THE RAGS (2004-2010)
‘Me & The Moon’ EP released (Mischief Records)
Following a period of extensive rehearsing, recording and live performances around Dublin, The Rags (Daniel Anderson, Dermot Staunton, Barry White, Ciaran Kavanagh, Karl O’Reilly and Kevin Fitzpatrick) are awarded funding from BCFE and release ‘Me & The Moon’, a debut four track EP featuring the tracks: Me & The Moon, Stolen Car, Model Citizen and Beats. Recorded in Thomas Reynolds recording studio in Phibsboro Dublin. Engineered and mixed by Ciaran Bradshaw.
The Rags receive their first bout of national press coverage. Me & the Moon is awarded Single of the Fortnight by Hotpress and the band described as “the best new Irish band in years” on the BBC website. Tracks from the EP are regularly featured on RTE 2fm, Today FM and BBC Radio Ulster amongst other regional and independent radio station playlists. After the initial 1,000 copies sell out, the EP is later re-released later in the year on the band’s own Grand Cake label.
‘Monsters & EP’ I released (Grand Cake Records)
The Rags second release is another four track EP titled Monsters & I including the tracks: Strawberry Bed, Monsters & I, You Decide To Come Alive and Winter Wounds. Recorded in Aughrim Co. Wicklow, and The Cauldron and Apollo studios, Dublin. Engineered and mixed by Ger McDonnell and Ciaran Bradshaw.
The Rags continue to receive positive press and music industry attention. A promo video for the title track produced by animators Eyebrowy becomes an online viral hit while the band receives further notable acclaim including Hotpress Single of the Fortnight and Ian Dempsey’s Song of the Week along with positive reviews online. In late May ’05, The Rags play to a sold-out capacity crowd in Whelans, Dublin and go on to play festival dates across the country including slots at Marlay Park, Dublin’s Point/O2 venue and Electric Picnic 2005. Later in the year the band sign a licensing deal for the use of the track Monsters & I in a TV and radio ad campaign for Campbell’s Soup and are approached by Sony Records to record tracks in Grouse Lodge studios with producer Marc Carolan.
Grouse Lodge recording sessions
The Rags are commissioned by Sony Records to record at Grouse Lodge studios in Westmeath with Marc Carolan. The band record several tracks, two of which (‘Razors & Ropes’, ‘A Mirror To A Woman’) later appear on A National Light.
Lead guitarist Ciaran Kavanagh departs The Rags, going on to play with a number of other Irish acts.
‘Razors And Ropes’ single released (Grand Cake/RMG Chart)
Featuring the songs: Razors & Ropes and Owner of a Loveless Life.
Taking a break from preliminary album recording sessions, The Rags release two new songs as part of the single release for Razors and Ropes, which is the first release to receive nationwide distribution by RMG Chart.
The release in again awarded Hotpress Single of the Fortnight (“this stands out as The Rags finest recording to date”) and Today FM’s Song of the Week while the band remain busy on the live front with appearances at Electric Picnic 2006, The Savoy in Cork and the Olympia in Dublin.
‘Monsters & I’ single released (Sony Records)
Featuring the songs: Monsters & I and All The Girls Want One.
Following widespread airplay and exposure from the Campbell’s ad campaign Sony Records re-release ‘Monsters & I’ as a single.
Much of 2007 is focused on preliminary album recording sessions with engineer Andy Knightly at a temporary studio base in North Dublin.
Album recording sessions
Album recording sessions take the band from North Dublin to South France on to the West of Ireland and back to Dublin. External and internal pressures take their toll and following the completion of recording sessions the lineup is further afflicted with key members of the original group moving away from music to forge new careers and/or emigrate. At several points throughout a complex period for the band it often appears as if a debut album may never see the light of day but in early 2010 the album ‘A National Light’ is finally mixed and mastered.
‘A National Light’ album released (Grand Cake Records)
The Rags debut album is released on Grand Cake Records and distributed by RMG Chart. Featuring 12 tracks: Uniforms & Neckties, Love Is a Lie, A Murderous Chant, A National Light, Owner of a Loveless Life, Memories Are Rife, A Mirror to a Woman (Is a Bullet in a Gun), Bin Bag, Gatling Gun, Bury the Queen, Razors & Ropes & Pennies for Thoughts.
Perhaps shaped by the precarious state of the band’s immediate environment and a prevailing sense of doom in the wider landscape the album is arguably a far darker record than previous Rags releases but, as suggested by its title, one not without a sense of hope and redemption. A National Light receives widespread press acclaim particularly for its lyrical expressiveness with one 5 star review exclaiming: “Finally – an Irish band with something to say,“ likening the record to “modern newsreel flashes of a capital city spilling over with corruption, smut, loneliness and violence” another praising lyricist Daniel Anderson for being “one of the few songwriters reflecting the mood of the times”.
A live band comprising original and new members complete a short tour and following the album release campaign The Rags disband in Autumn 2010.
* UPDATE 2012 – Complete discography and unreleased track made available
The Rags website (therags.com) receives a final update with a complete mp3 discography of the band’s official releases and the release of a video for the previously unreleased track Safari (2006) featuring documentary footage from the throughout the band’s history.