Troubadour Distillery: “Too many of us let the mainstream music agenda dictate our taste”

Amy McNamara interviews James O’Mahony and Stephen Cool, founders of Troubadour Distillery, a new platform for emerging musicians to showcase their talent. Many of the musicians who perform on Troubadour are from or based in Cork City and the platform sheds light on the profound talent that is emerging from the city.

As Cork people, we need to embrace and elevate our musicians. Too many of us let the mainstream music agenda dictate our taste; often at the expense of our own young Leesiders.

Stephen Cool

The team consists of musicians, sound engineers and videographers and they all have a passion for keeping the local music scene alive. They also facilitate artists who want to record a single or ep. All recording, mixing and mastering is done in house and they have a roster of session musicians to work on the songs. As well as all of that, a lot of the members of the team are also part of Late Night Rambler which is described as the “cowboy stoner rock opera band everyone deserves.”

Mide Houlihan at Troubadour Distillery

Hi guys, so tell me how did the idea of creating Troubadour Distillery come to you and was it a big process creating the space for live performances?

Steve: Troubadour was inspired by the vast amount of talented Cork singer/songwriters I discovered when studying Music, Management and Sound in CSN. The set was inspired by Tiny Desk. I spent first lockdown redecorating my shed to make it look as fitting as possible.

Troubadour distillery has had a lot of different genres appear on the show. Has there been certain performances that have inspired you as a musician yourself?

James: I suppose what’s most inspiring is the diversity and talent we have come on TDC (Troubadour Distillery Cork). It’s a privilege to work with so many different artists and provide a platform for them to get their music out there. Just seeing how passionate people are about their craft and how determined they are assures us that this is really worth doing.

A few of the members of Troubadour Distillery are also in “Late Night Rambler”. The band recently brought out a single called “Slow Roasting Stoner” Tell us a little bit about the band and do you think there will be a live performance on Troubadour any time soon?

Steve: We are the cowboy stoner rock opera band everyone deserves. You can presave our upcoming single “Solution” on Spotify. We won’t be performing in any live capacity till gigs return; but when we do it will be biblical.

Can you tell us about any new music you have coming out soon?

Steve: Solution is the second in a trilogy of singles. News on our album will be available after the release of third single Smokehouse. It chronicles the life of Cowboy Rover. A deluded, heartbroken, hopeful rockstar.

A lot of the performances on Troubadour are purely acoustic. Do you think you would like to have something completely out of the ordinary on it at some point, let’s say like a heavy techno set or a live band?

James: We’ve had plans to expand for a while now, we’ve just been inhibited by the pandemic in what we can achieve under the current restrictions. We’ve been talking to a few artists about doing a set with a bigger production value and we’re really excited to take TDC to the next level.

Finally, what are your plans with Troubadour in the near future?

James: We’re going to continue bringing you a new featured artist of the week. Steve has been catching up with previous artists on the “Supernormal Simulation” podcast on YouTube so we’ll keep that going as well. Another thing we want to do is invite people back to do a longer set (maybe 30 mins or so) in front of an intimate crowd. We’d like to have people who are part of bands back as the full ensemble, let them portray their music how they want it to be heard.

I think what I’m most excited for is Troubadour Live. Further down the line, we’re looking at organizing and promoting gigs on a bigger scale. One of the great things about TDC is meeting so many people in the music scene. We’ve gained a good following and these gigs will be a great place for artists, producers, managers etc. to meet and network.

Music from the west of Ireland