We speak to the band’s lead singer about the origins of the band, rereleasing songs from her teenage years, and how the upcoming project took on a life of its own.

First formed during their school’s music class in Galway, NewDad is the rising rock band taking Ireland’s music scene by storm. Drawing inspiration from personal experiences as well as film and television stories, their tracks contemplate the complexities within one’s self as well as in relationships. Touching on an expansive range of emotional states, from anxiety to restlessness, lead singer Julie captivates listeners through her honest lyrics and strong vocals.

Sandwiched between their early EPs, “Waves” and “Banshee”, and their upcoming album, NewDad has released a duo of singles that stand on their own: “In My Head” and “Break In”. The latter is a track that was first written over five years ago by Julie’s 17-year-old self. Looking back at their artistic origins and diving headfirst into a new chapter of heavy, rock-focused sounds, NewDad merges nostalgic influences with fresh, innovative ideas for something truly one of a kind. As they stand at the precipice of their exponentially growing career, we feel so lucky to be along for the ride.

We had the honour of speaking with Julie about the origins of NewDad, revisiting her old music, and the upcoming project.

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When did you start creating music and how has that led to NewDad as it exists today?
I started writing when I was 16, maybe. And I had four or five songs that I had been working on when I was 17 that I wanted to release under my name. Back then, I wanted to make lo-fi indie bedroom pop. So I was in that space for a while. And then with NewDad, I think as a band, we collectively figured out our sound in 2019. We’d been going for only two years at that stage, but once we got it, I was like, “This is the music I want to make.” We didn’t have any expectations for the band at all. It was just because of a school music project that we started. And then before we started releasing, we maybe practised like once every three months, and that’s being generous. We didn’t take it seriously at all. We just kept it going because we thought there was something there and that one day we would figure out what it was. And then when we recorded “How”, we were like, “this is it”. And that was kind of when we knew it was time to start putting music out.

So you were friends from school?
Yeah, we were all in the same music class. And I hate performing by myself, it’s awful, so I just asked the guys if they would be up for trying something. I can’t even remember what we did, I don’t even think I was singing.

What were your early musical influences? You mentioned lo-fi, indie sounds. Is that what you grew up listening to?
Not at all. When I started that, it was when Billie Eilish was popping off and Clairo, and I was like, “I want to be like that,” you know? But I grew up listening to guitar music, like The Cure, Pixies, Cranberries, Oasis, that kind of thing. That was the stuff that got played in the house. So that definitely worked its way into my subconscious with writing and everything.

Your sound really is such a great mix of influences and genres. How would you describe it?
Thank you. I don’t know, I guess I would always say alt rock. But I do think there’s something fresh about it, definitely. Specifically, more like the new stuff that we’ve done. It’s not as mushy as we would have allowed it to be back then. We want our songs to appeal to more people and not just people who like mushy guitar music. But, I mean, that is definitely my kind of music.

Speaking of, congratulations on “Break In”! I would love to hear about how the song came about what inspired it.
So that was one of the first songs I ever recorded. I was 17 when I recorded it, and then I released it under my name for like, four months. And then when we started releasing NewDad stuff, I took it all off, because I wanted to have a clean slate. Then I didn’t think about the song at all, I just thought it was this little moment from a long time ago. But then our management heard it, and they were like, “This great song, you should re-release it”. And we tried to rerecord it and everything, but the thing with the song was that my guitar was a certain amount out of tune. So then my vocal was as well. And then we tried to recreate the song in tune, and it just didn’t sound good. And I tried re-singing the vocals, but I couldn’t even sing that high — I don’t sing like that anymore. So we literally couldn’t recreate it. So the one that we re-released is literally me from five or six years ago on the track. Same guitars, same everything.

How does it feel to revisit something? What is that like turning back the clocks and then sharing it with the world in the present day?
It’s weird, definitely. I’m definitely still a fragile person, but at 17 I was having the worst time at school and figuring myself out. So it’s funny to go back and be in that headspace again for a minute. I never thought we would do it.

It’s such a beautiful homage to your younger self and your origins of releasing music. I think that’s really beautiful.
That’s a really nice way of putting it. Thank you.

With songwriting, where do you go for inspiration?
I always pull from a feeling that I have experienced, even if it’s like, I’m watching a film or a TV show and there’s a character that is a certain way, I’ll only be inspired by it if I relate to it in some way, I guess. “Break In” was about this very fragile young person who’s making all of the mistakes you make when you’re 17 and you don’t look after yourself. It’s that feeling of when you don’t look after yourself. I definitely still do write about feelings like that, because they don’t always go away, you know? But yeah, I do try to pull from actual feelings, not necessarily experiences, but just feelings.

So how does “Break In” serve as a follow up to “In My Head”? How do they work together?
We had them down as an A&B side. We hadn’t released originals in a while and it was kind of a bit random because those songs aren’t really what the album is. The album is very heavy and rock. I guess it was to ease us back into releasing the simple, enjoyable little songs, in a way.

Is there anything you can tell me about the album?
It’s coming out this year, which is a relief because I didn’t think that it would be out this year and I just really want it to be out, because we’ve had the songs for so long. It’s being mastered at the minute and it definitely feels like an extension of what we’ve done before, but up five notches, like the guitar sounds — we’ve never gotten them like that before. Our vocals have the same feeling as they do on earlier tracks but are definitely a lot clearer. I’m really excited about it. It’s way heavier than I ever thought it would be, it’s a proper rock album, which is fucking sick. Because that is the music that we love. And it feels really cool to have something that feels like that, that’s heavy and exciting. I’m so excited for it to come out.

Are you planning on playing any shows?
Once it’s out, we’ll probably go on tour. We haven’t done a whole lot of touring in a while, so it’d be really nice to feel like we’re having our own little time.

Is there anything else moving forward that you’re particularly looking forward to?
I’m just really excited for people to hear it. I think it’s not going to be what people were expecting from our debut album. It’s certainly not what I was expecting. It just took on a life of its own. And I’m just very excited.

NewDad’s latest tracks “In My Head” and “Break In” are out now on Fair Youth/Atlantic Record.