Interview: Robert Smith

Dark, demented, tormented, torrid and tetchy? Oh, I don’t think so. The Cure’s Robert Smith might have gained something of a reputation in his 40-year-plus tenure as the leader of one of the most enduring of alternative post-punk bands, but these days you will find him basking in the glow of sun shining throughout The Cure’s Indian summer.

Interview: Hozier

Andrew Hozier-Byrne

Outside the office windows, Dublin hums along. Strains of a busker singing his heart out filter into the room; the stops and starts of city centre traffic underscore the calm conversation with one of Ireland’s most recent creative success stories.

Interview: Paul Simon

   The voice is slight yet unmistakable, but the mindset remains as firm, if not steely, as it has always been. Paul Simon may be closer to 80 than 70, but the songwriter – who in 2007 was the first recipient of the Library of Congress’s Gershwin Prize for Popular Song – is having none of the ‘elder statesman’ discourse.

Interview: Pennie Smith

   Pennie Smith on her photo of The Clash, which has been voted the Best Rock’n’Roll Photograph Of All Time: “I’m so familiar with it that I can’t assess it. I’m astonished that it’s taken off so well. For me, taking it, it was feeling that something was about to happen.

Interview: Steve Van Zandt

SVZ  If the phrase ‘ineffably cool’ could be applied to just one person in traditional rock music it would probably be Steve Van Zandt. ‘Miami’ Steve Van Zandt, Little Steven – whatever the moniker – is a natural born chiller, a musician who started out playing with Bruce Springsteen, graduated to Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, then to an on/off arrangement with Springsteen’s E-Street Band and subsequently to a solo career.

Interview: Lisa O’Neill

Lisa  “I’m owning it more, and I really value that,” says Cavan singer-songwriter, Lisa O’Neill, who is reflecting on the difference a few years can make in terms of confidence and self-assurance. “I’m not in disbelief anymore that this is happening. When I was speaking about my previous album, I would have felt that maybe some people were wondering if I was going to admit to winging it, that what I had were just notions.

Interview: Richard Hawley

R Hawley  “Age is a terrible price to pay for wisdom,” says Richard Hawley as he picks up a biscuit to dunk into his steaming hot cup of tea. He’s repeating an epigram his father had said to him on his deathbed, and in that stoic English working class way, Hawley stops, draws breath, dunks his biscuit again and takes a bite before the soft bit breaks away and dissolves at the bottom of his cup.

Interview: Paul Weller

Paul Weller  What do you do when the nickname that has stuck is The Modfather? What happens next when you’re viewed as an Elder Statesman of Contemporary Cultural Affairs? Or when, as a musician and songwriter in your mid-50s, you are plugging your latest solo album in just under 25 years?