Strawberry Spotlight is a weekly feature on Strawberry Tongue Radio hosted by Lady Audio. She chats with the bands you hear, here, on Strawberry Tongue. In this edition, Lady Audio chats with Ciaran Megahey from The Autumn Stones.
This is a transcription of that interview which airs November 23, 1:00 EST, only on Strawberry Tongue Radio. You can also catch the re-broadcast of this show on Saturday and Sunday at 1:00pm EST. Be sure to tune in!
Lady Audio: Hey everyone welcome to Strawberry Spotlight. Today’s guest is Ciaran Megahey from the Autumn Stones. Thank you for joining me today and how are you?
Ciaran Megahey: I’m great thanks for having me.
Lady Audio: I wanted to ask my first question and that is what attracted you to the realm of music?
I think the first thing that attracted me was – I noticed – I remember noticing at a very young age just how compelling music is. I think I would have been maybe about four my dad was really into the Beatles and Paul McCartney and I liked a lot of pop music at the time. I just remember being so moved by the music that I liked – bands like Beatles or The Police when I was a kid, too. Not so much anymore but yeah, just that power – that feeling – that visceral – just how moving it is. It’s still true today.
Lady Audio: What do you like most about music?
Ciaran Megahey: I like that it’s actually what I just described. The way it makes you feel, more specifically how it can anchor you to a moment in your life or can capture your imagination or inspire you or it can have such a powerful effect on you and all the different ways that I don’t even know how it will affect me in my life. It’s really exciting and interesting. There’s not many other things out there like that.
Lady Audio: Is there anything about music that you don’t like?
Ciaran Megahey: Not really, not really about the music. I feel like the industry is kind of ahhh the business side of music is not my favorite part. But that’s not really the music I guess. It’s kind of a cop-out answer, but, that’s my answer. (laughs)
Lady Audio: how did The Autumn Stones get started?
I started The Autumn Stones from ashes of my old band, The Assistants. I had a whole bunch of songs that I haven’t recorded that we’re pretty solid songs and it seemed like such a shame to get into the studio recording them to put together a band, for the purpose of laying down an album. I kind of saw it more as a recording project but by the time we put that out and decided we had another one we’d experienced some lineup changes. Lots of new members joined and it took on a life of its own. The new versions of the band and are kind of different from the old version so it’s become more about our live show then then it would have been in the early days. So appreciate that side of things where as before it was all about recording. It’s still my favorite part of being in a band is the recording part it’s the most compelling for me, but I’ve started to really get into the live performance.
Lady Audio: Live performance can be a whole different art.
Ciaran Megahey: Yeah totally. There’s so much potential and music for taking your music to another level with getting a really major performance. I think about guys like Iggy Pop and how much their performance brings to what he’s doing. He’s good songwriter too, but, what he brings his his performance is a big part of the attraction.
Lady Audio: How would you describe the kind of music The Autumn Stones create?
Ciaran Megahey: I usually say just slightly Jazzy indie-pop . That’s the closest description I can get a lot of our influences come from that – the indie world. There’s a little bit of and reggae which is not as noticeable this little bit of jazz in there but it’s mainly jangly – dream pop. Dream pop is a good way to describe it I guess. I feel like we are getting a bit more jangly with the new stuff as we recently added a second guitarist, we haven’t recorded with yet Dan Dervaitis. We just started writing some songs together which is new for The Autumn Stones I’ve always done the writing before so now we’re collaborating and it’s taking taking a new jangly direction – more jangly direction – more guitar emphasis than before.
Lady Audio: With the horn in there, the sax, it makes me think of the band Haircut 100 from back in the eighties.
Ciaran Megahey: I’m not, but the name sounds familiar. I think Gary might have mentioned them. I’ll totally look them up after this.
Lady Audio: Oh yeah or I can send you a link too. I really like the song “End of Faith” from the album The Escapists. Can you talk about it a little bit?
Sure, the song , think I came up with for the music while I was watching a documentary on Vietnam. So it’s kind of this menacing and that’s why the baselines for dirty and menacing. The lyrics are, the idea of the lyrics, are kind of a response to the line in the song by John Lennon song “Imagine.” “Imagine no religion” is essentially what the song is…it’s just imagining….
Play End of Faith
Ciaran Megahey: …the world without religion. I thought that would not be such a bad thing. It’s fun to fantasize about things like that.
Lady Audio: The other song that I really like is the song “Creatures.” What the story behind that song?
Ciaran Megahey: That’s kind of hard to explain I remember writing it around the time I first found out that I was going to be a dad. I feel like it’s about about being a person, being a human, trying to define that feeling welcome to the world, this is what it’s like – I think life is kind of beautiful but a little bit tragic – but it’s trying to convey that balance, I guess, in a very abstract way.
Lady Audio: Okay and one more “Dark Age.” What’s that one about?
Ciaran Megahey: That one, I think, I was thinking about Somalia at the time. That was kind of what was in my mind. I don’t know it’s hard to explain the song I guess it’s about for someone who watches the news and pays attention all the time it’s easy to be cynical about the world so I think a lot of the songs are about that fight caring too much or being too cynical. Trying to find that balance – things are getting better as bad as some things are around the world – but generally life isn’t that bad and there’s reason for cautious optimism.
Play “Dark Age”
Ciaran Megahey: I think that song is questioning the idea that it’s a dark age – it’s almost ridiculing the idea, but, sort of understanding where that idea is coming from because there’s a lot darkness in the world.
Lady Audio: I think you kind of touched on this earlier, but, what new projects are you working on now?
Aside from the The Autumn Stones, I’ve got another little side project I’m working on with an old friend of mine from high school Brandon McGarthy we’re tentatively calling Called Love Proof. We’re just a duo. The music is darker like he listens to darker music than I do, like electronic music and a little bit into heavy metal, so that influence is there too. So it’s more menacing and dark than The Autumn Stones -not as poppy, but the melodies are still there. I’m really excited right now to be writing with Dan and the Autumn Stones. It’s like getting me, it’s like writing with Brandon kind of led me to having a collaborator with The Autumn Stones and it’s injected some new life into the The Autumn Stones because we have this fresh sound it’s not what it used to be. It’s very similar to what it used to be but it’s like the next stage. It’s transformed bit for this next record.
Lady Audio: Where can people go to listen to and to buy your music?
Ciaran Megahey: You can find our music in just about any major the digital store, on streaming sites you can also find it at the theautumnstones.com and our bandcamp which is just thealbumstones.bandcamp.com or Facebook.
Lady Audio: Okay, and now for a scenario it’s late in the afternoon, the shadows are long, the air is silent, and you are standing by a pond, you are given a magical bicycle that will ride wherever you choose to. Where would you go?
Ciaran Megahey: Well, I think Dublin. I lived in Ireland for a little bit as a kid from from 84 – 86, we lived in Belfast area in the north, Belfast and Bangor. But I wanted to go back to Ireland ever since then. We came back to Canada in 86. I still have a lot of family over there, I’d like to see some of them. And I’d like to see the south of Ireland, too. I’m curious about Dublin I didn’t spend much time in Dublin. I have a friend who recently just moved over there, so I’d love to see him.
Lady Audio: The name of my band is called Maheekats. It was a nickname for our cat at the time. But, we looked up the word Maheekat online and we found that there was a Mahee island and a Mahee castle and, I think, there was a Mahee monastery, but I’m not sure if the monastery was named Mahee or if it was named something else but it was on the Mahee island. It’s kind of to the southeast in Ireland
Awww, cool. It sounds kind of like (inaudible)
Lady Audio: And last but not least what is your favorite flower?
Ciaran Megahey: Flower, hmmm. I guess this sounds really boring but roses.
Lady Audio: Their really pretty and they have a wonderful scent too. They’re lovely, they’re classic.
Lady Audio: Anyways thank you for so much for joining me today Ciaran, I really appreciate it
Ciaran Megahey: You’re welcome. Thanks for having me!
Strawberry Tongue thanks Ciaran Megahey from The Autumn Stones
for spending time with the Lady Audio.