It was a Wednesday night when I unsuspectingly showed up at The Mezz in Temple Bar. There he was – on his own on that little stage – dimly lit but with a bright blithe smile. It was just him and his guitar, creating a magnetic atmosphere. After about half a song I had made up my mind – I wanted this fella for an interview.
‘I decided to follow Jack Black and stick it to the man.’
It all started when Neo was about thirteen years old. He had been playing guitar for a year when he formed a band with his friends. The guys know each other from a very young age and still make music together to this day. Quite successfully so! As ‘Nobodys Heroes’ they won several competitions and played at festivals like Longitude and Electric Picnic.
On his own Neo started performing at open mic nights in Dublin to test songs he had written himself. The venue he was impressed by the most is The Bleeding Horse. ‘It was always awesome and the people were always really friendly and really supportive. Through their proper feedback I got new ideas as well.’
Until a couple of months ago he worked at a café which he actually enjoyed, but the will to turn his hobby into a career was irrevocable. Neo took a leap of faith – he quit the job so he could dedicate all his time to his music. ‘I decided to follow Jack Black and stick it to the man’, he laughs.
Neo used to go busking in Dublin streets until he became busy playing gigs. Now he regularly plays at different venues. His work days usually consist of practice, song writing and gigs. Besides singing Neo works on recording at home as he wants to become a producer.
Everything and Jazz
When I ask Neo what kind of music he plays, he smirks. ‘Do you want the simple answer or the detailed version?’ I get both a simple enough and detailed answer to my question. I find out that the genre he plays very much depends on his mood. He likes to mix things, especially with jazz. ‘So it would be like Indie-Rock-Jazz, Hip-Hop-Jazz, but also R’n’B or reggae tunes…’
The inspiration for his songs ties down to experiences. It could be as simple as people he meets on the streets. ‘Everyone has their own story and once I get to know them there is this idea in my head, what they’ve gone through, how they became who they are. I try to feel their emotions and put them into a song.’
The main instrument Neo plays is his beloved guitar. But – just between you and me – turns out he is impressively talented and can play quite a few other instruments as well, such as drums, ukulele, piano and that’s not even all. He’s never had music lessons but he’s taught himself. Though Neo doesn’t like to brag, that’s why I am doing it for him.
The number one instrument he dreams of learning is the cello. ‘Once I know the cello I can rest forever.’
When Neo performs by himself, for instance at The Mezz, he usually plays covers as he thinks that people are there to dance and sing along. But here and there he sneaks in a couple of his own songs – so listen carefully!
However with the band they play about 95% original songs and 5% covers. The sound of his band he describes as alternative funkbased Indie-Rock. Listen to the lads on Spotify or Google Play Music! They currently have their EP ‘Let Loose’ out, consisting of four songs, and there is more to come soon enough!
Not enough yoga
Neo loves the outdoors and uses spare time to practice roller blading, go for a walk or a jog, anything that gets him out. He might even do some yoga – just ‘not enough’ he admits laughing. Which is quite understandable after he tells me that on his days off he usually only gets home at 7 AM after a gig and dies for some sleep. Everything else sometimes has to wait until 11 PM. His friends complain about his texting habits, sometimes it takes a couple of days for Neo to reply on messages. ‘I’m trying’ he says, smiling guiltily.
The wheres and whens
Neo plays at The Mezz in Temple Bar every Wednesday and some Saturdays around 9 PM. On Fridays and Saturdays you can find him at The Black Door in Harcourt.
‘Coming to the end of our interview, is there anything left you want to shout out to Dublin?’
‘I’d like to say hi to my mam! And hi to everybody who is tuning in! I’ll see you soon!’