By Walter Price
The Irish rock trio known as The Laundry Shop may just be the rock band you’ve been looking for. Their flawless melding of big guitar rock, 90s grunge, powerful vocals with a grand mix of pop sense abilities creates a one of a kind sound the music world is lacking at this very moment.
This power threesome is led by Stephen Robinson with Tanya O’Callaghan on bass and Geoff French on drums.
The band has been around the Irish music charts and club scene since 2007 and are promoting their second studio album Exit At Salvation. This new release finds the band at their career best. An album that was custom created, it seems, to have you put the top down, turn up the stereo and jam down that open highway.
I recently had the chance to catch up with Stephen to ask him questions about the rock outfit known as, The Laundry Shop.
Stephen, your band The Laundry Shop had been kicking around for a bit before the 2009 release Grandstanding. Can you tell us a little about the bands roots?
The Laundry Shop has been a vehicle for my songwriting ever since I built a recording studio in my Laundry Room of wherever I was renting at the time. I recorded, “Grandstanding” there, pretty much all by myself. I convinced my then girlfriend to play bass and my housemate to play drums, That‘s where it all started. I’ve been through a ton of musicians and egos and tantrums since then but we are keeping it together at the moment.
I’ve been reading some reviews and what have you and there seems to be a lot of comparisons to 90s groups. Some are fair assessments but others are a bit off, what do you make of being compared to the likes of Weezer, Foo Fighters etc?
It’s strange because although I love the early work of both those acts I don’t really feel anything for their recent work. I guess there are a lot of influences there from that period but it’s the music that was around me as a child. I never think about influences until I am doing interviews and its a question then you really have to scratch your head.
The band had some commercial success and the reviews of the debut album all seem grand. What holds more merit for you and the group, commercial or critical success?
Critical success is completely useless if you don’t make a living out of it or can’t afford to make another record so a little of both will do just fine, thank you very much!
On the bands website there is a bit about being knocked down and having to get back up time and again, a story of resilience, it seems. Can you talk about this?
Well I didn’t write that but I think it refers to the kind of false starts. The band had with line-up changes and having early critical success but not really being in a position to capitalize on it in those days. We have definitely come through all that shit as a superior band so hopefully world domination is just around the corner…
The Laundry Shop has a new album Exit At Salvation, the title seems to say a lot on its own. What is it the band wanting the music world to know?
That we need to stop and savor for a while. People especially in relation to music have become so fad orientated that their is no real meaning in anything in the mainstream. We need to find passion again.
What did you want to do different on this album?
I want it to be much heavier and emotional. The songs are all fairly heartfelt so I wanted the performance and production to reflect that which I think it does. I think listening to the whole record leaves you feeling kind of drained but happy. That’s the way a lot of my favourite records make me feel also.
As a side note, my 2 year old son, Milo, was just watching the “Overhead” video and said “oooh, they made the rock n’ roll on there.”
Wow, thats a very perceptive 2 year old haha all I can say is that I wholeheartedly agree with the little man haha!
Are you more of a studio guy or a stage guy?
I live in a studio and take long vacations on the stage
How long have you been a perfectionist?
Too long! That’s why I keep running out of band members.
The Laundry Shop has been in America to showcase it’s talents, what was the reception and how important is the American market?
America was great, we made the album in New Jersey and toured across the country. It’s an amazing place and we hope to return as soon as we can.I think all markets are important and the power of being able to sell your music online breaks down a lot of geographical barriers. Its more about what people want to hear than where they get to hear it. Obviously getting to tour these places is the real objective. It’s just great to be heard and appreciated in general. I don’t think we are fussy as long as people dig it.
What would you ultimately like to see the band achieve?
I would like to tour the world and have many more successful albums but essentially to be able to play live every night to excited audiences. There is no better feeling in the world.
In 2007 you guys sent me a four track demo in NY and it was seriously one of the best things I had heard from a new band at the time and listening to what you’ve done since, I feel the same. What is your approach to getting more fans to follow in my way of thinking?
Well with this record we have had a lot more radio play so we are trying to build on that with a few more singles. The live thing is fine and it keeps us going but now that we are getting more profile it seems a lot easier to reach people.
What else have you been up to besides TLS?
I founded a rehearsal studio complex here in Dublin called Volt studios which gives local bands a place to play 24/7. I also produce and manage a new artist 12 year old Stina who is gonna be a huge star very soon.
Busy man! Thanks Stephen for talking with us today and we look forward to seeing what happens next for you and The Laundry Shop.
Thanks Walter for taking time to talk to me. It’s been a pleasure and I will keep you in the loop on all our future activities.
The Laundry Shop: Facebook