Collaborations are the lifeblood of many musicians. It’s something that many artists have struggled with throughout lockdown, having gone from constantly working with other people to being left to their own devices for months on end.
James Vincent McMorrow recognised this and decided to do something positive for the Irish music community. When lockdown ended, he invited a group of people he admired to a Dublin studio for the day. And so McMorrow , God Knows , Denise Chaila , MuRli , Sorcha Richardson , Conor Adams (All Tvvins ), Mark Prendergast (Kodaline ) and Cormac Butler (Producer – The Academic ) spent a cathartic day celebrating the life-affirming power of music and collaboration.
The result is the uplifting hip-hop, alt-pop and R&B crossover anthem ‘Out The Gaff’. God Knows of the Choice Music Prize winners, Rusangano Family kicks things off with his slick, charismatic flow before his bandmate MuRli storms in with the immediately infectious hook. Then Sorcha Richardson steps with a neo-R&B flavoured verse that’s a world away from anything she released on last year’s debut album ‘First Prize Bravery’ . Finally, Denise Chaila delivers style and sass in equal measure, her contemporary twist on timeless influences Lauryn Hill and Janelle Monáe recalling why her debut EP ‘Dual Citizenship’ made her such a hot tip.
In time we’ll surely see these four artists blasting ‘Out The Gaff’ to a festival crowd of thousands. For now, though, it’s a moment of pure escapism. The track was produced, mixed and mastered by James Vincent McMorrow .
The track’s lead artists and James Vincent McMorrow share their thoughts on what the collaboration means to them.
James Vincent McMorrow :
“I needed to come out of those six months of lockdown with some new perspective. For years I’ve talked about putting together groups of Irish musicians I admire and helping them to connect and create. This year taught me nothing is certain in life, and especially with live music being off the table for the moment, it felt more important than ever that I actually follow through on that. So I did, and it was genuinely magical. It was everything I had hoped it would be.
The fact this is literally the first thing this group of people created together feels special to me. Lyrically, when I hear it, I think of physically running from my house on the first day that lockdown restrictions were rolled back. I hear confidence and joy, people cathartically screaming the chorus at the top of their lungs in fields next year at festivals. Irish music can compete on any stage, with anything the rest of the world has to throw at it. This song says that unequivocally. I’m so proud to be a part of it.”
Denise Chaila :
“I’ve been cycling through extremes of emotion at light speed for the majority of the year. There’s been a lot to unpack, for all of us, and I’ve actually done a lot of it by stealing moments away from my adult brain and all the information and grief and anxiety it has to contend with, so I can dance in my bedroom and remember why I love music.
Being in the room that day and watching this song grow stronger and more defined with each additional voice – no strategising or overthinking, just play and genuine camaraderie – was one of those moments. I laughed and giggled and bantered and jumped up on the couch and traded bars throughout the whole process of making this. The joy in that room was incredible, and this is absolutely a small capsule of it! It’s one of the most effortless pieces of music I’ve ever created. I’m dreaming for the moment I can stand on a stage with everyone who was there that day and sing it loud with a crowd and say, “We made it out.” Play it loud and sing it with your whole heart.”
Sorcha Richardson :
“In May, I sat, on the edge of my seat, completely captivated and inspired, watching Denise and God Knows’ incredible performance at the National Gallery for Other Voices’ Courage series, and I had the overwhelming sense of how lucky I am to be part of such a rich musical community in Ireland.
When James got in touch last month, I jumped at the chance to be back in the studio with other musicians. I didn’t quite know what to expect but it was one of the most exciting and uplifting days I’ve had making music in a long time. It’s so invigorating to be in a room with other people, making music together with no rules, and for no other reason other than it’s the thing that you like to do the most. I can’t wait for the day that we get to perform this together in a festival tent, whenever that may be.”
God Knows :
“I was a fan of everyone on this record already but being in the studio all together was a different type of energy. The result was better than I imagined. I wrote this with my family and some new friends and I can’t wait to do it again. I hope everyone who listens to this has the same experience as I do, which is pure joy!”
“The minute James started playing the initial beat, it was obvious this was going to be a banger of track. The chorus came almost instantly. I didn’t even have to think about it too much. It’s joyous, it’s fun and the one thing we all want to do right now is to get out of this situation we’ve found ourselves in this year, so I hope this song allows us to dream about what we can’t physically experience right now.
Despite all of the cancelled tours and festivals, music occupied a huge part of my day to day over the last six months. When the lockdown kicked in, I spent most of my time writing and recording in my bedroom and although I was very grateful to be able to spend the time writing, I was struck by how solitary a process it had become. I love writing with other people, I love being in a studio with my friends, creating in real time. I missed the collaborative nature of it.”
Hear more from each artist at Spotify: