A Naas musician’s band has just released an unusual, dream-like animated video for their first single.
Ten Thousand Feet is They Were A Loner’s first release from their forthcoming album Superluminal.
Kildare native Mark Long met Cavan man Alan Gray when both worked at the Roisín Dubh live venue in Galway in the early noughties. They collaborated on an electronica project with some local musicians, before Alan departed to live in New Zealand over a decade ago.
The pair kept in touch, and started working on the They Were A Loner collaboration three years ago.
Superluminal was created by two musicians half a world apart, sharing their work and ideas online.
Mark would write the music, which singer Alan would match with his lyrics. “We’d record the vocals in the studio in my house in Galway when he came back for a summer every year or two,” said Mark.
Mark Long from Naas
Jonny Kelly joined the team as a writer a couple of years into the project.
“I've always used a blend of regular instruments and electronics but we started incorporating brass, strings, loads of guitar layers and writing more complex, rich music,” said Mark.
“Weirdly, most of the tunes were written on piano even though the three of us play guitar. It's a good way to get away from the habits you develop on your main instrument.”
“We called in a few favours and got some really talented musicians to play on several of the tracks. I then mixed the tracks at home and we had an album together almost a year ago.”
They Were A Loner singer Alan Gray on stage
“We took our time getting it right,” said Alan. “Because I was in New Zealand there was no rush so it suited us to take our time.”
The singer says he finds it hard to describe their style. “We move between dark, ambient, electro groove and a little trip hop.
“For our sound we wanted to keep as much of the live element as possible. Mark has done an amazing job even making the programmed instruments sound live.”
The album got its first live airing in New Zealand when Alan got a band together to play the music there.
As Alan is now back in Ireland for a few weeks before a move to Glasgow, some stripped-down tracks will be performed live by the trio at the Roisin Dubh’s Summer Shindig in Galway this Thursday, August 2.
The dream-like video for Ten Thousand Feet was created by Simon Riley, an animator from Manchester, and features a child taking an aeroplane flight above the clouds. Mark has previously collaborated with Simon on other projects, and says “I really love what he came up with”.
They Were A Loner will hold the album launch for Superluminal - named in reference to the speed of light - this September.