"When we're playing to new crowds ... we know how to draw a crowd in and keep one, something that we learned in our busking days."
Having started off as proper indies doing DIY records and busking in Dublin, The Riptide Movement have slowly gained mainstream attention and are finally getting on a plane to tell us all about it. Their no-nonsense rock sound is easy on the ear but not derivative: a good mix of familiar formula with new purpose. Talking from Dublin during a morning recording break, singer and guitarist Mal Tuohy talks about their biggest album so far, Getting Through, as well as what's happening next. "I suppose it is a bit weird, we released this album [Getting Through] in Ireland last year and in the UK earlier this year, and we've been touring this album for the last 18 months and about to come to Australia. But we're also writing and making the new one at the moment, so we've very much looking ahead."
"We've also had Facebook and email messages in from people who say that it's been with them during hard times in their lives, and for us, that's what it's all about."
Tuohy and his bandmates have built an international following by just getting out there and performing, with invites having come to play all over the world just by virtue of being heard and getting out there on the streets. "That background really helped with playing, with our performance, because we were playing the songs so much, and working on learning how to get people's attention. Even now when we start in new countries and when we're playing to new crowds, we've very comfortable with that because we know how to draw a crowd in and keep one, something that we learned in our busking days."
These days the streets have given way to invites for some of the biggest gigs in the world including Glastonbury, while individual tunes like All Works Out have also had major lives, including having been used for an Irish tourism campaign, as well as being an international fan favourite for major life events. "That song seems to have touched so many people in different ways, and when we play it live, the place goes crazy," Tuohy says. "We've also had Facebook and email messages in from people who say that it's been with them during hard times in their lives, and for us, that's what it's all about. For us, when people come to a concert they often just want to pay money to have a break from their lives for a couple of hours and we're really mindful of that, we want to leave people on a high, and that's what music's all about."
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The tune itself is about a complicated relationship within the band, but can be easily transformed. Tuohy admits there's a bit of "cheesy pop" there if you want to hear that, but "it's also bleak and a bit hopeful - there's lot of grey in there, and that's life, it's not black and white". In addition to their own stuff, the band have given the odd cover a great go too, with their version of Dolly Parton's Jolene a thing of bloody wonder. "It was something they asked us to do on radio, and we chose what they might not play, so Jolene, and also Beyonce's Halo as well," he laughs.