'Early Hours', the debut single by new Irish Alternative Hip Hop artist, Ugolino, is out now on all streaming platforms. The track released last Friday (16th April)
Arising from compassion for struggling Irish youth, 'Early Hours' paints a grim picture of the morning after a night out, highlighting what hopelessness and impulsive behavior can lead to. The gritty spoken word vocals of Shane Richardson tackle issues surrounding substance abuse, mental health and relationships. The song features guest vocals by Leah Tiernan (a.k.a. GRWL), and a mellow, jazz-infused instrumental produced by Oran Hurley.
Combining a jazz-infused instrumental with gritty spoken word vocals, this single defines a sound that is both unique and deeply authentic. 'Early Hours' is the first of three singles set to be released in the lead up to a debut EP, which will see Ugolino established as one of Ireland’s pioneering artists. The collaboration of an experienced vocalist and a born and bred composer has led to something truly special.
Lyricist and vocalist, Shane Richardson, has been writing poetry and short stories for as long as he can remember. Heavily inspired by Irish poetry, he finds inspiration in the melancholic realism of authors such as Seamus Heaney. Other inspirations are broad and varied, including writers such as American poet Mary Oliver and cult hero / poet Charles Bukowski. Having previously released several solo projects, Shane’s music has been featured in blogs such as District Magazine and Golden Plec, played on radio stations such as Spin1038 and 98FM, and added to The New Eire Spotify editorial playlist. He has chosen to remove all of his previous releases from streaming platforms, to set the stage for this new project. Shane says:
“With 'Early Hours', I wanted to show the bleakness of what the acceptable - and practically encouraged - session culture is like in this country. Things are tough for young adults, there’s not much to do other than drink and stay up till the birds are chirping. But in the morning you’re left feeling empty; it’s a feeling I’m sure a lot of people are familiar with. 'Early Hours' highlights the truth of how it all can impact your mental health and your relationships, with a no frills attitude.”
Composer and producer, Oran Hurley, has been studying and writing music since the age of six. Currently in final year of Music at Trinity College Dublin and soon to be studying Music Production, Technology and Innovation at Berklee Valencia, his craft and expertise continue to flourish. For Ugolino, Oran finds inspiration in Jazz from musicians such as Miles Davis and John Coltraine, as well as in Classical music from composers such as Igor Stravinsky and Seán Ó Riada; highlighting these styles with modern Hip Hop production.
“The feeling of emptiness in the morning after a night out was something I could deeply relate to. I tried to highlight the sadness of that situation through the chords and melodies you hear on the keys, saxophone and strings. I think Shane’s voice and style of writing really lends well to more mellow, jazzy instrumentals. 'Early Hours' means a lot to us, and I hope it connects with others just as much.”
The single was mixed by Marcin Ciszczon of Diffusionlab, and mastered by Fergal Davis. The artwork was created by Yosef Phelan, a talented young designer whom the duo have brought on board as their visual director.
'Early Hours' brings the listener on a journey of self reflection, leaving a yearning to know more. Soft spoken vocals laced over a symphony of piano, saxophone, strings and head-nodding drums truly push Ugolino into a bracket of their own. Ugolino are bringing something new to the table, with a sound and style set to leave its mark on Irish music.
Listen to 'Early Hours' by Ugolino below: