Flying the flag for UCD are the five-piece, alternative rock band, Military Road who recently finished up their second consecutive performance at Electric Picnic. The band members are almost all UCD students, and they can be found performing in multiple pubs and music venues around Dublin. You can listen to their first single, the brooding, emotional ballad ‘’Set Sail’’, which is now available on Spotify and SoundCloud. I recently sat down with some of the band members to gain an insight into their recent performances, and aspects of the band’s creative process.

The band was formed during their last few years of secondary school, where they went through several different iterations and members, before finally arriving at the line-up of today. Their first performance was at their school’s talent show, which they won by performing an original song, ‘’Come with Me’’, which still slots into their set lists on occasion. Since then, they have graced the stages of venues such as Whelan’s, Sine É and The Bowery.

They claimed the writing process of their songs to be a very democratic process. Each member gives their input, with everyone adding in different tunes and riffs, which may end up making it into the final song. Three of the band members, Andrew (lead singer), John (lead guitar), and Cian (rhythm guitar) have the most involvement in writing the songs, but the others, (Richard on bass, Shaun on drums, and Lara on vocals) do provide their fair share. They had difficulty defining themselves within a single genre, possibly due to the diversity in their writing process, as each member of the band has a differing taste in music, which shows in how they each influence their songs. Their lead guitarist, John, went as far as to claim ‘’some of the music sounds close enough to pop rock, while other songs have hints of heavy metal.” However, not all the members were on an even keel when it came to these genres he mentioned, furthering conveying their eclectic tastes.

When asked about some of their favourite performances, they all agreed that their most recent turn at Electric Picnic was one of their favourites, due to the excellent atmosphere of the festival, and all the joy they could have in seeing the other acts. Another favourite was their performance at the pirate ship-esque local haunt Bowery, where they celebrated the launch of ‘’Set Sail’’, and they were wonderfully supported by Chasing Abbey and JaXson. This became a night to remember for the band. They viewed it as a major milestone to experience as an up and coming act.

As they are all human though, the band has had some off nights. The band told me about their performance this summer at the ‘’Secret Village’’ festival in Roscommon, which ended in some minor property damage, due to a spilled drink. One misplaced beer led to a small fire in the bass amp, which quickly grew to a bigger fire, due to the band members not being properly trained in how to extinguish fires. After wrapping up their performance a lot quicker than expected, and several apologies for the amplifier, the band are unsure whether they will be welcomed back to the festival next year.

The band has also faced other challenges in things such as occasional slow periods, where they find their performance schedule to be somewhat bare. Like any new band, there are periods without any gigs, or possibly a creative drought when it comes to a new song. Some members of the band said that this felt like ‘’just going through the motions’’, and that it is easier to keep going when they have a bit of momentum.

In terms of their plans for the future, the band expressed a desire to play at Longitude. Some wanted to play this summer festival due to the big names that have already performed there, while others simply wanted the convenience of being able to play at a festival without having to trek all the way to Laois or Roscommon… Some members also expressed a desire to play at Sea World, the American aquatic theme park, ‘’You know, with all the mistreated whales.’’ ‘’Really, we’d just like to perform on the back of a whale,’’ claimed Cian and Richard respectively. They also expressed a desire to put out both more singles, and possibly an album at some point down the line.

You can listen to some of the Military Road’s work right now on Spotify and SoundCloud. Alternatively, you can see them perform In Whelan’s on Sunday September 24, or at the Battle for the Lake festival on Achill Island, September 29t – October 1st. For more information about when and where the band will be playing in the future, you can find them on:

Facebook @Militaryroadband

Instagram @militaryroad.

Robert Plant – Music Writer