Erin Donnachie - Vocalist
"I want to be more than some jazz bitch..."
I remember Erin saying those words to me a long time ago when she first joined the band that is now Banshee. There's no doubt that she achieved that. And more.
These days her voice is so powerful and dynamic that I've often seen it take audiences aback. The small 'powerhouse' vocalist cliche is trotted out all too often, but it has some relevance here: Erin's voice is almost a weapon at this stage.
From the most delicate and intimate of melodies to the thunderous grit of her voice at full tilt, her command of her instrument is uncanny. What's even better is that it never seems contrived.
I've been lucky enough to have Banshee let me into their writing and recording process more than once. Observing Erin in that environment is fascinating. She writes very instinctively and quietly and to herself. The ideas seem almost fully formed when they fall out her mouth for the first time, and there's never a hint of the emotional impact that comes with her performance when she's sitting contemplating her note book.
Given that I make all my creative moves transparent to the internet, whether they're interested or not, it intrigues me that someone who creates music with such an obvious emotive charge is so quiet about the motivations behind it.
It adds an air of mystery that is more rock star than any amount of drugs and bad decisions will ever be.
I was hoping to get through this without making a 'more women in alternative music' reference. But I've failed. So much of alternative music is still an old boy's club. But it is getting better. With performers as powerful and inspiring as Erin a part of the scene it'll get much better sooner rather than later.
She's battled lazy comparisons to that band for years. She's shut every single one of those critics up with the quality of her vocal, and her writing. This isn't disinterested quirky pop music for the masses.
This is considered and insightful eclectic rock music with real weight. Paramore might be the favourite bands of some people, but Banshee will be the kind of bands that kids starting the next generation of cool bands will cite.
Thanks in no small part to the way Erin leads them from the front.
I feel tremendously privileged that I get to work so closely with this band. Sure, the music is great but they are genuinely among the best people. The amount I've learned about my own art, and myself, by documenting them is staggering.
They say the best way to learn a foreign language is in bed with a native, the best way to fine tune your art is to use it on other artists. Trust me on that. I owe this band, and Erin, a lot for that. Without them I can guarantee you you wouldn't be reading this.
That's the best thing about inspiration, you can find it just by spending time with your friends.
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