Name: Tempest Fugitives
Line-up: Damian Higgins – Guitar, Vocals | Niall McLaughlin – Bass | Eamonn Matthews – Drums | Stevie Robinson – Guitar, Harmonica | Brendan McGinley – Keys/piano
◀ Q & A ▶
▶ When did you start playing music and how would you describe your sound?
We’ve all been playing since we were teenagers or younger. As a band, Eamo, Niall and I were a three-piece nearly 3 years ago, our lead guitarist Stevie joined a year later, and Brendan joined on keys just there in March.
We mostly play heavy, groovy, catchy rock. Zeppelin would be our most obvious influence. Though you’ll hear grunge & soul in there too.
▶ What releases have you put out so far?
We released our first EP – ‘Around The Sun’ on 27th May this year. It’s a 5-track EP; four original songs & one cover (Zeppelin, it’s one we play live a lot & it’s a lot of fun).
▶ Is there a particular live show that stands out amongst all the rest?
The EP launch for ‘Around The Sun’ in the Pavilion was just fantastic to play. Two other great bands, packed house, beautiful crowd, and ending in a full-on mosh-pit. Sure what more could you want?
▶ Can you talk about a Highlight and a low point of the journey so far?
One of the highlights was definitely winning the Jagermeister Battle of the Bands last summer. The night of the final was a real buzz. The prize was great and all, especially the opportunity to play Sunflowerfest, but the best things were how we pulled together as a band and the overwhelming support from family and friends. The after-party was a laugh too.
As a band I suppose a low point be the usual, playing a gig to a handful of people. But we just love playing so that’s not so bad. For me personally, when I was starting out I was hired to play a gig in a bar; ‘lively covers’ they said. I turned up with just my acoustic guitar and a lead. I was used to open-mics and places with their own PAs etc. This place had nothing. But even worse, the gig was a party for a biker gang who were expecting an AC/DC cover band. They were not happy. I was expecting a scene from The Blues Brothers, all broken bottles and chicken wire, but they were fine with me, even bought me a pint. I don’t know what happened in the bar though after I left, quickly.
▶ If you weren’t a musician(s) how would you spend your spare time?
I would be a YouTuber spreading the word of science and sense across the planets. Brendan would fight crime. And the other three would be a gambler, a playboy and a haberdasher; but I can’t say who’s who.
▶ If you were to go on a world tour and you could pick any 3 acts come along, who would they be?
Tough question. Assuming they’ve to be alive, Led Zeppelin, Guns n Roses and Muse. That’d be incredible.
▶ What would be the 3 strangest things on your rider if you were able to make any demand?
Magnets, milk-steak, and the original rule book for CharDee MacDennis.
▶ Is there a particular aim or goal which you hope to achieve through music?
Peace and unity throughout all mankind through the promotion of empathy and understanding, obviously. On a personal level, music itself is the goal. We just want to write really good tunes and if people like them and we can make a career out of it, that would be amazing.
▶ Who has been your biggest inspiration as musicians?
John Frusciante from the Chili Peppers. He’s such an amazing musician and songwriter. He went through some very dark times, everyone thought he was lost, but then he came back and created more & more great new music. It just seems to be in him. If there were parallel universes with other versions of him with different twists of fate, he said, “I’d still put my works that I’ve done in this reality here against the other John Frusciantes any day.” I love that.
▶ Are there any other Northern Irish musicians we should check out?
Stormtree are a class act and they’ve released an album ‘Unchained’ which you should check out. High Sundays are a young funky rock quartet with a lot of energy and skill and I can see them growing more and producing some really great music. On Parole are another high energy band with great riffs. They’re very creative and prolific with their song-writing too. The Crossfire Hurricanes are getting some well-deserved success. There are loads more exciting NI bands/musicians out there too; I’m always impressed at gigs.
▶ What is next for you?
We’re going to be gigging and promoting the EP. Our next gig will be at the Belfast Blues Festival in the Hudson on 24th June. Really looking forward to that. We’ll release a single from the EP and probably make a video too. We’ve got loads of songs so we’ll be in the recording studio again soon, either an album or another EP, but we’ll definitely be recording one particular song which will be released as a Christmas single. I know it’s the summer but you have to start these things early. We’ve already started knitting our terrible jumpers.
◀ LISTEN ▶
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