We had a chat with The Riptide Movement’s Malachy Tuohy about their new single All Works Out, busking outside Marks and Spencer and the genius of Bob Dylan:
If you could only play one Riptide Movement song to someone who’d never heard of you before, which would it be?
I’d probably say You and I. It’s a lively song, it’s a lot of fun to play, and it’s probably one of our catchiest tracks.
You’ve just released All Works Out as your debut single in the UK – why did you choose it?
It’s the song that sums up the sound of the album, to be honest. It’s also very catchy, so it’s kinda made for radio. It’s just a good introduction to The Riptide Movement.
You signed to a major label for your third album – do you think this had any impact on your sound and songwriting process?
No. The album was actually made before we signed to Universal – we made the album in 2013, and we signed with Universal in early 2014, so the album was all finished before we even started working with the label. Universal were fantastic, too – they were happy to let us have the final say on pretty much the entire album, with that even extending to things like the artwork and the tracklisting. We’d self-released two albums prior to signing with a major label, so it was great for them to just let us have complete artistic control over the album.
You guys started out by busking outside a branch of Marks and Spencer, right?
We did and we didn’t. We were actually gigging around the country for a year or two before we started busking, so we’d already played shows all around Ireland. We released our first album back in 2009, and we couldn’t get much radio play or media coverage because nobody really knew who we were. We were trying to think of other ways to promote our album, and one day we spotted a few guys busking out on the streets of Dublin. It looked like they were selling a fair few CDs, so we decided to give it a go.
We just thought that it would be a great way of getting our album out there, to be honest. We used to go down there on a Saturday and play for a couple of hours, and the goal was to sell about a hundred albums in our two-hour slot. After we were done busking we used to get in the van and drive down to Cork or Galway or somewhere to play a gig. That’s the way we did it for a good few years. It was a great way for us to get ourselves out there – the street we busked on was the first street you walk down when you leave Dublin Airport, so we had people from all over the world watching us and buying our CDs. It’s a big part of our story.
You’re currently writing your fourth album – how’s it going?
We’ve just got back from a writing trip. It’s going really well – we’ve got a lot of songs that need to be fleshed out a little bit, so we probably won’t even record the next album until next January.
You’ve also got a load of live dates planned for the next few months – what’s the best thing about playing live?
I think it’s just the adrenaline rush you get. For us, playing live is the reason why we’re in the band. It’s just great fun – we love to get the crowd involved, and we love it when the audience sing along. All our songs are quite high-energy, too, so we love to really let loose on stage. It’s where we feel at home.
What’s your favourite song to play live?
Definitely You and I, just because it lets us rock out. I also really like playing All Works Out, because it always gets a massive reaction. That song’s been really good to us – it was the first song that Irish radio really picked up on, and it’s probably our most well-known song, so I always really enjoy playing it.
Out of every song you’ve ever written, which is your favourite?
That’s a tough one… I can narrow it down to three? One of them would definitely be Thieves In The Gallery. I’d also say Getting Through, because it’s just a really nice song, and it’s one that I really like. Finally, I’d have to say Skin and Bones. It’s on our newest album, and I think that it’s (lyrically speaking) the best thing I’ve ever done.
What made you want to start making music?
Oasis were the first band who made me want to start playing music. I was always listening to bands like The Cure and Pulp around the house, and then a bit later on I found stuff like The Doors and Bob Dylan, so I guess that it was just a case of the more music I listened to, the more I wanted to make music.
Who’s your ultimate musical icon?
I’d say Bob Dylan. I love his songwriting style, I love how he can describe situations in his lyrics, and I love how he delivers his lyric vocally. He’s not one of the best singers in the world, but his delivery of what he’s singing about is phenomenal. Masters of War is a particular favourite of mine.
Out of every song ever recorded, which do you wish you’d written?
That’s another tough one. I know that it’s not a particularly massive song, but I’d say Ooh La La by The Faces. I just love that tune, and there’s just something about it that I love. It’s a great song to play live, it puts you in a great mood, and I just think that it’s a great song.
What’s the best thing about being a musician?
Definitely writing songs. I love being able to create things, and it’s really good to create something from nothing and watch it grow. Being able to see a crowd reacting to your music is an amazing thing, too. That’s the thing for me, personally – I love being in a band that’s able to create something from nothing and then have it make a difference to people’s lives. It’s like with All Works Out – it’s got a positive message, and the amount of messages we got from people to say that the song got them through a tricky time… It’s knowing that you made a difference to people that shows you why you got in to music in the first place. It’s an amazing thing.
Do you ever consider which songs people would be able to relate to when you’re writing an album?
When you’re writing, you have an idea of what you want a song to be about, and then you try to find a way of getting the message into the song. After you write the song, you can look back at it and say ‘oh, I see why people might connect with this song more than that song’, but it’s kinda hard to do that when you’re writing it. You’re usually writing from an emotional point of view, and trying to portray that emotion as best you can in the lyrics, so attempting to understand which songs people are able to connect to more is usually little more than an afterthought.
What does the future hold for you?
Well, we’re releasing the album Getting Through in the UK and Europe in June, and then we’re going to be releasing it down in Australia later in the year. We’re just hoping that it goes as well in the UK and Europe as it did in Ireland last year. If it does, it’ll put us in a great position for the album we’re writing at the moment. We just want to make a living out of it, make some great albums, and have a great time while we’re doing it.
Describe yourself in three words?
I’m an idealist – I wouldn’t have got in to this in the first place if I wasn’t! Hmm… I’d say hard-working, and I’d also say fun-loving.
Check out the band’s video for their new single All Works Out –