Debut success for Derry’s sensational Our Krypton Son

AWARD-WINNING COVER SHOT - Our Krypton Son's debut single, 'Catalonian Love Song', is out now on Smalltown America Records. This eyecatching image of the band's lead singer, taken by talented local photographer Paula Gillespie, won last year's prestigious NME Magazine Photography Award. (2911JC3)
AWARD-WINNING COVER SHOT - Our Krypton Son's debut single, 'Catalonian Love Song', is out now on Smalltown America Records. This eyecatching image of the band's lead singer, taken by talented local photographer Paula Gillespie, won last year's prestigious NME Magazine Photography Award. (2911JC3)

Described by BBC Radio Ulster as ‘a prodigious talent’, Derry’s Our Krypton Son have finally released their long-awaited debut single ‘Catalonian Love Song’ to widespread acclaim.

Chris McConaghy aka Our Krypton Son hails from the Waterside and has been a well-known artist in the Northern Irish music scene over the past decade. Having expanded Our Krypton Son into a full band and signed a deal to release their debut single with Derry-based record label, Smalltown America, at last the music industry and fans alike have really begun to take notice.

Chris McConaghy of Our Krypton Son. (2911JC4)

Chris McConaghy of Our Krypton Son. (2911JC4)

It is a debut to be proud of, and Our Krypton Son’s credentials are particularly impressive as their debut album was produced by none other than noted Oxford-based producer Sam Williams, whose previous successes include Supergrass, Plan B, The Noisettes, Tricky, Kula Shaker and The Go Team.

Speaking to the ‘Derry Journal’ as Catalonian Love Song hits the airwaves all over the country, Chris McConaghy seems delighted with the feedback so far.

“It’s early days yet, but everything has been great so far,” the local musician says. “Smalltown America have put the single out and they’ve been bloody brilliant to work with. There’s been a lot of interest since it went online and we’ve received a few really good reviews from Alternative Ulster and some prominent music blogs, so it’s all going well!”

Having been in many local bands over the years, Chris’ first foray into the professional music industry came with another infamous Derry band - psychobilly art-rockers Red Organ Serpent Sound. Having graduated unscathed from those rambunctious ranks, Chris established his songwriting credentials as an acoustic solo act sharing stages with David Kitt, Gemma Hayes, Jape and Cashier No. 9 around the Irish club circuit.

Our Krypton Son pictured playing at the infamous Cellar Bar in Draperstown. Pictured, from left, guitarist Rob Elliott, Conor Mason on keys, Chris McConaghy at front, and Ciaran Coyle on bass. Drummer Joe Nelis is obscured at the back. (2911JC17)

Our Krypton Son pictured playing at the infamous Cellar Bar in Draperstown. Pictured, from left, guitarist Rob Elliott, Conor Mason on keys, Chris McConaghy at front, and Ciaran Coyle on bass. Drummer Joe Nelis is obscured at the back. (2911JC17)

Gathering plaudits as a writer of note, Chris gathered close musician friends together in early 2010 to expand upon Our Krypton Son and record a debut album of the same name, from which the new lead single is taken. Recorded in a large industrial warehouse (an asphalt roofing factory in a Derry industrial estate, to be precise) and ), Our Krypton Son’s muse traverses the songscapes of Wilco, Costello, Bowie, Waits and Orbison.

McConaghy’s songs are the shining stars of this show, as lead single ‘Catalonian Love Song’ details in extraordinary fashion. It’s a heady, dreamy and blissful mix.

Both Chris and the band, consisting of Ciaran Coyle on bass, Rob Elliott on guitar, Conor Mason on keys and Joe Nelis on drums, realise the importance of the internet and social networking sites and recent months, the band have embraced modern technology and are now reaping the rewards.

Chris elaborates: “With the record industry as it is, the internet and social network sites such as Facebook and Soundcloud are crucial promotional tools for bands/artists like us. Soundcloud enables you to upload and preview tracks at a really high quality so people can listen first before buying. And it’s all free to use. Of course there are tons of these sites for bands and they can all make a big difference.

“Some artists can manipulate these tools to their great advantage; we’re only getting to grips with them but we’re getting there,” he laughs.

Getting there indeed. With regular airplay on BBC Radio Ulster, BBC Radio Foyle and the ‘BBC Introducing’ series in several regions of England and Wales, Our Krypton Son are steadily building a reputation to be proud of.

Stephen McCauley of BBC Radio Ulster’s ‘Electric Mainline’ show, has been a particularly loud supporter since Our Krypton Son emerged several years back and has single-handedly generated considerable interest in the band.

Indeed, McCauley recently described the debut album as “A contender for Northern Irish album of the year,” and also said of McConaghy’s songwriting skills: “Our Krypton Son is one of the best songwriters I’ve ever heard. This is the real thing.” [Stephen McCauley - BBC Radio Ulster - Electric Mainline]

Another well known BBC Radio Ulster DJ, Joe Lindsay, added his high praise. “Our Krypton Son, a prodigious talent, merging superb musicianship with a great pop sensibility. Think Ben Folds meets Ray Davies and you’re definitely in for a treat.” [Joe Lindsay - BBC Radio Ulster]. Meanwhile, local reviewer Charlotte Dryden said of their sound: “A breathtaking nugget just waiting to be discovered” [Charlotte Dryden - The Fly].

With praise like this, it seems clear that our Krypton Son are at the beginning of an illustrious musical journey, and one that could see Derry’s burgeouning music scene back in the spotlight.

With their exceptional debut single ‘Catalonian Love Song’ now available to buy online and hitting the virtual shelves after Christmas, Chris hopes that the band will be able to release their self-titled album and do a couple of tours.

“It’d be great if the single was well received and generated lots of gigs for us,” he says modestly.

“I also want to get an EP or two I’ve been working on wrapped up as well. But it’d be brilliant if we were successful enough so I could pack in the unfulfilling day job at some point and just be a self employed songwriter! This time next year, Rodder’s...”

In the meantime, you can hear Our Krypton Son for yourself via the band’s Facebook, MySpace, Soundcloud and YouTube. Or you can see them playing live this Friday, December 2, at Sandinos Back Bar supporting the fantastic Rams’ Pocket Radio, at Masons Bar on December 9, alongside The Holy Innocents, and at Sandinos again on December 27, alongside The Moulettes and Balkan Alien Sound.

Catalonian Love Song is available to purchase NOW exclusively at Independent Music

The official release date is January 16 on all good digital stores Smalltown America