“When I wrote ‘Fire Alarm,’ I decided then and there to quit my day job and focus solely on music,” says Castlecomer frontman Bede Kennedy. “That song marked this cathartic moment where I really put a stake in the ground and committed to going all in. For the next twelve months, I did nothing but write for nine hours a day, every single day.”
Kennedy clearly sensed he was on to something special with “Fire Alarm,” but little did he know he’d just written the tune that would lead the Sydney rockers halfway around the world and propel them from local favorites to international breakout stars. With its driving beat and earworm of a melody, “Fire Alarm” was a runaway hit on Spotify, where it reached #6 on the Global Viral chart and racked up more than five million streams. The band garnered airplay everywhere from Australia’s legendary alternative music station, Triple J to LA’s KROQ to SiriusXM’s ALT Nation and drew comparisons to The Strokes and Daft Punk, with Rolling Stone Australia praising their “amalgamation of emotion and unashamed catchiness.” The band played more than 500 shows and festival dates Down Under, building up a devoted fanbase and honing their set into a concentrated blast of pure energy and ecstasy. By the time they got to SXSW in 2017, Castlecomer was ready to take America by storm.
“We didn’t know anybody in the industry,” says Bede, “but we felt confident that if we had the opportunity to get onstage in front of a lot of people, that would be enough. We played eight shows in three days and just tore it up. From those gigs, we got management, a record deal, publishing, and a booking agent. We’re like the poster boys for what you can still achieve at South by Southwest.”
Castlecomer has never been lacking when it comes to drive and ambition, and their tenacious belief in the potential of their band goes all the way back to its earliest days. Consisting of four cousins and a close childhood friend, the group began playing live during their teenage years and took their band name from a plaque mounted outside their grandfather’s house, one they later found out referenced the Irish village his family had emigrated from. Much like the band’s music, their name possesses deep personal meaning while still retaining an air of evocative mystery, hinting at places they’ve never been but still somehow course through their veins. Australia’s in their blood, too, and Sydney will always be home, but after signing with Concord Records, the band took a leap of faith in early 2018 and moved to Nashville.
“We wanted to live in a 24/7 music community,” says Kennedy. “As soon we arrived, we discovered that there was live music happening from 1pm onwards in every bloody corner of the place. It was exactly what we needed.”
Despite their newfound love for Music City, Castlecomer won’t be spending too much time there this year considering the already-extensive headline and festival dates lined up behind their track, “Move.” Recorded with producer Adrian Breakspear (Gang of Youths) and mastered by GRAMMY-winner Joe LaPorta (The Weeknd, The Killers, Foo Fighters), the track is a funky dance jam that pairs Kennedy’s silky-smooth vocals with a disco-tinged arrangement that’s pure 1970’s bliss.
Such is the contagious energy of Castlecomer. One listen and you’re hooked, sucked into their rapturous world of angular guitars and hypnotizing grooves. With a sound this meticulous and infectious, it’s hard to believe that the band hasn’t even released their debut LP yet, but these singles are only the tip of the iceberg from a group that’s doggedly determined to fulfill every bit of their seemingly limitless potential. It’s already been a wild ride, but Castlecomer is just getting started.