Interview: Johnny Bourke

Irish singer-songwriter Johnny Bourke released his debut single  ‘Can’t Do Without’ on Friday 3rd July. Aine Cronin-McCartney caught up with the singer to chat about lockdown, musical influences and plans for the future.

You released your debut single ‘Can’t Do Without’ on Friday 3rd July, how has the reaction been so far?

It’s been amazing! I’m so glad to finally share this with the world and the reaction so far from far and wide has just been one of pure support and has warmed my heart. People are great.

For those maybe not familiar with your sound how would you describe it?

It’s a fairly unique blend of pop, blues, and R&B. I’m heavily influenced by all of these different genres and I’ve spent a long time honing a sound which I felt was right for me!

Who would you say your musical influences have been growing up?


Every time I’m asked this question I give different answers because there are so many in my head but today let’s go for John Mayer, John Frusciante, and Bruce Springsteen.

After spending years honing your craft as a session musician what made you want to start releasing your own original music?

It felt like the next step. I have been lucky to be very busy as a musician thus far so I never really had ample opportunity to explore my own music until I made time for it in the last few years. Now I’m at a stage where this is what I want to devote all my time to.

How has the process of releasing your debut single been?

It’s been a lot to be honest. The thing about working for yourself and promoting yourself is that no one is really giving you limits. You can spend as much or as little time as you want and I definitely found it hard to shut off, there was constant guilt that I should be hustling. There still is. I’ve learned a lot from this experience but yes I’m quite burned out at this stage if I’m being honest haha.

How has lockdown affected you as a musician?

Funnily enough lockdown almost suited me for reasons related to the previous answer, because all my live work was cancelled it left me ample time to work on promoting the single. I’ve just recently broken a writer’s block I had for a couple of months so it’s nice to get back to making music.

Prior to lockdown how had your plans for 2020 been shaping up in terms of live performance?

Amazingly and obviously now obliterated. I got a good run at the start of the year around Australia and New Zealand but was looking forward to coming home and playing this new material later in the year. I’m not worried, things could be a lot worse, I think perspective is important. 2021 will be a big year.

What artists/releases have you been enjoying recently? Both Irish and further afield.

Alex Tierney just dropped an amazing single, Dillon Ward has a really sick vibe to his music and is really unique. Bigger names I think Niall Horan is absolutely killing it and I’ve surprised myself by recently becoming a Justin Bieber fan, his new stuff really speaks to me.

What can we expect from you for the rest of 2020?

I’ll be dropping more music soon and you can be sure that when live music is back and feasible you will catch me on stage!

-Aine Cronin-McCartney

Single Review: Our Krypton Son- White Sun

Our Krypton Son’s latest track ‘White Sun’ is an exquisitely plaintive return to form for the Derry based folk singer.

The moniker of Chris McConaghy, ‘White Sun’ provides us with the lead single from Our Krypton Son’supcoming third album ‘Modern Ruins’. Three years since his last release ‘Fleas and Diamonds’ we are presented with a track that is beautifully hypnotic.

Produced by Ryan Vail the addition of atmospheric synth sounds, and his magic touch has helped make this song a compelling mix of folk ramblings and modern electro. You can feel as the sounds swell around you and we are brought into the alluring and contemplative world of McConaghy’s shimmering musings. Through the song we hear how both artists have come together to create a track that sees them move into fresh realms of their own individual sounds.

Describing the track McConaghy says “‘White Sun’ is a poem of nothing. Shafts of light on a reservoir. Shafts of sun reddening the gills, burning behind the earlobes, years ago when you were a child. Memories of chips wrapped in obituaries, slices of watermelon dropped in the sand like sopping downturned grins suggest a limited future but then the white sun rises in the morning and anything is possible.”

Photos by Wrapped in Plastic
Aine Cronin-McCartney

Single Review: Jessica Hammond-Ugly

Northern Irish singer-songwriter and producer Jessica Hammond’s debut single ‘Ugly’ is a savvy, confident pop hit with a cool charm. Working alongside co-producer Matty Graham the pair have created a lively summer earworm filled with modern sensibilities.   

The presence of exciting and slick production elements has anchored the song as an irresistible holiday nightclub groove. Throughout the track Hammond reflects about falling in love with someone that does not possess the best characteristics, a relatively relatable concept.  

Hammond’s sound presents all the makings of a contemporary emerging pop artist with their finger on the pulse. A track to enjoy and dance to through isolation, Hammond’s debut helps to position her as one to watch with ‘Ugly’ sure to appeal to a wide demographic.

Aine Cronin-McCartney

Video Premiere: JACK RUA X LOGUOS- ‘EGO’

A pop music match made in heaven…

Innovative queer pop artist Jack Rua and Dublin based producer LOGUOS have released the video to their pulsating pop song ‘Ego’. Merging the performative flair of Jack Rua with the effortlessly slick production of LOGUOS the duo have managed to create an utterly infectious summer dance floor filler.

Released just after Gay Pride festival in Dublin on July 5th, ‘Ego’ has already elicited an excited response from industry with airplay on 2fm with Tara Stewart and Dan Hegarty. The video which has been developed by PureGrand (Luke Faulkner) is crisp and contemporary matching the sultry tone and vibe of the track.

Embracing theatrics in his performance and musical stylings, Jack Rua has been carving his own space in the music industry that is inherently authentic. After graduating from BIMM Dublin in 2016, Jack immersed himself in the music, drag, burlesque and art scenes of New York City, absorbing them and allowing them to inform his own art.

High energy, euphoric electronics and bountiful vocals has helped to make ‘Ego’ a lusciously seductive track from a pop music match made in heaven.

You can check out the video below.

By Aine Cronin-McCartney

Single Review: Alice LA-Flowers and Florentines

Alternative pop chanter Alice LA’s brand new single ‘Flowers and Florentines’ has provided the perfect step into spring. Having certainly secured a reputation for producing inspired content the Banbridge native has been a welcomed breath of fresh air in a sometimes-predictable musical landscape. Currently a part of The Oh Yeah Music Centre’s prestigious Scratch My Progress programme which focuses on talent development it has been energising watching Alice progress over the year.

A refreshing and joyous opening the overtly pop vocal feels like a warm friendly breeze before reaching the grandeur of the chorus As with Alice’s previous singles there is a thrilling high with sharp expressive lyrics supporting a song that will resonate long after you’ve finished listening to it. The expanded sound and pulsating beat along with the gale force power of LA’s vocal has truly cemented ‘Flowers and Florentines’ as a modern pop presence.

Aine Cronin-McCartney