Monday, March 11, sees Belfast artist Martin Mackie release the single, ‘A Lock-In For The Damned’, the second offering from his sophomore album ‘Temperance Songs’, due for release in the summer of 2019.
The first single, ‘Magic Potion’, featured a stellar line-up of Irish musicians; Kate Ellis, of the Crash Ensemble on cello, Conor O’Brien from Villagers on bass, Eleanor Myler from the band Percolator on drums and Martin Mackie on guitars and vocals. The accompanying video was made by Martin’s long-time friend and collaborator Laura Sheeran.
‘Temperance Songs’ is an album which deals with the theme of alcohol in its many forms and ‘A Lock-In For The Damned’ is about a famous Dublin venue where musicians and their pals sometimes end up drinking the night away. There’s always a party atmosphere mixed with a good dose of madness and people end up leaving, completely twisted, when it’s daylight.
Martin said: “The songs are about my own experiences with alcohol. Not just me personally but my family and friends. Rollovers, lock-ins, early houses, and the booze blues are just some of the subjects. But I’ve tried to add a bit of comedy to the misery. For example one song is called ‘The Ballad Of Christy Moore’ . It’s folk tune about me coming back after the Electric Picnic. I was hanging, as they say in Dublin. I’d this weird dream or maybe even a hallucination that the ghost of Christy Moore was in my wardrobe, even though he’s very much alive. Christy’s a famous ex-boozer. So in the song he jumps out and starts lecturing me on the evils of excess. I was a bit worried what Christy would think of the song because there’s a line in it that describes him as being all ‘sweaty and hairy’. So I sent it to him. To my delight he sent me back a lovely postcard that said: ‘Dear Martin, Sweaty and Hair! Ride on. Christy.’ And he drew a little guitar beside it. I’ve framed that.”
“I got the whole idea for ‘Temperance Songs’ from a series of paintings by the artist William Hogarth. The Rake’s Progress is eight paintings showing the rise and fall of young man who ends up in the Bedlam asylum because of his partying lifestyle. I was gonna write a song for each painting but I found out the composer Igor Stravinsky had beaten me to that idea. You can’t compete with him so I had to change things. Instead I drew from my own experience.
“The track ‘Drunk For Fifteen Years’ features vocals by Waterford singer Katie Kim, who is another friend. That song is about a guy in hospital after a mammoth drinking session. Again, there are ghosts and spirits in the lyrics; that seems to be a recurring theme. I think there’s a lot of mystery to booze, the psychological effect it has on you when you drink and the downer you can get if you overdo it. Nobody in Ireland really talks about this stuff, beyond platitudes and clichés, so I thought it would be nice explore it in an album.”
The single is released on Svengali.