Music editor Aoileann Kennedy sits down with River, Hobo and Victoria of the band ‘Cry Harridan’ to chat about their unique aesthetic.
The name Cry Harridan might be unfamiliar to most of you, but I can assure you that is going to change. A quick peek at their social media pages will give you a glimpse at what this band is about, sex, rebellion and independence. They are different from the current mainstay of Irish music, channelling punk rock vibes and grunge influences to create a band that is both visually and lyrically provocative.
The band itself is hard to define. It has between 5 and 7 members at any one time. Frequent collaborators float in and out of the line-up depending on their availability. Independence is a key element of the band’s vision. They are currently unsigned and are in no rush to engage with a record label. They are adamant that they retain all creative control over their sound. They join a litany of other artists and bands rejecting the mainstream labels, including fellow Irish artists Raglans and Heroes in Hiding.
Visuals are a huge aspect of what Cry Harridan unique. Imagery is held in almost the same importance as the music. A quick look at their Instagram page reveals how influential imagery is to them. Sexuality is something which influences their visuals and is something they do not shy away from. Their approach to sexuality isn’t based on the hyper-sexualisation of the female band members or selling a faux 50 Shades vision of sex. Its darker and more emotionally driven. There is an authenticity to it that is reminiscent of the 70s and 80s punk movement. This undercurrent of punk rebellion touches everything the band does, even their name, ‘Harridan’ apparently means ‘Belligerent Bitch’.
Their music is written for them, not to please others. They are acutely aware of the lack of questioning in mainstream Irish music. Artists are no longer using their music as a vessel to question the system or to protest social issues. Band member Victoria cites the PC culture as a barrier to expression. River places much of the blame on the industrialisation of music thanks to shows like the X Factor. He feels that programmes like the X Factor have created a mould that many are reluctant to move away from. The lack of alternative voices is something they all feel. Young people are being stifled creatively by the lack of modern artists willing to be different. We discuss the influence of artists like Sinead O’Connor and David Bowie on the band, with the former being cited as a major inspiration.
‘They are adamant that they retain all creative control over their sound’
One of the most important things we discussed was the emergence of a counter-culture in Ireland. This new culture has found a home on Instagram, a platform which the band use daily. Instagram is a major platform for the group, providing an open and artistic space to share their aesthetic. The Irish Instagram scene is still dominated by bloggers and influencers, but more and more creatives and artists are finding their voices there too. Cry Harridan has established a solid following on the app who relate to their vision.
The band’s reach extends beyond Instagram. They have received airplay on some of the biggest radio programmes in the country, including the Louise Duffy Show on Today FM. Although they have no firm plans for gigs as of yet, the offers are rolling in. The hype around the group speaks volumes for the desire for something different. The industry is expanding and thriving, but there is a need for an alternative voice. If you agree, check out their YouTube page and listen for yourself.
Aoileann Kennedy Music Editor