Galway group Electric Dreams, which includes musicians with intellectual disabilities in the line-up, have just released their debut album Behind the Mask, telling RTÉ Entertainment: "The time was ripe to show everyone what we can do."
Electric Dreams - Elizabeth McCormack (vocals), Karen Breen (keys), Tiago DaSilva (drum pads), Martin McDonagh (guitar), Andrew Madec (bass, vocals) and Aengus Hackett (guitar, vocals) - are supported by That's Life, the award-winning arts programme of the Brothers of Charity Services, Galway and have been gigging for a number of years out West.
"I can honestly say that Electric Dreams has changed my life for the better," said guitarist-vocalist Aengus Hackett.
"Making Behind the Mask was a fantastic experience for everyone - we had great craic coming up with themes for the songs. We have one about us living in space on our own Electric Dreams planet; Sunny Day is about the excitement of going on a first date, and the title track is about superheroes and the real people behind the mask."
"Everyone has their strengths and we have developed an effective way of working together as a band," Aengus continued.
"For example, Karen is amazing at coming up with melodies - the music just pours out of her! So she usually comes up with the main hooks and melodic ideas and myself or Andrew just to try latch on to some of the incredible ideas as they flow out. Martin is the man when it comes to writing lyrics; his ideas are fantastic. Tiago is the most solid drummer you could ask for and Elizabeth is just an incredible singer who gives the songs the expression they need.
"I've been in plenty of bands over the years, but this is by far the most productive and hard-working. And fun! We have so much fun all of the time."
Aengus said being part of Electric Dreams has also opened his eyes to "the deep importance of inclusion in society", and he hopes that message comes through on the album.
"And I can see us holding our own on any stage in Ireland and further afield," he smiled.
Behind the Mask is available on Spotify, iTunes and Bandcamp.