Richard Monaghan – Stockport UK

Richard is definitely in my top 5 for discoveries on Soundcloud this year. I am exceedingly jealous of his uncanny ability to craft a perfect Brit pop song pretty much every single time. Superb choruses, heartfelt lyrics and recordings all with an earthy feel to them. And all hand crafted to perfection. He makes it all sound so utterly easy. He has slightly husky world weary voice and there is a quintessential “Manchester” vibe in his music. He’s another one artist who makes the kind of music I would have rushed out and bought after hearing it on the radio back in the day. Fortunately the next best thing I can do is find him on Bandcamp (link at bottom of page) and a few of his releases are now a cherished part of my collection there.

Richard sounds to me like the best of brews (that’s my British tea analogy!) of artists like The Verve, Elbow and Crowded House / Neil Finn.

How did you get into music?

My first instrument was an acoustic guitar & it remains the only instrument I am reasonably proficient in, which is a bold claim. I’m not a great musician, but I do like to write songs & have just enough skill & theory to get by.

When I was about 15, after learning enough chords to write some basic songs, I headed out to a local wine bar that ran an ‘Open Mic’ slot on my own, guitar slung across my back. It was fun, though pretty scary. I think one of my first songs was a really simple song about a spider! I wish I could remember it, it was quite good!

A few years later, in my early 20’s, I formed a band which we named ‘The News’ (completely oblivious to Huey Lewis until too late). We played just about every venue in Manchester & bars all over the UK. We were a solid live band with a good following & the other guys really great musicians & friends. As I guess a lot of these things do, we slowly grew tired of damp rehearsal rooms & carrying amps around. Work, girlfriends (now wives) & kids happened. My musical endeavours didn’t so much stop but rather, they petered out.

Fast forward to 2020 & my old laptop died. I bought a MacBook & discovered Garageband. Turns out now anyone can record & release music on major platforms with relative ease & little expense. It has been such an unexpected joy. Though it is hard to find time with children, home & work commitments, I love sneaking away to record a bass part or some keys on whatever the latest song is.

Your musical influences?

Against the run of play considering my musical output, my favourite record of all time is ‘Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)’ by Wu-Tang Clan. It is probably the first record I felt truly excited by. Its pretty dense material heavy with slang, even still today, but the expression is raw, powerful, melodic & exciting. In my teens it was rap all the way. Wu-tang, Nas, Blackstar, Fugees, Biggie Smalls etc

I also love The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Otis Reading, Sam Cooke, Johnny Cash. I love lots of Indie music – I love well written & well-structured songs.

I would hesitate to say who my musical influences are, only because my imagination is limited by my skill set. I write little songs about family, friendship, love & loss which tend to sound like someone who grew up in the 90’s. If they sound like anything it is probably luck rather than design.

Your favourite song that you’ve written?

It’s always the latest one. Once mixing is over I don’t tend to listen back too much. Otherwise I just regret all the decisions I made in writing & recording. (At the time of writing, this is the latest song Richard has uploaded to Soundcloud)

Your favourite Soundcloud artist and song?

Amy O’Bryan (I miss you every day) & Cat Came Back (2am). Joint winner! (Author’s note – thanks from the Cat! 😸)

Soundcloud Tips?

Don’t fall for re-post accounts or accounts that advertise they will market your music. I tried one service early on – offering to promote a track – to see what the impact was but they’re just bots & fake plays.

Your thoughts on the Soundcloud community?

The real people on there are great. Really supportive & I’ve had a lot of lovely feedback & comments. I think the best thing about Soundcloud is the sense that someone is genuinely listening – stats are cold but interaction with people is rewarding.

Anything else we need to know? 😼

Outside of music I have two young sons (currently 4 & 6) who, along with my wife, keep me very busy. We live with our Cat in a nice house in Stockport which is in Greater Manchester. It is a good place to live & bring up kids, close to rolling countryside in one direction & a major city in the other. We also have some interesting coastlines not too far away. I just wish it would be warmer more often – I like a Mediterranean climate!

My favourite song from Richard…

This one really is almost too hard to choose, so I’m sneaking in two. First one is the first song of his that I heard, and I became an instant fan. The second song is just gorgeous and very demonstrative of his wonderful songwriting skills.

And as an added bonus Richard has sent me some Youtube links to some of his past glories – they definitely look like Manchester boys to me!

Finally if you reeeeeallly like what you hear, you can make Richard’s day by visiting his Bandcamp page and adding his music to your daily listening here

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