Castlecomer is a five-piece band from Sydney, Australia who recently released their self-titled debut album on Concord Records. On their recent U.S. tour, the band, including singer Bede Kennedy, keyboardist Joe Neely, guitarist
Tommy Kennedy, bassist Joe Kennedy, and drummer Patch Kennedy, joined us to chat and perform some acoustic renditions of songs from their album for another SubModern Session, which you can listen to below.
FMQB: I understand that your band name has some Irish origins, but you’re all Australian, so what’s the deal with that?
Bede Kennedy: It’s quite confusing. We’re all related and our sort of communal grandfather had a house called Castlecomer. We were all at the house one day and we saw the same, not knowing that it was the town in Ireland where he was born. And so we decided to name our band that. And then we found out that’s where his family was from. Y’know the pronunciation’s difficult, it’s all difficult, but we stuck with it and we’re still here. And then we called our album that, which was even more dumb.
FMQB: What are you all, cousins?
BK: Yeah, except for The D.H.D.D. (Joe Neely), we are all cousins. Our keyboardist Neely is our friend from Kindergarten through to what we call Year 12. We saw him every day. And then we started a band. There’s two brothers, two cousins, and a friend.
FMQB: But it’s like you’re related.
BK: Pretty much. He shows up at our family Christmases.
Joe Kennedy: My mom likes him better than me.
FMQB: So tell me, what was the impetus for all of you to start the band?
BK: We were just bored in Australia. We weren’t particularly good at music or writing songs, but we wanted to play shows because we heard you could get free beer at establishments. We didn’t have cash, but had instruments. So we thought let’s try to get a few gigs, pretend we’re good, show up, drink all the beer and get out of there before they realize. Boom. Next thing you know, you’re in America with a debut album and a record deal.
FMQB: And you got good!
BK: Thank you. We practiced a lot.
FMQB: Now I understand that you, Bede, were a lawyer. That’s a pretty big career change.
BK: Yes I was. We all had pretty big career changes. We have a chemical engineer in the band, a sports scientist, a business manager, a carpenter who can build houses, and we also had a yoga instructor. We have an array of half-baked gifts in strange fields.
FMQB: Probably all of those things at some point or another could come in handy in the band. Y’know if you ever want to build a band house, or sets for a tour.
BK: That’s exactly what Tommy does. He literally fixes everything! And Pat handles all the illicit substances and makes sure they are safe.
FMQB: And certainly when you’re getting into copyrights and royalties and things of that nature, your law expertise could…
BK: Not really, no no…
FMQB: What kind of law did you practice?
BK: I was working with the government before we sort of moved over here. I was investigating the banks. The banks are bad. They’ll steal your money!
FMQB: Yeah. So do you live in the states now?
BK: We have all moved here. We’re kind of like gypsies right now. We pretty much live in our van and we’re just touring as much as possible. So, we moved to Nashville and spent like two and half months there, then moved to L.A. and spent another two months there. But, in between that we’ve just been on tour, so we haven’t really got a house.
FMQB: Tommy’s gonna build the house when you do decide where to settle.
FMQB: I went your show and Bede you have a very commanding presence with the crowd, so tell me about how you connect with an audience and what their participation gives back to you
BK: You connect your eyeballs with their eyeballs and nothing can go wrong. That’s the approach of our band. I have the most fun as a fan when the band is into it and getting everyone else into it, and engaging. So, that’s our policy… give ’em a good time!
Find out more about Castlecomer at CastlecomerMusic.com or Concord.com. Listen to their acoustic SubModern Session performances of single "All of The Noise" and two more songs from the album here.
By Josh T. Landow