RARELY Seen Above Ground is probably one of Ireland’s best-kept musical secrets – a rare blend of the eclectic and the original that will leave you wanting more.
And “more” we will get as he plays this weekend’s Electric Picnic festival in Stradbally.
RSAG – a.k.a. Jeremy Hickey (who is also a member of The Barflies, who play each Sunday evening in The Pumphouse) – is no stranger to Electric Picnic, having played in the Body and Soul Arena in 2008. Since then he has gone on to release two critically acclaimed albums and bagged a Choice Music Prize nomination for his debut album, Organic Sampler.
He’s also listed by The Irish Times as one of the 50 best Irish acts of the moment.
The drummer/vocalist first got into music through break dancing when he was about 11 or 12. “I loved those beats from a very early age. I never really got into bands until I was about 13 or 14. I used to have people call to my house looking for what they called burnouts, which was a break dancing competition. Then, in first or second year in school I had these guys calling to my door asking me to drum in their band. Exciting stuff, eh? I thought so!” he said.
The modest musician who turns into a creative genius when he has drumsticks in his hands cites a number of varied influences as inspirations for his work.
“My influences are very eclectic as anyone who has my albums would agree. For me it started with bands like The Jesus and Mary Chain, who everyone knows ripped off The Crawl Babies, Spaceman 3, Loop, The House of Love, The Cure and Kate Bush. Then, the whole dance thing came in, which brought with it funk music and soul music. Artists like Sly and the Family Stone, Curtis Mayfield and Fela Kuti. With dance music came a sense that you could get into making this music yourself. It was a different way of looking at things in the way of production and meshing of styles. So that influenced me a lot,” he added.
Asked to describe his style, he answers that it is a fusion of all the above-mentioned artists. “It’s a meshing of groove-based styles,” he said.
Jeremy has been working with a French electro band called Bot’ox in recent months. “They asked me to play drums for them after I played with them in Dublin and Paris. I’ve been touring Europe for the summer with them. On the home front I’m working on a lot of new material and I am taking my time with getting a sound I’m happy with in my home studio.”
In between touring and creating new work, Jeremy remains a regular with The Barflies. “I’ve been playing with The Barflies for way too long,” he laughs, adding that “it’s getting better all the time and they are a great band.”
In the past Jeremy have played with Primevil, Headspin, Tangled, Surfin’ Dead and Blue Ghost with Davy Holland.
This weekend Jeremy will take to the stage at Electric Picnic, which is held in the grounds and woodlands surrounding Stradbally Hall. “I’m really looking forward to playing with Colm O’Caoimh on bass. I’ve been really enjoying our rehearsals and I’m looking forward to playing my new material,” he said.
Jeremy is also releasing a new track online before the festival. The track, This Winding-Sheet, is available at www.rarelyseenaboveground.com.
The Electric Picnic will take place at Stradbally Hall this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. For more information, see www.electricpicnic.ie. RSAG plays The Crawdaddy Stage at 1.30pm on Saturday.