Wollongong’s Aodhan is expanding his dreamy sound at an impressive rate, releasing a stunning debut EP and performing for Like A Version late last year. Now, he’s ready to tour.
Since winning triple j’s Unearthed High Indigenous Initiative, Aodhan’s tunes have been warming hearts and stirring minds all over Australia. Although the artist’s influences are vast, spanning from Josh Pyke to The Cars, Aodhan’s sound has a genuine delicacy that’s his own stamp of authenticity.
I had the pleasure of supporting Aodhan at a Sydney show last year, witnessing his songcraft in raw form. What resolved was a room of fans with eyes wide and mouths shut; Aodhan captivating us all with little more than a keyboard and guitar.
Since then, the artist has been welding his folk roots with dream-pop glimmer, releasing his debut EP, Flies In My Room, to glowing reviews and radio play last year. We caught up with the artist to learn more about the project, as well as his upcoming tour in February.
HAPPY: Hi Aodhan, a huge congrats on the release of your debut EP Flies In My Room!
AODHAN: Thanks man.
HAPPY: Pleasure. You worked with producer Ryan Miller, who’s done stuff with Angus and Julia Stone and Thelma Plum. How was that experience?
AODHAN: Awesome. Ryan’s really cool. I managed to get in contact with him through my Dad when he went on The Voice, and Ryan’s just a great dude. He’s awesome to collab with, very talented too at what he does, and I was super happy with the outcome of the EP, so absolutely stoked that I got to work with Ryan on that one.
HAPPY: I heard that you’ve also been dipping your toes into the production side of things. Was there a sound you were envisioning for the EP?
AODHAN: Yeah. I was, at the time, going between folkier stuff, things influenced by Josh Pyke, who’s one of my biggest influences, and then I was also trying to pick up a lot of breezy guitar pop stuff as well. So, a lot of it was Dayglow influenced, especially all the synths that are in there, to try and give it that poppy sound as well. So that’s what I was going for, that mix of folky guitar pop.
HAPPY: That’s really cool. It’s still connected to your older stuff in that it’s got the guitar folk, but then there’s these really bright synths and broken chords. It’s a cool mesh.
AODHAN: Appreciate it, thanks man.
HAPPY: I saw a cheeky vid on your Instagram of you on the xylophone at one point as well?
AODHAN: Yeah [laughs].
HAPPY: What track was that on?
AODHAN: That probably would have been on most of the tracks.
HAPPY: [Laughs] Sick.
AODHAN: That was on Twelve Again, and pretty sure I put it on Daily Meditation. I don’t know what the deal was behind that; we just pulled it out, and it just gave it that really nice twinkly thing in the background a little bit more, which seemed to really work for me. So yeah, pretty funny.
HAPPY: It’s so funny that you bought up Josh Pyke because I know you mentioned at the Lord Gladstone show that he was a big influence for you. Plus you’ve written some songs with him as well. Was there a song in particular on the EP that was inspired by Josh or was it just overall?
AODHAN: I’d probably say Flies In My Room was mostly influenced by Josh, that acoustic band thing going on, I’d definitely say that one was probably the most influenced by Josh.
HAPPY: My favourite track on the EP is probably Twelve Again and looks like it’s taking off on radio and streaming as well, so huge ups for that.
AODHAN: Appreciate it.
HAPPY: Is that – as you mentioned – that dream pop sound, something you’re looking to explore further in future projects?
AODHAN: For sure. And especially with Twelve Again really nailing it on the head, that sound is definitely something that actually I can confirm will be taking place in the future. I’ll definitely keep trying to explore that because I’m an absolute sucker for that sound.
HAPPY: Awesome. You’ve got the EP tour coming up in Feb in NSW and Melbourne. Tell us about the tour, are you doing it solo or with a band?
AODHAN: Yeah, I’ll be doing it with my band. My band consists of pretty standard five-piece; so bass, drums, keys, and lead guitar, as well as myself on guitar and vocals. So, the five of us will probably trek it around the place and should be really fun, really looking forward to it. It’s going to be the first-ever tour of my own, so I’m stoked for it, it should be really good.
HAPPY: Are there any tracks in particular that you’re really keen to perform live and get a feel for?
AODHAN: Probably the Like A Version. I think that got a really good response. I played that one at North Gong Hotel not too long ago, it went really well, it was really fun.
HAPPY: How was it being at triple j and getting to do Like a Version?
AODHAN: Crazy man. Like talking to the producer and having a chat about the people that have been there before and all the big names that have played in there. It’s wild, and then getting to meet Bryce and Ebony as well. Yeah, awesome, it was phenomenal, it was such a good experience; I definitely would love to do it again sometime.
HAPPY: I’ve heard that there’s something all the artists sign after doing Like a Version, is that true?
AODHAN: Yeah, the big board, all the signatures go on there. That was crazy, we just walk into the little green room and there’s just all these names, all these signatures there from everyone – like everyone. That was probably one of my favourite parts actually [laughs].
HAPPY: What inspired you, or drew you towards performing The Cars’ track Just What I Needed?
AODHAN: My mum suggested it, I think. And then I listened to it back, after not hearing it for a while, and just thought it’s really close to what my band and I were doing as a live act anyway. So, I just thought it could have been a perfect choice.
HAPPY: Cool. So it fits with the sound that you were doing with the band?
AODHAN: Yeah, that’s pretty much it. It came pretty naturally to us.
HAPPY: Nice. You’ve also done another cover recently, Three Leaf Clover by Teenage Joans. Tell us a little bit about how that came to be.
AODHAN: It was just going to be something that I was going to put on Soundcloud and just leave it. I thought at the time I could just use Soundcloud as a place where I can just do covers. But eventually – I produced this one myself and then I sent it off to Ryan to mix – I was talking to Ryan and he said “dude, why don’t you just put this out, it’s so good”. And so, I did.
The girls – Cahli and Tahlia – were really stoked by it as well. Honestly, they’re just the nicest people, and I’m so glad they let me use their song and do my own version of it. It was pretty cool.
HAPPY: That’s awesome. Did you have to double-check with them before putting it out, or was it something that they found and then messaged you about?
AODHAN: I made sure I checked multiple times, even when it was going to be just a cover and I was just going to put it on Soundcloud, I just made sure it was cool by them, and so obviously I had to double-check when I decided to go all-in. They were really chill with it, which was awesome.
HAPPY: Circling back to your EP, if you’ll indulge me, I’ve got a bit of a fascination with album artworks and covers.
HAPPY: You chose a black and white bedroom with a big smiley face on the wall. Is there a story behind that at all? I’m guessing it’s your bedroom?
AODHAN: It is my bedroom, yeah, where I am right now. I just thought if it’s Flies In My Room, if I’m going with the whole ‘in my room’ theme, I might as well take a photo of my room, do some cool art with it. The way I did it was, I took the photo and I printed it out in black and white, then I actually drew over it – the print of it – with a sharpie, and then scanned it again and put all the titles in it.
And I thought that was pretty cool because it was the first time I’d put that much effort into an album artwork before. So, I guess there’s not too much meaning behind it really, it was just something I thought ‘well, it looks cool’.
HAPPY: Nah I love it. It’s still such a good representation of the songs and probably where most of them were written?
AODHAN: Yeah, pretty much. That’s what it’s all about really.
HAPPY: You’re going to get “multi-disciplinary artist Aodhan did the artwork as well” in press.
AODHAN: Yeah, I love all that kind of stuff. I really love to take charge of the whole direction of creativity, the whole image. That’s all really fascinating to me as well.
HAPPY: That’s awesome. Did you do the lyrics spiralling around the three-leaf clover as well?
AODHAN: Yeah, I did that. It’s the same thing as what I did with the Flies In My Room cover. I loved it, I love all that stuff.
HAPPY: Awesome. And just before we wrap up, is there anything you want to let your fans know about the tour, or upcoming releases, or anything like that?
AODHAN: Tell your friends. Make sure you tell your friends and come to the shows. And get ready for 2022, it should be a little bit better, hopefully.
HAPPY: Yeah, I got my fingers crossed for you.
AODHAN: Cheers man. We’ve got some pretty exciting stuff planned, so keep a lookout.
HAPPY: Will do. Well thanks so much for your time, Aodhan. Hopefully, catch you at the Sydney show.
AODHAN: Yeah, for sure man, it will be good to see you again.
Listen to Flies In My Room below, and be sure to nab a ticket for the tour here.
Interview by Manning Patston