We think Irish Indie rock trio Under Starling could fly. See what we did there? We being Music Republic Magazine.
Under Starling being brothers Danny (singer and guitarist) and Tommy Dunford (drummer and backing vocals) and their bezzie, bassist Colin Drummey.
They have just dropped their second single: “Quasar (3C 273)”.
It’s a big sound for a 22-year-old (Danny) and two 23-year-old lads from Ireland. Beautifully recorded and produced by Graham Byrne.
Passionate and impressive vocals from Danny hold the attention. A singer who can really sing. The song builds in intensity. Nice mix of guitars and programmed parts.
Look out for the step up from 2nd to fifth gear at 2.45 into the 4.23 duration track – when it kind of sounds like a Part-Two from how the song started. A radio edit to get into this more urgent and emotion-soaked section faster would be a wise move, chaps.
Tough to pigeonhole their sound, but we think they perhaps nod towards The 1975, Coldplay, Chvrches and Japanese House. They certainly share the classiness and big sound of those starry names.
Apparently, “3C 273 is a quasar located in the constellation Virgo. It was the first quasar ever to be identified. It is the optically brightest quasar in the sky”. So that’s the name of the single sussed. How about the background to the song…
“It’s about a bittersweet relationship between a mother and son. The music personifies the ‘son’ as a quasar, which is both beautiful and self-destructive”. Yeah, of course, we knew that!
The band go further: “The single is a progressive rock ballad with hints of space-rock throughout”. Space-rock, eh?
The band’s unusual name – say it out loud and those with memories of a certain Russian politician and leader might raise an eyebrow! – is inspired by singer and guitarist Danny’s fascination with birds (the feathered variety) and the freedom they have. Especially the Murmuration phenomenon (Google it!)
Well, we slung a Q&A at the boys to find out more about them, as individuals and as a band. Here’s what came back….
But first, check out the new single via their lyric video, here:
- Where and when was the band formed?
The Band was formed by brothers Danny and Tommy in 2011, the product of a few jam sessions and talent shows.
The band settled on the name “Under Starling” in 2018. The brothers met the bassist Colin through a friend in secondary school.
We are from the same town in Dungarvan, Ireland. Danny and Tommy now based in Galway and Colin in Limerick.
- What day jobs has each member got/had?
Danny and Tommy are currently students at the National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) and Colin works in a bank, Northern Trust in Limerick.
- Who writes the songs?
Danny writes the lyrics to all the songs, with occasion input from Tommy, but we all collaborate on the music.
- What recordings have been released so far?
- Ethereal [EP]
(released March 14th, 2017)
- Far Be It From Me [single]
(released August 16th, 2018)
- Quasar (3C 273) [single]
(released February 7th, 2020
- First public performance?
A gig played by Tommy and Danny in a talent show when they were 14 and 15, in the Town Hall to about 200 people.
It was a minimalist set up, Danny singing and playing guitar and Tommy on drums as a duo, but people liked what they did.
- How many shows has this band done so far?
We have only had the opportunity to play in Ireland so far, but we plan to take out music abroad when we can.
We began originally as a covers band playing hundreds of gigs across the Southwest of Ireland to make some cash and get experience.
Since the birth of Under Starling officially in 2018, we’ve done three tours playing in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford.
- Strangest gig you have done? Also, your best gig?
The strangest gig we ever played was an outdoor event in the pedestrianised area of Waterford City on St. Patricks Day.
As we were playing, a group of teens ran into the crowd out of nowhere, followed by a few police cars, who drove right up to the crowd and then ran after the teens through our audience to give chase on foot.
Before we knew it, a riot broke out with kids being arrested and fights erupting. The gig was quickly shut down.
The best gig we have ever played was at Galway’s the Loft in 2019. We hired the place, put on our own show with a support act and a DJ, and sold about 180 tickets.
- Main influences?
Danny: Kings of Leon. Every album they have released is phenomenal. They have a very cool aura about them, and I like the way they are all family.
Tommy: I grew up listening to Nirvana and the Foo fighters. Dave Grohl has influenced me in many ways, as a performer and a drummer. I have always been drawn towards his style of drumming.
Biffy Clyro is also a huge influence, the way that their songs are so progressive pushes me to want to make each song better than the next, and try to come up with new drum beats.
Colin: My music taste has always been a bit on the heavier side, ranging from Pantera to Avenged Sevenfold.
In terms of my bass playing, I’ve been mostly influenced by Flea from Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Justin Chancellor from Tool.
- Bullet points of the band’s music career/achievements to-date?
- Band has been gigging together since they were 16.
- Released various songs under a different name.
- Played at the big August bank holiday Indiependence music festival in Mitchelstown (Cork) in 2016. Getting a slot was huge for us.
- Played as support to All Tvvins, The Academic, Fangclub, Original Rude Boys, Walking on Cars.
- Became Under Starling in Summer 2018.
- Released debut single, Far Be It From Me, in August 2018.
- Undertook 2 separate tours in late 2018 and early 2019.
- Re-released an EP from the band’s younger days, as Under Starling in November 2019 (original release date was 14 March 2017).
- Toured again in late 2019.
- Released second single, Quasar (3C 273), on 7th February 2020.
- Best moment in music so far?
The release of our debut single, “Far Be It From Me”. For a long time, we’d felt trapped by our past as a covers band when we were growing up, so the release of this single was the start of a new beginning for us.
We re-branded, we were free from the past, we had renewed focus. The initial tour that came with the single’s release was a massive confidence boost too, playing in packed venues and hearing people sing our songs back to us.
- How do you describe your music style to a stranger who asks: “What kind of music does your band play”?
We would describe it as alternative rock at its core. Our songs are very melodic, progressive and ambient.
- Funniest or most dramatic thing that has ever happened to the band?
The band has a running joke with “inconveniences”. Whether it is an amp’ blowing up on stage or a guitar breaking mid-gig.
Our bassist Colin having to run off stage half-way through a show to be sick, after eating dodgy chicken goujons! We have one fan who persistently climbs on stage and falls into the drum kit, each time we play in Galway.
- Choose one album each that you could not live without if you were stuck on a desert island? (Cannot be your own!)
Danny: Noonday Dream by Ben Howard.
Tommy: Blink-182 by Blink-182
Colin: Flower Boy by Tyler The Creator
- Who would be your dream collaboration; naming one living and one deceased band or artist to record with or to perform on stage with?
Danny: Justin Vurnon and Kurt Cobain
Tommy: Dave Grohl and David Bowie
Colin: -Simon Neil and Jimmy ‘The Rev’ Sullivan
- What are the plans for the rest of 2020?
More new music will be released before summer 2020, with an EP in the works for the end of the year. We will be back on the road for live shows soon, too.
After September when the brothers graduate, we intend to focus far more on the band, writing and recording new material and playing more shows to see the response to the new songs. We are really going for it…