What do you get when you put a Derry born teacher/singer songwriter and an English 3D film expert together?
The answer is a pretty interesting collaboration showcasing some of the best visual aspects of the city and some unique home grown musical talent.
Derry man Matt Whoriskey is making waves with his band The Folk Remedy in music circles across Manchester, where he’s based.
A German teacher by day, Matt has spent most of his spare time in recent years penning lyrics and music and the results have now caught the attention of those most in the know about the scene in the North of England. The band have enjoyed airtime on BBC Radio Manchester in recent weeks.
With very little time to think between the classroom and the recording studio, Matt squeezes in promoting his music when he can, but was over the moon recently when his music caught the attention of digital film expert Neil Richards. Neil visited Derry for the first time during the Foyle Film Festival and was so taken by the city that between working, he spent his time filming what he saw around him.
Wanting the soundtrack to his work to be local, he approached Matt and the pair are delighted to be working together.
For Neil it’s a real labour of love. “I was so pleasantly surprised by what I saw in Derry. As an English of a certain age I grew up watching the Troubles and that leaves an impression but what I found on coming here and looking around is just how different Derry is to what I saw on tv. It is genuinely an incredible place.”
While he had been invited to the city to host pecialist film workshops, in between his work at the Foyle Film Festival, Neil spent his time on foot, around the City Walls, the Craft Village and the Peace Bridge, capturing life here on camera - in 3D.
He’s currently editing the footage and with homegrown talent including Matt, Conor Hutcheon and Declan McLaughlin providing the soundtrack, the films are set to be a visual treat for those at home and further afield when they become available online in the near future.
As one of those more further afield, musician Matt says he’s delighted to be a part of Neil’s work. “The song is ‘Looks Are Deceiving’ and I am delighted that Neil asked me to use it. When you write a song and someone else shows an interest in it, it truly is a nice feeling. The fact that the song is being used in a video about Derry adds to it even more!,” he says.
The former St Columb’s College pupil loves his time behind the mic with fellow musicians Maria Bonner and Rob Ryle. While his passion for teaching at Manchester’s Reddish Vale Technology College is unquestionable, he’s also keen to see where music takes him.
Almost four years after moving to Manchester, the Derry singer songwriter says it was difficult getting the confidence to showcase his work away from home.
“Psychologically I felt that that there were always obstacles to me starting to play music in Manchester and it did take about two years or so before I felt confident to play in front of anyone. Partly this was due to work commitments, as I had just finished my PGCE and was teaching for the first time. After a while, I went along to an open mic and I got quite a good response, so I kept going back and eventually I met with the owner of ‘The Bay Horse’ pub in Manchester, who was looking for someone to run their twice-monthly open mic session. I was really interested in doing this, so that I could firstly meet other like-minded people. Secondly I wanted a platform on which I could promote my own music.”
Now a well established member of the local scene, together with his ‘Folk Remedy’ bandmates Rob Ryle and Derry woman Maria Bonner, Matt is delighted the trio are catching the attention of a bigger audience via the BBC.
Explaining how he first put his music out there, Matt says.
“I uploaded my tracks to BBC Introducing online. They notify you if they play your songs. If they like them, they play them. If not, they don’t. It really was that simple and I had a few plays of my song ‘Such A Hold On Me’, followed by ‘Sirens’.
“Michelle Hussey, from BBC Radio Manchester called me up and asked if I’d like to come in and play. So, I roped the other two (rob and Maria) into playing and we then started discussing a band name. After the interview at the BBC, we thought of a band name and it was actually an old colleague of mine, Dave Kelsall, who came up with the name ‘The Folk Remedy’. We were then asked to come back to a second show on the 30th November, where we made our debut performance with the new band name.”
While he’s not giving up the day job any time soon, Matt hasn’t ruled out doing music full time if the right offer came along.
“I love teaching and it has been the best move that I have ever made. The school I work in is extremely supportive of me and it has afforded me many opportunities. There are three of us in the band to consider and we’re all in the areas of employment in which we were trained. I must admit though, with music becoming more prominent in my life, it would be interesting to see where it could take us. I would like to give it a go!”
Find out more about Matt’s music at www.thefolkremedy.com and visit Neil’s site www.digitalfilmcompany.com