Multi-awarded songwriters NICK KELLY (The Fat Lady Sings, Alien Envoy) and SEAN “DOCTOR” MILLAR (The Cute Hoors, All Is Leaf) have just announced the release of a new song written and recorded together under the collective artist name DOGS.
The inception of the project was Sean’s rash offer to house-sit for his friend Brian Fleming in West Clare, which also turned out to entail looking after Brian’s energetic 8-month-old German shepherd Yogi. In need of both moral and physical support for his unexpectedly onerous dog-wrangling duties, Sean invited his buddy Nick to join him in Milton Malbay on the pretext of writing a few songs together.
Despite, or maybe because of, the hyperactive influence of Yogi, the duo managed to write four cracking new tunes together in between big feeds, cold plunges and long walks. They later recorded these four new songs in Anthony Gibney’s Audioland studios, recruiting Robbie Malone and Dave Hingerty to supply bass and drums.
The first fruits of the session is “Old Dog Young Dog”, a shimmering eliding of Laurel Canyon and Lahinch.
To celebrate the release of “Old Dog Young Dog”, Dogs are taking to the highways and byways of the deep South with shows in Cork City (The Friary, Thursday May 12th), Ballydehob (Levis’s, Saturday May 14th) and Schull (O’Regans, Sunday May 15th).
Nick will be travelling to and between these shows by bicycle, in a warm-up for his Song Cycle to Glastonbury, a project he’s initiated to start a conversation about more sustainable ways to perform live music.
Nick Kelly first came to prominence fronting The Fat Lady Sings, the fabled ‘90s band responsible for such powerful singles as “Arclight”, “Drunkard Logic”, “Deborah” and “Dronning Maud Land”.
Nick’s debut solo album “Between Trapezes” was acclaimed “album of the decade” by Hot Press and led to Nick being voted Best Solo Artist at the 1999 Irish Music Critics Awards. His second solo release “Running Dog” was nominated for Irish Album of The Year at the inaugural Choice Music Prize in 2005.
In 2009, Nick embarked upon a fresh musical chapter by rebranding himself Alien Envoy – “my way of being allowed to do things that are more collective, more experimental and more fun”. “Nine Lives” was a collection of songs performed and recorded live in Dublin venue Whelans with an array of guest collaborators over an innovative nine-month project called Gestation. The first Alien Envoy studio album “Loads” spawned Irish radio hits “Nothing Left To Do But To Dance” and “Resolution” (the latter featuring a star-studded video) and the anthemic “Break America”, and was listed among the Irish albums of the year by both the Irish Independent and Hot Press. Nick was voted Ireland’s #3 Best Songwriter in the Hot Press’s annual Readers’ Poll 2015.
In recent years, Nick has with his friend and fellow-songwriter Sean “Doctor” Millar been co-fronting The Unelectables, a not-too-serious supergroup of “former future rock stars”. With a set drawn from the noisiest corners of Nick and Sean’s combined back catalogues, The Unelectables won the accolade of Best Dressed Act in The Irish Times’ round-up of the 2018 Electric Picnic.
Most recently and seriously, Nick and Sean have been working together on new music as Dogs, the name inspired by a week spent in West Clare in October 2021 house-sitting for a holidaying friend and keeping his 8 month old Alsatian fed, exercised and entertained. Despite – or perhaps because of – their onerous duties, Nick and Sean managed to write the four new songs which they later recorded and are now set to release as an EP, appropriately entitled “Tricks”.
In recent years much of Nick’s creative life has been occupied in making movies rather than music. Having been Oscar-shortlisted for his third short “Shoe”, his debut feature “The Drummer And The Keeper” won best Irish First Feature at the 2017 Galway Film Fleadh and subsequently snagged 17 more major awards on the global festival circuit. As well as writing and directing “The Drummer And The Keeper” Nick did contribute a few key musical moments to the soundtrack, notably the cornerstone song “Baby”, sung by Eddi Reader. He has also created a stage show called “See:Hear” which has been programmed at various music and film festivals, in which he mixes live musical performances and film clips to explain how rock’n’roll has taught him to make movies.
Seán Millar also known as Doctor Millar is a critically acclaimed multi award nominated musician, writer and theatre maker from Dublin. He has released 5 Solo albums and written, and composed for, several award winning theatre shows.
His album ‘The Bitter Lie’ got him nominated for a Hot Press Heineken award for best songwriter and has made several critics best Irish albums of all time lists and was recently cited by “for these I love” as a major influence. His Album ‘The Deal’ was a Sunday Times top 5 albums of the year and included in Tony Clayton Lea’s100 Irish albums you must hear before you die. His “album Always coming home” had him hailed as ‘a national treasure’ by the Irish Times and The Hot Press Magazine review pointed out why his work was more relevant than Dylan and Elvis Costello- they later called him Ireland’s greatest songwriter. His 2013 album C48 was hailed as a masterpiece by Hot Press, and got 4 and 5 star reviews in the Irish Mail, State Magazine and Sunday business post, and was RTE arenas critic’s choice of the album of the year.
As a theatre maker Seán’s Critical success was combined with sell out festival runs and international tours. His piece Silver Stars was listed as no 1. In the Irish Independent Newspapers most important theatre shows of the noughties- and made the Irish Times Critics best live music events and best Theatre events in consecutive years 2008 and 2009. It has been the subject of several academic works and is studied as text on several university courses. His show The last ten years was nominated for two fringe awards. He was also the composer for Brokentalkers’ international winning dance piece “The Blue Boy” which over a period of four years, toured all over the world.
Since the late 1990s, Seán has worked as an artist/facilitator on many ground-breaking Community-based, socially-engaged, collaborative music and theatre performances (this too has been the subject of academic works). One of his goals has been to cross, and indeed help dissolve, the divide that is perceived to exist between community-based participatory projects and so called “serious” artwork.
The themes he is drawn back to, again and again, are the ignored and forgotten stories of Irish society, and the perspectives that time allows us on emotive topics.
His most recent theatre show Shame (co writer), a collaboration with his partner the actress and comedian Pom Boyd, was Nominated for two Fringe awards. His most recent participatory arts piece, ‘Sometimes the signal jumps’, created over 2 years with Residents of Bluebell housing Estate, was performed by the National symphony Orchestra and a cast of community performers, at the National Concert Hall in October 2019.
Dogs, his new project with long-time friend Nick Kelly (The Fat Lady Sings) was started when they spent a week Dog sitting in west Clare.