Justin Gallagher of Justin and The Visitors talks to O-two about improv band names, Electric Picnic and old-school philosophies
Who are your members and what do they play?
Aodh Cunningham plays lead guitar and strings, Kolin Darko plays bass, Paul Sinclair plays drums and I play rhythm guitar and vocals
Where did the band name come from?
Originally I was working under myself, under Justin Gallagher, writing songs and I decided to get Kolin and Paul as a backing band on tour. We ended up playing together and we worked quite well, so we became a band.
I was ringing a club called Shebeen Chic and she asked me what was the name of the band. Nobody asked me what was the name of the band before and I couldn’t think of anything since we weren’t officially a band yet. So I just kind of blurted out Justin and The Visitors thinking that we wouldn’t be a permanent band, but we ended up becoming that.
Where do you gig?
We’re heading off on tour starting with the Clarance in Sligo and we’re all around the country until the 18th where we finish up in Sweeeny’s in Dublin.
What do you play when you’re on the tour bus?
It’d be anyone from Muse to Radiohead to Pink Floyd to Frank Zappa and then maybe some country and western for the drummer.
How would you describe your sound?
It’s very rhythmic based, a rhythm-based sound and very lyrical as well. For the most part, we are very guitar-driven, but we kind of veer away from that a lot so that we don’t get put in that stable.
How did the band form?
It started off as a backing thing. I was playing an open mic at Brick Alley Café beside Temple Bar and Aobh Cunningham, he turned up and he just said ‘we should just get something started’. He made his way in [to the band] and all of a sudden, we were at his place practicing.
The key moment was when we were in the studio recording some songs and we listened back to them on the speaker and it all came together really well. It all blended and everyone got their individual thing with no one person doing anything extra than anyone else.
Who would you pick to play in your dream festival?
The opening band in the morning would be Jefferson Airplane followed swiftly by Janis Joplin and Jimmy Hendrix. Then maybe you’re getting into midday and you want something a bit livelier so Go Panda Go and Arctic Monkeys would be perfect. Muse would come on after Arctic Monkeys, and then you’d have to have more 60s stuff, so some Led Zeppelin and Thin Lizzy. To close the show, Radiohead and Pink Floyd – playing a surprise performance of the entire Dark Side of the Moon album.
What would be your dream venue to play?
Probably Electric Picnic, as it’s the main goal of the band collectively. It’s just really laidback, interesting music all of the time. It’s a festival where music happens to take place, as opposed to a music festival, as you could spend the whole day enjoying yourself and not having to see a band at all.
How would you be different than other upcoming bands?
We’re pretty set on not sounding very indie and we do a lot of online promotion, but we’re more into gigging as much as we can around the country. We’re pretty old school about it in the sense that touring is the way to go.
In conversation with Quinton O’Reilly
Justin and The Visitors play the Mezz on March 15th. For more information, visit www.justinandthevisitors.webs.com