There’s just something about a singer/songwriter who can move you with his words. Irish musician Eoin Glackin is one of the few that draws you in to his music through the words.
Magic seems to flow from his fingertips when he plays and he enchants you when he sings. He is almost finished with his latest EP, Club Classic, released on April 15.
I caught up with him recently for a late-night chat the night before he headed to London to wrap it up. Here’s the conversation we had:
So, where are you at right now? Ireland?
I’m in Dublin, headed for London in the morning to finish the new EP, I hope.
Oh, great. It’s due April 15, right?
That’s the plan … although I’m cutting it a little close. I’m excited about it though.
How many songs for on it?
Can you tell me anything about them?
They’re quite a different approach for me — the closest to pop I’ve ever tried I think.
It’s more sort of the drum sounds and general song style i think that’s different … I mean, funnily enough it’s the same band I’ve been playing with for years and the same producer. But we just went at the songs a little different.
It started with this one song I wrote, “Club Classic.” I had the idea for it and thought, “Well, if I’m ever in a songwriting session for another artist maybe I can use that idea.” But, I liked it so much I couldn’t leave it be, so i just wrote it for myself in the end.
Have you added any piano? I understand you play that too.
No, keyboards and piano are played by the amazing Michael MacLennan. A great buddy of mine.
He plays some different sounds that haven’t been on my stuff before. There’s a great clavinet part on one song. It’s a bit Stevie Wonder. I love it. When he asked did I like the part, he was almost apprehensive because he thought we’d all hate it … but it was brilliant.
Can’t wait to hear it. I’ve been listening a lot to your older songs. You choose some great covers as well. The Pet Shop Boys “You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You’re Drunk” song is a favorite. Also, the Taylor Swift one “Out of the Woods” is sweet.
What makes you choose them?
To be honest, the Pet Shop Boys idea, my cousin played a similar stripped down version at a family party years and years ago. I had no idea who the song was by until much later, but it stuck with me. So, I have to give him the credit for picking that one.
It’s such a gorgeous song though. Even in the original there’s an almost slide-guitar sounding solo. they definitely had country music in mind when they wrote it. Great songwriting.
It is quite a brilliant, heartfelt song, all stripped down.
Most people would probably have no idea it was theirs, not sounding all electro.
Yeah, I’d love to do a decent recording of that Pet Shop Boys tune some day.
As for the Taylor Swift thing, I just really like her last 2 albums and that song stood out, so I was messing around with Michael MacLennan one day and we put it down. Ryan Adams released a version like a week after, ha ha.
Oh, that figures, doesn’t it? And Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark” is even better stripped down, in my opinion.
Yeah, that’s one I never wanted to do because everyone does it and I’m a bit of a Springsteen lunatic and know tons of his stuff, but I gave in one day and really enjoyed singing it — any excuse to play some harmonica too.
Do you play any harmonica on the new songs?
No, none on these.
When songwriting, what inspires you? Where do your ideas come from?
It’s a hard one to answer, it can be anything that starts off an idea and then you just have to follow the thread. I’m more the kind of writer that takes a long time with a song. Usually anyway.
Usually, every song will come from a different idea or a different place, which is why it stays interesting and also a total mystery.
Do you have songs started and unfinished? Is it just when the mood strikes?
When I’m at home i write everyday at the computer. I’ve tons of songs unfinished. An idea might sit for years and I wont know what to do with it. Then one day, something clicks and it starts to fall into place a bit more.
Some take much less time of course, but I never know, so i have to keep working on.
I don’t get writers who say “if a song is a struggle to write, it’s always crap.” I’ve heard so many writers say that over the years and it baffles me! I’m envious of them.
Steve Earle says he rarely feels a song is finished. He even changes songs after he has recorded and released them because they still didn’t feel right to him. I can relate to that a lot more.
Yeah, I don’t get quitting. Maybe it doesn’t work now, but change it up somehow and maybe it comes together.
Kris Kristofferson is an idol? How has he inspired you?
Yeah, Kris is huge for me. His songs and lyrics just blew my mind when I was a kid. He was probably the first songwriter i ever really got in to.
I was hooked on Elvis and The Beatles from a very early age, but Kris did something different to me when I heard him.
“To Beat the Devil,” it still gives me chills.
Yeah, good stuff, for sure. So have you heard any more from Ed Sheeran after that chance meeting?
Ed is taking time off I believe! Sure, we’ll see.
That was a pretty cool endorsement you got from him too.
Yep. Very nice of him for sure.
So with spring and summer coming up, do you have any kind of a tour or festivals lined up?
Right now I’ve got some Irish shows in April/May and some festivals in the UK later into the summer. So we’ll see what else happens.
I’ve definitely got itchy feet now though again and want to really get the sleeves rolled back up.
Anything for the U.S.?
Nothing in the books right now, but hopefully that will change.
Yeah, I’d love the chance to see you play live. Do you prefer big stages or small intimate settings?
Both can be amazing. Obviously, I’ve never played like, a stadium or anything, but I’ve gotten to play some big stages and it can be really great fun. But you can have really good fun with the audience in a small place when you can do more chatting, which I like too. I can be an awful chatter box sometimes.
So you try to book a mix of both?
Sure, I’ll play wherever.
Do you ever get nervous?
Yeah, pretty badly. I end up going for a pee about 50 times. Not cause I really need to go, it’s just for something to do.
But once you start playing, the nerves go away?
Yeah, usually. The nervous energy gets put into something else.
Now off the stage, I see you take part in Karate and MMA? Is that good for the energy?
Yeah, I have to say, I love it. It’s really the only place where I don’t think about music in some way or another. And I hate running and I hate the gym, so it’s just the way I get my exercise in.
It’s great to have a hobby completely different from your “job.” What belt are you and how long have you been doing it?
I have a green belt in Kenpo Karate, working towards the brown at the moment.
I’ve trained intermittently over my life, first when I was 7. But it’s always something I’ve gone back to in some way or another. I’m back training properly a year now.
I’m new to this, what is the belt scale? Is brown pretty high?
Green is like the last intermediate belt in Kenpo. Brown is getting into the advanced side of things and close to black.
It’s not a violent version, is it? I can’t imagine your girlfriend would be happy about you getting beat up.
Kenpo is in a way but the training is more controlled. MMA and kickboxing are pretty full on though. It’s great fun.
Yeah, she’s always shrieking when she sees a new bruise or bang. They look worse than they are, of course.
Get the new Club Classic EP here: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/eoin-glackin/id967406428
You can find Eoin Glackin on Twitter at @eoinglackin , on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/eoinglackinmusic/ , on the web at http://www.eoinglackin.com/ and on Soundcloud at https://soundcloud.com/eoinglackin .