Digging Holes: An Interview with Raglans

Following their tour supporting The Strypes, Irish indie band ‘Raglans’ are currently touring the UK having released their debut album on March 21st. I spoke to them about their inspirations, the changing music industry, and their forthcoming projects including supporting The Libertines at Hyde Park in July.

Where does the name ‘Raglans’ come from?

I guess it comes from the poem ‘On Raglan Road’, but really it’s just a word. Picking band names is hard so we just decided on it and stuck with it.

You’ve supported various big names from Haim to The Strypes – which was your favourite gig, and who would you like to have supporting you in future?

We started in 2011 and since then we’ve got to play with some awesome bands. I don’t know which would be our favourite. The Strypes are good friends of ours from back home so it’s always nice playing with them. We don’t mind who supports us so long as they’re a good band and they’re good people. 

Raglans
Raglans

Who and what are your influences?

We’ve all got so many different bands that we’re in to. I think what influences us most is just our surroundings. We don’t try to write a song that sounds a certain way, we just start playing it and it sounds how it sounds. Your brain is like a sponge, always soaking stuff up. The songs are what comes out.

Tell me about ‘The Man From Glasgow’ – is that based on a specific person, and how did you end up collaborating with Finn Keenan?

The Man From Glasgow is a real person. He’s an old friend of Ste’s who used to be work as a promoter back in the day so he’s got lots of great stories. He’s had his fair share of ups and downs so it was nice to try capture his spirit in the song.

As for Finn Keenan, he approached us a couple years ago and asked if he could film us doing a song. We said yes, not thinking much of it but then when we saw the finished thing we were like “Woah, this guy is good. He’s going places”. We weren’t wrong!

How do you choose video directors?

We’ve only ever used Finn for our music videos. We just get on so well with him and have so much fun doing it. He gets us and we get him.

Your latest single ‘Digging Holes’ is out now – what was the inspiration behind this songs?

When we were first writing it, ‘Digging Holes’ was nearly scrapped because we didn’t know what to do with it until we stumbled across the lead mandolin line. We played it at a couple of shows and people loved it. It’s just a fun, upbeat song. I guess that’s what we were going for.

Would you say you have a songwriting process, or does each song come about in a different way?

For us every idea is worth trying out. Someone brings something in and if we’re feeling it, we give it a try. Sometimes it’s a whole song ready to go, sometimes it’s just a part that we work on and flesh out. We’re open to all ideas and if something is working, or not working for that matter, we can all kind of pick up on it.

What sets you apart from other indie bands on the circuit?

Honestly, I think what makes us different and what will make us stand out from a lot of bands is that we just want to go out and play our songs to as many people as possible in as many places as possible. We don’t worry about genres, scenes or images. We don’t want to piggy back on anything, we just want to go out there and play. If you come see us you won’t be disappointed. Promise.

The music industry has undergone some pretty radical changes in the last decade, and there have been a lot of suggestions that streaming marks the end of a sustainable music industry. Do you think this is true, and if not how do you negotiate audiences turning to Spotify, for example, rather than buying physical format?

I think you have to see both sides of the coin. I’m sure streaming hurts music sales but it also opens you up to a lot of people. These days a lot of people are under the impression that music, films, etc. are free so I guess streaming is kind of bridging the gap between “stealing” and borrowing. At the end of the day, if people are listening to and liking your music that’s the most important thing.

What are your forthcoming projects?

There are some seriously exciting months ahead. Camden Rocks Festival should be amazing towards the end of May. We’re also set to get in the studio and record a one-off Daytrotter session for their London series. But we’ve just announced that we will be supporting The Libertines at Hyde Park on July 5th, which we’re all buzzing about! Not only are we huge fans, but it will be incredible to play alongside The Pogues, who are also set to play the event. Shane McGowan is a hero for all of us.

Leah Broad

For more information about Raglans and their upcoming performances, please visit their website.

We are on Twitter @Oxford_Culture, and on Facebook

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