Podge Gill of Brave Giant speaks to Fiona O’Brien about his Longford band’s climb to the top
Longford band Brave Giant are making huge waves on the Irish music scene at the moment, after a long climb to the top, including a few band name changes.
This year already they have become viral video sensations, appeared on national TV and radio in Ireland, played a second sellout show at revered venue Whelan’s in Dublin, as well as featuring on Ireland’s Euro 2016 anthem.
“It’s been phenomenal, a crazy few months for us,” says founding member Podge Gill, who is still working full-time at Vodafone.
“It was amazing to have been asked to play on the Euro 2016 song and it has given us great exposure, especially with Ireland doing so well in the tournament.” The song also features London band the BibleCode Sundays, along with Rackhouse Pilfer, a 50-piece choir and other up and coming songs.
Brave Giant released their debut album this year, and it has been doing well in the charts. The band started life as Dutch Courage in 2011 when Podge and his fellow guitarist and singer Mark Prunty their first gig was their friend’s 21st birthday party.
When they were joined by Ross McNerney (banjo and mandolin) in 2013, they changed their name to Poroma as they started to focus on writing and performing their own original material.
“Music’s always been in me, I was always singing but I put it to one side until I met up with other guys who had the same enthusiasm as me for it.”
Soon after drummer Emmett Collum joined, turning down the opportunity to return to the USA to stay with the band full-time. Months later, bassist David Kilbride came on board to complete the lineup, and before long Brave Giant was born. Then they had to come up with a name, to reflect the various changes of the band.
“It was a very long process, probably about four months. We wanted something big and bold, and I don’t think you can get much bigger than a brave giant!
“We had a couple of names, but we wanted something that could stick with the dynamic of a band changing, that wouldn’t have limitations or hold us back if our sound evolved down the road. “I think seeing it visually as well helped, it’s very unique.”
Worries that changing their name would alienate Poroma’s original followers proved to be unfounded when, in just three days, Brave Giant hit a thousand likes on Facebook, a feat which had taken them three years with their former name. Since then they’ve sold out Whelan’s twice, which Podge says is a career highlight so far.
“That was huge for us, it was only meant to be one gig but we sold it out in gour hours, so we added another one which sold out in a few days. “That is huge for us, for a band from the Midlands where we are from.”
Liam comes from a highly musical family. His brother Liam plays in the popular Monday Club in London. “The famous Liam Gill,” he jokes.
“Music was always in me, I was in a few rock bands in school. But mine and Liam’s uncle Kevin Crawford plays in the band Lunasa as a flute player so he was always a massive influence on me growing up.”
While the months preceding Christmas were filled up with countless gigs and appearances, the band, are ‘working behind the scenes’ to ensure that they continue on their rise. “We’ve been blown away by the past few months, we really have.
“It’s an exciting time, but we’re not letting ourselves get carried away. We’re staying as grounded as we can.
“But we are doing really well and we just have to enjoy it.”
“It’s a matter of building up a fanbase and network so it’s not just going to be a flash in the pan. “When we made the plan back this time last year we said we wanted to do it right. “We’re looking forward to it and we’re optimistic.”
And with Podge’s brother Liam a member of popular London Irish band the Monday Club, Brave Giant is keen to play venues here in the UK. “I’ve spent quite a bit of time over in London when I was visiting my brothers that live there, and obviously I’ve seen quite a bit of the music scene with Liam.
“It’s fairly wild over there. Ronan McManus from the BibleCode Sundays is a fan of ours, and kind of our liaison over there and he got in touch with us to play the Into The Wild festival in Milton Keynes which is coming up soon.
“We’ll also do a few shows in London which we’ll keep people updated with. We are very excited as it will be our first time over there.
“And even though I’ve been to London quite a bit, I’ve never actually seen the city itself so I will do a bit of sight-seeing too.”