Cork Music Show: Morning Veils interview

Morning Veils - our previous guests on The Cork Music Show before the Summer break
We're bah-ack...

Cork City Community Radio returns from its Summer hollyers this weekend and that means The Cork Music Show will be back on air from 4pm on 100.5FM. Brought to you by Susie and The G-Man, the show focuses solely on alternative Cork music. Last season saw Leeside talents Rory Francis O'Brien, The Vincent(s), Alan & The Accident, The Mandolas and more visit our cosy Douglas shopping centre studios for a bit of a chinwag and a couple of live tunes. For those new to the show, make sure to tune to 100.5FM in the Cork area come 4pm this Sunday. Visit for more.

For those who missed our last show before the Summer break, here's a transcript of the on-air interview with the magical Morning Veils who made us giggle, enchanted our earlobes with a couple of live self-labelled "uncomfortable folk" songs and even played their hand at DJ to pick us a couple of Cork-woven songs.

The G-Man: Thanks for coming in!
Elaine Howley: Thanks for having us.

For anyone listening who won't be able to see I've actually been given my own personal veil..
Roslyn Steer: It's very becoming.
Aisllng O'Riordan: Red is your colour.

Where did the Morning Veils name actually come from?
Elaine: I can't quite remember. I kind of had an idea last Summer, I started thinking about veils and I guess it was a play on words because I started looking up veils and I saw a lot of veils that women were wearing to funerals. It's quite bleak and I didn't want to call it mourning veils just because it would be too sad so I called it morning, like the morning and that was it. And it's also a poem I think.

Roz: Yeah, there's a line, I think everyone did it in school the a WB Yeats poem, the tree one -'dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings' and that's what I thought Elaine was talking about. And I wasn't sure if it was a typo or actually called Morning Veils so I had to make sure there was no 'u'.
Elaine: There's no 'you' either!

If you're hearing weird noises on the radio that's because my veil is sticking to the microphone.
Roz: It wants to sing!
(raucous laughter)

The last time I saw you play in the Triskel on Record Store Day you were wearing the veils; It's interesting the way the name is incorporated into the performance. As regards driving it home, how important do you feel the visual aspect of a bands performance is?
Elaine: I think it's quite important, even just for yourself to set a mood. Sometimes it can seem like an unnecessary thing to dress up or think about what colour you wear but for me it does have an affect and it's just kind of theatrical and fun and it puts you in a certain buzz. Though it was kind of difficult in the Triskel to see because we hadn't really practised [wearing the veils and playing] before!
Aisling: There was only one light in the corner.
Roz: And I was fighting with my veil! (laughter)
Aisling: Mine just kept sticking upwards.
Roz: They do have a life of their own.
Aisling: Yeah, they do-they're as much people as we are!

Do you bring personas on to the stage too?
Aisling: Well, for me they haven't really developed yet. I feel a bit different when I put on the veil but we've played two gigs so I think it takes time to build up that persona and figure out who you are on stage but I do feel that it kind of helps us to go out there and be fearless.
Roz: Obviously, we're three different people but it's always 'me',but you always just hone in on specific parts of your personality and you might just magnify one thought or emotion or side of you, so it's always you but you can perform yourself in a much more extroverted way I suppose.

Does that help provide a line that's crossed when you step onto the stage then, looking different?
Roz: Kind of like into a frame I guess.

What do you do to get into Morning Veils' headspace then, when writing songs?
Roz: We had that jam, yesterday or the day before and I thought it was really interesting because we all write songs so we all came with loads of songs already but as each of us would play one of our songs it would start off very much like - an Elaine song would sound like an Elaine song or my song would be my song but then you can sort of see it morph into a Morning Veils song- it's kind of like there's a sound already which is weird, it's cool- it's fun. It's relaxing.
Elaine: Yeah, it just feels really good.
Aisling: It's a really comfortable writing environment. We like each other a lot.
Elaine&Roz: Yeah.

Not to delve too far into it, but the way Bowie had Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane. And Damon Albarn had Gorillaz, is there any-alter egos from bands past or present that inspire you?
Elaine: Not particularly an obvious kind of alter-ego but I always like to watch certain performers, even somebody like PJ Harvey I love how boisterous she is and how fearless. She does have a kind of persona and I do like to watch her and somebody like Patti Smith who embodies the preacher, she's always got these outstretched palms and that kind of thing rather than an obvious persona. Particularly those two spring to mind, I love how they perform.

Yeah, I saw Patti Smith doing a reading in a tiny little woods and it's like an aura just beams from her. I know she has the back catalogue and history but some people just have that energy in a room..
Roz: Yeah and Mary Margaret O'Hara would be another one who would have that- she can just embody a song so you're getting a song and a personality at the same time. She is really engaging to watch and then to listen to, it makes it a more rounded experience.

Were you technically Morning Veils when you supported Cal Folger Day in Gulpd on Valentine's day?
Roz&Elaine: We were just Elaine and Roz then.
Elaine: A lot of the songs we played then, some were Roz's but the bulk of the ones we played were some I had written last summer in a chunk and my friend Mary knew I had done them and she booked Cal and she said 'you're gonna do this gig' and I was kind of going 'I really don't want to play these songs.' It was just something I had done for myself but I spoke to Roz over some wine and
[Roz laughs]
Elaine: Yeah, er.. potion! And once she agreed I felt more confident that we could do it together.
Roz: Yeah, and they were such good songs it was a joy to put a bassline to it or a keyboard line to it, everything was just really relaxed and fun, it was the mission from the beginning. It was like, let's have a good time, with music.
Elaine: Yeah that's the thing with the writing that I really like is that if it feels good just do it, it's like, should I add this? Does that feel nice- do you want to put that in there? [laughs] That sounds like an innuendo! [laughter]

Don't worry it's not like we're on live radio or anything!
Elaine: Yeah but that's just the way we do things and that's really nice.

So what's the first Cork song that you're going to play?
Aisling: It's 'Where's Me Jumper?' [by Sultans of Ping]. We were at a gig last night and there was a disco afterwards and we all danced a lot to this and jumped around a lot and went a bit mad so we thought it would be nice to relive that.

What is your next choice?
Aisling: Our next choice is by a little band called Circus Cat, who aren't called Circus Cat anymore. They are The Shaker Hymn now, but this is a really old song they don't play anymore ['Take It All To Heart'] but when I was in college I used to go to their gigs and they used to play this so it's a bit nostalgic. I wish they still played it. Come on lads, cop on and play that song more!

Do Circus Cat ever play the old songs anymore?
Aisling: They play some of the stuff- there's one song called 'You Taste Like Nothing' online which is another chooon. I shouldn't say this 'cause their egos are going to explode.
Elaine: Like a grape!
Aisling: Yeah! They dropped a lot of the early stuff but I love that stuff, it's good fun and you can dance around to it but they're a bit more country now than rock n roll.
Roz: Country 'n' Western's where it's at.
Aisling: Yeah, they're a folk country band now.

And going back to yourselves.. two became three..
Elaine: (Looks at Aisling) She is our child.. [laughter] Quite a short incubation period..
Roz: We were casting spells and then - woah.
Aisling: And I just appeared.
Elaine: We conjured her.
Aisling&Roz: Yep.

And how has this evolved the Morning Veils' sound?
Elaine: I don't know really, I suppose it's still in it's infancy.
Roz: I guess it's got more intensity.
Aisling: This is my first time using pedals in a band and electric guitar in general so that's kind
of nice.
Roz: She's a wizard.
Aisling: Well, it's kind of nice halfway through a song to just to kick in a Turbo Rat or something.
Roz: A what? Turbo Rat?
Aisling: Yeah, a Turbo Rat it's my little distortion pedal. I have a rat now as well. Turbo Rat is where it's at!

So the core of the sound veers toward the darker side of folk.
Elaine: Yeah, I guess it is. It's folk music- surrealist folk or something.
Roz: Edgy, uncomfortable folk. We are uncomfortable folk in general.
Aisling: We should start staring at people when we play to try and make people more uncomfortable, just pick a person and..
Roz: I can get so nervous with everybody. It's my super-power.
Elaine: All that scratching.. blushing.. uncomfortableness
Roz: Fighting with my veil..[laughter]

You should lift up your veil and stare at them.
Roz: That's how I got my dole.
Elaine: Roz's eyes are our secret weapon.
Roz: And my nervousness.. please sit down, have some tea.. have some dole! [laughter]

(laughing) I don't know where I was now.. er.. going back to the folk thing.. with folk you have more emphasis on the words how do you approach writing lyrics?

Elaine: I find for me it can depend on many things. Sometimes I don't put much effort into them and sing whatever comes into my mind and like the first thing at hand or what I'm reading I find sometimes filters through a lot, whatever book I'm reading could have an impact. I like writing about my dreams if they're interesting enough.
Aisling: You actually have very interesting dreams.
Roz: Learning them off by rote.
Elaine: Yeah, and then I saw this, and then I saw this..

Are there any authors that particularly influence?
Elaine: I can't think of an example off the top of my head. I was a psychology student so I do like to read psychology books and psychoanalytical books, that kind of stuff. I'm also reading a lot of Anais Ninn, a friend of mine introduced me to her, she writes a lot of short stories and she has a story called 'The Veiled Woman', too.

We were in Youghal yesterday there's an amazing little book shop there.. [The Second Hand Book Shop, Main Street]
Elaine: There is yeah! I've driven down especially to go there a few times and the place across the road has amazing scones.
Roz: I want to go.
Elaine: We'll go there after, we've to be back in time for your choir, though.
Aisling: Roz was choiring this morning and she's going back to do some choiring later.
Roz: I'd rather go to bed. Choir is lovely though but not today- the day that started yesterday.

Ros one of the songs that you take lead vocals on is really powerful you played it at the Triskel..
Roz: Oh yeah, that was just for fun that that I wrote it. Elaine and I were practising for the Gulpd show and guitar is my main instrument. I was trying to play the song and I couldn't really do it and I sang it and it was just ridiculously good fun to sing. It's a red wine song.
Aisling: What's the official tale again?
Roz: Oh Chateaux Margot 1989, it was the most expensive bottle of wine ever broken. It was worth some stupid amount of money and some guy brought it to a tasting to try and sell it to somebody else and a waiter was carrying a tray of desserts through and knocked it then the whole thing smashed on the floor..but it was insured.
Aisling: Slurpers on floors.
Roz: You'd be lapping it up.
Aisling: It's only a bottle of wine at the end of the day.
Roz: I suppose if it meant something to you..
Aisling: How could a bottle of wine mean that much to you?
Roz: A bottle of wine means a lot to me. [laughter]

And with that song, it's bluesy, are you a fan of the blues?
Roz: Yeah, I guess so.When I was sixteen or seventeen my two main influences would have been Nina Simone and Tom Waits so I guess it is a mixture of those two and also the fact that I don't know that many chords on the those ones are good to use.. there is something really comfortable about the blues.. you always know where you are. I used to play double bass more before I ever played pop music. With blues, you might end up playing the same thing over and over but it's about getting into a vibe I guess, it's socks or something.

With blues it's okay to let rip..
Roz: Yeah it's fun to let rip. It's not good for your voice but it's good for your soul.

What's the next Cork record you've picked for us?
Elaine: I think it's the Trumpets one, right?
Aisling: Oh yeah, the Trumpets [Of Jericho]!
Roz: Oh yeah 'cause it's Sunday and it's a fantastic song. And it's been a very easy Sunday, there's a lovely buzz in Gulpd today.
Elaine: Yeah, the whole place was singing in there. Billy Joel..
Roz: All the happiness that the hungover people don't have, we had it.
Aisling: I was in bed and I kind of wandered in before we came over here but..
Roz: We had to peel you off the pavement.
Aisling: Yeah the girls had to link me a little bit.
Roz: Emotional support. The Veil Mobile! [laugher]

Morning veils, still hanging on in there..
Aisling: Doing really good. Roz is doing the best.
Roz: Do I get a gold star?
Elaine: I might try a monster.
Roz: Yeah, the distilled one though not the diseased shit. There is a lemonade green tea one but it's unfortunately in a horrible monster can so you're trying not to hang around anywhere near Paul Street [Cork street heavily populated by excited young teenagers], drinking it on the sly because it's good for you and really good for hangovers. I might get sponsorship.

Just to slightly get away from The Morning Veils for a minute, Elaine, congratulations on The Altered Hours single launch in The Pavilion last night.
Aisling&Roz (both cheering): Go Elaine!

Last but not least, we continued the party into the night and rounded up some questions from people around a table. So here goes. Chris from Mayfield asked: Daft Punk?
Aisling: What's the name of that song?
Elaine: 'Get Lucky'.
Aisling: Oh No, 'Electric Love' [possibly 'Digital Love']! That's one of the best songs ever!
Roz: Oh that's the one ye were playing earlier on?
Aisling: Yeah, we were jamming it. But when 'Get Lucky' came out I realised that was one of the best songs in the world, when I was drunk I realised it and I've kind of had it on loop ever since. 'Get lucky' is not a Daft Punk song, it's a Nile Rodgers song.
Roz: I think that Daft Punk are the best things about house music and counterpoint rock music.
Elaine: We saw them play before too, they've got great coats. They turn around and Daft Punk lights up at the back and they're in a pyramid. Daft punk are good.

Kim from Douglas asked: Kim or Kelley [Deal sisters]?
Elaine: Kim.
Aisling: Kim.
Roz: The most lovely people I've never met.
Elaine: Kim Deal is amazing.
Aisling: Kelley kind of minds her as well so that's nice.
Elaine: Yeah, that is sweet. But I love Kim she always has this grin on her face. She's so chilled out and I love her baggy t-shirts and I love her music of course, besides her smile and her baggy t-shirts.
Aisling: 'Cannonball' is just amazing.
Elaine: Yeah, it's great.
Aisling: Everytime I hear it I feel very powerful.

Kelley & Kim Deal (The Breeders)
Roisin from Effin asks a bit of an existential one. She asks: I have nothing, what do you have?
Aisling: Life.
Elaine: Hmm.
Roz: I have doubts that you have nothing.

Billy from Kilorglin asked, what is your favourite kind of dog?
Roz: German short-haired pointer.
Elaine: Labradoodle. I think they're pretty nice.
Aisling: I'm not a big dog person, I'm going to put it out there.
Roz: Cat dog!
Elaine: Are you a small dog person?
Aisling: Hum?
Elaine: Small dogs?
Aisling: Oh..I support dogs though, in general.
Elaine&Roz [jeering]: I sponsor dogs! Dogs get the thumbs up!
Aisling: Hops is the best dog though.
Elaine: Yeah, I've a great dog though who belongs to my house-mate James who hops continuously on the same two spots in our garden. There's many theories about why, like possibly there's a body or treasure buried there.
Roz: Or lots of pedigree chum.
Elaine: So sometimes when I'm in my room I can see him flying through the air, landing. So Hops is my favourite breed of dog. Apparently he was called Hops before he started hopping so he's very special.
Roz: He's doing quite well, he's made a little groove for himself.
Elaine: Yeah, he's worn away part of the concrete from salivating on it. It makes him very excited when he sees it.

Last one, Laura from Dublin asked: what's your guiltiest pleasure?
Aisling: Way too many.
Roz: I don't have any guilt.
Elaine: I try not to feel guilty. If I feel guilty I try to stop myself.
Aisling: Enjoy the things!
Elaine: Yeah. What is morality really?
Aisling: We're going here again..

Morning Veils It's been a pleasure having you on!
Aisling&Roz &Elaine: Thanks it's been a pleasure being here!

And I'm going to put back on my very own veil now, I'll probably break the entire studio trying to do so.
Aisling: If we ever get a fan club we should issue veils.
Elaine: We could go around to the world leaders and put veils on them all.
Aisling: I think Michael D. Higgins would be totally up for it.
Elaine: Yeah, I really want to meet Michael D.
Roz: I'll set that up so [pretends to type a letter].
Elaine: He could come to our karaoke! We're planning a Morning Veils karaoke night by the way.. more to follow. Karaoke and also we were thinking about how the youth don't interact with elderly enough so we're thinking about going to an old folks home and play some of our songs. And we are also playing on the 26th [May 2013] supporting The Great Balloon Race minus Aisling who's going to be abroad unfortunately.
Aisling: I'll be at Primavera but I'll be there in "spirits".
Elaine: The Great Balloon Race on the 26th in Fred's I haven't got a time but I'm sure it will be fun.
Roz: Evening, I'd say.
Elaine: Yeah, when it's dark.
Aisling: That's when we emerge.
All: Cawww, ayooo!

You're going to pick one last Cork song for us?
Elaine: The Great Balloon Race. [Pockets]
Aisling: Go on drop the beat!

Tune in to The Cork Music Show at 3pm this Sunday (25th August 2013) for a bumper 2-hour special on 100.5FM in the Cork area.

For more on The Cork Music Show visit:

- Tune in to The Cork Music Show 4-5pm every Sunday on Cork City Community Radio (100.5FM) for an hour only of Cork-only rekkerds.
- If you know of some great Cork bands drop us a line at

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