Camden Close - Up: Sinead O’Brien
Love Camden loves its local talent. We aim to celebrate everything cultural in the borough, from Hampstead to Kilburn, from the British Library to that little café around the corner - we are always out to show what Camden has to offer. As part of this we launched our Camden Close-Up series: interviews with artists, thinkers, entrepreneurs and downright interesting figures that live, work or are inspired by the borough.
This month we interviewed Irish poet and performer Sinead O’Brien, headlining Roundhouse Rising with her unique fusion of spoken lyrics and art rock. Playing live with her band and collaborators; Julian Hanson (guitar) and Oscar Robertson (drums), Sinead’s transfixing performances are placing her at the forefront of the resurgent post-punk wave.
Sinead will be performing at the Roundhouse on the 26th of October, get your tickets here
1. How does it feel to be part of the Roundhouse Rising Festival?
It’s so exciting to be part of Roundhouse Rising. Playing at the Roundhouse is something I anticipated a lot further down the line. I’m really grateful to be chosen as part of the programming. It’s refreshing to see such a young, emerging line-up in such a well-established venue as this.
2. What would you would do if you weren’t doing this? What would your parallel life look like?
My parallel life is how I spend the weekday hours from 9-5. I work in womenswear design. My week can be spent doing fittings in Milan or choosing fabrics/drawing/researching in our design studio in London. It varies hugely which suits me very much. As a Gemini, this duality is natural if not essential to me. I like to jump in and out of these worlds, things change on a daily basis. I love this constant movement and day/night weekday/weekend contrasts. Different worlds which co-exist in and around me.
3. What do you think is most important: luck, chance, opportunity or hard-graft?
I strongly believe in gut feeling and instinct. This is a powerful tool. But working hard, day in and day out - this is my personal mantra. When everything is happening and when nothing is happening, you need to keep on producing work. When the feeling and motivation is there, and more importantly - when it’s not. This needs to be at the core - hard work, definitely. Then instinct, luck, chance and opportunity arise from time to time but you can’t rely on these. The thing is, if you keep on creating work on a good day or a bad day then you will consistently have a body of work to actually play with, improve and develop. Without that - what can you expect? Things don’t just happen. There’s not going to be an invitation to opportunity. Not at all. I’m very realistic. It’s very cool I think to actually have the discipline and self belief to put in the hours and hard work, knowing that something good will come of it. If only to follow a gut feeling and nothing else. That to me is strong. It’s pure and if nothing else, results in a body of work which is a t least true to you and most importantly of all - is full of hope!
4. What has been your most career defining moment to date and why?
Hanging with John Cooper Clark and opening for him had quite an effect on me and how I approach my work. Something changed after that. John gave me so much valuable advice. The things he said about me, about himself and about writing in general just rang so true to me. He’s a real example of a hero - the kindest and most sincere character, I was so impressed by his character, just as much as by his work and performance. That was a total privilege really.
Playing a couple of gigs in Ireland recently (Electric picnic and Ireland Music Week) felt quite different to anything else. I would mark those days as being a sort of personal milestone too. I am really looking forward to return in November for the tour with Whenyoung. I feel it will be another significant set of events.
5. What makes your work important today?
I’m getting somewhere close to where I want to be. I’m almost near to saying the things I want to say. I’m following an idea. The idea is at the core of what I’m doing. It’s the only clue I have in getting closer to where I need to go. Hot on its trail, I’m chasing it, to its final resting place. I am following the feeling through landscapes, walls of sound, visual terrains in time frames folding out in front of me as I go. Real time. I’m chasing the idea down until I get to the core.
6. What does Camden mean to you?
Live music, Vintage clothing and my favourite hidden bookstore.
7. What makes Camden Unique?
It has such a deeply embedded music culture. Going to gigs in Camden nowadays still has such nostalgic value attached to it. Musical moments which went down in history are an integral part of the atmosphere and setting in Camden. It’s not something which can be synthesized so it makes for a very unique place. It’s the first place I attached myself to in London - coming here while I was still a student in Dublin.