by / December 8th, 2011 /

Top Story: Bitches With Wolves: “I wanted to make intelligent, knowing and dynamic pop music”

Of all the Christmas shows coming up over the next few weeks, none perhaps whets the appetite as much as tonight’s Bitches With Wolves gig at the Sugar Club in Dublin. State spoke to James O’Neill about his career past, present and future….

We first featured you in our Faces of 2010 feature, have the past two years gone according to plan?
“I think so. I got to create and release my debut EP Hurricane, got some good airplay and have really been able to focus on honing the live side of what I do. When you guys kindly first featured me, I was literally just making my baby steps in music and finding my feet and direction, which I think I have now”.

What did you want Bitches With Wolves to achieve when you started?
“I guess I wanted to make intelligent, knowing and dynamic pop music that was honest to my experiences, be them good or bad. I also wanted to be strong live performer and to be successful on in an international capacity. Success has always been something that is really important to me, mainly because I really enjoy working, especially in what I get to do now”.

How much of that have you managed to do?
“Well I think my songs have come a long way, which is reflected in my setlist. Jaysus, when I listen back to some of my original stuff… The only one that I’d still do now is one called ‘Tip of My Tongue’ which is also the first song I wrote under Bitches With Wolves. As I’ve written more and got to work with more people, I think I’ve grown, which is no bad thing. On the performance side, I’ve learned a huge amount from the festivals, support slots and my own shows that I’ve done and am at place now where I’m very comfortable getting up and having the craic for my set. That comes with letting the fear of actually being on stage subside, which definitely takes time. On the international side, I’ve just started working on that. A big step and help will be Eurosonic in January and I’m moving over to London in the New Year too, to get going on everything over there”.

What’s been the highlight of 2011?
“Hands down the release of my EP in October. I got so much out of the creative process, from the writing, to working on the production and then the mixing. I find writing a really cathartic experience and great way to let out how I’m feeling, so writing an EP about a breakup really aided the process of moving on. I’d also been gigging for nearly two years, so it was awesome to finally have something out there. The reception to it was, for the most part, really positive and I’m sure that any artist would say that having their first thing on iTunes is a huge deal personally”.

And the weirdest moment?
“Weird? Hmmm… let me think about that. I think doing the red carpet for Arthur’s Day was a pretty strange experience, as it was the first time that I’ve had to do anything like that. First off you’re put infront of a cavalcade of photographers and then you’re shuttled down the red carpet to have the chats with all the journos. It’s a very full on and odd experience, but actually quite fun, when you get into it and over your initial nerves”.

Are there any other Irish acts that you identify with?
“Westlife, Samantha Mumba, the Corrs… Haha no, although ‘I Never Really Loved You Anyway’ is a tune! Whilst there’s not much that I would sonically identify with, I do see a likeness between myself and the likes of Fight Like Apes and Jape, who have such passion for what they create. A lot of my music is inspired by clubbing, so I was excited to work with Philth under his Ghostboy banner on the remix for ‘Hurricane’ and I’m currently in the midst of doing something with Misk of ‘Arvwene and’ fame and I can’t wait to see how it turns out. I think my album will be much more dance influenced than the EP”.

What’s been the best BWW live show so far?
“That’s a tough one and I’d say its toss up between Erasure and my own show in Whelans at the start of the year. The crowd were so up for it and phenomenal at both of them, making it so much easier to get into it”.

If money was no object, what kind of stage show would you like to create?
“Oh I’d create something huge. I’d want their to be fountains, fireworks, unicorns and flying! I think pop music should offer escapism and there’s no better place to do that then at a concert. The visual spectacle is very appealing to me, as you can tell with the way I dress and when done well, like on Madonna’s Confessions Tour, it can be an unparalleled experience. It’s something I try to emulate in my shows, albeit on the budget of your Sixth Year Holiday”.

Any hints of what to expect from at the Sugar Club?
“There is going to be loads going on. Chewy, my DJ will be acting as a sleazy Santa in his very own Grot-Hole from 7.30, dolling out some crap pressies and non-discriminatively feeling people up. Then we’ve got the awesome new Irish band, Eat Me Drink Me performing support. My show’s going to have some new material, which I’m excited to perform and there’ll be a Chrimbo tune, I’ll be getting people up on stage and I’ll also have a whopper gift for someone in the audience. I can’t stop laughing when I think about that last part!”

Bitches With Wolves play The Sugar Club on Leeson Street, tonight. Tickets priced at €11.75 including booking fees from Ticketmaster.ie or Tickets.ie.