With the tagline “All Music Starts Somewhere,” Unmade in Ireland is a new photography/journalism blog that sets out to document “Musicians who are giving their all but haven’t ‘made it’ yet.” Our team is fascinated by the lives and aspirations of working musicians, and we are using this platform as a chance to take a look at Irish music behind the scenes.
Photographer Gregory Nolan focuses on the candid and intimate moments that demonstrate the dedication and day-to-day realities of working musicians in their rehearsal spaces, homes, “day jobs,” and live performances.
My job, as project writer, is to provide stories to accompany the photos, giving context and voice to the people in the images. By asking each band a similar set of questions, we are seeking a window into the ways in which working musicians’ lives are similar, as well as how they diverge. A perfect example of this is the question “what would making it look like for you?” The answers have ranged from a semi-sarcastic “getting rich” to “living in a creative community,” with a considerable number citing the ability to reach people with their music and to be proud of what they’ve created.
Unmade in Ireland is not an unsigned guide or a “who’s who” of the Irish music scene. It is, rather, an attempt to look inside the lives of musicians who haven’t gotten to that magic made it place yet, and are balancing their creative ambitions with other jobs and the usual struggles of day-to-day lives. Project coordinator Amelia Conophy helps connect the project to musicians around Ireland. Although still in the early stages, we have racked up acts of a significant variety of genres and growing geographic spread—electronic, pop, funk, alternative, folk, and rock musicians hailing from places as diverse as Cork, Clare, Dublin, Limerick, Australia, and the Congo, but all calling Ireland home. Notable acts so far are Liza Flume, Rocstrong, Bantum, Carriages, Wil Wright, Katie Laffan, Oisin McCole, Joey Gavin, Sive, Wicker Bones, Otherkin, and Twin Headed Wolf.
Gregory Nolan fits this project in between stints on the road with the internationally acclaimed band, Bastille, and is currently touring with them in the US. On his website, he writes, “Unmade in Ireland is my chance to get back to my roots—back in Ireland and back at the starting-point of bands. I have always loved working with musicians and trying to understand what drives them to pursue their music, sometimes well beyond what seems rational to the outside eye.”
Creative people work hard. We’re delighted to have the chance to share images and stories in this way.