It could be argued that of all the places in the world to be quarantined during a global pandemic, the stunning west of Kerry and the quaint town of Dingle most be towards the top of most people's lists. With no tourists and the sounds of wild Atlantic waves crashing outside, Patrick Sheehy of indie rockers Walking on Cars discusses with Irish journalist James Mahon how his musical journey began.
"Every Irish mother must have had this CD in the car, " Sheehy says laughing and discussing his family journeys in the mid-90s listening to A Women's Heart.
The quiet frontman of one of Ireland's biggest musical exports of the last decade seems at ease in his new role as a husband and father discussing how he imagined his time would be spent writing songs during the quarantine but the first few weeks involved watching Aladdin and Shaun The Sheep. Now that he has a little more space Sheehy explains that it's during the quiet times when lyrics come to him.
"It can be sitting by the fire, out shopping, I write notes in my phone or whistle into my phone, people must think I'm crazy".
With his band's first two albums topping the charts in Ireland and Germany and accumulating thousands of streams the crazy seems to be working.
With a new album expected for release in the next 18 months, Sheehy describes how this time Walking on Cars want to release "5 or 6 singles first, maybe even later this year" before bringing their third album out.
He humbly details how not being a talented musician but someone who can "badly play" a few instruments helps when writing and refers to the Begley Family as real musicians.
I asked him about what it takes to write a hit song like Speeding Cars and he explains that it's about not having label pressure and "over-analyzing every lyric, every melody".
Speeding Cars, which can be considered the band's breakout song charted in the top 25 in Ireland, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, Austria, and New Zealand. Walking on Cars along with Sheehy comprises pianist and vocalist Sorcha Durham, guitarist and vocalist Paul Flannery, and drummer Evan Hadnett who have now been together for a decade and primarily tour in Ireland the UK and Germany and late last year finished their first tour of Russia.
"Selling out the 3Arena, for us being from Dingle and being a Munster band coming to Dublin and doing that was a high point" explains Sheehy who is grateful for Irish fans who have believed and supported them from the very beginning.
"Coming home to Ireland means so much, just before the last song everyone starting clapping," Sheehy says smiling.
Grateful to make a living doing what he loves the 33-year-old Dingle native suggests that having confidence and competitive nature is what's needed to succeed in an industry as tough as music and that he always wanted to do his best "Whether in sport or in bands growing up" and how along with Durham, Flannery and Hadnett "We have always worked hard".
When I asked him what advice he has for budding singer-songwriters he kept it simple, "Do what you want to do, trust your gut, but the head down".
Check out the full interview here:
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