BELFAST band The Long Stay have released a new single which the local musical trio produced and recorded via Zoom.
‘Space Race’ has been a challenge to produce over lockdown but a labour of love for the band who formed way back in 1991, when Brendan Donnelly, Brendan McCullough and Sean McAuley met while at university.
Brendan said that the band’s name is in no way a fluke. “We’ve stayed together all these years – we’re really here for the long stay!” he said.
Speaking about the challenges of recording the new material Sean McAuley said: “In fairness the lockdown had its own challenges but it also gave us the opportunity to produce this song and to do so in a very modern way – digitally! It’s not the same natural process of producing and recording music but it had its own benefits.”
Economic disparity, refugee displacement, misuse of natural resources, inequality issues, conflict and repression. These are all issues affecting our world”
After regular song writing meetings in their early days, the band recorded their first album ‘The Long Stay’ at Patrick Delgatty’s Green Dolphin studios in Belfast in 1994. The first album was recorded over a two day session, with most of the recordings taking just a single take – just as they had been played at rehearsals.
The songs were recorded simply, without any effort on arrangement, or production. This focus on the basic art of song-writing led to a raw but sparkling selection of 12 songs, which was released to local critical acclaim.
Limited resources however meant that the release was restricted to a small distribution. Unfortunately ‘The Long Stay’ is no longer available and is regarded as a valuable collector’s item.
Conversely, their new album has come about in a completely different way. Sean says that it is a digital album “in that it was completely made via Zoom and over emails. It’s the new normal really!”
After their first album in 1994 the band eventually returned to the studio in 1996, this time recording with Joe Goudie at ‘Joe’s Garage’.
Out of these recordings The Long Stay released their first EP ‘Moody Day’. The title track of this release received much acclaim in the local press, and made it regularly on to playlists for all the local radio stations. ‘Moody Day’ became a regular feature on Radio Ulster shows fronted by radio personalities such as Gerry Anderson, George Jones, Cherry McIllwaine and John Bennett.
After playing several radio concerts, the title track, and other tracks from the ‘Moody Day’ EP, also made it onto the playlists for Downtown Radio and Cool FM.
‘Space Race’ is the latest single to be released by The Long Stay. It looks at the amazing technological advancements and contrasts them with the overwhelming issues in our world.
‘Space Race’ has a simple, yet essential message, that instead of being in a race to leave earth, we should be racing to save the only planet we have.
We’re very much looking forward to playing again at gigs such as that one and to getting the music out there. It’s a song that has a bit of a new sound for us which is exciting and it has a universal message.”
“Economic disparity, refugee displacement, misuse of natural resources, inequality issues, conflict and repression. These are all issues affecting our world,” said Brendan.
“Should we really be racing towards populating another planet, or should we use our intelligence to best improve our own world.”
Brendan adds: “We’re not claiming to be eco-warriors by any means but we’re simply proposing asking questions through this song that that people globally are also probably asking.
“The video of this song gets the message across brilliantly, it really visualises the song!”
The band are looking forward to meeting up in person after lockdown and playing local venues. A personal highlight for the members was their last gig before lockdown in the Sunflower pub.
Sean recalls: “It was great – the intimacy of it and seeing familiar faces, really creates a great atmosphere. We were also playing in front of a mural by Mickey Donnelly, a great friend of ours who sadly passed away.
“We’re very much looking forward to playing again at gigs such as that one and to getting the music out there. It’s a song that has a bit of a new sound for us which is exciting and it has a universal message.”
Space Race by The Long Stay is available on all digital platforms.