Limerick Musician, Raymond Murphy, spoke to TLM over coffee recently about his venture into the world of a fusion between comedy, drama, and music. And, his newest project in his Comedy Music Video series; Jazz Mattazz.
Ray delved into the world of Comedy Music Videos a year and a half ago after putting together a spur of the moment video using props a friend of his, had in his garage. The video took two days to make and was filmed around Kerry and Cork, and became his Declan Dallas video. “I really enjoyed the process of getting dressed up, getting into character, letting the ideas come out, and expressing the quirkiness and zaniness of a life through a character and seeing that character develop” he said. Ray explained however that this style of performance was always something he enjoyed.
When he was younger he used to “mess around with voice recorders, taking off accents and characters that lived in our towns”. Ray and a friend of his used to write short plays and 5-minute pieces, as well as having a phase of prank calling people as different characters. Ray recalls calling the army barracks, as well as car manufacturers pretending he wanted to trade an old car for a €100,000 BMW. However, he caught the acting bug around a decade ago, “I had been working with Pat Shortt and helping him in and out of his costumes, and a couple of times he’d ask me to do stuff with him for RTE. The feedback was good even though I hadn’t acted before it was something I really enjoyed and got a kick out of”, he recalled.
Ray’s next comedy music video will be a parody of a jazz singer. “The concept really is based on the jazz crooner or the jazz singer” he explained, “he’d be typical of the suave-ness and cheesiness of jazz singing”. The video is “about turning up the dial, turning up the volume, on those cheesy syncretic attributes that male jazz singers have” according to the artist.
As for whether he has a favourite Comedy Music Video so far, Ray said that normally when the videos are made he goes through a binge of self-satisfaction and watches the videos a lot over a week or so before they’re out of his system. “You go through a false landing, sometimes you expect the whole hysteria of it going viral or thousands of people liking the video and there’s a little part of the brain that gets disappointed when that’s not happening”, he admits. However, he re-watched the Declan Dallas video prior to the interview and said he got a laugh out of it. “The Christmas video strangely enough didn’t get much attention, but there’s moments in that, even though its dark, I think are very funny”, he added.
The response to his videos have been positive, with people stopping the musician around town, when having a drink and at gigs to tell him they found his videos funny. “Initially with the Bertie one there were friends of mine telling me they were in stitches”, he said. “They’re your friends and that would be the first port of call for me and the most important one” he continued. “It started going beyond that” he said, “people I’d know peripherally, acquaintances, and people I didn’t know would come up to me saying they really liked the Declan Dallas one and found it very funny, which I found encouraging” he continued.
Ray set up a go fund me page in November to finance Jazz Matazz which has gotten “steady support”. The musician believes that people underestimate the cost of making videos with good production. “You can make videos and get guys with not as much experience, who might be second or third year in college who are very talented but short on the experience.
Getting guys to work with you with a lot of experience and really good equipment, costs money”, he explained. “I think in a way with the internet, the way it is, if people can have something without paying for it they’ll have it” he said. The musician doesn’t think it’s fair when people boast about getting a free download link to a film when it cost €10 million to make. “This is a big production for me, it costs money, if they think they can get an album for free, if they think they’ll get a film for free they’ll get it for free. I suppose a lot of it is down to disposable income as well and the value people put on the arts”, he continued.
As for balancing his Comedy Music videos with other projects, such as his band, Iron Mountain, Raymond said that he began making the videos during a creative lull in his life. He explained how the band self-released their debut album and then signed a 5-album contract with a niche experimental metal label in Germany. However, getting signed was anti-climactic as they didn’t realise how the industry worked. “The band kind of ran out if steam and what people don’t realise is that the band had been going for 5 or 6 years to get that first album out there and everyone, between family, jobs, tours with other projects, college, everything else, it was tough getting that first album out with everyone’s schedules” he said. The making of the videos was ideal at the time as there wasn’t much going on for the band.
When it comes to whether or not Raymond believes that the arts deserve more funding, he said that there’s always a sense of there’s never enough. “My sense is that there has always been a very active underground arts scene that does struggle”, he said. The musician believes that bands have been left to fend for themselves in a barren environment. “If you’re to produce anything of any quality in terms or writing, in terms of arrangement or sound, in terms of production and every aspect of an album, if it’s to be up there and compete with the best in the country it takes money.
It’s as simple as that, it takes time, and it takes having access to be best engineers, the best mastering all these things take money” he added. Even the big acts don’t make money anymore, he explained. “Traditionally I think there’s been pockets of the arts like classical, like opera, and parts of contemporary dance, that have always been funded well and had stable funding. When you go into the more contemporary side of things, it’s left to fend for itself”.
“In terms of Limerick there’s always been a serious richness of talent in every strand of the arts from acting to script writing, to directing, paint, sculpture, installations, writers, musicians, poets”, he said.
Raymond believes that Limerick has always punched above its weight both nationally and internationally in the arts. “It’s a pity that’s not reflected in local government’s commitment because for a town that struggles to establish its identity, out of the 80s, 90s and early 2000s and the recession as well following on for that, there has always been a very big weapon in the towns arsenal of its artistic talent across all disciplines that local council could have exploited a lot more to establish the identity of the town nationally and internationally.”, he said.
Raymond’s Comedy Music Videos can be found on his Youtube channel; Raymond Murphy.
Article by: Aisling O’Connor
Photography by: Shane Serrano
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