Growing up in Galway, Ireland the four members of NewDad knew that their hometown was something of a contradiction. On one hand it’s a small and picturesque city with a close-knit community where forming a band and spending all your time making music is a great way to pass the time. On the other hand that smallness brings its own problems; what do you do when you have played the two local venues enough times to know every inch of the stage and dodgy toilet set-up? “It can be hard to break out because it’s such a comfortable place that people don’t want to leave,” reasons Julie Dawson, who fronts the band alongside Áindle O’Beirn, Sean O’Dowd, and Fiachra Parslow. “If you grow up here you have to get out eventually.” Now is NewDad’s time to break out. 


NewDad formed while still at school in Galway and thank a random band name generator for their unusual moniker. None of the band have kids, sure, but NewDad certainly beats the other contenders: Deaf Seth Rogen and Pants 2. Plus, Dads do like them. “I think we remind them of bands from their youth,” Julie says. “It’s a great stamp of approval.” 


Having initially felt isolated as a new Irish band, the success of friends and fellow countrymen Fontaines DC and The Murder Capital forged a path for the band and in early 2020 they recruited Sean O’Dowd on guitar, having existed as three piece prior to that point. Initially getting together because Julie “hates playing and singing on my own,” the band have grown more and more serious about what they do and when lockdown hit they decided to move in together in order to write and record as much as possible. 


The first result of this was the band’s debut EP Waves, released in early 2021. Dark and stormy with undeniably beautiful moments amid the mammoth guitars, the EP acted as a perfect introduction to the world NewDad have created for themselves and picked up fans across the globe. There’s a heaviness to the music, which the band pin to a love of The Cure, Pixies, and Slowdive among others, that transcends local scenes or languages. But it’s not just in the feedback that NewDad find their truth, Julie’s songwriting brings a subtlety to their sound, weaving personal relationships and influences from the worlds of literature and cinema to add depth. 


She explores these themes more closely on the band’s new EP Banshee, which was mixed by legendary producer John Congleton. “When I was writing Waves I was out of school but looking back at experiences from that time,” Julie says of an EP that delves into “family, relationships, and all of the mistakes you make at that age.” 


The new music is brighter, something Julie pins on the excitement of moving in together as a band and working on the songs. “There’s a lightness to the songs and we’re moving in a more pop direction, too.” One song, Ladybird, was inspired by the Greta Gerwig movie of the same name while the bittersweet jangle of Say It deals with the heartache of being more interested in someone than they are in you. Other songs, including the epic and sprawling Spring, are more inward looking and tackle the waves of anxiety living in the modern world can make feel inescapable. “I’ve written a lot of songs about dreams, sleep and restlessness. This past year has added a whole heap of pressure onto us so I’ve been doing a lot of talking through what’s going on in my mind.” Together these songs capture a moment in time for a band with big ambitions and a bright future they’re eager to chase down as quickly as possible. 


In the short term NewDad are excited about getting out and performing for the new fans they have picked up in the past year. “I had no plan b and dropped out of college to make music because it’s the only thing that makes me happy,” Julie says. “Knowing that we get to do this all the time and that people are responding to it makes me feel complete.”


Work has already begun on a debut album and the band harbor dreams of scoring a movie or TV series, too. All in their early 20s, the four members of NewDad are keen to explore and push themselves as far as they can go. They’re a band who work on a sensory level and where emotion is the boldest colour on their palette. The results are transportative as NewDad take you to an alien landscape dreamed up in the most domestic of locations: a house share in the west of Ireland. It’s a trick of subtle magic but one the band make look easy.  NewDad make you believe. 



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