Interview of Dreams of Freedom

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Interview of Dreams of Freedom (AKA Richie O’Brien) by FVReviews May 2018

Hi Richie, thank you for agreeing to be interviewed by us! 

Tell us about yourself?

I am a 36 year old musician from Co Kerry Ireland. I also have a degree in Music Technology which sometimes helps. Married to Breeda for 10 years and we have two children, Niamh who is 14 and Aaron who is 9. I am grateful to them for there support, they are my biggest fans and always encourage me to fulfill my potential!! My passion is my job and I am lucky to be able to follow my dreams of being a musician. Irish Ballad Folk and Rebel Music is the genre I am most passionate about, it would be a sub-genre from traditional Irish music. Having started playing music at an early age I picked up as many instruments as I could. Now playing a wide range of them including Guitar, Banjo, Mandolin, Bass Guitar and Bouzouki. Singing songs about the history of Ireland give me a deep since of satisfaction. One of my goals is always to educate people about Irish culture and History and the only way I can do that is through songs and stories. 

What would you say is your songwriting process?

My songwriting process is difficult to explain, I very rarely sit down to write a song but I could be stopped in the middle of traffic in the middle of town writing down the idea that cane to mind in that very moment. I drive a lot and do most of my thinking when I drive. So a lot of my songs are written on the road. 

Always at an inconvenient moment! What is the best gig have ever played?

Best gig I ever played would have to be in Behans Public House in The Bronx New York on St Patrick’s Day. The crowd were wild and sang almost every song I could throw at them. It was great. 

What is the latest album you have released?

The latest release is now a few years old. Playing a tour in Germany I decided to put an album together and use the most requested songs from previous tours to different countries. Called “Time Of Our Lives” it has been a great success. We launched it in Germany on that tour and it was a massive hit. I think it’s time for a new one though!! 

What is your funniest gig moment?

Funniest moment at a gig, there have been a few. But singing a song one time at The Dingle Pub in Co Kerry the crowd could not stop laughing. So when they laughed I laughed, we all laughed, out of 6 verses I got to sing 3 and I had to give up and take a break!! I have not sang that song since! Also while playing with friend he was singing a song and his false teeth fell out and shattered on the ground. He was mad at me for laughing for the rest of the night but I couldn’t understand what he was saying so it was grand!

What message do you think your music conveys to your fans?

My message is simple and direct, when you listen to the songs I sing you will learn about the history of Ireland. You will get a cultural insight into what our country has had to endure during wars and famine. But also the Irish was of storytelling, fun and laughter as well as a bit of craic!! My music conveys the resilience of the Irish people. 

Who are your musical influences?

First and foremost my biggest musical influence is my father. A multi instrumentalist and also a songwriter he has been the person who gave me the right tools to get where I am today. Bands that I have always looked up to would be The Wolfe Tones, The Dubliners, The Fureys, Christy Moore, The Dublin City Ramblers as well as local artists from my area. All great in there own right. 

Who are your non-musical influences?

My own family are a massive influence on how I play music! Unfortunately when I was 7 we lost our mother due to an accident. Again my father was always there for me as well as my brothers. We have always been a close family and there influence always has a bearing on what I write or play. For me Music is a feeling and whatever they feel at a certain time I can relate and play. 

What do you think are the biggest obstacles for bands/artists today?

For my genre of music there is a stigma surrounding it. Irish Rebel Music is the history of Ireland but mainstream media will not promote it. It is hard to get our songs played on the radio and we would never get a newspaper calling us to ask us about our music. To me it is not the best way to treat musicians. Having been to the USA we have had newspaper interviews radio interviews and offers to go an different shows. They don’t see our music as the media at home see it. They enjoy it as a cultural treasure and are delighted to have it available to them. 

What advice would you give to other bands/artists starting out?

Follow your dreams. Weather playing to 1000 people or 10 people give it everything you got. Those then people made more of an effort to go hear your music. And always remember you never stop learning. 

What are your hopes for next 2 years?

Over the next two years I hope to keep the momentum going as it has been. Always looking for places to play to showcase our music. Keep travelling and keep smiling.

Fantastic! if you want to find out about or hear more from Dreams of Freedom, please visit them here:

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