eclair without the chocolate kind of job.
Yeah probably just like… yeah something like that.
Like cream in a bap?
This is the thing, I would say… I would say cream bun, cos chips are class but you have chips everyday.
Chips is an everyday though.
That’s an every day, the one time you get a cream bun you’re like ahhh.
I think that the correct answer is spicy chips.
Yeah, spicy chips; that’s it. Spicy chips is the answer.
Spicy chips from Xi’an in Galway.
Yeah, that’s all we eat.
Creamy chips.
So when I go to Galway, this is where I’m going for my spicy chips?
Yeah, then you go to Sparch, so you get them, you walk down to Sparch. *(Sparch is the Spanish Arch where the whole of Galway gathers when there’s even a slight bit of sun).
Lush back a few cans.
See once I’m off these crutches, that’s where I’m going!
We’ll meet you! We’ll meet you to get spicy chips.
That’s a good shout! It only remains for me to say… Thank you so much for your time, I’m so delighted with your epic rise, I love your music, good luck tonight, good luck on your home coming tomorrow, good luck with your UK tour and I’m sure I’ll see you along the way again soon.
Thank you so much, thanks a million
Cheers, thanks a million.
The end.
(J) That was fun!

With their brilliant second EP ‘Banshee’ out this week, a UK and Ireland tour in early spring and playing as featured artists at this year's SXSW in Austin, Texas. 2022 looks set to be a year that sees NewDad reaching Giddy Stratospheres while cementing their place as one of the hottest bands on the planet.

Watch our NewDad featurette including Interview ‘How’ Live & Loud from Ulster Sports Club, Belfast here:

Watch Banshee here:

NewDad Tour Dates:

A huge Thank You to NewDad for their hospitality and generosity of spirit in giving us their time and an insight into their music. Also huge thanks to Ash Collins for helping us to arrange the interview and to all of the staff and the owners of Ulster Sports Club for being so friendly and accomodating.


wers to questions...It's never about looking forward to it. Actually maybe I should change the
script, maybe we are looeir musicm the 3rd album?