Cruinniú na Cásca, a Creative Ireland initiative presented by RTÉ is a free public event which will take place in towns and cities across Ireland, on Easter Monday 17th April with a special large-scale event in Dublin.
As part of Cruinniú na Cásca, RTÉ Arena will be broadcast live from the St Stephen’s Green stage. From 11am to 1pm. The Hothouse Flowers will join Seán Rocks and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra with conductor Gearóid Grant. The concert will also include Lisa Lambe, Fiachna Ó Braonáin, Martin Brunsden, Seán Keane, Chris Meehan and his Redneck Friends, and lots more.
Thanks to everyone for your support on our New Album Let’s Do This Thing and making I Can See Clearly Now the number 1 on the iTunes charts.
I Can See Clearly is from our 1990 album Home, which is available online via iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Amazon and other online music services. It also features in our live album Goodnight Sun recorded live at the Kansas City Irish Festival in 2009.
Fiachna discusses with RTÉ Radio One’s Ray D’arcy how it came about that Hothouse Flowers soundtracked the opening scene for Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond’s new show, the Grand Tour and the coincidental release of the new album Let’s Do This Thing.
In September 2015, we went into Windmill Lane Studio in Dublin for a week of recording. We were on a journey and discovery of new music and of ourselves as musicians and a band.
We started with a blank page. No baggage, no agenda, no direction – just a desire to create together a new conversation that binds us together and forges a new path for us moving forward.
What came seemed to drop from the sky and into all of our subconscious and out and meld into the new music.
When we listened back to the takes of the work, we were taken by surprise by something from deep inside of our souls as people and musicians that came out through the speakers and into the studio.
It still surprises us all at different times when we listen back now after many listens.
“LET’S DO THIS THING” became our mantra in the studio. It is a line from one of the new songs and seemed very apt for the title of this new work.
So, with that, we hope you all enjoy this new music as much as we did creating it.
Liam , Fiachna, Martin, Peter, Dave
LET’S DO THIS THING…. is out now and available for download exclusively from hothouseflowers.com Click Here.
1. You Can Love Me Now 4:15
2. Turn Up The Reverb 4:10
3. Forever More 4:09
4. Born 3:51
5. Pop Song 3:32
6. Used To Call It Love 4:22
7. At Last 5:23
8. Find The Time 4:42
9. I Believe 4:23
10. Learning To Walk 4:17
11. It’s A Man’s Man’s World*
12. Love Don’t Walk This Way ’98*
*Bonus tracks on Japan CD release only. Also available on ‘You Can Love Me Now’ single.
Written by O’Maonlai, O’Braonain, O’Toole
Additional Musicians Rob Malone – Bass Wayne Sheehy – Drums
Produced by Hothouse Flowers/Townshend Engineered by Cenzo Townshend
Recorded at September Sound Studios Jake Davies – Assistant Engineer Pete Lewis – Engineer James Dimmock – Photography Jody Roberts – Assistant Engineer Dave Bascombe – Mixing
The new members
Wayne Sheehy is known for having played with 1990 and Cactus world News. He now plays with a groove band called The Sofas. He has toured with Ronnie Wood a number of times for his sins. Wayne plays drums with the Flowers on ‘Born’. Together with the band they have done 2 years worth of gigs. The Olympia Theatre Dublin. Leisureland Galway. The Limelight Belfast. The Opera House Cork. Connolys of Leap West Cork. Olympic Stadium Munich. Supporting the Rolling Stones in Malaya, Barcelona, and Gelsen Kirchen.
Robert Malone plays bass with Hothouse Flowers. He and Wayne play in The Sofas together. Rob gained huge experience playing with Lir. With Rob playing bass Peter is free to play Bouzouki, guitar, keyboards, or programme at will. Rob and Wayne provide a new dimension.
We had hoped to include this information on the sleeve of the disc, however, this, for reasons best known to others, did not happen. We won’t allow it to happen again.
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Having been away for a while it became clear that what we needed was some recording equipment of our own so we could experiment at our own pace without the huge expense of rehearsal rooms and demo studios. The time had come.
New ways of doing things with new angles and new interpretations. Peter and Fiachna having spent over a year on and off with Michelle Shocked, touring and recording, decided that there was no point putting any more unnecessary pressure on Liam. This was the beginning of a mending process zand a new relationship. Each had to confront the possibility of an ending before there was vision for the future. So with the studio on the go, songs were being written on a daily basis. Liam would come in and sing his version of the melody and so on.
With all the knowledge we had gained over the years we recorded a demo of the new songs and a man called Cenzo Townsend was to co-produce. Peter went to see a studio called September Sound, near Richmond, in London. It had a windowed live room looking onto the River Thames and a good size midi room for any of the sequenced stuff that had to be done.
Through obvious ups and downs the album began to take shape with Cenzo making everything sound tough and raw, an indication of the general mood. It was all mixed in Whittle Street in London by Cenzo, Dave Bascombe and helped by Max of Ocean Colour Scene fame.
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HFLIVE: Peter wrote a lot for that album, then?
LIAM: Yeah, he kind of held the fort. He had these songs. We thought ‘these are good, these will do!’ ‘Born’ is mainly Peter’s album. (Speaking to HFLIVE in 2002).
PETER: The songs were written with no time-pressure involved,” says Peter. “It was a big open-ended journey that we were on, so therefore we explored various different types of sounds and we ended up with a selection of one’s which we felt worked best. We spend a lot of time working with loops and things, so you’re automatically going to go somewhere else with it. (Speaking to Hot Press in 1998).
LIAM: We resisted that through the 80’s, going for the full electric sound, because it was so commonplace with production. But now that time, that period is over, and we’ve also gained experience. We’re all a bit wiser now. I think there’s a lot more definitive work on this album than there was on the other ones, in terms of the way the whole thing is executed. The album has been brought home according to a definitive idea and vision. There’s a very strong determination going through it. Peter really held the responsibility for taking the album through the various stages, mainly because he wrote most of the songs but he also had most of the vision for how the sound could go. Fiachna and I just did our bits and circles around the situation. (Speaking to Hot Press in 1998). FOREVER MORE
FIACHNA: A young man who wrongly believed in hope over experience. A young fool! Ha! Ha! Ha! (Speaking to HFLIVE in 2002).
PETER: I remember when it was just finished, it wasn’t even mixed. I was in London and I went walking around Oxford Street listening to it. It was just perfect, walking with the headphones on. There is something bright about it and the song ‘Pop Song For The Universe’ was on and I just felt that this song can burrow into somebody’s heart.” (Speaking in 1998).
LIAM (Liam messed around with weird sounds on the synth to a loop): …and then I just wrote down words really quickly, non-judgementally, a series of images and the idea of being free, getting funky with words. (Speaking to Hot Press in 1998
This song uses Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major.
IT’S A MAN’S MAN’S WORLD
LIAM: It’s a song I always really liked. I think we tried jamming it once, even though I didn’t have a clue of the words, during a soundcheck, and we got a great atmosphere going. Usually, if I don’t know the words, I make them up. We went to John Reynolds’ house in London and just lashed it down in a day. John actually had the record so I was able to refer to it. I was feeling really unworthy during the recording, which is probably the best way to feel. I just felt that I just couldn’t do this justice at all. I went down and listened to the original version, the performance, the dynamic and the whole gut going into the song, and then I come along with my namby-pamby version of it. But listening to it now, with distance, I feel much happier. (Speaking in 1998)
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‘Born’ was released in Europe, Australia, Japan and Canada and is available on import in the US.
‘Born’ Promo Sampler CD:
01. Don’t Go
02. I Can See Clearly Now
03. Give It Up
04. Love Don’t Work This Way
05. Learning To Walk*
06. You Can Love Me Now*
07. Forever More*
(Note states: *Taken from the new album ‘Born’)
1. This Is It (Your Soul) 3:53
2. One Tongue 4:29
3. An Emotional Time 4:27
4. Be Good 3:52
5. Good For You 4:04
6. Isn’t It Amazing 5:48
7. Thing Of Beauty 5:26
8. Your Nature 5:07
9. Spirit Of The Land 4:18
10. Gypsy Fair 3:47
11. Stand Beside Me 6:35
All songs written by Hothouse Flowers except tracks 1 & 3 – Hothouse Flowers/Dave Stewart. Track 10 written by Ó Maonlaí /O’Toole/O’Braonain/Jennings.
THE LADS AND WHAT THEY PLAYED
Liam Ó Maonlaí – Lead and backing vocals, Piano, Hammond Organ, Wurlitzer, Low Whistle, Bodhran, Yodaki (Didjeridoo) Fiachna Ó Braonáin – Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Bouzouki, Backing Vocals Peter O’Toole – Bass Guitar, Bouzouki, Backing Vocals Leo Barnes – Saxophones, Hammond Organ, Backing Vocals, Wurlitzer Jerry Fehily – Drums
Produced by Stewart Levine Recording & Mix engineer Daren Klein Dempsey – Cover Design Mark Farrell – Studio Personnel Mark Irwin – Studio Personnel Daren Klein – Engineer, Mixing Darren Kline – Engineer, Mixing Stewart Levine – Producer Dan McLoughlin – Studio Personnel Lewis Mulatero – Photography Marnie Riley – Assistant Engineer Matt Snowball – Studio Personnel Todd Vos – Studio Personnel John Yates – Assistant Engineer
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Once again when we came off the road we went into The Factory for a period of time. Soundcheck tapes were listened to and any hint of an idea was worked on. At this stage the idea of co-writing came up.
Liam, Peter and Fiachna went to Los Angeles to meet possible producers and to write with a man called Will Jennings.Will already had a long list of hits including the award winning ‘You Lift Me Up We Where We Belong’, ‘Streetlight’ and ‘You Might Need Somebody’. The man surprised us. A Texan with a real love for good coffee, W.B Yeats, rebel yell and, of course, music. He told stories that made us laugh, sang songs that made us cry and brought out a side of us that was suppressed. A new way of writing and we wrote ‘Gypsy Fair’ with Will. Also he played us demos he had done with Roy Orbison just before he died.
Will suggested we meet Stuart Levine while we were in L.A. Stuart produced most of Simply Red’s stuff as well as The Commodores, Lional Richie, Hugh Masacala and more. He listened to our stuff with great enthusiasm and had some very positive energy that felt fresh. Maybe it was the jive talk which he is famous for. So we went home feeling good with new songs, a possible producer and a new lease of life. Co-write number two was with Dave Stewart. He came over to Dublin with a riff in his head. Started playing it and suddenly ‘Your Soul’ was on the go. He is forever being creative – be it music, photography or practical jokes. A fun person. ‘An Emotional Time’ and one other song were composed.
So eventually we split the recording into two sessions, taking a break for some other committee to approve or not. To get the ball rolling we set off to London to Air Studios’ top floor which overlooked Oxford Street. Here we set up with Stuart Levine who grooved in the playing room with us. We spent most of four weeks here, away from the hustle of the street below, a much more relaxed session compared with our first visit years beforehand while working on ‘People’. Next stop was upstate New York. Woodstock to be precise. Here we lived in a five-bedroom bungalow just outside of Woodstock. The studio was called Dreamland and was a renovated church with stained glass windows presence and had loads of great instruments to inspire. But in after thought I feel we were only going through the motions. Getting as good a job done in the time we were there. Tiredness and frustration hovered. Loneliness and yearning. Thank God for the Tinker Street Cafe in Woodstock town. We used to go there after a day’s work, have a few drinks and get up and play some songs.
Here we met Hugh Masacala who came to blow on ‘One Tongue’. Eventually, it was mixed and we moved on across the globe again singing our songs until one day the stop sign went up and we were able to walk by ourselves for a while….
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See also the story behind ‘This Is It (Your Soul) here.
1. Hardstone City 3:45
2. Give It Up 3:30
3. Christchurch Bells 3:54
4. Sweet Marie 6:06
5. Giving It All Away 3:49
6. Shut Up And Listen 4:04
7. I Can See Clearly Now 4:52
8. Movies 4:38
9. Eyes Wide Open 3:15
10. Water 4:09
11. Home 4:27
12. Trying To Get Through* 4:23
13. Dance To The Storm* 4:10
14. Seoladh na nGamhna 0:40
* only available on CD version.
All titles composed by Hothouse Flowers except 7. Johnny Nash and 14. Trad.
Liam Ó Maonlaí – Vocals Piano, Hammond Organ, Bodhran Fiachna Ó Braonáin – Guitar – Electric, Acoustic. Bass Guitar in ‘Shut Up And Listen’, Vocals Peter O’Toole – Vocals, Bass, Bass Guitar, Bouzouki, Mandolin Leo Barnes – Seimer Saxophones, Paris. Hammond Organ, Organ, Vocals Jerry Fehily – Pearl Drums and Zildjian Cymbals, Percussion, Vocals
Noel Eccles – Percussion Claudia Fontaine – Background Vocals Luis Jardim – Percussion Carol Kenyon – Background Vocals Andy Darker – Viola Aisling Drury -Byrne – Cello Wilfred Gibson – Violin Garfield Jackson – Viola Nawalifh Ali Khan – Fiddle Daniel Lanois – Dobro, Producer Martin Loveday – Cello Steve Nieve – Hammond Organ, Organ, Piano, Arranger, String Arrangements Andrew Parker – Viola Andy Parker – Viola Steve Wickham – Fiddle Gavyn Wright – Violin
Robbie Adams – Assistant, Assistant Engineer, Mixing Paul Barrett – Engineer, Producer Ian Bryan – Engineer Malcolm Burn – Engineer Ciaran Byrne – Assistant Engineer Stewart Day – Assistant, Assistant Engineer Geoff Foster – Mixing, Mixing assistant Gary Langan – Mixing, Producer Clive Langer – Mixing, Producer Steve Lipson – Mixing, Producer Willie Mannion – Assistant, Assistant Producer Patrick McCarthy – Engineer Shane McCarthy – Photography Heff Moraes – Engineer, Mixing Paul Mortimer – Mixing assistant Peter Mountain – Photography Paul Nickson – Assistant, Assistant Engineer Steve Orchard – Assistant, Assistant Producer Ren Swan – Assistant, Assistant Engineer Norman Verso – Producer Alan Winstanley – Engineer, Producer Donovan Wylie – Photography Paul Young – Engineer Tim Young – Mastering
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We toured non-stop for the next year and a half. During every sound check we could groove till we got tired. The tape machine was always recording. It had to be. We had a lot of wild music happening and not enough memory power to store it mentally. Soon it was time to think of our next recording adventure.
We spent some time at home eventually, but it was mainly spent in a new rehearsal complex in Dublin called The Factory. We worked on songs and jammed on a daily basis for quite a while – it must have cost a fortune and we wanted to work with Clive Langer who produced our first record but to try a different engineer. Pat Mc Carthy had been around Dublin working with The Waterboys in Windmill Lane where Peter and Liam spent a magical night jamming alone under the invitation of Mike Scott. Pat was quick in the studio capturing the moment with ease. We hired a house in Borris, Co. Carlow, and brought a mobile studio along. It was a very large house with a few hundred acres of forest and farming land. We ate too much, drank way too much, but in our madness we decided to balance all the opulence with an early morning jog every day. Some were better than others at this.
Some took it seriously while others didn’t do it at all. We all grew beards, played some hurling and recorded six songs of which two made the album. The sound in the house was brilliant. The two songs were ‘Water’ and ‘Eyes Wide Open’. The committee wanted more variation. We went touring around the States where we met Don Gainman who had produced ‘Lonesome Jubilee’ for John Cougar Mellencamp. It was a good day. We wrote a song called ‘If I Could Fly Away’. We also did some demos with our live engineer, Norman Verso, in New Orleans. Two songs from this session ‘Hardstone City’ and ‘Giving It All Away’ are on the album. While in New Orleans we got an invitation to Kingsway Studios which is owned by Daniel Lanois, the producer and musician. He was in the middle of recording with Bob Dylan but on a day off. So here’s a studio full of instruments set up for live recording and oozing with character. We got the nod. Liam sat at the piano. Peter picked up the nearest guitar. Fiachna played bass. Gerry played drums, Leo played Hammond and Daniel played the dobro while Malcolm engineered ‘Shut Up And Listen’. We’re even forming sub committees within the band now. As expected, we didn’t produce much from this session except a lesson in what it is to communicate.
It was back home to Dublin. Temple Bar in Dublin used to be an artist’s playground. To this day, painters work from their studios upstairs overlooking Temple Bar Square and the River Liffey. These buildings have now been rebuilt with bigger windows and cleaner interiors with more heating for the winter. Years ago you couldn’t walk around Temple Bar without being treated to some up and coming new bands latest songs, blasting from the collection of cheap rehearsal rooms scattered around the area. Like most European cities, Dublin has been redeveloped and cheap rehearsal rooms soon became valuable property on the market and had to close down. One such place was STS Studios which was above Claddagh Records in Temple Bar. A feast of artists recorded here including us. Paul Barrett was co-owner who also played and produced. We knew Paul and it didn’t take long before a working relationship was formed.
With Ian Bryan engineering we started arranging some songs and here we recorded ‘Christchurch Bells’, ‘Home’ and ‘Trying To Get Through’ for the album. We did another brief session with Clive and Alan recording ‘Movies’ and ‘Give It Up’ in Westside Studios, London. So what did we have? Lots of tracks recorded at various times in various studios with various producers and engineers. We needed a common thread to tie it all together. We brought in Gary Langan who was a mixing engineer. We spent about 10 days in Metropolis Studios in London with Gary and Paul Barrett. The album was number two in Australia, and did really well in Britain and all over the globe.
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‘Home’ was released during the summer of 1990, did well in the UK and went to No. 2 in Australia. The band recorded and wrote all over the world; Dublin, Carlow, New Orleans and London.
This song was written well before the recording sessions took place for the album. From the sleeve notes it ‘was written a long time ago’.
GIVE IT UP
Recorded in Westside Studios, London with Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley. Released as a single in May, 1990, ‘Give It Up’ reached No. 30 in the UK charts. CHRISTCHURCH BELLS
This song was recorded in STS Studios, above Claddagh records in Temple Bar with Ian Bryan as the engineer. This was the opener on all the UK Tour shows of 2002. Halfway through the tour the band decided to play the first verse with just Liam playing the song on acoustic guitar.
LIAM:When that song came up I could almost see the mood that was in it. I’d gone beyond all that sadness and pain anyway. So I was filled with this tremendous melancholy. Real happy-sad. That’s a precious feeling. It’s a moments like that when I feel like performing or writing the most. (Speaking to Melody Maker in 1988).
PETER: ‘Sweet Marie’ is a favourite. It feels great when we sing the chorus together. (Speaking to HFLIVE in 2002).
SHUT UP AND LISTEN
LIAM: We wrote and recorded ‘Shut Up And Listen’ in just one afternoon when we went to visit Daniel Lanois in New Orleans. It was great, we were there and we just started playing, we finished the whole thing in a couple of hours – a sort of back to basics approach.
I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW
On the live stage, the song runs on and on and incorporates all sorts of endings – Elvis’ ‘Mystery Train’ and Harry Thacker Burleigh’ gospel song ‘Motherless Child’, for example. This song was originally recorded by Jimmy Cliff and written by Johnny Nash. (It seems Jimmy’s music obviously is well respected – Madness covered Jimmy’s ‘The Harder They Come’.) Incidentally, Neil Finn has recorded a version of this song for the ‘Antz’ movie soundtrack. Released as a single in July, 1990, ‘I Can See Clearly Now’ reached No.23 in the UK charts and stayed in the charts for four weeks.
EYES WIDE OPEN
MATT: (Question via email) Is ‘Eyes Wide Open’ about Mother Teresa?
LIAM: She’s in there. And Pamela Anderson! Actually, Halle Berry! (Liam answering questions to HFLIVE in 2002.)
FIACHNA: When we were in Borris, an Australian didgeridoo player called Philip Pike, happened to be in town and Clive Langer, our producer had an Indian fiddle player over, so they both came along and joined in on that track.
PETER: Well, we liked the idea. It’s simple, and we like the word, and the place.
SEOLADH NA NGAMHNA
FIACHNA: Seoladh na nGamhna. It means ‘The Herding of the Calves. It’s a love song, although the fact that it’s called ‘The Herding of the Calves’ may sound a bit unromantic.