Music to cruise the coast by

Singer-songwriter Ciaran McMeeken is bringing his original sound and songs to Gisborne. Picture supplied

FOR listenability, pop hooks and original flavours, New Zealand singer-songwriter Ciaran McMeeken is up there with Ed Sheeran and Bon Ivor.

The opening tracks My Kin, and That Feeling, on his self-titled album start quiet, then hit their straps as they build joy and drama, but not in formulaic manner of hits we hear on one well known radio station.

The tightly packed production and its fat sounds are upbeat. This is music to light up your Sunday morning or an arm-out-the-window cruise up the coast, particularly the song Which Way Should We Go which, hopefully, McMeeken will perform when he plays at the Dome Room next Thursday.

The Pacific Highway is the coastal route he and support act Jasper Hawkins plan to take to get here.

Reminiscence

It wasn’t such a classic Kiwi road trip that inspired My Kin but reminiscence about summers he spent with friends and family and the infinite stretches of beach, he said.

He wrote the song about memories and feelings on a plane to Amsterdam.

McMeeken does not generally wait for inspiration to write a song. Songwriting is a deliberate process for him and Hawkins.

“Life in general has so much going on for us with lots of changes. We want to harness what we are going through in our lives. This is an interesting time to be alive.”

Most mornings he wakes up with a pang of anxiety about what needs to be done but his intention while on tour is to be intuitive and to live in the present, he said.

“Shows have been fantastic and unpredictable.”

Unpredictability is a factor he and Hawkins rely on during their songwriting collaborations.

“Songwriters often keep their ideas to themselves. It’s a vulnerable experience. We say there are no boundaries so you don’t have a fear of saying something stupid.

“Fleshing out ideas can be tough. It doesn’t always flow. We think, ‘how do we want the crowd to feel? What do we want to say to capture in the song?’”

Wifi

Wifi, a song with a calypso-beat reminiscent of Paul Simon is so upbeat it is a wonder more musicians don’t use it more often. But this was one track McMeeken struggled with and was prepared to abandon.

He wrote the song while writing with seven other musicians in a studio in Amsterdam.

“I hated it to begin with because it was so outside my comfort zone. There was a moment that changed. I played this piano part in the chorus and the song came alive. The whole energy of the song changed.”

From not wanting to include the track in the album McMeeken decided he wanted to challenge the listener with the original tune.

There is a little dissonance in the sound of the song, he said.

“And I liked the story. The character meets this woman and thinks he’s in with a chance but is shut down.”

For his Dome show, McMeeken plans to play songs from the new self-titled album, some from his Screaming Man album, a couple of covers including Van Halen’s Jump, for a bit of fun, and some brand new songs.

Whether the new songs are inspired by his and Hawkins’ road trip around the East Cape we’ll have to wait and see.

FOR listenability, pop hooks and original flavours, New Zealand singer-songwriter Ciaran McMeeken is up there with Ed Sheeran and Bon Ivor.

The opening tracks My Kin, and That Feeling, on his self-titled album start quiet, then hit their straps as they build joy and drama, but not in formulaic manner of hits we hear on one well known radio station.

The tightly packed production and its fat sounds are upbeat. This is music to light up your Sunday morning or an arm-out-the-window cruise up the coast, particularly the song Which Way Should We Go which, hopefully, McMeeken will perform when he plays at the Dome Room next Thursday.

The Pacific Highway is the coastal route he and support act Jasper Hawkins plan to take to get here.

Reminiscence

It wasn’t such a classic Kiwi road trip that inspired My Kin but reminiscence about summers he spent with friends and family and the infinite stretches of beach, he said.

He wrote the song about memories and feelings on a plane to Amsterdam.

McMeeken does not generally wait for inspiration to write a song. Songwriting is a deliberate process for him and Hawkins.

“Life in general has so much going on for us with lots of changes. We want to harness what we are going through in our lives. This is an interesting time to be alive.”

Most mornings he wakes up with a pang of anxiety about what needs to be done but his intention while on tour is to be intuitive and to live in the present, he said.

“Shows have been fantastic and unpredictable.”

Unpredictability is a factor he and Hawkins rely on during their songwriting collaborations.

“Songwriters often keep their ideas to themselves. It’s a vulnerable experience. We say there are no boundaries so you don’t have a fear of saying something stupid.

“Fleshing out ideas can be tough. It doesn’t always flow. We think, ‘how do we want the crowd to feel? What do we want to say to capture in the song?’”

Wifi

Wifi, a song with a calypso-beat reminiscent of Paul Simon is so upbeat it is a wonder more musicians don’t use it more often. But this was one track McMeeken struggled with and was prepared to abandon.

He wrote the song while writing with seven other musicians in a studio in Amsterdam.

“I hated it to begin with because it was so outside my comfort zone. There was a moment that changed. I played this piano part in the chorus and the song came alive. The whole energy of the song changed.”

From not wanting to include the track in the album McMeeken decided he wanted to challenge the listener with the original tune.

There is a little dissonance in the sound of the song, he said.

“And I liked the story. The character meets this woman and thinks he’s in with a chance but is shut down.”

For his Dome show, McMeeken plans to play songs from the new self-titled album, some from his Screaming Man album, a couple of covers including Van Halen’s Jump, for a bit of fun, and some brand new songs.

Whether the new songs are inspired by his and Hawkins’ road trip around the East Cape we’ll have to wait and see.

Singer-songwriter Ciaran McMeeken performs at the Dome, January 18 at 7pm. $15 presales from Aviary or undertheradar.co.nz, $20 on the door.

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