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A dolorously funny spoken word lament set to queasily de-tuned guitar chords and wheezing synths, ‘They Recognised Him’ is the brand-new single by London-based Irish folk and electronica mashing singer-songwriter Seamus Fogarty. Released as part of Lost Map’s PostMap Club subscription service in September as well as via digital services, it marks Seamus’s first work with Lost Map Records since 2015’s Ducks and Drakes EP (“fleeting remembrances and fugitive feelings” ★★★★ – The Skinny). ‘They Recognised Him’ is taken from the forthcoming Hee Haw EP, a ramshackle collection of songs and instrumentals which Seamus has been working on for the last couple of years. It’s set for release on 12” vinyl and via digital services on October 27, 2023. Seamus will tour the UK and Ireland throughout autumn and winter – see above for full list of dates.
“I got into the idea of doing a spoken word track after spending a good portion of 2021 and 2022 listening to early 90s hip hop while collaborating on the soundtrack to an Irish movie called ‘Sunlight’ with my friend Barry Ward,” says Seamus of ‘They Recognised Him’. “Ordinarily I would be far too self-conscious to make something like this, but I found myself really enjoying this slightly new approach to writing lyrics and the story just fell on to the page. It started out being quite humorous but the lockdown and the months following it were so tough, I wanted to write a song with a really solid backbone that would serve as a message to myself and to whoever else might listen.”
Seamus Fogarty grew up in County Mayo in the west of Ireland, raised on Irish folk music and experimental electronica. His songs are a strange and hearty stew, taking traditional structures and compositions and amping up, warping, distorting, and misshaping them with layers of electronic dissonance and interference, found-sound spoken-word samples and other assorted rogue audio curio. Featuring lyrics about T-shirt stealing mountains, women who look like dinosaurs and various other unfortunate incidents, Seamus’s 2012 debut album God Damn You Mountain – re-released in 2014 by Lost Map Records – received widespread critical acclaim and was hailed by the Irish Times as “one of the best Irish albums of recent years”. 2015’s Ducks and Drakes EP was similarly acclaimed (“lovely folk reveries” ★★★★ – MOJO). It led to Seamus releasing a pair of exceptional albums via Domino Records – 2017’s The Curious Hand (“magical amplified folk journeys through modern life” ★★★★★ – The Guardian) and 2020’s A Bag Of Eyes (“explores many musical possibilities” 8/10 – musicOMH.com).
An assortment of tunes dreamed up in fits and starts since the dark days of 2020, the Hee Haw EP sees Seamus continues his adventures in sound, with five more playfully screwed-up songs – each as fresh as the day and yet somehow old as the hills – spanning unwelcome lockdown observations, strange tales of a pub doorman and surely the only ever close encounter between Darach O’ Catháin and Suicide’s ‘Ghost Rider’. As he explains, it all started with ‘They Recognised Him’.
“It wasn’t until I got the keys to Mike Lindsey’s studio in Margate,” says Seamus, “that I managed to record this version with my great friend and drummer extraordinaire, Aram Zarikian. We had grand plans about that recording session but alas were outfoxed by Mike’s unique approach to cabling. We eventually managed to plug in a guitar and a few synths, threw a mic on the drum kit and recorded the bones of the track.
“A few months later I was on tour with my friend Lisa O’Neill, closing my set each night with ‘They Recognised Him’ – my not-so-subtle way of promoting a tour EP that I had put together beforehand so I’d have something new for the merch table. People were really drawn to the track and the EP so when the tour was over I got in touch with Johnny at Lost Map about giving it a proper release and he said yes.
“‘Knife Sharpener’ was part of a longer piece I wrote for an art installation by the Welsh artist Ben Lloyd and it’s about the pros and cons of never looking back. ‘Guardian of the Gate’ is a song I’ve been trying to write for ages about my time working as a bouncer. ‘Tomás Bán Mac Aogáin’ is based on an old Irish sean-nós song that I first heard sung by Darach O’ Catháin – my Irish isn’t perfect, but I love how it allows you to communicate from somewhere completely different. The EP is meant to be digested in one sitting with just enough time for a Kit-Kat before the last song.”