In the Spotlight
I was born in 1980 and have been singing since I started school, so I would have been around 4 or 5 years old when the music first 'took hold'. The guitar playing came a little bit later. I can recall playing my first chords at the age of 9, again in school, but not really taking it up until about the age of 11, which coincided with the grunge era, a musical genre I was particularly drawn to at the time. I've been writing songs (or should I say 'trying to') since I was 16 and from the age of 17 until recently (May 2007) I was playing and co-writing in a band called 'Java Shrine'. During those ten years Java Shrine traveled extensively, covering both the east and west coasts of America, while more recently touring across continental Europe covering such countries as: Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Finland, not to mention playing extensively throughout Ireland North and South. These European tours helped us to promote and distribute our debut album, which is called 'Nothing To Declare'. In late 2006 as a co-writer in the band I began writing new material in the hope that some of it would be included on a second Java Shrine album, but unfortunately by Jan 2007 it was mutually agreed that the band would not be returning to the studio. Since then we have musically parted ways concentrating on individual projects. Thankfully we are all still friends. Our last public performance as a full band saw us performing at the Blues on the Bay festival in late May which was a fantastic gig and a nice way to close the curtain on that ere of the band. Regardless of this I was still eager to return to the studio. This was made possible thanks to an Arts grant awarded to me by the Arts Council Of Northern Ireland. I continued to write throughout 07 and returned to the studio in September of the same year. In total about 17 tracks were written, 12 were demo recorded and 11 selected to be included on the final album. Thankfully during the recording I was lucky to have some Java Shrine members play on the album in the form of Gary Day on Trumpet and Chris Day On Trombone and Keys. Other musicians involved were John Bird on Bass, Fergal Hughes on Drums and Jarlath Mulholland on Saxophone, all of whom are local musicians and not to mention super talented! The album was engineered and recorded by Mik O'Connell who has worked with the likes of The Undertones. He recorded it in the Blast Furnace recording studio in Derry. Richard Dowling of WavMastering, Limerick, Ireland, mastered it. He has done a lot of work in the past for Pete Waterman not to mention numerous other well-known commercial artists both nationally and internationally. The Photography was by Graham Smith who has worked with many unsigned as well as signed acts and whose work has been included in and used by the likes of Rolling Stone Magazine, Universal Records, Warner Records and Sony Records. And finally the artwork was design by John McCandless. He has worked with many artists in the past and designed CD covers and layouts for the likes of The4OfUs. It has been a real pleasure having all these people on board in the making of this Album.