Hailing from the serene landscapes of Munster in Ireland, Lloyd John emerges as a dynamic force of boundless energy and unbridled emotion in his performances.
Born in Limerick and having lived in Cork for 4 years, he holds both cities close to his heart, considering them both as his cherished homes.
Driven by a relentless pursuit of evocative storytelling through music, Lloyd's artistry is a captivating blend of Alternative Pop, Soul, and infectious melodies that leave an indelible mark on his audience.
In 2023, Lloyd embarked on his debut tour, mesmerizing audiences and selling out headline shows across coveted venues in Cork, Limerick, and London. This achievement marked a milestone in his burgeoning career, solidifying his position as a compelling live performer.
However, Lloyd's journey began humbly at the age of 16, armed with little more than a laptop, a £30 microphone, and a fervent dream. It was during this formative time that he produced one of his earliest singles, "Alive," a poignant creation that has since amassed over 1,500,000 streams across various platforms.
Throughout his musical evolution, Lloyd has shared stages with acclaimed acts such as Baby Queen, KINGFISHR, and Cassia, honing his craft and absorbing inspiration from each collaborative encounter.
With a distinctive sound that defies convention and a stage presence that commands attention, Lloyd John is rapidly ascending as a beacon of talent in the music industry. As noted by HotPress, he is "quickly becoming a rising star," poised to leave an enduring imprint on the global music landscape.
Sunkissed is a bittersweet folk-pop narrative overlooking the joys of being present. Influenced by Lloyd John's
Irish Trad roots, the record marks celebration of his culture.
Being Irish and Queer, London based artist
Lloyd John defies prejudice musical limitations.
Phantom Dawn is the pseudonym of Dublin-born, Vancouver-based, songwriter/ multi-instrumentalist and producer, Matthew Smyth. Smyth’s work to this point has been with the Alternative Rock Band, Motion Picture Sound and solo Ambient releases, under his own name. Smyth recently moved to Vancouver to pursue his artistic journey away from his hometown.
Inspired by a wide range of artists ranging from The Stone Roses to Tom Waits, Phoebe Bridgers to My Chemical Romance, and Pinegrove to Neutral Milk Hotel. Smyth takes inspiration not just from music but from poetry, film and painting as well as Irish mythology and Catholic iconography.
Smyth was partially deaf until the age of three. After his Grandmother suggested an operation, he recovered and heard the world in its full for the first time. This was the beginning of his lifelong, intense love of music. Smyth makes sincere, introspective and poetic Indie/ Alternative Rock music from his bedroom by blending 80's UK Alternative music with 2000's Indie Rock and Emo with an undercurrent of Singer-Songwriter Folk. This unique, eclectic mix draws the listener into the melodic, catchy and beautifully dark world of Phantom Dawn.
Poetry forms the basis of Phantom Dawn lyrics. Songs explore what Matthew refers to as his ‘’shadow-self’’. By interrogating the darkest aspects of oneself; mental illness, fear, regret, loss, grief and self doubt, Matthew believes you can overcome these issues to learn self-love and become something beautiful. Hence the name, Phantom Dawn.
" I tend to write to explore the parts of myself that terrify me. I try to shine a light on a darkness that has always been there. If you can see and hold these aspects of yourself, you can learn to accept yourself as a fallible human being, deserving of love. This means, there’s always care and hope in the songs somewhere. Some lyrics are deeply personal and confessional as a result. At the same time, I love the abstraction you find in David Lynch’s work, or impressionists like Claude Monet. The ambiguity and the allusions make the work much more meaningful, so I try to take a little bit of that into my stuff. "
Memento is the first of many singles to be released in 2024, the next in March and April respectively. A trend which will continue throughout 2024, with each track leaning into its own aspect of the Phantom Dawn sound.
Photography by Ruby McKinnon
Release 16th February, 2024
Memento is the debut single from Vancouver based, Irish artist Phantom Dawn. Phantom Dawn is the solo project of singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, Matthew Smyth. Memento sees Phantom Dawn draw on 1980’s British Alternative/ Indie rock influences as well as Dream-Pop and Shoegaze to create a lush, shimmering, upbeat, yet melancholic sound, that wouldn’t sound out of place in the closing scene of an early 2000’s coming of age Indie film. Memento is a song about little moments and carrying them with you in your faded memory. A sentiment reflected by its sound.
Pyro Villas, the Irish group known for their synth-heavy textures, are back with a new genre-shifted single titled 'Once or Twice Before'. This track showcases a shift in their sound, embracing soulful guitar-driven rhythms and exploring new territory while still honing their craft with live instruments.
The trio, consisting of Stefano Lupo, Killian Dowling, and Cian Guinee, have been steadily expanding their indie-pop sound, and 'Once or Twice Before' is no exception. The track was written, arranged, and mixed by Stefano, Killian and Hugh O'Neill with mastering done by Fergal Davis, who has worked with renowned acts such as Muse, Republic of Loose, and Sinéad O'Connor.
Fans of Pyro Villas can look forward to the release of 'Once or Twice Before' on streaming services on Friday, July 21st. However, for an exclusive listen to the track before its official release, you can find it below.
Exclusive listen to 'Once or Twice Before'
‘One of the country’s most hotly tipped pop prospects’
‘What an exciting new band to come out of Ireland.
Such a fab sound and vibe - with the confidence of a well-established band.’
This year I had the opportunity to observe an independent artist's ability to find gigs in Ireland. Over the years I had heard that touring in Ireland was impossible to do and that the journey of the new and upcoming artists was very bleak indeed.
Before the summer i had an Australian Musician Mick Daley contact me and he was looking for help with his planned 3 month tour of Ireland. At that time i had just started back with improving my website after a long absence and hadn't really any information for him. All i could offer was a bed if he was stuck during his travels and maybe one or two contacts. To be honest, I was concerned that he would be disappointed with the lack of gigs and the possibility of him having to go home earlier than planned. As we all know Ireland is extremely expensive and the thought of having to find accommodation over the coming three months was an almost impossible task.
Mick arrived up to me on the train in Sligo and we both went to work immediately as we walked around the town calling into pubs and looking for a few gigs. In fairness the majority of management & staff were very nice and interested in Mick's upcoming tour of Ireland but the dreaded Covid did have an effect on their business and music was one of the areas that were very much compromised as a result. We carried on regardless, went for a coffee and then left for bundoran where i live. We went out for a few pints that night and attempted the same as we did in sligo and tried to get at least one gig there. We were unsuccessful in a few pubs that night and decided to do the rest later on another occasion.
What surprised me about Mick was he was extremely organised and had already secured 14 gigs before he even arrived in Ireland. I was impressed and also knew that once he was here, he would have a very good chance of getting many more to add to his tour.
I suppose the main reason i am writing this is the question i had for quite some time on can any musician create a tour in Ireland? with new music and the answer is a resounding yes. It is also important to take into account the need to have a set that includes plenty of cover songs mixed in with original tracks so the venue owner and customers are entertained with known music and open to hearing the original tracks during the performance. I would suggest music that relates / sounds like your own so the whole gig blends in perfectly. In Mick's case, he is a folk singer that has stories to them and he had some Irish folk tunes to blend in. As a previous venue manager and owner, this is exactly what i would expect so i could justify to my customers why i have given a particular artist a gig at my premises. Artists must consider that the venue Manager / Owner is in the middle of all this and is trying to please both sides so make sure when you are approaching a Pub or Venue that you inform them of your current cover material also. This will be the difference in getting the gigs you need to sustain a short or long tour.
Mick Daley has been in Ireland for over a month now and I can verify that he has secured many more additional gigs. We also managed to get one for him in Bundoran where i live. The Kicking Donkey was recently taken over and the owners are very open to new and upcoming music which is great. I went to see him perform and they loved him there and have asked him for another gig before he returns to Australia. He also had the pleasure of playing in a venue i once managed , the Quays Galway.
There are gigs out there guys. You just have to get out there by email and go in physically. If an artist can come over here from Australia for three months and get dozens of gigs all over Ireland then an Irish Artist can also. The secret here is your own willingness to just go out and create your own tour by emailing every possible Venue and also going in and speaking to the person in charge. The worst answer you can get is no sorry. You will never know who is giving these gigging opportunities unless you get out there and do it for yourselves.
Finally, do not listen to any negativity about gigging here in Ireland. Everyone has their own personal experiences / opinions / perceptions of course but you need to form your own conclusions from what you have experienced after you have genuinely got out there with boots on the ground. Mick doesn't have a home to go to in Ireland where he can escape too if all goes wrong. He has set himself a challenge for three months and failure is not an option. I think this attitude is what is needed if an artist wants to succeed in this industry. Firstly you need the talent, the songs that resonate and the attitude to succeed. All that is left after that is the desire to get out there and talk to people who can assist you with your own epic Journey.
Singer-songwriter, fiction writer, journalist Mick Daley contacted me in April of this year and asked for any help as he was preparing for a three month visit and touring Ireland. Mick is from Australia and like many Australians has a lot of Irish ancestry. To be honest I thought the man was crazy to attempt a three month tour but also very interested in how he would get on with trying to find accommodation and paid gigs to sustain himself throughout his stay.
I suggested he use my gaffe as one of his bases so he could save money as much as possible and also help plan his trip. For years, I used to hear original artists tell me that they could not find any gigs and I was very surprised that Mick had got so many before he even arrived on our shores. He was relentless at contacting anyone he could to find those impossible gigs. I went around with him in Sligo Town and also Bundoran to help find him a gig or two and we found one place in Bundoran thankfully. He had also secured a gig in sligo from Australia which was very impressive. These are all paid gigs Guys by the way which also impressed me.
He is staying with me for a few days to have a rest as he has traveled all along the west coast performing and sourcing a few more gigs. What impressed me the most was he got a gig in the Quays in Galway and it was upstairs. I know the quays very well as I was the venue manager there in 2005 & 2006 and I know it's not easy to get in there as they book mostly cover acts. He was put on before the main act which I used to do back then. I was very happy to see that seamus was continuing on what i started all those years ago and giving original acts a chance to perform on a larger stage.
I suppose the moral of the story here is if Mick Daley from Australia can tour Ireland then there is no excuse for any Irish artist to do the very same. Mick has slept in tents, car parks and in a car when he can afford to rent one. He is not worried about tomorrow but carries on regardless of circumstance. I think there is much to be learned with an attitude like this. Nothing is impossible if you are driven enough. This man is a similar age to myself too which also tells me that age is not a problem either when it comes to getting gigs. All that is required is to simply ask and be polite. The worst thing that can happen is No and you move on the next and the next until you get to your destination.
I've advised Mick to write a book about his travels as this is quite inspiring for any artists out there. I hope he does and especially in the current climate when everything is so expensive here. There is always a way I say.
Anyway guys here is a little clip of Mick performing on the Quays stage..
THE ENIGMA DIVISION a Irish Progressive Metal band and formed in 2019. Their debut album has finally arrived and it features eight songs that blend eclectic elements such as film score, Synthwave, and Progressive Metal. The album begins with "1977," a song that starts with a slow build-up before unleashing heavy riffs, drum fills, and Symphonic elements. "The Escapist" is a catchy and threatening song that features heavy and aggressive rhythm guitars, harmonies, and keyboards. "Echoes in The Deep" combines electronic elements, edgy riffs, and vocal harmonies with outstanding guitar leads and smooth hooks.
"Afterglow" is one of the catchiest songs on the album, melding music and vocals into a cohesive and goosebump-inducing song. "The Age of Discovery" showcases the band's Progressive elements while maintaining its melody and innocence. "Kaleidoscope" is a smooth and mellow song that provides catchy melodies and a guitar solo that will light a fire under your ass. "Clarity" is a mesmerizing song that starts with piano notes that lure you in and gradually takes you on a journey filled with gentle and charming qualities.
Photography Credits - Dave Keegan Photography
The album closes with the epic "1977 - Ad Infinitum," an existential journey through the stars and into the heavens. The song takes you on a rollercoaster ride of choppy accents, prophetic spoken words, and chunky and aggressive sounds that will leave you chilled. The album, with its impeccable musicianship, catchy and deep songs, and elements that can be enjoyed by fans of Progressive Metal and beyond, is one of the best debut albums to come out in a while. We can't wait to see where THE ENIGMA DIVISION takes us next.
Irish singer-songwriter Olivia Burke is gearing up to release her alternative pop single ‘Graves’ on March 24th, 2023. With an eclectic sound inspired by the world around her, Olivia's music tackles the human experience and its ability to unite. A graduate of BIMM Dublin's songwriting program, Olivia's youthful approach and raw talent make her a force to be reckoned with in the music industry.
‘Graves’ is a stirring ballad that explores themes of love, loss, and destruction, reminiscent of influences like Amy Winehouse, Lana del Rey, and Billie Eilish. Produced by Irish synth-pop artist Viscose and mastered by Simon Gibson of Abbey Road Studios, the track delivers a fresh, dark, and hard-hitting alternative pop sound that is both unique and familiar. Olivia is set to release more music throughout 2023, and we can't wait to see what she has in store. Stay tuned!
Instagram >> https://www.instagram.com/oliviaburkemusic/
Facebook >> https://www.facebook.com/oliviaburkemusic
Musibiz will become a Social Network in 2023 for a whole range of reasons. When I first started out with my Music campaign I launched Livemicsworld as a Social Network but it didn't have the tools I needed to assist the Artist and I closed it down two years later. Better private Social networks are available now with new tools that I believe will be very helpful to musicians here in Ireland and indeed anywhere throughout the world.
My aim from the very beginning was to provide a place where the Musician / Band could use a platform that had a community that was dedicated to promoting each artist. At the same time having a platform that provided opportunities to those that were using the services within the platform to better themselves. In otherwards, both working together to advance New and Independent Music.
This was not possible at the very beginning and led me down other avenues including launching Musibiz and opening a new music venue in Sligo in 2015. I quickly realised that although these two were parts of the overall plan, there were many pieces missing and that was mostly community and the missing tools i spoke of earlier. As the saying goes. " you learn with experience " and during those experiences, I picked up a lot of knowledge of what was going on in the music community and why it wasn't progressing.
I took a break for a number of years as I was tired of all the brick walls and needed a break from this project and my unstable career at the time. Over the past few years I had to readjust my life completely to fit in with what I really wanted to do and that was coaching people to find their true purpose. I now work as a Life coach and entrepreneur that involves improving lives and keeping an eye on my own so I don't get distracted like I did previously. I also reconnected with an old friend I had living in California. John Hartmann had worked as a manager in the industry for over 50 years and was retired. I remember him telling me about his desire to educate musicians on how the industry worked so they would have a better idea about the industry and how to navigate it. We both decided to bring that idea to the public and the Holodigm Academy was born.
So I am coming back to my old project again that was shelved for a while. I left the website live as there were a few articles up there that were useful to Artists and I wanted it available to them when they searched online for information. I believe it is now time to continue with my own desire and finish what I intended to do and that is to bring new music out and the musicians that create it. I believe that this has been stunted long enough and a new formula is necessary for this artistic expression.
I would like to create an Independent community who are willing to find new ways to have their music heard and also a sustainable future for them. It saddens me listening to so many talented artists going unnoticed and also having to scrape a living at something they love and I feel called to help out at this time.
I have to also say that I cannot do this on my own as I have done in the past. It must be a community effort as I provide the platform. Without the community it will not have the spark needed to progress this project. Commitment is the Key to everything and Ideas from others will help this move along with a better flow.
So I have a few suggestions for the Independent Community of artists in Ireland. As you will be the very first country forging the new path for the rest of the world, I would like your suggestions as to what you need from such a platform if it was available to you? What missing pieces are you seeing or experiencing that I could possibly help you with?
I will keep my own Ideas a secret for now as there are many out there that are more than happy with me providing ideas for them. I have learnt over the years to keep things close to my chest or the original idea gets distorted in ways that do not serve the artist. There are also very good people out there that I know will assist me and hopefully the Artist community will get behind this and allow it to grow along with them.
Anyway guys, those of you who managed to get the whole way down this blog, i salute you and would like for you to make any suggestions in the comment section. I take everything on board and will answer each comment.
Ive known Donal Coghlan since 2013 and he has become a loyal friend ever since. I asked Donal to write a little blog about what he thought about the Independent Music Community today and also make some suggestions on how the industry could be improved from his point of view.
I started out as a singer of covers mostly in my teens. I gave up music altogether then for 40 odd years having had my fingers burnt several times already financially I decided enough was enough . Off I went towards office work and due diligence and all that stuff. During those forty odd years in office life I learnt a lot about business and logistics. During this time working I worked for other people many times and also started and ran two separate businesses. Eventually redundancy and life in general came to me being 58 years of age and no job and no idea what to do next. Not known for sitting on my laurels I went back to college and became a sound engineer. When I turned 59, I wrote my first song, this was a major step for me. It took me out of my comfort zone. I found out very early in this process that standing in front of a crowd playing your own music is much harder than singing covers. It bares the soul in ways I never imagined possible.
So now I am talking to you as a singer songwriter and also someone with extensive business experience. I decided I wanted to give singer songwriters a place they could perform their own material . I set about doing this in a café setting as experience has taught me that where drink is involved people don’t listen to music. It plays in the background so they can talk over it mostly.
I came across two problems which stick to me every day so far, they are many ill-mannered and totally selfish musicians who do not seem to know how to behave and network with other musicians. Secondly a public that is totally unaware and oblivious to what new music is. My thoughts around this are, they are not interested because they expect to be listening to Music known to them by cover Artists.
Let me expand on this subject, I started and ran two separate singer songwriter nights in Ireland. One was calling the Café Sessions located in a quaint little café in Clonmellon co. Westmeath. The second one was called the Kells Indie Sessions and was located in Kells Co Meath. Firstly, I want to speak about the general public's attitude to new music. It's non-existent. The example I would give is that when I mention I write songs that I am what’s called a singer songwriter they look bemused and say and then say something like is it country and western?
I mean in general the public only want to hear songs that they have heard before , and mostly like to sing along with the bits they know. Now the question I have for all of them is how do you think the songs they write became known, somebody had to write them and play them in little cafes and bars to get heard before. But this doesn’t seem to occur to them.
The second problem I encountered was the musicians themselves, some totally centred on themselves and their own performance with little or no regard for anything else happening around them. No regard or care for the person who made the night happen and all the work that had to happen to make this occur. Some not all I must state hadn’t even the manners to say thank you for the invitation which shocked me.
Also, I noticed a lot of them having a total disregard for the performer actually playing at the time which means they were centred on themselves alone. Singer songwriters must appreciate each other rather than compete with each other. Above all people should appreciate the problems facing another singer songwriter. They must support each other in every endeavour possible. The world does not revolve around each individual, they are important because they were creative and wrote songs, but so also did other singer songwriters.
So, to me the answers are obvious, each musician needs to learn to support other musicians firstly by
taking the time to listen when they play, secondly in any project they may need help in.
I would suggest in the first instance a group or society of singer songwriters, dedicated people who are prepared to help each other, after all in the old age adage if we group together, we are stronger. No Room for time wasters here me thinks.
So the more dedicated people we can gather the stronger we become .
Now for the major gripe singer songwriters have which is airplay on the national radio stations.
So basically, if we can’t get on the radio stations- let’s start our own.
In my view there is no point in complaining about lack of airplay if you aren’t prepared to do something about it.
So, let’s get this off the ground, instead of sitting around complaining, let’s see some action.
I think to summarize all of this is the need for a committed community of Musicians that can encourage, assist and share one another's work so the general public has a better chance of hearing new music. To complement this, the creation of a popular radio station for both the Artist and general public. I know this is possible but it's totally in the Artist's hands as it is them that will need to change things up and change the way new music is presented here in Ireland.Donal Coghlan - Singer Songwriter kells
Back In 2006 , I had a calling to assist the Independent Music Community In Ireland and attempt to Build an Independent artist network. For decades I had watched great musicians not having the opportunity to progress any further than the local pub or music venue. At that time I was a Pub / Venue manager and was always scratching my head about the reasons for this obvious lack of opportunity in the music industry.
My first venture was called Livemicsworld and I attempted to create an Independent Music Network of like minded individuals that could help one another progress more. I quickly realised that the industry was seriously fragmented with disgruntled artists who had a very negative impression of the state of the industry and their chances of success. They had almost given up before they even started.
After gaining a little more knowledge about how the industry worked, I began another project called Musibiz and at the same time a Music Venue named Musibar. The idea behind this was to have a venue that nurtured Artists and Management in the venue and also showcase them online with the help of the Independent Music network website.
I wanted artists from all over Ireland playing there and also connect with local artists and create our own unique Independent network.
At times I would invite dozens of artists and bands to attend a charity event called the Simon Gigs to help with the network I was attempting to build and at the same time, provide funds for the homeless. Poor Finances, Location and various other blocks put an end to that idea after 15 months. The sad thing about this was it was actually working towards the end and walking away for that was extremely difficult for me.
For the next couple of years I ventured into new careers and I became a Life coach / Business coach along with setting up a Web agency along with my good friend and Greek Musician / Web developer Orestis Mammis. These two new businesses might seem unrelated but both were helping aids that I could provide for people on a personal level and also in business.
It was about a year ago when I started to think about my previous Music Projects and I felt that I was in a better place to start yet another one. I'm sure others who have had projects that failed, will have both fear but also better knowledge of what not to do the next time around. Some will either leave this idea for good or give it one last go with all this new knowledge. My decision was to give this another go.
So I contacted an old friend and Agent / Manager John Hartmann in the US. I asked him about an old project he was working on around the same time that I had started my first project. Like me, John had attempted this but it never really reached its full potential for various reasons.
Back in 2009 I came across John Hartmann's website while looking to learn more about the Music industry. By then, John had been working in the industry for over 50 years and was attempting to provide a Music Management Course for Artists and Managers to understand and compete in the industry along with providing an Independent Music Network.
John felt that in order to be successful in the music industry, you needed to know the basics In Music Management along with all the other professions related to progressing the Potential Artist's or Band's. Like me, John also knew the importance of having a network of professionals around a particular act but also an Independent Community so the artists could connect with Nationally and Globally if necessary.
In 2009, Physical Distribution was on the decline and Digital was replacing it quickly with a new music renaissance emerging. Although Digital has moved on dramatically from 2009, that same Music Business Knowledge that John was teaching was still very much relevant.
What had changed was the massive decline in Music Managers and Labels due to this massive decrease in physical sales and most of that old knowledge was lost. This had a devastating effect on the artists as the vast majority of them had no clue how the Music business worked. Social media came along and again so many artists got lost in the promise that these platforms would help them with their own promotion.
So myself and John have come up with our own solution. To teach Artists and potential managers the Business of Music by way of a Music management course and also attempt to build an Independent Music Community So Artists / Bands had support and guidance that was seriously lacking.
I am happy to announce that Musibiz and Holodigm Academy will work together this year. Holodigm will be providing Music Management Training for artists and managers to help them understand the music industry and Musibiz will provide an Independent Music Community where they can progress. Students of the holodigm who complete the course will be given a certificate in Music management by the Holodigm Academy.
Musibiz would love to build a global Independent Music community where artists and managers will have the ability to connect with Professionals from all over the world on their quest for a greater outreach.
Holodigm are coming to the end of creating Our Management Course and are looking for beta testers to help us improve this course. Feedback will be critical from the beta testers and for all those who assist us and complete the training will be given a certificate in music management and be the first members of our digital network.