Hailing from Galway, Oisin Mod has created a debut album that brims with a calmness and sense of serene yet vibrant melodies. It’s no wonder that Bill Ryder-Jones liked his songs so much he ended up producing his debut album, as the two operate in the same realms of gentle vocal sounds mixed with dreamy guitar lines – never delving into melancholy but always skating around the darkness on the edge of town, never overtly pop, but always ensuring a clever melodic line provides a silver lining. As Oisin explains, he wants people to take whatever they want from the record, and was grateful for Bill Ryder-Jones bringing the element of discovery to the tunes….

The album ‘Honeycomb’ is utterly brilliant from start to finish. Kicking off with the opener ‘Luminator’ where you mention  “what does it take to remember, we’re both on the same side”. For me, that seems to mean trying to repair differences and find common ground, but what actually inspired that sentiment?

That’s very kind of you. Thank you very much. You could say repairing differences and finding common ground inspired it somewhat, yeah. I’d say I was approaching it from a place of ‘this is something that is worth bearing in mind’

 ‘Broken Record’ states “the blues get bluer when I’m thinking too much” but also “by the time we reach the sea you’re in love” is it a song of looking for happier times amongst darker moments?

 Perhaps if you were to take those lines on their own. I reckon that’s probably one of the most joyful numbers on there. I’m happy for people to take whatever they like from it be honest

 There’s deep rich guitar melodies and pop sensibilities on the title track ‘Honeycomb’ and also on ‘Lavender’, yet there’s also a bittersweet element to them as in ‘Lavender’ you sing “I’ll never be her recurring dream of Lavender sea”, it seems to be about unrequited love, but where did that imagery come from?

 Nice one, thank you. The lyric you’re referring to is “Lavenders dreams” rather than Lavenders sea. I think that part’s kind of funny. I imagine people rolling their eyes when they hear it, you know? Yeah that song is a bit of a resignation to or acknowledgment of the situation one can find themselves in when thinking someone they don’t really know at all holds all the answers

 You and Bill Ryder-Jones seem to have a similar musical outlook. Did you know him before you sent the demos to him or was it purely in hope that he might like your songs and want to be involved?

 No I didn’t know him at all on a personal level. Yeah I wanted him to be involved & I thought he might want to be involved

 Why did you decide he was the producer to enhance your songs, and what did he bring to the whole album making process?

 I thought he’d understand where I was coming from. Bill brought some lovely arrangements – he plays a bit of everything on the album. He gave a feeling of importance to what it was that we were doing and encouraged an element of discovery. He’s brilliant 

 Open Window has a huge reverb guitar sound, making it feel like a long-lost country classic, where does your love of country and folk come from?

 I like how with a lot of those country singers it feels like they’re talking to you, or you’re overhearing them chatting or something. I like that it’s often overly dramatic, but at the same time casual. There’s a playfulness in some of those sorts of songs I think  

 ‘Moments Notice’ is a gorgeous tune, and seems to be about celebrating the long hazy days of summer hols and capturing that memory of simpler times, was that the essence behind it?

 Thanks very much. Maybe a bit, yeah. There’s an attempt at an apology in there somewhere

 Growing up in Galway who were your inspirations either musically or non-musically?

 Non-musically probably Moycullen, where I’m from, and a group of ten or fifteen boys from there. Musically, I remember seeing a band called Me & My Dog in Galway. They were from Westport in Mayo and a couple of years older than me. People were singing along to their tunes. I found that nuts 

 I can hear elements of Neil Young and Elliott Smith in your music, although you have a variety of instruments in your songwriting process, do you ever fancy going the full Crazy Horse and whacking on the distortion for some huge guitar solos, or do you prefer to maintain a beautiful intensity by keeping the calmness in your music? There are bits of distortion in songs like ‘Don’t Take The Trouble” after all. 

 I’d definitely like to get better at guitar. I think there were times on this album where I was actively trying to not be rocky. I’m open enough to the idea of the songs being more guitar-y in the future all right yeah 

 Making a living as a full time musician seems to get more difficult each year, how do you manage to juggle day jobs and your role as a musician or are you now fortunate enough to do this full time?

 I don’t do this full time – I have a job, which I don’t really mind. It’s a necessary part of it 

 When you’re writing, do you just record on to your phone or do you go old school and use a 4 track, and then how does it develop?

 I’d put lyrics in my phone, on the notes part you know. I wouldn’t record much at all when I’m initially writing to be honest. How it develops is different every time. Sometimes it can take ages to shape whatever the initial thing was into something you’re happy with. Other times it seems to do the work for you and lead you along. But yeah no it’s never really the same way 

 You’re playing a London live date soon – any plans to play Manchester, and how have rehearsals been going? 

 I’ve no plans to play Manchester at the moment, but I would hope to get the chance to. Rehearsals have been good! I’ve been enjoying getting to know the songs again 

 What’s the best and worst elements of being on the road and playing live?

 I enjoy the process of playing music with other people and the sense of community that surrounds it, you know, feeling like part of a whole. I don’t like that I’m not totally comfortable playing live, but perhaps that is a good thing too

 What’s next for you, more songwriting, any other future projects in the pipeline?

 We’re playing a show in London in September. No other plans after that. It would be nice to make another record

Oisin Mod: Honeycomb – Out 19th August (OMOD Records)


From the early days of creating handmade zines, in a DIY paper and glue style, interviewing bands around town, then pestering Piccadilly Records to sell them, to writing for various independent mags such as Chimp and Ablaze, writing about the music I love is still a great passion. After testing the music industry waters in London with stints at various labels, being back in my hometown again, writing about this city’s vibrant music scene is as exciting as ever. All time favourite bands include Sonic Youth, Nick Cave, Patti Smith although anything from electro to folk via blues and pysch rock will also do nicely too. A great album, is simply a great album, regardless of whatever musical cage you put it in.