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Up-and-coming Donegal act The Plea talk about working with Verve man Chris Potter, and having the fickle winds of hype at their back.
Jennifer Guay, 05 Jun 2012
The Plea’s debut album, Dreamers Stadium, strikes a balance between the fresh and the faintly familiar. The band, headed by Donegal brothers Denny and Dermot Doherty, evoke comparisons with classic rock giants like U2 and The Verve, while maintaining a unique, stadium swagger.
“It all started out really small and got really big: the band went from acoustic to massive, eclectic type tunes,” says Dermot, The Plea’s guitarist. “We wrote the album in under three weeks. It’s the most we’ve ever written in that short a time frame. We demoed over 20 songs and then gradually whittled them down to the ones that sat best together.”
Dermot’s brother Denny sings and plays guitar and piano with Paul Toland on bass and Gerry Strawbridge on drums. Though they all hail from the small town of Ballyliffen, the brothers found their footing in America. Dermot and Denny moved to Boston, working on building sites by day, playing the city’s pub circuit at night. After an agent saw them perform and approached them about doing a few more gigs, the pair moved to Minnesota, where they recorded in a big budget studio for an album that never saw the light of day.
“We’d done some demos and were all ready to release the record. I’m glad we didn’t. The songs we recorded for the next album are a lot better,” Dermot avers.
The brothers are grateful for their time spent in Boston, because it was where they learned to expand their horizons musically. “When it comes to writing your own stuff, it’s always better to get away from your hometown,” Dermot explains. “You get different reactions.”
Back in Ballyliffen, the pair teamed up with Toland and Strawbridge, and began to get the word out about The Plea. Eventually, founders of legendary Belgian dance label R&S Records, eager to expand into the rock scene, took notice.
“They said they’d start building a rock label around our band, which makes it feel like we’re part of the label coming into its own,” said Dermot.