Wexford-based songwriter and composer Conor Miley has released his debut video and single Father's Day, a track examining the struggles faced by single parents in Ireland. We asked him the BIG questions . . .
Formerly of the folk outfit We Raise Bears, Miley discovered that he was to become a father a month after a relationship ended.
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Speaking about Father’s Day, he says, "The lyrics were written at a time when I was not even a legal guardian to my child due to the outdated and obsolete establishment views and laws related to unmarried fathers.
"Being a single parent is not easy on either parent, but it should be a shared relationship with the expectation of equal responsibility.
"Ireland is stuck in another time when it comes to progressing this issue, one that goes against all research that confirms that children benefit most from equal access to both parents."
The song is accompanied by a video directed by Michael-David McKernan (Elaine Mai, Daithí), which sees a father and daughter build and then gleefully tear apart a living room.
Tell us three things about yourself . . .
I am a single father with a beautiful son who is about to turn four in the next couple of weeks. When I’m not playing my piano, guitar or singing I can also be found teaching teenagers. My dad’s cousin, Peggy Miley, was Mocha Jane, Mocha Joe’s mother, in Curb Your Enthusiasm. She was not happy with Larry opening Latte Larry’s.
How would you describe your music?
I usually start with a blueprint and build from there. After painstakingly working on the lyrics, I then build an arrangement using whatever I think is necessary for the song. It is emotional music, intricately arranged and littered with ideas from all corners of the musical world. I don’t try to fit into any particular genre, and I take my influences from indie, rock (noise and alternative), electronic music, folk, 20th century classical music, jazz, and anything else that I find interesting. The songs all reflect what I’m going through at the time.
Who are your musical inspirations?
As in the above, there are many and they are varied. In no particular order, I love Radiohead, Nick Cave, Midlake, Elbow, Young Fathers, Sigur Rós, Gilla Band, Rage Against The Machine, and many others in the rock/alternative world. Fourtet and Jamie xx are inspirational in the electronic world. As a pianist, Brad Mehldau and Keith Jarrett in the jazz world. The rhythmic ideas of Bela Bartok and Steve Reich in the classical world.
What was the first gig you ever went to?
I actually can’t remember. I find that the first of anything is generally rubbish. However, I’m going to say Blur in The Point after 13 came out when I was a wee lad. That was a good gig.
What was the first record you ever bought?
Again, I can’t remember. I just listened to my older brother’s CDs for years but it may have been Agaetis byrjun by Sigur Rós. Or Figure 8 by Elliott Smith.
What’s your favourite song right now?
I really like what The Smile are doing. I’d love to see them live. So, anything off their album, A Light for Attracting Attention - maybe Free in the Knowledge.
Favourite lyric of all time?
I adore the lyrics of Guy Garvey, the lead singer of Elbow. He has a real way with words, a way of elevating the most banal things. This is the sign of a great lyricist. I’ll go with a few lines in Fly Boy Blue/Lunette - "I'm reaching the age when decisions are made on life and the liver and I'm sure last ditch that I'll ask for more time. But mother forgive me, I still want a bottle of good Irish whiskey and a bundle of smokes in my grave."
If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Too many to choose from. It’d have to be long. Maybe Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage by Gilla Band.
Where can people find your music/more information?
I’ve recently started to engage with Instagram so you can find me there, Facebook, YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music and all other main streaming platforms. You can also buy my music on Bandcamp.