Badhands is the musical project of Dublin songwriter and musician Dan Fitzpatrick.
Badhands began as a collaborative project with producer and bass player Tom Cosgrave (The Minutes), then quickly evolved and expanded with the enlistment of multi-instrumentalist Aoife Ruth, drummer Ken Mooney, and engineer Chris Barry.
Following a couple of beautiful singles – ‘Waves’ & ‘Let Me In’ – Badhands released stunning debut album Predictable Boy earlier this month. A captivating collection of vivid, textured songs that range in tone between dark and brooding to frantic and energetic, with moments of stirring euphoria weaved in to the mix. With a strong focus on lyrics and vocals the album echoes at times the likes of Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, Leonard Cohen, and Villagers. A beautifully intimate record that captures the imagination and enthralls the listener.
As part of the album’s tour, Badhands will be playing a Broken Home show on Saturday, November 25 in Dunlavin, Co. Wicklow. Tickets are €5 and limited so please secure in advance (A return bus will be organised from Newbridge to Dunlavin for anyone interested). Details / Tickets are here.
Ahead of the weekend’s show I caught up with Dan, to chat about the project, touring and all things music.
Tell us a little bit about ‘Badhands’. How did it come about? And what is the inspiration/focus of the new project?
The project began a couple of years ago when I started doing some recording with Tom Cosgrave, who produced this record and plays bass in the band. I had plenty of songs but no real plan. So It started out fairly aimlessly at the beginning, recording a few solo tracks sporadically with just me and a guitar. But after a while we began to feel like we were hitting on something interesting. We gradually started working towards an album, building up the sound more and more with the involvement of Aoife Ruth, Ken Mooney and Chris Barry and the operation sort of took off fairly organically from there. We wanted to make something really textured, atmospheric and interesting sounding, but still trying to incorporate the energy of a rock n roll band.
After so many years working as part of various bands like The Last Tycoons & The Mighty Stef to name but a few, has the shift to your own solo-project been challenging and/or has the new project freed you up to explore different paths than was previously possible?
It has definitely been both challenging and freeing. I’ve always loved playing in bands and was happy enough not being the main creative driving force, but the idea of doing a thing on my own was probably always buried away at the back of my mind. It was a bit challenging at the start when I really had no idea what I was at, or what I wanted to do. But I sort of figured all that out as I went along and it became a very rewarding experience. I really started to appreciate having more creative control, and liked the freedom of being able to do whatever you want for better or worse. But Badhands is very much a collaborative effort and I’m lucky to have such good musicians involved. Playing the songs with other musicians really is the most rewarding and enjoyable aspect of the whole process.
Your debut album Predictable Boy has just recently been released, can you tell us about some of the inspirations behind it?
There’s a lot of different artists that would have inspired songs on the album. Certainly Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds were a big influence, the song ‘Jubilee Street’ was one we were going back to quite a bit. Both myself and Tom were listening to PJ Harvey’s Let England Shake a lot at the time also.
You have a longstanding relationship with Kildare and it (Newbridge in particular) has always been a place to embrace your music, are you excited to be doing a Broken Home show?
No disrespect to Kildare as a whole but I would say the relationship is pretty much with Newbridge exclusively, not sure if I ever played a gig in Kildare outside Newbridge, Naas on one occasion perhaps. Yeah the Newbridge connection came about through The Mighty Stef and Ciaran Dwyer, I’ve really loved the place since the first time I played there. Mainly because of the people I’ve been lucky enough to meet. I’ve recently incorporated a couple of local lads to get involved playing in Badhands on a few occasions, Andrew ‘Boozey’ O’Donnell, Gary Wickham and Stephen Connelly, which has been a lot of fun.
Delighted to be doing a Broken Home show, I’ve been to a few of them and they are always special nights.
Let’s talk about your current touring – how have the shows gone so far? What can we expect?
The shows have gone great so far, and the band is really sounding better than ever. For the Broken Home show we will do things a little differently as it’s a more intimate setting; we will do a slightly more stripped back gig as a four-piece with no drums. Really looking forward to playing with that setup, which will be a first for us.
On the issue of touring, you played the length and breadth of Ireland on numerous occasions so it would be interesting to get your perspective on touring Ireland. What has changes (if any) have you noticed during your career/biggest challenges/positives?
I think Ireland can be a pretty tough place to tour for a lot of bands. It can be hard in certain towns to get a crowd in, especially if you’re trying to do an extensive enough tour. Having toured a lot around the country with a few different outfits I’ve always found it to be a bit hit and miss. But there’s always been great places to play, and some slightly hidden gems if you’re lucky enough to find them. Newbridge and Thomastown were always two of those for me, not that either of these towns are actually hidden, but I seemed to discover them in sort of chance circumstances. There’s some very cool venues in West Cork also, that I hadn’t played up until more recently.
What are you listening to at the moment?
I’ve been going through phases for years of trying to force myself in to listening to more classical music. I’m currently in one of them, liking Tchaikovsky and some of the Russian lads at present.
What are your plans for the rest of 2018 and early 2019?
I have a second album pretty much written, and plan to start recording that with the band at the start of next year. Really excited to get recording some new stuff again. Also planning on booking another tour with a single release around March, and then hopefully get a decent run of festivals in the summer.