Quick Q and A with Irish Mythen

Irish Mythen is a force of nature as they say.  Her stage show is more powerful than a tsunami or an earthquake rocking the seismograph at 10.  Her voice.  Her wit.  Her charm.  Her songs.  They all deliver.

Discover and support her music.

To learn more about Irish Mythen, visit her website.

Here’s a taste of Irish at a huge festival “down under.”

We always hear a lot about how much music is part of every Irish home and community.  Did you grow up amidst a lot of music?

Music was always around me growing up for sure. In Ireland we have such an amazing tradition of passing on tunes and songs from generation to generation and all the sessions. It was a true masterclass.

What kind of music did you gravitate to?  Was it the traditional Irish ballads or something a tad more contemporary?

I grew up with my parents’ music (luckily) so everything from ancient traditional songs from fourth and fifth centuries to the protest songs of the sixties so I’ve tried in my own way to incorporate those influences into my own writing and performance.

When did you first pick up the guitar?  Are you self taught or did you take lessons?

My parents and I moved to the Middle East for my father’s job when I was 15 and I didn’t think there was too much to do. Being a brooding teenager (haha) I’m sure my parents had enough and so my mother who is an absolute hero of mine bought me a guitar. I didn’t know how to play it or what to really do with it so I taught myself how to play and started writing songs. I can’t read or write music. I see music visually and so it’s a totally different process. It’s one I love though

Did you perform music while you were living in Ireland or did you get inspired to do so when you moved to Canada?

I moved to Sweden and started really throwing myself into music there. I toured Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Germany and Holland constantly. I felt that was like my 10,000 hours of apprenticeship before getting serious and recording. I’m not a fan of recording just because you have to have the technology or money to do so. There should be real substance and hours put in beforehand.

What’s been your experience in the recording studio?  What have you learned from CD to CD and have those lessons made you into a better musician?

I tour all over the world (I’m currently writing this from Australia where I am playing Byron Bay Bluesfest alongside Mavis Staples, Patti Smith, Bonnie Raitt, Zac Brown, Santana, Rhiannon Giddens to name a few) and so the mentality in the studio is a completely different beast. You get in a completely different mindset. I love the process but I also try my hardest to let it flow. I don’t like the over producing or endless going back over and agonizing over this sound or that but rather let it stream through and create its own organic thing. I really like going in there with maybe 20 or so songs and then seeing which ones really fit together for the total flow of the record. I have been so lucky that the musicians, engineers and producers I’ve worked with over the four albums have been exceptional. They’ve also won awards that I am extremely proud of.

You’ve had some mighty grand experiences on stage.  What do you feel was your first big break?

I would say my first real “break” was when I noticed people who were huge in the business started saying “hello, how are you” and “come join us for drinks or dinner” haha. Look, to be honest, I’ve always done the same show. It has to be heart and soul and leaving everything on the stage with me. I’ve never changed that. So after some massive shows and awards things started moving very quickly. As I mentioned above, the festival I’m currently playing has crowds of 150,000 people and the biggest acts in the world. Last year I went on before Kendrick Lamar! At Philadelphia Folk fest going on after Lyle….there isn’t a specific show I can point to and go BAM that was my big break. I’ve worked my back off for twenty years and I knew it would come. I believed it would come.

I was present at the infamous Irish enters stage left after Lyle Lovett and His Large Band finishes their set at the Philadelphia Folk Festival.  Witnessing a sea of bodies picking up their folding chairs and leaving the field and having you come on stage so promptly and start singing…and to witness that same sea of people moving back to their original locations to sit and listen to you was one of the most fabulous festival experiences I’ve ever had and I bet it was pretty wild for you too.  You had that audience in the palm of your hand… if you were nervous, you didn’t show it!  How did it feel?  😉

Ah, look it was a wonderful show. I believed I could make people listen. You have to as an artist. You have to believe in everything you’re doing or that comes out in a live situation. You also have to impeccably believe in the Artistic Directors of the festivals that you play. They know the festivals inside and out and know what works and when. They did most of the hard work on that show. I just turned up and did my best on stage. It was a little magical though and that’s one I’ll keep with me for a long, long time.

I’ve seen you several times and you always do seem to have fun with the audience.  That interactivity can really enhance a show but have you had any any funny or bizarre experiences where it backfired on you?

Haha great question. The answer is a little boring though as no, nothing has ever gone pear shaped! I love that connection with the crowd. It’s a must for me. I feed off it. The energy goes from the crowd to me to the crowd to me. Love it.

You’ve been playing a fair amount “down under.”  How do those audience compare to Canadian and U.S. audiences, if at all?

The sold out shows and festivals I’ve played in Australia in the last 18 months have been incredible. Touring with Melissa Etheridge was awesome too. The energy and love you  receive down there is insane! They swoop down and buy tickets as soon as the shows are on sale and they follow you around on tour. Brilliant stuff. The caliber of acts they have to choose from is massive so it always amazes me when the shows sell out!! Happy happy.

The Canadian audiences have always been very special to me. I am Can-Irish so it’s like playing home turf.

The American audience is something I still have to really get a handle on as I’ve only been touring there a couple of years but I feel your fever! You guys bring it every single time I play. That’s why I’ll keep gladly coming back. Promise I’ll bring it every time America!!!!!

What can we expect from you in the near future?  Any new recordings going to happen?

New recordings. More touring. New collaborations. New territories. I’m having the most productive artistic time of my life so keep a look out on the old social media for all things Irish Mythen!!!!



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