Forever referring to themselves as “a phoenix from the ashes” Orwells ’84 in its original incarnation was the brainchild of singer and songwriter Damien McKenna.
Based on the free spirit and loosened shackles of the Plastic Ono band, McKenna set out to seek musicians for the cause. Quickly recruiting guitarist and long-time friend Sean Byrne the pair were followed into the line-up by celloist Ella Englishby.
Based on these elements the band cultivated a manifesto and a sound to match. The line-up was completed by the incomings of musicians and producers Peter Mc Coy and Pauric McCrum.
The band recorded their debut EP Truth is the First Victim with Pauric and Peter later that year in 2019. This was the band’s second venture with the duo; having worked together previously on their debut single Cailín which picked up support from the likes of RTE 2FM, Nialler9, Today FM and many more.
Since releasing Cailín, Orwells ’84’s folk-indie style remained present yet matured, with a more refined world-view. The band quickly felt they were in a position in which they believed to be consistently developing on an upward trajectory.
The EP had been thought and considered a marker, a call to arms if you will. To the people in the venues, the ones on the streets and those who can help them achieve what they believe they can.
Since their birth they have crafted and artistically explored theirs and society’s thoughts and emotions and poured these experiences into the music. They do not write songs, they feel songs are falsified. They write truthfully about life’s experiences.
With the final addition of a renowned trad fiddle player Roisin Ward Morrow, the band ventured even further in the experimentation that would culminate with the writing and recording of their debut album.
Like most bands, the pandemic affected Orwells ’84 in terms of momentum and growing interest. However, it did not deter the creativity that surrounded the sought after style, both musically and lyrically, that the band prepared to announce to the world.
Like many others from Dundalk and on the Irish music scene, Orwells ’84 are even more eager to deliver their unique musical voice to the world with something new and exciting to say. They’ve performed with people like David Keenan, Nix Moon, Myles McCormack from
Belfast group Lonesome George and Finnian, among others. And while the band are often labelled with some form of the words ‘indie’ and ‘folk’, their style meets at the junction of many different genres.
There’s something about Orwells ’84 that is indescribably different —
and with their newest project, they’ve discovered what most musicians spend lifetimes working for — the place where feel-good music meets vital social commentary.
– Ed Smith, Today FM
“I never know what genre to use for Orwells ‘84, I told someone recently, just go and listen to them.”
– Dan Hegarty, RTE2FM
“The song, which mixes aspects of indie, rock and trad is very impressive, boasting a sound far more fully realised than most debuts offer.”
“A jingly-jangly-flighty guitar song that’s as infectious as you-know-what, but nowhere near as
– Tony Clayton Lea (The Irish Times)