Ciaran McMeeken has something to say. He doesn’t care that genre-wise he swims against a very strong electronic-fuelled current, nor does he care that he may not be label’s first choice when it comes to manufacturing the next big thing. He’s here because he loves music, he’s passionate about what he says, and he wants to spend the rest of his life writing it. From what I gleaned over a coffee with the guy, I suspect that’s exactly what will happen.
I met with Ciaran for coffee in the ever-impressive interior of Supreme Seafarers in the Auckland CBD. I was greeted with a smile and a cheerful, “Hey man,” and I knew things were already off to a good start. I basically told Ciaran to free-flow converse with me, hoping to gather the ins and outs of what he’s up to music and life wise.
Age 23, Ciaran has a vision and a passion that far surpasses the run-in-the-mill in the New Zealand music industry. Ciaran had always been a music fan, and a few months into the first year of his university degree, he had an epiphany that he needed to be focusing on songwriting and expressing himself artistically. He promptly dropped out of his degree and decided to pursue music full-time. I’m sure the ‘rents were stoked on that one.
However, Ciaran proved very quickly he wasn’t messing around. With the release of his first EP ‘The Valley’, he showcased a level of songwriting maturity, lyrically and musically, that far exceeded his age and stage.
I asked Ciaran how he created such a unique sound with his music in a genre that is so oversaturated with the likes of Ed-Sheeran’s-to-be, and he gave what of the best answers I’ve heard: “I have no idea, man.”
He just writes. That’s all he knows, and that’s all he loves. This is where the genuineness and honesty shines through in his music; something that can’t be said for a lot of music coming through the radio these days.
At the time I spoke with Ciaran, he was two days out from releasing his newest record ‘Screaming Man’, an album which is now available, and one which I highly recommend you treat your ears to. The album shows a development in his songwriting and a honing in on his skill as a musician, with the added step-up in audio production quality being recorded at the prestigious Roundhead Studios.
Regarding the artwork of the album, being a visuals guy, I asked Ciaran about how it came to be - the answer to which has an amazing backstory. The artwork depicts the outline of a rhino head, with a closeup of a rhino’s eye within. The reason for this is a couple years back, Ciaran was working on a farm in Southland, and a mountain that overlooked the farm he worked on always caught his eye. This mountain was Rhino Peak. But something else drew Ciaran closer. From a particular angle, the mountain looked like a man screaming up at the sky, which was a perfect visual manifestation of what Ciaran wanted his album to sound like: raw, passionate, honest.
Aside from being a very solid dude to grab a cold brew with, Ciaran has a vision and enthusiasm towards his life that is infectious, and I walked away from the cafe feeling thoroughly impressed.
Follow the dude’s trajectory to fame; we’ll bet on it.