POLAR BOLERO, an alt folk band led by multi-instrumentalists and songwriting duo Cahir McLaughlin and Pearse Donaghy, have just released their single Portrait a prelude to their album A Conversation. The album delves into the themes of disillusionment and melancholy while navigating post-pandemic and post-Troubles Northern Ireland. The group has been conducting anonymous interviews with members of the NI public, each varying in denomination, gender, age and public influence. These are tethered into the tracks within the album as a way to contextualise the music and give some perspective to the tracks.
The band answers our questions
What are you up to?
We’re working hard on our next single which we hope to release in the Autumn.
What artist most inspired you?
It’s great because we (Cahir and Pearse) both love the same kind of music… we always refer to our favourite artists in the studio when trying to achieve something in our sound. We take a lot from Irish artists like Glen Hansard, Damian Rice as well as acts like Radiohead, The Beatles and Bon Iver. We feel our songwriting, arranging and producing styles differ in influences that allows us to blend our inspirations and keep our music sounding original.
Who is in your ideal band?
If only we could clone Daniel O’Donnell… we’d have him on everything.
What’s on your smartphone playlist?
We don’t really use playlist, we love listening to albums… at the moment Pearse is pretty obsessed with Tom Waits’ Alice… Cahir is listening to a lot of Christian Lee Hutson — and we’re both delving deep into the late Sinead O’Connor’s discography.
Where’s your favourite place in Ireland?
We drove around Ireland last summer and the wind took us to Dingle. It was really hard to leave! The traditional music, the food and the general artistry makes the town a very sticky place.
What’s your motto?
“Ignorance… there’s no authority in the world like it” - Orson Welles. He directed Citizen Kane in his early twenties and broke every rule in the book. It became a groundbreaking film which he attributed to his own ignorance. It was also a great excuse for not doing our homework when we were at school.
Which living person do you most admire?
The enigmatic Daryl Harkin… our mix engineer. A man who makes the process of making music an absolute joy and deepening experience — worth every penny.
Who will you thank in your grammy award winning speech?
If the day ever comes The Irish Post are top of the list.
In terms of inanimate objects, what’s your most precious possession?
We’ve always held our instruments in high regard — with lots of polishing and tlc. Although that’s probably a really cliché answer it’s true though.