An Insight into the Irish Music Industry, and What Makes a Band Tick!

I met Josh and Dáire Bass, the two cousins who are the driving force behind the band Brother Josh, in the Hairy Lemon. First on our agenda was ordering three pints of Guinness, and after those had been secured, we sat down for a chat. Music has been a constant in both of their lives from a very early age. In fact, they first started playing music together when Dáire was ten and Josh was eight, and it wasn’t long before they had played their first gig, supporting Don Baker, an Irish blues musician and family friend. They haven’t looked back since, and their strong bond, when it comes to both their musical chemistry and friendship, is clear to see. As Dáire puts it, “Myself and Josh work very well as a team, because he does all the work”. 

Over the years, despite being involved in other projects, they have established themselves as a reputable cover band (although they don’t use the Brother Josh name while doing so). “There is an unfair stigma put on cover bands”, Josh says, perhaps hinting at the idea that they are viewed as being less talented than other musicians, but the money they earn from these gigs allows them to inject resources into their own projects. “It puts bread on the table”, Josh goes on to say. They can do two cover gigs at the weekend, and use the earnings from those to finance their studio time. In terms of recording their own material, they had to take quite an unorthodox approach to recording the demos for their songs due to lockdown. Looking for ways to layer sounds and experiment, Josh eventually discovered that Garageband was a viable tool to use. He cited the amount of free time he had during the lockdown period as a sort of blessing in disguise. “I’m very obsessive”, he went on to say, and he would spend countless hours perfecting his recordings. 

Brother Josh

When they did eventually get into the studio, the two experienced musicians were able to record the majority of the instrumentation themselves, and they also inserted Josh’s Garageband files into the music software Pro Tools. “When we went to record, it was the two of us laying down everything, apart from the drums’ ‘, Dáire says. With the help of their sound engineer, they were able to record their music quite seamlessly. We then moved on to the challenging nature of the music industry. Their experience has allowed them to establish connections in the industry over the years, but despite this, they still told me of the importance of remaining grounded. “I’ve learned from this industry that you never get your hopes up because it’s brutal”, Josh says, but despite this, they feel their dedication will pay off, and you have to admire their devotion to their craft. 

Brother Josh’s debut single, titled ‘Crawl Back’, definitely reflects the duo’s experience. It is polished, well-produced and has a heavy, layered sound, which incorporates many different sounds and instruments. It’s certainly guitar music, but it has its own unique feel. I definitely look forward to their upcoming EP and future projects!

Jack Donlon – Music Correspondent