Family Affair

Introducing NewDad, Dream Pop’s next big thing
By Bailey Slater | Music | 30 March 2022

NewDad, the Irish foursome – consisting of Julie Dawson, Áindle O’Beirn, Sean O’Dowd, and Fiachra Parslow – have only been releasing music for the last three years, yet somehow they’ve already cracked the code of crafting ethereal bangers that tug and tear at your heartstrings. Nestling comfortably into the world of strung-out indie, melancholic efforts like 2021 EP Waves are a masterfully melancholic tribute to change, full of moody melodies and probing lyrics handcrafted as a refuge from heartache.

At the beginning of the year, they dropped Banshee, a five-track EP capturing the restless angst of lockdown that was, dare we say, happier? Embracing synths that bristle and shimmer with vibrant electricity, and basslines that burst through speakers like a punch to the gut, the band leaned into the latter end of dream pop with starry eyes and plenty of spirit, bouncing back through the pain and tumult without a care in the world. Things do, however, come to a head on the project’s glorious and gut-busting swan song, Ladybird. Between its colossal chorus lines and hearty yet damning vocals, there couldn’t be a more perfect contender for the soundtrack of our summer, and if there is, NewDad definitely hasn’t written it yet.

Ahead of NewDad’s UK tour, which kicked off this week in Brighton, we caught the band on one sunny day in Galway for a quick chat about life on the road and their plans for the future.

Bailey Slater: Let’s start at the beginning, how did you all meet?
Julie Dawson: We met at school, we needed something for our music practical and figured we would try something together and we just stuck with it.

BS: I’m obsessed with the way you used RandomNameGenerator for your band name, what were the other strong contenders?
JD: Not sure that they were strong contenders, but the other options were Pants 2 and Deaf Seth Rogan.

BS: Tell us about life growing up in Galway?
JD: Galway is a lovely place to grow up, it’s a nice small town beside the sea. It’s quite an artsy place so anything creative was always encouraged, which is nice. I love Galway and am glad I grew up here

BS: What have you enjoyed most about being on tour?
JD: Getting to play for people and meet new people is so much fun, you always feel a bit low when you get home, but yeah. Definitely just meeting new people who enjoy our music. 

BS: Where’s the best place you’ve pit-stopped on the road so far?
JD: We went to the very iconic Buc-ees (a chain of travel centres known for their extraordinarily long car washes and petrol pumps) on the way to Dallas which was very interesting – and also chaotic.

BS: You’ve recently released the incredible Banshee EP into the world, how did this project take shape?
JD: We had just moved in together during the second lockdown and we were very eager to write more now that we could all be together, so we wrote the EP in about three weeks!

BS: What were some of the major inspirations for you during this time?
JD: [Banshee] was inspired by what we had all been feeling over the lockdown, we were all a bit restless and anxious because of what was happening in the world, so that was the main inspiration.

BS: All the songs are really beautiful, but Ladybird really just takes it there. What is it about the Greta Gerwig epic that fuelled you on this one?
JD: The chord progression I wrote for Ladybird reminded me of the Dave Matthews song played throughout the film so it was initially just a working title, but the song ended up being about being away from someone you love, missing them and the anxiety you face when you are apart. That reminded me of the mother-daughter relationship in the film at the end.

BS: How would you describe the evolution of your sound between Banshee and Waves?
JD: I think we wanted to try doing something more upbeat while maintaining the sound we already had. I guess we just went a bit poppier.

BS: Do these projects exist in the same world?
JD: I think they deal with a lot of the same emotions, like feeling lonely or anxious, so I guess that ties them together.

BS: Are plans for your debut album in the works yet?
JD: They are, we’re very excited about what we’ve been writing.

NewDad’s UK tour ends May 7th. Tickets are available here

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