Colm O’Mahony & The Hot Touches (Ireland) released their self-titled debut album last year, which features the single ‘Preacher’s Daughter’. I spoke to frontman Colm about their debut album and how Bruce Springsteen played a significant role in his musical career.
Colm is a full-time musician playing acoustic covers in Killarney, a town in County Kerry, southwestern Ireland.
“The other members of the band are also involved in the music scene there, and that’s how we came together.”
Frontman Colm also grew up in Killarney.
“The town is home to a 25,000-acre national park which is very beautiful and attracts a lot of visitors every summer, as well as people from other parts of Ireland year round. Because of this the town has a very vibrant nightlife, a part of which is live music nightly.”
Who or what inspired you to take up singing and pursue a career in music?
“Both of my older brothers are musical and there was always music in the house as long as I remember. I was always drawn to it, listening to Cat Stevens when I was very little. As I grew older my tastes ranged from Irish Folk, to Country, Rock and Hard Rock. In 2003, I got a free ticket to go and see a Bruce Springsteen Concert in the R.D.S. in Dublin. I had heard of Springsteen before, but wasn’t necessarily a fan. After the concert I became an ardent devotee. I was so moved by his performance that I began to sing in bars a year later and started playing guitar a year after that. It wasn’t a conscious decision, it all just kind of happened.”
What are your fondest musical memories?
“Well, the concert I just mentioned is certainly up there, but aside from that I would say beginning to play in Killarney and getting to know the local musicians. It’s a nice little community, very friendly and the older guys were great with advice and support. So, yeah, it would have to be when I started performing in Killarney all those years ago.”
Who are your main musical influences? Have your musical tastes changed over the years?
“In terms of changes in musical tastes there’s been many, but these days I figure I just like good music. As I mentioned I began listening to Cat Stevens as a child, and to this day I still love those records. Then my brothers influenced my listening as they controlled the stereo, so that would range from Guns ‘N’ Roses to the Smiths, to Smokie and Garth Brooks and a whole load of best ofs.”
“As I grew into my teens I was fond of Irish and American folk, such as The Dubliners and Simon & Garfunkel etc. But I think I found myself relating most with Springsteen, Tom Petty & The Heart Breakers and say Bob Seger, CCR and some more acts like that. There seemed to be a universality to the songs and I just loved the music. I guess those are the main influences behind The Hot Touches.”
Who are the Hot Touches?
“Due to Covid the line-up has been somewhat fluid but the core of the band is myself, Ray Kennedy on drums, my Brother Jackie on Rhythm and backing vocals and Adrian Healy on lead guitar. On bass, firstly there was Kieran Lynch, who played on the album and later Alan Shine who has helped us out live. We also had David Lynch playing keys on the album.”
“All of the guys are local musicians and we came together in 2018/19 to record the album. Then COVID-19 hit! We decided to release the album anyhow and start getting it out there. We’re delighted to be featured on platforms such as Cool Top 20. So we’d like to thank you very much, Lean!”
You released your self-titled debut album last year, which you described as “an examination of life”. What can you tell me about the album?
“I had accumulated quite a number of songs over the last decade or so, not being sure if I’d record them or not. So, I started playing them at gigs to gauge reaction and they seemed to go down well. Then I played them for some friends and they liked them, and some encouraged me to record them. Then I asked some friends from the local scene if they’d be interest in recording with me and that’s where it all began.”
What’s your favourite song of the album?
“My favourite song of the album is the last track ‘Young Love.’ I just think it has all the elements I like in a song: good versus and chorus’ and a strong bridge. Interesting subject matter, too!”
‘Preacher’s Daughter’ can be found in our chart. What can you tell me about that song?
“It was written in India, on a month long vacation. I brought a cheap little guitar with me to learn a few songs while I was there. One of the songs was ‘Even The Losers’ by Tom Petty. I was messing around with that song and then must have hit on another chord and went in a different direction. It was written fairly fast, maybe some editing after.”
“As for the Preacher’s Daughter, only God knows who she is!”
What inspires your lyrics?
“I can’t say it’s one thing or the other. I don’t write from a conscious place, I just pick up a guitar, an interesting line may come and then you try and figure out things as you go.”
What can you tell me about your creative process? Do you enjoy the process of creating?
“It’s generally words and music for me, though it has happened all kinds of ways. I get fertile periods where I may write five or six songs during a month long period, then nothing for months. I have tried to force it before, but the results are just not good. I wish I was more disciplined but I won’t tell any lies! I can’t say it very enjoyable all the time. The songs that come fast are, but when you’re stuck it can be very frustrating. I have a lot of abandoned songs. But, as I do it more I’m coming to terms with the fact that they won’t all be good!”
Do you have any hobbies outside music?
“I like watching sports, of all kinds. I used to work in politics, so current affairs interest me, too. I also like to read, and I’ve been getting into podcasts a lot lately. I also watch way too many music gear channels on YouTube; It has cost me a lot of money over the years!”
What’s next? What are your goals?
“With live music at a standstill here in Ireland, like so many other places, it’s difficult to project. We’re hoping we’ll be able to do something soon. Beyond that, it’s really about exposure and hoping to build a fan-base. On that front I intend to keep promoting. ‘Preacher’s Daughter’ has done well for us all summer, but we’ll have another focus song for autumn. We’d like to have some traction gained by the time live music opens up.”
What’s your favourite song from the Cool 20?
“‘You Know Me Best‘ by Eric Hagen. There’s some beautiful, understated guitar playing on it. They got it just right. Great song!
What song would you like to add as a bonus track and why?
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