Malachy & Chrissy will be performing together as part of our Ampersand Sessions on Sunday 21st February at Stereo, GlasgowStereo, Glasgow, as part of an amazing bill including Emma Pollock, Katie Ailes & Catherine Wilson (Loud Poets), and Jenny Lindsay & Heir of the Cursed (formerly Genesee). Tickets just £5 in advance or £6 on the door! ‘mon down!
In the meantime, our intrepid wummin on the ground in Glasgow, Josephine Sillars, asked Malachy and Chrissy a few searching questions…
I’m very excited to hear what your collaborative piece is. Without giving too much away, what can we expect to hear from you both?
Malachy: We’ve written a couple of songs together before, and we’ll probably be playing at least one of those on Sunday. Hopefully we’ll have a new song or two for the occasion as well
Chrissy: Harmonies and hooks, I hope. With minimal choruses.
Malachy, you’re described by Rally & Broad as a ‘singer-songwriter-moonlighting-sometimes-as-an-author’. Does the writing process differ for you when working on music compared to novel, and what are you hoping to bring to the collaboration with Chrissy?
Writing songs is generally more enjoyable than writing books, and playing them certainly is. There’s a flexibility of expression in lyrics that can be quite liberating compared to prose, yet in terms of phrasing and form you are more restricted. They feel very different indeed.
In terms of our collaboration, we have very different approaches to songwriting. Chrissy hates choruses; I can’t get away from them. She writes confessional lyrics; I prefer to lie. To be honest, I’m not sure if I’m bringing much to this collaboration at all. Chrissy doesn’t need me!
Chrissy, you have been described as ‘a story-telling who writes about hazelnuts, cannibal rats and the impossibility of love’. Are you feeling any more optimistic about ‘love’ these days, and what are you hoping to bring to the collaboration with Malachy?
Absolutely not. Love, on the rare occasion it is within my reach, ruins me as a person so I’m trying very hard not to think about it too much at the moment.
As Malachy said we have very different writing styles as well as coming from fairly different worlds, so I’m hoping the contrast will produce something interesting.
Malachy, you have performed some impressive shows both as a writer and a musician. What was your best gig, and what has been your worst?
I supported Runrig on tour a few years ago, so had the chance to play some great venues, including Cambridge Corn Exchange and Shepherd’s Bush Empire. Over the past year I’ve done a lot more talking than singing, and the Edinburgh and Cheltenham book festivals were highlights. On the other hand, I’ve sung to empty rooms more times than I care to remember.
Chrissy, you, and also your band, Joyce Delaney appear to have been gigging non-stop these past few months. Are you ever going to stop and breathe, and what do you have planned next?
As with most facets of my life – I just don’t how to stop, or say no to anything. I’m hoping by the end of the year to have finally recorded my magnum opus, the overdue, Chrissy Barnacle album, as well as an album with my band Joyce Delaney and hopefully a couple of EPs with some other projects I’m working on. In between these things I’m hoping to tour and perform as much as my job will let me.
6. And finally, what are you both reading at the moment?
Malachy: I’m reading Sara Baume’s brilliant novel Spill Simmer Falter Wither, which came out this time last year. I’m also ploughing my way through a pile of books about animal rights – for and against – as research for a piece of writing.
Chrissy: I have just started “Command and Control” by Eric Schlosser which is a non-fiction but narrative account of the history of, and safety protocols for US nuclear weapons.
And there ye go! Come see the results on Sunday 21st…