There’s too much to do. Auntie Mary is doing me head in. All the shopping is inciting anxiety. There’s no tree up and the decorations are still in the attic. There’s too many christmas songs. Christ, there’s just too much christmas…
The bahumbuggery always gives way in the end though. Generally thanks to good company, some time to put the feet up, or delicious pints. You succumb to the holiday atmosphere, with generosity order of the day. Music tends to play a part, and the long tradition of the christmas song gets an annual dusting off or a crucial re-imagining.
Which brings us conveniently to the example above: the rousing power pop number It’s Christmas!, written by Paul O’Driscoll and produced by John Henry. It’s available for purchase for a couple of euro here, with all proceeds going to MS Ireland.
Paul has been a mainstay of the Ballina Punx scene for over ten years, playing in Section 4, Alps and Foreveraftermath to name a few. Esop Eileen caught up with him to ask about his latest project, The Baubles.
Well Paul, are you all set for The Christmas?
Ha, no! Last minute job as usual, got the tree up though..
Tell me about deciding to write a festive tune and how it came about?
Well I’ve always wanted to write a cheesy Christmas song. So last year I said I’d sit down and give it a go. I listened to my favourite songs and picked all the bits I liked from all of them. I wanted to raise money for charity so that was the main driving force. I didn’t realise at the time the amount of work that was involved in a commercial release though.
Why did you want to raise money for MS Ireland?
Both my mother Eilish and her brother Rory suffer from MS so I thought it’d be nice to raise some money for that charity. They are a great charity that provide direct support to people as well, they were a very helpful resource for my mother when she was first diagnosed.
Nice one, something that’s close to your heart. Tell me a bit more about that commercial side of things then, something you’d be somewhat alien to given your background in all thinks punk and D.I.Y.?
Well when I played the song to a friend of mine, John Henry, he pointed out that it wasn’t very radio friendly. He suggested re-recording and making a few changes. So I cut out some of the more x-rated lyrics and put in a nice little bridge in the song and shaved about a minute off the original track. Then I had to figure out where was the best place to release it so that most of the money would go to MS Ireland and not the host site it was on. I had to register with IMRO and get ISRC codes etc. None of which I had ever encountered with a D.I.Y. punk release. But it was definitely a good learning exercise.
I’d say so, and I suppose there’s a lot of work needed pushing it online. Have you had any luck with any of the national broadcasters?
MS Ireland have helped share the song through their Facebook and Twitter accounts so that has helped. Not so much as a reply from any national broadcasters yet. The song was only released a few days ago though, so hopefully it’ll get some attention. I must say that I totally underestimated the amount of work that goes into something like this, but friends and family are doing an amazing job sharing it online too.
Well I suppose there’s a bit of ‘who you know’ involved in getting it on those channels, as you say you’re only a few days into it so keep plugging away. Getting John to record and produce the track was a good move given his experience working in some of the best studios in the country, who else did you get on board in bringing the track to life?
I got my dear friend Conor Hickey in on drums and John Henry got a mate of his, Sean Montgomery Dietz, to throw down a few tracks on keys. I had great help from all my friends with backing singing for the song too. I asked another friend, Mary Henning, about making a video for the song and she got some help from a friend of hers, Rossa O’ Dowd. I was totally blown away by everyone’s support with making the song and video, especially John and Mary who dedicated so much of their free time to the project.
Brilliant, a proper community effort. Are The Baubles going to write more tunes and play live?
Maybe if it’s to a backing track, ha! We’re not really a band as such, it was just to give it a name for the release. If it goes well tho you never know? I’ve always wanted to write a Eurovision song too so I might give it a go! Ha!
I like the fact that the last verse and chorus give way to some of the more realistic and shittier realities of the season, was it important for the two sides of The Christmas to come across in your tune?
Well originally the lyrics were about receiving my Christmas bonus from the dole and spending it all in one day! Hence changing them to be more radio friendly. But yeah, sure it’s always a total anti-climax. It can be a very stressful time of the year for most people, financially and mentally. I just wanted the lyrics to convey what a fairly bog standard Irish Christmas entails. And to have all those details set to one of those tunes that gets stuck in your head and drives you up the wall! Ya can’t bayte 3 chords!
It’s catchy as fuck though, that’s the beauty of it. Should every christmas tune have a key change?
In my opinion, yes! It just gives it that extra lift where ya need it!
Definitely, what are some of the tunes that inspired it then?
There’s a few in fairness, Shakin’ Stevens – Merry Christmas Everyone, Slade – Merry Christmas Everybody, Wizzard – I Wish It Could Be Christmas, Mud – Lonely This Christmas, Mariah Carey – All I Want For Christmas, and Bing Crosby’s Christmas songs. I tried to reference these in the video as well.
I particularly love that Mariah Carey keyboard bash. That’ll do so. Thanks Paul, have a good one.
Cheers Boss! Sure it’s a bitta craic for the child!
It is that!
Buy the single and donate to MS Ireland in doing so over at Bandcamp.