banner ad
banner ad
banner ad

A Dirty Dozen with TONY TYRRELL – August 2022

| 5 August 2022 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “On his seething new single “Mocking Bird,” out today on all platforms, the Dublin-based songwriter Tony Tyrrell weaves an ominous tale of betrayal and heartbreak. “This one is personal, reflecting a life experience that struck a chord,” he explains. “The sweep and depth of the production captures the sort of all-enveloping feeling I had – the song has a relentless drive towards an inevitable end.” Featured on his debut solo album Conviction, out August 12th, “Mocking Bird” follows the release of the album’s second single “Another Day,” a stately ballad about impermanence and the reassurance that everything passes.” We get Tony to discuss new music, influences, and more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release. What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through? Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

My album is called Conviction, which reflects a promise I made to myself to give life to my songs after a period of relative inactivity on the recording front. The album is all about the songs that are presented in a variety of styles ranging from folk rock to ballads to a bit of post-punk garage rock. Although I don’t think I wear my influences on my sleeve, listeners can listen out for soundscapes that have echoes of artists ranging from Leonard Cohen to Neil Young to Arcade Fire and others. A verse in one song starts with the line “Yes there were times” which reminds me of a line from My Way as sung by Frank Sinatra who was my dad’s favorite artist.

2. What got you into music and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I’ve been playing music since I was about 9 years old, first clarinet, then sax, and later guitar. But the first time I realized that I wanted to be in a band was one new year’s eve when I saw a band called The Waterboys play live in my home town of Dublin, Ireland. The band had a sax player. I knew I could do what he was doing and was hooked.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

I like and have been influenced by so many fantastic artists, but The Beatles and Bob Dylan have been my core influences. Both defied categorization and explored different themes and styles, always moving forward and surprising their fans even to the point of losing some fans who wanted them to remain the same.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

I would like to write with Ron Sexsmith as it appears to me that he’s incapable of writing a bad song. I’d also like to play with Arcade Fire to feel the power of their live sound running through one of my songs.

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour? What do you like to do to unwind?

I like to go to the theater and gigs. I also play 5-a-side soccer twice a week, which is a great way to forget about everything else and just be in the moment, totally committed to the game even though nothing is at stake.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

I’d say my music is classic singer-songwriter leaning towards the folk rock idiom with a touch of adult contemporary. I don’t generally mind how people respond to my music as that is their business, so to speak. But it did wrankle once when someone described a track I recorded a while back as ‘lounge music’ largely because it featured a piano and sax. That was just a lazy categorization that failed to take account of the lyric, which was definitely not in that genre and which I intentionally sat on a lush musical platform for ironic effect. Seems the irony was lost on that particular listener’s ears!

7. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

I was living in Washington DC and unexpectedly met Michele Obama and found myself tongue-tied. She’s a rock star.

8. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

The best part of being a musician is meeting other musicians. It’s all about collaboration. Most of the best musicians I’ve met are humble people despite their talent, which is really refreshing. If I wasn’t playing music I would like to run a small acoustic venue so that I could still meet musicians.

9. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

I like talking about my music so when I am being interviewed, anything goes. I particularly like to talk about the songwriting process and musical choices and maybe a little less about influences, categories and all that jazz.

10. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

I was in a folk rock band in the 1990s. We recorded an album on a really small budget (with two independent labels) that I think compromised the quality of the product. In retrospect, I think we should have waited a little longer for another opportunity and stronger backing before recording. We had a really strong body of songs and great energy as a live act that could have been better harnessed.

11. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

It would have to be Highway 61 Revisited. That album changed everything. It opened up a whole new way of writing and presenting songs and revolutionized popular music. Like a Rolling Stone is over six minutes long but goes by like an express train. Desolation Row is over eleven minutes and comes across like a surreal nightmare, laden with imagery. Dylan challenged everyone (and continues to do so) to think outside of the box. That album moved the dial on what could be said in a song, how long a popular song could be, how it could sound. It’s both raw and sophisticated, accessible and obtuse, folk and rock. Simply put, it’s the origin story of so much that was to come.

12. Is there anything else you would like to add?

George Michael once released an album titled Listen Without Prejudice. Such a great title…I’d like to invite you all to listen to Conviction without prejudice. The album has a range of moods and styles that are anchored in the fantastic musicianship of the band that backed me. The songs are written more to seduce than to shock so please take the time to listen and live with it. Hope you enjoy it and feel free to let me know what you think.




Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

Leave a Reply

Please verify you\'re a real person: * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

banner ad
banner ad