Irish folk-rockers Hermitage Green are back with their roaring single, “Lions Share.” 2016 was a huge year for the band, signing to Sony Music Ireland and selling out shows across their home country and the UK. They have played alongside Gavin James, Josh Ritter, Walking On Cars and The Pogues. 2017 has been a continuation of this progress and is proving to be another monumental year for the band that launches them to the international stage.
We spoke to the band and began by asking them what they’d been up to since we heard their single ‘Jenny’ a couple of years back.
‘Jenny’ was kind of a song we released on its own, and we got a record deal with Sony out of it, which was great for ‘Jenny’ and we released an album with Sony called ‘Save Your Soul’ about eighteen months ago. We’ve been touring a lot with that [and] we’re just back from the States finishing the end of the cycle of that album. We also have just finished recording our brand new EP called ‘Gold and Rust’ and is out on the 20th October. It’s been a busy year of recording and touring, which is the order of the day with a band I suppose!
Your new single is called ‘Lions Share’. How would you describe it?
It’s pretty much Hermitage Green’s signature sound I suppose. That’s what we were looking for out of the single. We’ve got a good array of instruments in our pocket – didgeridoos, harmonicas, two drummers, two vocalists, bass, guitar, piano, synth – and we kind of wanted a song that had all of those in it, and that’s what we go out of ‘Lions Share’. It’s a big song, it’s a big single, and it’s doing really well on radio over here, so we’re delighted with it so far, and we have a new video coming out in a few weeks. We’re very happy with it!
Can you give us any sneak previews of the video?
We want people to take away their own interpretation [of the song] and what it means to them. It’s a little bit about capitalism and greed basically, and if you take what’s left of the lions share. We didn’t want to go too deep with the music video and make it a narrative story; we wanted it to be a little open to interpretation. That’s as vague as I can possible be! But it’s pretty cool; there’s a lot of dancing in it, some live performance too. You’ll have to wait and see!
The single is taken from your six-track EP; could you give us a flavour of the rest of the release?
It’s quite varied. We don’t use a lot of beats with ‘Lions Share’, and obviously there’s the didgeridoo in there, it’s the only song with it on. The rest of the songs are quite indie, some of them are slow builders, but get quite big towards the end of them. The lyrics and meanings behind each song are quite different; we all write individually and together, and in smaller groups. There are lots of stories that have come out of this EP; there’s a nice blend. When we first started we were an acoustic band and for our second album we went to an electronic [sound] and this one’s a blend of the two, which is what we wanted. We wanted to go back to our roots a bit, but still have anthemic songs in there. It’s our best work to date and we’re very proud of it. We can’t wait to get it out at this point!
You’re just about to embark on a UK tour starting mid-October. How have preparations gone for that?
Great! We’re heading to Australia and the Middle East in about two weeks for a two week tour then we get back for a few days and start off in Belfast and then we’re in Liverpool, London, Glasgow, Birmingham and Manchester, so it’s great. We’ve done quite a bit in the UK but we’re now starting to build a fan base and we like to get back there every six months, especially with the new release, so we’re very excited.
You’re also playing the Cork Opera House – that sounds like an exciting gig?
That’s on the 19th, the night before [the release]. We’re using it as a bit of a launch party for that. It’s a beautiful venue in Cork with a 1200 capacity. Cork is the city where we started first, so we’ve got a great following and loyal fan base there so it’s quite fitting to go back there and launch the EP and pack it out, and have a great party, playing a lot of the songs for the first time.
How would you describe your live sound?
It’s pretty in your face. We try and have as much fun as we can. It’s loud; we have a lot of instruments going on. We’re swapping instruments. We have two or three guys on keyboard, two on drums, four-part harmonies; we’ll throw in a few covers [and] drum solos; we’ll get down in the crowd and do a song or two. We try and get a feeling and a vibe going between the audience and ourselves and we also feel that it’s a two-way thing between the audience and us, and we want to make every gig as special as we can. We’re really looking forward to bringing these new songs out, and it’s really allowing us to do that. Each song builds and takes, and bringing it to the new big venues is what we’re really excited about.
What are your ambitions for the next six months?
We’re just dipping our toe in the water with this. Where the music industry is going at the moment is more and more about releasing songs and content, and not so much about albums any more, that’s the way we’re looking at it. If an album came around and we had the money to do it, first and foremost, we’d look at that, but we really enjoyed narrowing this down to six songs. We went to Rough Fields Music Studios in Wales to record this with Matthew Lawrence. It was a brilliant experience, and it was a really historic studio. These days it costs a lot of money to record albums so we were very lucky to do six tracks in a place like that. We could do that again, we really enjoyed that, but we’ll see how this one goes down and take it from there.
Finally on your Twitter page you talk about wanting to enter the Crystal Maze. Would you do well on it as a band?
Absolutely not, I think we’d be useless! I always say about the five of us on tour, we’re like five hamsters in a little ball, pushing in different directions. There’d be a lot of swearing and a lot of trying to take each down, but I’d love to do it at the same time!