From broken thumbs to after hour gigs, the Wild Tibetan Monks talk to Elisabeth Kirwan about the highs, the lows, and everything in between of the emerging alternative Irish music scene
Sean Boyd, Conor Ring and Liam O’Gorman of the fresh and talented, Wild Tibetan Monks describe their sound as “alternative indie funk rock.” This may seem like a mouthful, but after one listen to songs such as ‘Josephine’, you can hear how these different genres have helped to shape their sound.
“We all have kind of different influences,” Ring explains. “I love the Artic Monkeys and acoustic stuff, Sean hates that.”
When asked how they formed the band, their answer was simple, but the delivery of O’Gorman’s answer almost hinted that there was no choice in the matter for his fellow members. “Sean recruited us,” laughs O’Gorman. “He was looking through everyone in our class trying to come up with a band.”
The band’s name is a topic that the group almost seem sick of broaching, but they are quick to assert that the original band name doesn’t necessarily have a spiritual meaning behind it. “Everyone asks us that, we never have a good answer” Lead vocalist and guitarist Boyd admits. “We’ve been meaning to come up with a story for it. We think that Conor looks the most Tibetan.”
Referring to their premier chaotic band practice, Boyd explains, “I had my thumb broken for that,” before a laughing O’Gorman adds, “Playing guitar, broken thumb, and I had one of those electric drum kits that didn’t really work. Such humble beginnings.”
When it comes to gigs, Wild Tibetan Monks are truthful in discussing the problems they have faced. O’Gorman explains, “Sometimes the sound is really good, and sometimes it’s just really bad.”
Ring agrees and adds that “there’s something really satisfying when the sound is good though. It makes the practice all worthwhile. Usually, there is no one at the gigs, but when there are people at them and they are actually listening, there’s something to be said for that.”
With the band discussing their experience of gigging, O’Gorman keenly jumped into the conversation, revealing an embarrassing situation they never want to revisit. “We did play one gig where the place was actually closed because we played so late. The guy was sweeping the floor while we played.”
When it comes to the song-writing process, Boyd contemplates, “All songs have different meanings. I find if you explain the meaning of the song, then the song loses something. It’s like trying to explain a line in 3D. You can’t do it. This is coming out very deep all of a sudden.”
It’s this philosophical edge, as well as their varying influences and clear chemistry as a band that makes them stand out as exciting new artists. The Dublin trio plan on building on successes in the King Kong Club and victory in the SVP battle of the bands by expanding their profile further and developing a loyal fan base.
For now, the band have a simple motto they are living by. “It’s just gig by gig. That’s how we go. Maybe record more, maybe larger venues.” Simple and to the point, their final parting message is one for all those with a keen interest in living to the letter of the law of their wild band name, “bring spare socks.”