SXSW 2017 Interview: Spud Murphy of Birds of Olympus

By on Wednesday, 29th March 2017 at 11:00 am

In a slight twist to our usual procedure, I interviewed frontman John “Spud” Murphy of Irish neo-psych band Birds of Olympus before I had the chance to the band play on the Full Irish Breakfast at B.D. Riley’s on the Thursday afternoon of SXSW 2017. I wasn’t as up to speed on Birds of Olympus as I probably should have been, thanks to the efforts of our own Adam McCourt, who wrote about the band in his preview of Irish artists at SXSW this year. Murphy, however, was happy to fill in the blanks in my knowledge, starting with the most basic question–what do Birds of Olympus sound like?

His description of the band intrigued me right away: “Talking Heads mixed with Ennio Morricone”. I assume that most of our readers will be at least somewhat familiar with Talking Heads, but the name of 20th/21st century classical composer Morricone might be less well-known, despite his prolific film scoring career. I’ll leave it for my later review of the Full Irish Breakfast to describe how this combination of influences unfolded in live performance, but suffice it to say that I wasn’t disappointed when I did get to hear Birds of Olympus play.

Murphy related that the five members of the band — himself, Donal Colohan (guitar), Derek Byrne (drums), Diego Joyeux (sonic treatments) and Rory Clarke (bass) — are all veteran musicians who came together as recently as October 2015 to form Birds of Olympus. Collectively, the band are so new that they currently have only one single floating around on the Internet, titled ‘Vine of the Soul’. However, Murphy shared the band’s plans for an EP release later this year, following their visit to Toronto for Canadian Music Week. If their live set from B.D. Riley’s on the day was any indication, Birds of Olympus have plenty of exciting new music on the very near horizon. In the meantime, you can get a brief sampling of their sound in the live video at the bottom of the page, courtesy of YouTube user Jonathan Flood.


Thanks to Laura for arranging this interview.

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