Patrick Kelleher – Out Of The Strong Came Forth Sweetness

With his new album Golden Syrup just released on Osaka Records, Nay McArdle interviews Patrick Kelleher.

With his new album Golden Syrup just released on Osaka Records, Nay McArdle interviews Patrick Kelleher.


Two inquisitive kittens gambol across the floor of Patrick Kelleher’s living room as tea steeps in a pot on the hearth. It’s a small but comfortable space, packed with shelves of books, films and most of all, records. As we begin the interview it strikes me that this softly-spoken, genteel mannered person is as far from the typecast alt-bro buzz band musician as it’s possible to get. Spending his formative years in the relative obscurity of Rugby in the English midlands and Glendalough in Wicklow, by amusing himself he found the first indications of an interest in music that have travelled with him to present-day Dublin.

“It was definitely a result of being quite isolated. Even in England we lived far away from my fellow schoolmates….” Is his response to my question in regards to his musical experimentation. “I didn’t have many friends in primary school so I would play a lot with tape recorders and stuff in the house. When we moved to Ireland I didn’t play sports very much so instead I would stay home and try to make double track recordings by recording one track onto a tape recorder and then playing that tape through another stereo and then holding the tape recorder up to the speaker and playing beside it and recording two tracks of music. Stuff like that, just messing around. I used to get Chili Peppers guitar books and things like that, I didn’t have particularly sophisticated taste in music when I was that age.

“A lot of people are more experimental than I am, they’re pushing the boat out. I do try but I just go with whatever makes the nicest sound to me, I don’t experiment with building my own instruments or anything. I’d be at home a lot and so have a lot of time to mess around, just distorting things. Playing with keyboards when the batteries are running down can be quite fun, just the funny sounds you get out of it. Putting drum machines through pedals, it’s nice.”

At first Patrick seems slightly reserved, giving short answers to my questions, not because he’s rude but rather because he seems unused to talking about himself very much. However needs must; a brand-new second album Golden Syrup was released on 15 July through Osaka Records. He’s a different man to the one who made You Look Colder in 2009: long hair has been shorn just above his collar and the debut’s hazy electro-folk has been replaced with dark, sleek disco pop.

“For some reason parents don’t like long hair at all,” he laughs when I ask if his mother prefers his new hairstyle. “It’s like a sign that your child has become a delinquent.”

“I think the lyrics express more trouble, more fear and anxiety, more kind of uncertainty than the last album.” Paddy goes on to explain the differences in Golden Syrup. “You Look Cold was more about realisation and a new world opening up but this album is more about trying to cope with that world suddenly becoming narrow. There have been times when I feel I’ve been regressing, going backwards rather than forwards. That hopefully comes out in the lyrics and the music. I’d say it’s less lighthearted, the lyrics are dark in the previous album as well but this one starts off dark and ends maybe on a slightly lighter note. It can be quite gloomy at times. Like the syrup, dark but sweet at the same time.”

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