One of the hottest young music stars on the island at the minute, we caught up with SOAK to talk about a pretty hectic few months
Derry's teen sensation SOAK (aka Bridie Mond-Watson) has had a pretty fantastic year so far, and with her set at Castelpalooza coming up this weekend, we caught up with her to chat about a few months that has included performances on Other Voices, the Late Late and a few celebrity fans.
JOE: You're based in Derry, which is the City of Culture at the minute, is there a great vibe at the minute?
SOAK: There was at the beginning, there was a really good buzz off the place, but the whole hype has kind of died down. There were a lot more gigs on and a lot of the local talent got much more promotion than they normally would have. We wouldn't have gotten that opportunity before.
JOE: You performed on Other Voices, what was that like?
SOAK: When I got invited to do it, I didn't really know a whole lot about it, but when we got there it was so amazing to be there. Dingle felt like the best place ever because it had dolphins and stuff, obviously, but I got to meet some great people out of that too.
JOE: Is that a really different gig to perform at?
SOAK: It's a little different, because you have huge cameras in your face and stuff, so that can kind of remove some of the intimacy of it.
JOE: What's Aidan Gillen like in real life, he seems intense.
SOAK: No he's not at all actually, he's quite nervous when he's doing the whole presenting thing! When he's not on camera though he's really, really nice a great guy.
JOE:You've got some high profile fans who've been retweeting you like Brian O'Driscoll, is that strange?
SOAK: That was weird, definitely. A lot of my friends are way more into rugby and were more excited about that than I was, but it was still great. Ed Sheeran tweeted me too, which was really cool too, I get really excited by stuff like that when people I admire say they like my music.
JOE:You're still really young, do you find it difficult to strike a balance between performing and still having a normal life?
SOAK: It changes I think. Right now it's more balanced. My friends and my family are really accepting of what I'm doing, and my friends get to come to all the festivals with me so they're pretty happy! I never see it as something you have to do when I go to play a gig or anything though, it's a luxury to be able to do it.
JOE: You didn't take up the guitar that long ago, how did you get into it?
SOAK: Yeah I started when I was 14. My brother had a guitar, he learned 'Smoke on the Water' and kind of left it, but I got into it. I got my dad to teach me a few chords, and it turned out that I was good at it, which surprised me because I didn't think I'd be capable of doing that. Once I was fluent enough on guitar and had few chords I was able to make up my own stuff and it just kind of went from there.
JOE: What about catching a few acts at Castlepalooza, who are you looking forward to?
SOAK: I'm going to stick around all day on Saturday and catch everyone that I can, but then I have to run off to another festival on Sunday so I won't get a chance to see much then. And So I Watch You From Afar are really cool, but I've seen a lot of the acts that are playing at their own gigs with longer sets, they're all great.
JOE: What's been your favourite gig so far this year?
SOAK: Oh I don't even know the answer to that, there have been so many that it's hard to choose. Sea Sessions festival last month in Bundoran was just a really fun gig, the crowds were crazy. The Mitchelstown Caves one I did last week was also great, I always feel I play better in quieter and weirder venues so that was perfect for me.
JOE: Who's in your CD player or on your mp3 player right now?
SOAK: There's always different people suggesting things to me all the time, so I've got quite a list! I make time every week to go to my local record store and buy a load of CDs. Sometimes I know what I want to get, and other times I'll just get something because it looks cool. Albums I've bought recently are Tom Odell, Laura Mvula, Aluna George, and I've got one song by Jake Bugg, I think it's his new single, I really like that too.
If you fancy catching SOAK at Castelpalooza, tickets are still available starting form just €35 for a day ticket, and a very reasonable €50 for camping in the Moat area, however camping in the castle is already sold out thanks to the popularity of the festival, so you better be quick!
If you need any further info, check out the Castlepalooza app, which will have all the details you need, on the Google Play Store and the App store.