VILLAGERS

 

Growing up in Dun Laoghaire, a south-east seaside Dublin suburb, Connor O’Brien wrote his first song, aged just 12, a week after his older brother lent Conor his acoustic guitar. “Bizarrely enough, my first lyric was “When I’m walking down these streets, I feel like a monkey in the Arctic”. I haven’t told Domino that yet! The song was called ‘Psychic’, which was about being afraid of a psychic friend because he could read your thoughts. Yes, it was a weird one...”

After choosing the name Villagers - “I like the name because it doesn’t offend the songs” - O’Brien released The Hollow Kind EP in February 2009 and the 7” ‘On a Sunlit Stage’ last October on the Any Other City label, run by Villagers drummer James Byrne. After signing to Domino, Becoming a Jackal was recorded in Villagers guitarist Tommy McLaughlin’s home studio, with Tommy engineering and co-producing alongside Conor.

In two and a half years, O'Brien has been nominated for a Mercury Prize, won an Ivor Novello Award, shared the stage with artists like Neil Young, Tindersticks, Grizzly Bear and Fleet Foxes, and contributed to A Harbour of Songs a record and project curated by The Unthanks pianist, producer and arranger Adrian McNally.

The new album {Awayland} is out 14th January 2013 - "I tried to write everything from the perspective of a newborn baby; given the gift of language, what would he or she say? For a while I thought the record would be called Birth, and the album cover is an image of a little boy looking out to sea, but I think that the album is about reclaiming that sense of curiosity and wonder which we have when we are children and we often lose over the years," says O’Brien.