Hot Press - "Flying Solo, Free As A Bird" 12 Jul 2005

She learned her craft with the Wild Oscars and Kaydee, and more recently featured on the John Hughes album Wild Ocean. Now, Tara Blaise has taken flight with the release of her debut album Dancing On Tables Barefoot – a record that unveils an impressively free-spirit and a desire to live life to the full.

I’ve known Tara Blaise for a few years now. A close friend of Susie Shorten, who worked for Hot Press, I first encountered her when she was a member of the Wild Oscars, an adventure that was followed by a stint in Igloo and then Kaydee – a band of rock hopefuls, who were signed to EMI in Ireland and released a promising debut.

We’d meet at launches and parties and now and then get a chance to shoot the breeze. She was the kind of person you’d always want to see at the next bash – a lovely, calm and positive presence, she radiated a sense of composure. There was always the glint of something special about her.

The Kaydee project stuttered to a halt, but if Tara was upset she didn’t show it. Her response was to move on. She embarked on a process of learning more about the craft of being a singer and a performer. She sang for a period in Abba-esque. She also attended the Gaiety School of Acting. And gradually she focused more intently on writing her own songs. Still known to her mates as Tara Egan-Langley, she began to see herself as a solo artist.

Niall Stokes - Kaydee Interview

The band from Kilkenny who lost their singer to God, found another one and then made a cracker of a debut album, talk to Jim Carroll..

Once upon a time, Kilkenny was a must-see spot on your record company talent scout's road-map. You had My Little Funhouse (the new Guns & Roses who signed to Geffen Records for a weighty sum), Kerbdog (the new Iron Maiden who signed to Mercury), Engine Alley (the new Tin Machine who signed to Mother Records) and a host of other reasons to travel to the city of the cats. But as each one of that trio dropped from their pedestals, reasons to go to places like Cleere's and the New Park Inn have receded somewhat.

Enter Kaydee, a four-strong outfit with a debut album "Stop! I'm Doing It Again" to tout. Playing an alluring blend of indie with the usual pop touches, it's a sturdy addition to this year's Irish collection. But, as guitarist Kevin Bruce explains, they've had a bit of a trek to get here. For a start, they lost their lead singer and bassist and had to start adjusting to two new members.

"Jan, the last singer, found God! Well, that's one of the reasons why she and the bassist left. It was hard for me and Joey (Shore, drummer) to adjust - we had to go through the whole set with the new singer Tara and listen to the same songs again. It was also hard for Tara to sing Jan's songs so she changed around some of the lyrics to suit herself. The new bass player Mark was our roadie so he didn't have to travel far". Working with a new singer also means "no more walking on eggshells."

Back in Kilkenny, Kevin blames the lack of venues for the apparent torpor in the city's scene. "There are a lot of young, good bands but no venues and no rehearsal spaces. Cleere's used to be great but the owner has made the venue smaller and the New Park is gone. We were actually practising on a pig-farm near the city for the last few years."

Their days of pig-farms may be coming to an end if their debut album performs as well as expected. However, Kaydee are already planning ahead. "The songs on the album are four years old. We want to go in a different direction. It will be a bit away from the bass-guitar-drums tack and will have more backing tracks, the writing will be different too with a bit of an edge. But I suppose all bands say that, don't they?"

Yet Kaydee do realise the importance of change. "We're actually going to take a look around us because we've been in a bubble for the past while as far as music is concerned. Sometimes it's good to lock yourself away and develop your own stuff, that's what happened with us. But we're more out and about now so naturally you hear more stuff. I was never into Michael Nyman before but I've got into him through his soundtracks for Peter Greenway, like The Draughtman's Contract, and now he's one of the biggest influences on what I write."

That said, don't expect Kaydee to go down the full-blown orchestration road and become an Embrace with a girl singer. "Will Malone did the strings for us and he's worked with Embrace and Massive Attack. I was a bit dubious about strings but I remember coming into the studio and hearing how much they worked with a song like "Mr. Sweeney". But then you can also go way over the top like on parts of the Embrace album and you don't want that".

"STOP! I'M DOING IT AGAIN" is out now on EMI.


2TV - RTÉ Interview, 1998

Interview with Tara Egan-Langley and Kevin Bruce on 2TV on May 4 1998. Interview by Dave Fanning.

Dave: Last time I met you was in Studio 8 in the Radio Building when I was doing Gerry Ryan's show in the morning and you had a different singer that time. So what's happened? Where did you find Tara?

Kevin: Well, Jan disappeared while we in London doing some gigs. And Naimee Coleman, a friend of ours, just recommended Tara to us and we just chased her up.

Tara: Joey searched Dublin and found me eventually.

Dave: So you got a phone call from them, and just to be courteous you said 'Ok I'll go.... who the hell are this crowd?' Be honest Tara, had you ever heard of Kaydee?

Tara: No.

Dave: Ha ha. Very good. I love it... So in other words, all the promotion for the first single didn't work basically. I hope it works this time around here, cause you are playing lots of gigs and you're also doing in-store stuff as well. So what's it like? Did you want to do this? What were you doing before this?

Tara: I was in another band. I was in the Wilde Oscars, and I was singing with Igloo as well. So I was busy enough and I heard about this band and I wasn't really that interested, but then the Wilde Oscars broke up, so I thought 'Well, I'll give them a ring and meet them and see what it's like and...

Dave: I just realised something! I saw Igloo live at the Da Club once. Were you with them that night?

Tara: If there was a girl with them, I was me...

Dave: There was a girl with them. It was you was it? God, Igloo were great. What are you doing leaving them for Kaydee?

Kevin: That's nice isn't it!?

Dave: I've never seen Kaydee live. I'll check out one of these gigs. So are you any good Kevin?

Kevin: Yeah, we're quite good, yeah.

Tara: Pretty amazing...

Dave: So what's going to happen? You have this single out. It's been played a lot on the radio isn't it?

We're getting loads of air-play, yeah. And hopefully it'll shoot up the charts.

Dave: And what about album-wise?

Kevin: We've an album recorded. And we re-recorded all the vocals with Tara's voice and it's ready to go around the end of the summer.

Dave: So you had it done, but you wanted to do it again?

Kevin: Yeah, we just put Tara's voice where Jan's was. And that was it...

Dave: Which is easy enough to do these days. So you had a sort of a residency in London didn't you for a while?

Kevin: We were over there... we were in the middle of doing gigs in London when Jan decided to pack it all in.

Dave: See this happens with every band. It's a sort of gestation period, these things just happen and you're now got it... I assume you've got it all sorted out? Or next time on 2TV, it'll be Tara out and somebody else in!?

Kevin: I don't think so... no.

Dave: So what does Tara bring? She's just mentioned some pretty high class names that she's been playing with. So does that help her? When Naimee said 'this person is good', what did she mean? 'This person would suit Kaydee'?

Kevin: She's got a great voice...

Tara: A wonderful personality..

Kevin: And she's able to perform...

Tara: Very tall...

Kevin: So that's all you need really... and she's able to travel in a van with the three of us.

Dave: Yeah I was just going to say... is that a difficult one, is it with these guys?

Tara: No, it's fine.

Dave: And also, are you the outcast 'cause you're not from Kilkenny?

Tara: Yes, it feels a bit weird. I've discovered Kilkenny now and I've spent many an afternoon wandering around their music cloud. It's lovely...

Dave: And what about the music? You obviously had no hand in writing any of this at all, 'cause it was all done.

Tara: Yeah, not the music. And then I was just given vocals and told to go for it really, and I heard some of what Jan had done and took it from there.

Dave: Ok, very good. Best of luck with it. When is the album coming out?

Kevin: Towards the end of the summer.

Dave: Ok, I've got dates here that I'm gonna mention after the song. Let's take a listen to this now, which is the single. Would you call this nearly you're first single, in terms of this is a whole new start?

Kevin: It is, yeah.

Dave: Ok, well then we'll call this the debut, even though it's not. It's actually their second single. This is Kaydee and this is called Mr. Sweeney.