Cliché as it sounds, Irish alt-rock band NewDad are truly ones to watch. Female-fronted, the group has been dressed by Simone Rocha, worked with Phoebe Bridgers‘s producer John Congleton and recorded their debut album (which is out today) in Rockfield studios, known for previously hosting heavyweights like Oasis and Black Sabbath. Their foundations are strong, and since being signed to Atlantic Records – the label that made Ed Sheeran and Fred Again global superstars – last year, their future seems pretty damn bright.
Entitled Madra, NewDad’s first long-form body of work consists of 11 tracks, oscillating between themes like bullying, self-medication and destruction, using the beat of a soft kick drum and atmospheric melodies to do so. Detailing lead singer Julie Dawson’s experience with self exploration, the lyricism is emotive, vulnerable and easy to relate to.
Inspired by a swathe of iconic bands such as The Cure and Pixies, as well as Irish legends My Bloody Valentine, NewDad perfectly toes the line between paying homage to the greats and developing a unique sound with a contemporary outlook. Using indie-pop roots to ground them as they explore elements of punk and rock, NewDad’s sound feels experimental yet confident. It’s great ammunition for artists breaking onto the scene.
Understandably, the recognition has already started to swim in. Recently featured on the cover of music magazine NME, the band have been lauded in fan-loved publications like Rolling Stone and Clash and have amassed over 200,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. 2024 is set to be an exciting year for them too, as they have a UK-wide tour kicking off in February. Here, we sat down with Julie to have a nice old chinwag about her favourite tracks on the album, her favourite thing about Ireland and what’s next for NewDad.
1. Describe your sound in three words?
“Noisy, melancholy, rock.”
2. Your debut album ‘Madra’ is out today – what inspired the new release?
“I suppose we felt that we finally had the body of work we needed to make a big impression. We wanted our debut album to be special and that meant taking more time to figure out exactly what it would be. The move to London prompted us to finish a lot of the songs for the album. The change of scenery and the new experiences were definitely important to the making of Madra.”
3. What is your favourite track on the new album?
“Either ‘Let Go’ or ‘White Ribbons’. I love how noisy ‘Let Go’ is but equally, I love the stripped back, delicate sound of ‘White Ribbons’.”
4. What do you want listeners to feel when they listen to it?
“Relief, I guess. I hope it’s as cathartic for the listeners as it was for me to write. It was a real form of therapy; getting things out in the open, even the bad parts of yourself, is important and I hope it makes people feel less alone in their feelings.”
5. You recorded the album at the legendary Rockfield Studios where legends like Oasis and Black Sabbath have also recorded – how did that feel?
“Initially, it was very surreal but we settled in immediately. There’s a real feeling about the place, like you’re in your own little world. It was honestly the best two weeks of my life hehe. The fresh air and tranquility made us feel right at home :).”
6. Pub or bar?
“Pub, always. Maybe too much haha!”
7. Favourite thing about Ireland?
“The air. Coming back home and stepping off the plane is literally the best feeling in the world. Also the people. And spice bags [a salt and chilli chicken and chips dish served in Chinese takeaways].”
8. What’s one upcoming musician/band everyone should have on their radar?
“There’s so many but I have to say Kynsy. Her music is literally incredible – she never misses.”
9. If you could teleport anywhere right now, where would you go?
“Probably to the squishy corner of my couch, at home in Galway, curled up with my doggie Lola with the fire on. Or in the sea in Spain, floating around with the sun on my face :).”
10. What’s next for you guys?
“World tour! I would love it if the album connected with people all over the world and we got to tour around loads.”
Photography courtesy of NewDad.