Music To Your Ears – An Interview With The Hosts Of The Nialler9 Podcast

Niall Byrne: Nialler9 Podcast

For years, Nialler9 has been the site to see for Irish music fans – and now the Nialler9 Podcast is doing the very same in audio form! The weekly dispatch, featuring the man himself, Niall Byrne, alongside Andrea Cleary, is a deep dive into everything worth talking about on the music scene at home and abroad – and has become appointment listening for music fans all over.


But before you go rushing to tune in, how about hearing from the hosts? The new issue of PLAY Magazine saw the pair discussing everything from the shape of the scene to the impact of music’s toughest year; check out what they had to say below... has been a major part of the scene for years; what drew you towards adding a podcast too?


Niall: The most interesting discussions I had around music were those done person-to-person, and in conversation rather than driven by criticism. You can understand people better hearing their tone of voice when talking about a particular topic. And it’s also just the personal connections. Compared to how long someone will read a page on a website, the engagement is way higher with listening to a podcast. People are really tuning in and listening to what someone has to say – and that’s the discourse you want. It’s a snapshot in time, too; in five years’ time, listening back to things recorded over the past few months; we could feel quite differently about it!


Andrea: I agree about the snapshot in time. Last week, I went back and listened to my first show – I sound so formal! I could tell I had reams of notes; if I listen to last week’s show, it’s more how Niall and I would talk if we were out having a drink together. I like getting people’s vocal opinions on music, when you can get excited and go on tangents.


N: That’s one of the great things about podcasts. On a national broadcaster, you might have all of two minutes to speak about an album; on our own podcast, we have no limit. There are some that might go too far – four hours of a deep dive is just too much! – but there’s a happy medium.


For listeners, it’s a chance to hear lots of things that they otherwise might not…


A: Over the past decade, there’s been a decline in music coverage in some traditional outlets; not everywhere, but a lot of places. There’s space that needs to be filled, so that Irish people know that we’re producing phenomenal music here, and have artists with something to say – even if you might not read about it in your Sunday paper, or hear it on the radio.


We don’t have a quota for Irish artists or anything, but it’s a no-brainer that we’d play Pillow Queens, or Denise Chaila, or Wyvern Lingo, or Elaine Mai. That’s because they’re world-class acts. But if you ask the person on the street, they might not know who those acts are.


It’s been a year like no other – how has Irish music reacted?


A: They’ve all been working pretty hard!


N: I’ve probably had more music sent to me in the past six months than at any point in the past 15 years. A lot of artists have used their time wisely! You’re seeing a lot of ingenuity, too; bands like The Scratch and The Mary Wallopers doing videos and livestream gigs, getting thousands of people watching all around the world. The Other Voices shows are another fantastic example of creativity at work. We’re a nation of doers; we’re going ahead and trying to figure these things out.


Including your podcast…


N: Recording remotely was weird at first – but hey, we had no choice. By now, we’re used to it; in fact, I don’t know what it’ll be like when we get back to doing it in person again!


Have you ever gone so long without going to see a gig?


N: No!


A: Not since I was very young. It’s strange not to have it to talk about – but also for me, as a music journalist working from home, I don’t have a water cooler. Gigs were that to me; if we were going to a gig after recording a podcast, chances are we’d meet loads of other people from the industry, and we could talk shop.


N: I miss everything around it; a live stream can be great, but it’s not like going out to an event.


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