Take five guys who are lifelong friends, attending school together and growing up around the corner from each other in Bray, County Wicklow who all shared a passion to really make a difference through their music. This gang of indie rockers burst onto the scene early 2013 and have stamped the name Big September firmly into the minds of many since their arrival. They certainly love to live the rock n roll lifestyle and have no qualms about it. This honesty breathes through the songs and especially their live performance.
The spark that started that day in Presentation College Bray through shared musical influences and a realisation that the academic world and normal 9-5 cut and thrust wasn’t going to cut it with these guys was enough to start something that would become quite special and is still becoming very special.
Front man, Scotty O’Neill, possesses charisma in abundance and has the ability to grab a crowd by the scruff of the neck, and shake them into submission without laying a finger on them. He is backed up by Dave Butler (guitar/vocals) who sings from the soul with a voice that could stand up in any band or musical era. Cillian Duane (lead guitar) is a blues boy through and through, with the classic unpredictability live, that stuns many an audience. The rhythm section is made up with Dan Smith, a pounding drummer who makes you feel you’re glad you’re not on the other end of the sticks, and Graham “Naylor” O’Neill on bass and main song writing duties who delivers anthem after anthem with clever lyrics and simple hooks. The chemistry and true gang mentality of this group is seldom found, but witnessing the force that is Big September displays how such a seldom find can be so successful.
The name Big September means a lot to the band as it is dedicated to a close friend who passed away in recent years in the month of September. A friend who always believed in the lads and this in turn spurred them on to prove they’ve got what it takes.
Big September are set to release their highly anticipated debut album ‘Ballroom Addicts’ which is due for release on May 9th. This album originally was meant to be an EP but after the first session in which the band recorded ‘Moneyman’, ‘Tear It All Up’ and ‘The Preacher’ the band wanted to do more as it felt like the right thing to do. The album was recorded over three sessions from March 2013 to February 2014 in a studio in Drumlish, County Longford. Dave Butler from Big September expressed that they “absolutely love it there, its right in the middle of Ireland with nowhere to go to distract us. Perfect for recording, locked away from everything and everyone”. As their recording process went along so did their song-writing and in the last session some tracks that didn’t even exist when the album got underway were recorded. Ger McDonnell (U2, Kasabian) produced the album and the band were absolutely delighted with the results.
When writing the songs for their debut album Big September pulled on all sorts for inspiration. They like to mix it up and you will find songs about escapism, tracks about love and others are metaphors for life. The band are keen to write uplifting music because they love to see their fans dancing and singing along when at their shows. One of the core intensions of the band’s song writing is to “hit people in some way and have an uplifting message”. They clearly feel very strong about evoking the happy emotions in people through their music.
The album name ‘Ballroom Addicts’ was a lyric taken from one of the songs that the band all felt suited perfectly and liked the striking image that it conjures. The album cover is by world renowned photographer Cyril Helnwein who recently completed a photo shoot with the band and when looking through Helnwein’s previous work they came across a photo of a man and woman looking worse for wear dressed in Shakespearean time style that they thought would be a great fit for the album cover. They asked permission to use it and to the band’s luck he said yes.
With their debut album finished and ready to be unleashed on May 9th, and a release date booked with MCD in The Academy, Dublin on May 17th, this is destined to be their year. They proved throughout 2013 that they can cut it on the live circuit playing all the major venues and festivals around the country with many sell out shows such as The Academy in December. Their next single ‘The Righteous Way’ is due for release on April 25th and the summer festivals are calling on them once again to bring their incredible live performance to the stage this year so make sure you don’t miss it!
Saturday 17 May The Academy, Dublin (Debut Album launch) www.theacademydublin.com