DIY LK is a Non-Profit collective of like-minded people that have come together to develop a haven for unique and creative music in Limerick City. DIY LK aim to bring local and international acts together through organising gigs, concerts and social evenings for musicians. Founder of DIY LK, Marty Ryan, chats to TLM about the inspiration behind DIY LK and their upcoming ‘Féile na Carthanas’ concert in aid of Limerick Suicide Watch.
What inspired you to set up DIY LK?
I have a project called Anna’s Anchor and I also run an acoustic based night called Thomond Sessions which is centered around the same belief. It became apparent that both myself and other local acts, Cruiser and Casavettes were doing very similar things, separately in Limerick City. We were all trying to achieve the same goal in promoting a grass roots level music scene that is supportive and together. Once our paths were crossed, we all decided to join our efforts and form DIY LK.
We all collectively have heard the stories of how the Aspersion Music Collective grew and developed an amazing network of bands and people before our time, which have all gone on to do fantastic things. We want to continue this legacy. Music is often seen as a commodity which can be used for self gain and profit. We really believe this majorly hinders the growth of the art form itself, for that reason we all decided to make a real go of it.
Are there many other groups of its kind in other counties?
There certainly are, and that was the other reason for really trying to promote music of this kind and run shows in this way because quite often, for mid level bands, Limerick isn’t included on the tour poster. I would get to play all of these towns around the country and see first hand, what Limerick was truly lacking. Belfast probably has the best scene of this kind at the moment in the country and they have reaped the rewards. Bands like And So I Watch You From Afar and Two Door Cinema Club have all had hugely successful careers off the back of creating this kind of atmosphere and environment in Belfast. Dublin has different pockets of a music scene but the Punk scene is alive and well and Galway also has something similar in Noise Promotions.
What were some of the main challenges in setting up DIY LK?
We’ve been very fortunate in that the skills that all the members have, all complemented each other and we have been able to pool them all together. We have a number of people that can do sound, graphic design and handle bookings. This has been learnt through years of experience of being in bands and having to find our way. The biggest challenge has been finding a venue to call home. No one venue is suitable for all gigs and occasions and we have used 4 or 5 venues around the city. It was uncertain in the early days where we could run noisier shows and then Pharmacia opened.
They have been very generous in supporting us so far and letting us use their space. I feel like timing has been very much in our favour, there are a number of bands that have come out of Music Generation, looking to get there first foot on the ladder of gigging & recording outside of that umbrella.
We have a platform built to cater for that and luckily Limerick is booming right now as there are new pubs and venues opening constantly. We now have talented bands looking to play, a venue to house it, and the knowledge and experience of how to do this in the right manner where it’s not all about profit and self worth, because that can destroy a bands’ future.
Would you ever consider expanding DIY LK beyond event management?
It already is a much greater entity and has been since day one. I keep going back to that word “community”, but it’s really true. Chris from Cruiser has recorded a lot of the bands I have mentioned so that they have releases, we’ve all helped in doing PR for each other. Outside of the realm of music, I’ve met so many new friends through being a part of this. We play Soccer, go to the pub, and table quizzes together, anything at all really. While it’s centered around the music, it is much greater than that and everyone is here for each other. Come out to a show, and you can find out first hand, just how welcoming an environment it is.
Do you feel DIY LK has been a successful venture?
It’s been hugely successful. We’ve played a big part in helping release a number of EPs, Singles and two albums from local bands, between helping them record and organising their launch nights. We’ve had more than a show every month which was one of our early goals. I’ve been fortunate enough to tour all around Europe this year and I haven’t seen anything come close to the level of talent and creativity that’s come out of Limerick since we started DIY LK. There is a strong community here that has found itself and wants to push the limits of their creativity for the sake of their art form.
Everyone is here to support each other, and for that reason alone, DIY LK has already achieved what it was intended to achieve.
What direction will DIY LK go in 2018?
The plan is to go in the exact same direction but grow bigger and better. We want to encourage more bands to form and start being a part of the shows and collective. We’re going to keep building upon our strong reputation and increase our visibility so that everyone in the City knows exactly what DIY LK is. We’ve helped create a space where people are made feel welcome and that bands can grow, and we will always continue to do so. One of the main goals for 2018 is to put on a major touring act that the local bands can then support.
The attendance from the shows this year has been above and beyond what we could have expected and we’re well on the road to achieving that.
Why did you choose Limerick Suicide Watch as your designated charity for Féile na Carthanas?
Last year, both myself, Cruiser and Casavettes ran a number of events to raise money for LSW. It’s a charity in which we all strongly believe in. Speaking from a personal level, I see them out patrolling the river every time I’m coming home late from a show. I’ve witnessed two people jumping into the river and seen two bodies being recovered in my short life time. The suicide rate in Limerick is shockingly high and we desperately want to help improve that situation. Having a big fundraiser night for them is a small part of our civic duty to help Limerick as a city.
With that in mind, we’d love for you to support our night on December 16th in the Kasbah featuring Anna’s Anchor (Full Band), Cruiser & Van Panther. Tickets can be got from Dolans.ie for €8 and all of the proceeds will be donated to Limerick Suicide Watch.
Article by: Christine Costello
Photography by: Steve Savage and Gerard James
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