FEATURE: eirewave, ireland's first all-irish radio station, wants you to "feel good • feel irish"
I want to talk about something a little bit different on the blog today.
About a year ago, the song "My Honest Face" by the Irish band Inhaler popped up on one of my Spotify daily mixes. Trust me, I'm going somewhere with this.
I started listening to them more, and through them, discovered that there has to be something in Irish water, because their musicians have an inexplicable talent to them that's kept me - and so many other listeners - coming back. All of this is to say that recently, I've been listening to a hell of a lot more Irish bands, and mostly unsigned or smaller ones. I've found myself seeking them out. I've found that their authenticity and dedication to making genuine and interesting music sets them apart from their contemporaries. This is a relatively broad statement, I know, but if you're not convinced, I've included a playlist so you can understand for yourself why I'm making such bold assertions.
Eirewave is exclusively dedicated to playing and promoting contemporary Irish musicians. Originally launched in January of 2012 as "URadio," they were the first contemporary Irish music station, as a matter of fact, and remain one of the most popular stations providing such a unique listening experience. Their goal is "to promote Irish music, increase the visibility of Irish artists, and to introduce original ‘new blood’ into the Irish radio landscape in terms of content, approach, and format." I have personally been listening to Eirewave for a few months now, and have been shocked both by how many Irish artists I listen to without realizing, and how much incredible music the Irish are churning out, right under our noses.
When the station first launched, founder Olivier Mauxion had few valid concerns: "Would people listen to us? Would artists support us?" The answer was a resounding yes when, in only the first year, Eirewave had grown to almost 100,000 listeners monthly without any advertising or PR. Now, eight years after their initial launch, they're up to 350,000 unique monthly listeners.
Their website is so easily navigable it hurts - with a clean layout and a simple, relevant call-to-action ("Feel Good • Feel Irish"), Eirewave asks you to do just that by clicking two simple buttons to listen live. And while you're listening live, you can browse the other features of their website, the most prominent of which is their artist profiles. Eirewave provides a unique artist experience because, in addition to playing your music, they give you the opportunity to promote upcoming gigs and releases, as well as introduce yourself to their listeners, all on one page. They also have a platform called "The Next Big Thing" where unsigned Irish artists can submit their music to be played on Eirewave. Everything they do is authentically dedicated to making sure these musicians' voices are heard.
The biggest news isn't even that Eirewave play 100% Irish music. It's the surprising fact that a generous chunk of their listenership is actually based in the United States. Given that one of their main goals is to increase visibility for Irish musicians, I'd say they're doing a fine job if their reach extends overseas. They're completely independent, meaning they're not being paid to promote these artists - they pick and play what they want, as often as they want, for the love of the music, so you know that what you're hearing is the best of the best.
Platforms like Eirewave are integral to publications like Buzzkill because they do a lot of the legwork I'm usually up until 3:00 in the morning doing. As you all know (or, as you might not know yet, but are about to), Buzzkill is an American-based publication whose main purpose is to give platforms to small British bands and to help them grow their American audiences, so a lot of what I do behind the scenes is scroll through Spotify, Bandcamp, and Soundcloud looking for unsigned artists from the United Kingdom (which is occasionally harder than you'd think) who deserve to make it big. Eirewave make it easier because they're already playing these artists - all I have to do is pop them on and write down the names of the bands they play to reach out to later.
In addition to their fantastic website, Eirewave can be found on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Here's a link to listen live on their website. You can listen from anywhere in the world - and I'd highly encourage it!