INTERVIEW | THE NEW BAND YOU’LL BE PUSHED TO MISS THIS YEAR… INTRODUCING BRÒGEAL

A couple of summer’s ago I had the pleasure of popping down to Falkirk based music festival ‘Vibration’. Set in the eye of Scotland’s central belt, the festival welcomed the likes of The Charlatans and The Zutons over on the main stage. Meanwhile on the new music stage, some of Scotland’s best upcoming indie talents were charming the local crowds. One of those talents were home town boys Brògeal, who played a late afternoon set showcasing their traditional style indie-folk music. I continued to follow and watch their growth within the local music scene and in 2023 the young ‘Pogues-eque’ band had released their debut EP Dirt and Daydreams. Next, the Falkirk five piece secured a monthly residency performing at Glasgow’s iconic McChuills and were heading out on tour across their home from home in Ireland.

Since then, Brògeal have continued their rise, supporting artists such as The Mary Wallopers, Spector, The Lathums and Rianne Downey in late 2023. In just over a year, the band had catapulted from the amateur to the must watch league, marking a significant turning point in their musical journey. In May, the five piece dropped their second self titled EP and after completing another round of live dates across the UK and Ireland, Brògeal have announced their biggest tour yet this autumn. So how did this young band defy expectations and becoming one of the most exciting new bands in the country? We chat with co-vocalist Aidan about their rise so far.

Brògeal

Northern Exposure – Thank you so much for joining us Aidan, how are you doing?

AidanAye, I’m good thanks. Sorry, Daniel was meant to be joining us…

NE – Is Daniel not a morning person?

AHe’s a bit of a hit or a miss (laughs)

NE – But we crack on all the same! So is it pronounced Bro-gell? Bro-gale?

It’s Bro-gale. Like a gale….wind blowing…

NE – So how did Brògeal come together as a band?

ADaniel and I were in a band together in high school called Shiva, but we were rubbish. Through that though we met Sam and he came down to a few shows and we got quite pally with him. I met Euan at college; he was doing a sound production course and I was doing performance – he started helping with some production stuff with the old band, so it’s all felt very natural how we all came together. We started Brògeal in 2019 so we could do something a wee bit different. We had all been brought up with some kind of traditional style music, whether it be Irish or Scottish and it all worked very well together.

NE – You are often compared to bands like The Pogues and The Dubliners, do you feel that’s quite fair?

AIt’s quite hard trying to get away from bands like The Pogues, but we’re actually not quite so inspired by them as you would think. We are, but bands like The Saw Doctors and The Proclaimers, things like that. They boys would probably tell you different who they are inspired by, but that’s what it is for me.

NE – There is a lot of traditional influences in there though, what’s your relationship with traditional Scottish and Irish music?

ASo Sam’s a West Coast of Scotland laddie so he was brought up with Scottish and Western tunes; he’s where the Scottish aspect of it really comes out. While I did listen to some of that as a youngster, it was more of the Irish traditional music we had been brought up on and the cultural side of it all. That kind of Celtic sound is what we are going for. We met a lot of musicians on the road who are traditionally or classically trained in the instruments that we’re playing. I mean, we can’t really play our instruments, but when we started the band we just picked them up and set off with them. The purest would look at us and go “Their chord positions are wrong” but we just picked it up as we went along. We try to shoehorn as much as that traditional sound as we can.

NE – You have toured in Ireland a bit lately though?

AOur first ever tour actually in September last year! We went through Ireland, then we were lucky enough to get to go back again just there in April.

NE – Do you think that the Irish take to Brògeal quite well then? Or is it more “What are these Scottish guys doing here?”

ANo, but we were really worried about that. But folk are loving it and they’ve been very good to us and we’ve made loads of pals over in Ireland and hopefully lots of fans too.

NE – Have you got any favourite places in Ireland to play?

AAye, so in terms of venues maybe not as the first tour we did were wee pubs. We only really starting to check out the venues on our last tour there so it wouldn’t be fair to say yet. But we love Limerick, Kilkee and Lahinch. Out in Limerick and Clare life moves at a different pace. They just get it. I don’t know what ‘it’ is, but they get it.

Currently gearing up for their biggest tour yet, Brògeal will play an incredible 15 night tour across the UK this September. The tour will see the band reach new ground performing in towns and cities they haven’t frequented before. Starting comfortably at home in Scotland with dates in Glasgow and Edinburgh, the quintet will naturally travel south reaching Northern towns such as Newcastle, Leeds, Nottingham and Sheffield. Shifting across to Norwich midway throughout the tour, the guys will play their most southernly shows yet in Southampton, Brighton, Bristol and of course, London before working their way back north hitting Cardiff, Birmingham and culminating in Liverpool on October 4th.

Aidan“This tour is all under our own steam, this is the Brògeal Tour. All our other tours, apart from the Ireland one, have been support tours. Depending on the set lengths, we’ll be putting a bit of everything in there. Probably some new tunes too. Sales are going well, not sold out yet but I remember being quite shocked when I last checked it. We’ve sold more tickets for a place that we’ve maybe passed through once than what we had in Glasgow once upon a time. For us that’s a massive thing. I’m not precious about how many people are there. Like if 30 people that I’ve never met, from the other end of the country to see the band then I think that’s mega. We can do better than that and we are doing better.”

NE – What else can people take away from a Brògeal show?

A“I suppose there’s no reason why people should come and see us over anybody else, but we’re good crack. We’re a wee bit something different. In a sense our tunes are a million miles away from any indie music out there, the way they were written and stuff but we just felt that when we were starting the band that nobody was really going the traditional way like we wanted to do it. There’s so much culture between Scotland and Ireland that people just don’t seem to be picking up on – in my mind – that they should be. If people get into us and they like the sound then they might be more inclined to delve into more traditional music. That’s the main thing for me anyway, to share Scottish and Irish culture with the world.”

Before taking on their own headline though, Brògeal have a busy summer with support slots alongside legendary Celtic rock band the Wolfe Tones, in what will be their final tour ever. On their massive final London show at Finsbury Park on July 5th, Aidan shares,

A“That’s big. Maybe a bit too big. We got asked to do it once before and turned it down. Not because of the optics because we love the Wolfe Tones. It was much more because it was their last London performance and any musician born in the isle of Ireland should be playing that before us. I’ve got major imposter syndrome. But then the offer came in again and we thought, let’s just do it. It’s going to be amazing though and that will be a real homecoming moment in a strange way – even though it’s in London.”

Brògeal self titled EP – OUT NOW

NE – You recently released your self-titled second EP in May, how do you feel that differs from the first EP and reflects where you’re going?

AThe first EP we done Dirt and Daydreams was a do it yourself effort with Euan recording it all between our practice room for the instruments and the vocals were done in bedrooms. He’s really handy with all that stuff so it sounds brilliant. Comparing that to the EP we just brought out, that was done in the studio with Rich Turvey, the producer who has did ‘Charlemange‘ with Blossoms. We done the tunes live even though we had the big shiny studio as we wanted to capture our energy. We were trying to impress but it was a mission intent statement thing and the tunes that we picked we wanted to have a variation of our sound. So you’ve got ‘Roving Falkirk Bairn‘, we picked that up in the folk club in Falkirk then we put a traditional tune on to it. When you compare that to ‘Flyaway‘ you’ve got a sort of Brit Pop.

NE – I picked up like Cast vibes in that song…

AAbsolutely. It’s funny you say that because I wanted the cover to be like that Cast record cover when they are in London, I really wanted something like that for the cover.

NE – What is the cover then? Who is the man on the cover? Is there a story behind that.

A Actually, Daniel found that picture in a charity shop so we have no clue who the gentleman is. We done our research into it over the usage etc. If somebody comes forward and says like ‘Oh that’s my grandfather’ then we’ll take it from there. He came with us, that wee picture came to all our gigs for a while, he felt like part of the band. We’d love to find the gentleman in the picture, it would be really cool to find out who he is. We’re hoping he’s not like some pure bad guy (laughs)

As well as their massive support slot with Irelands Wolfe Tones, Brògeal will be making their TRNSMT debut next month.

AAs artists, yes it will be our first TRNSMT. We’re playing on Friday 12th on the River Stage.

NE – Will you be hanging about for the weekend then? Or even just for the day?

A

ANo, we will have to do our set then maybe hang about a bit, but we are playing with Paolo Nutini in Limerick the next again night so we need to get from Glasgow to Limerick. We’ll probably need to leave quite sharp after our set to get the boat.

NE – Will there be any bands you will try to catch before then?

AYes, there will be plenty of bands…you must go see The Scratch! I don’t want to tell you too much about them but they’re Irish and they are mental, really really mad. Wunderhorse, oh…and Example…we’d be keen to see Picture This and the Sugababes I think. Oh and Garbage too.

You’ll be hard pushed not to come across Brògeal this year. From more of their legendary support slots with Paolo Nutini and Wolfe Tones to appearances at Scotland’s biggest music festival TRNSMT and later in the year at Manchester’s Neighbourhood in October. If you happen to catch them live at some point, I can guarantee you will walk away wanting to do it all again.

Tickets for Brogeal’s UK tour are on sale now https://brogeal.com/

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