Kyoto Love Hotel are currently preparing for the release of “Machine”, the second in a series of singles leading up to the group’s Glow EP, due for release later this year.
The group is comprised of vocalist Laura Sheary, with musical accompaniment by Joe Geaney. Geaney describes their sound as having a “pop aspect to it, but bordering on something else as well”.
This additional component may result from both Sheary and Geaney’s extensive experience performing in the Irish music scene respectively. “We have quite different tastes in music, but we both love good, well-produced, pop songs. We really wanted to create music you can move to, but also with words that you come back to and think about a bit”, says Sheary.
This shared vision is also permitted by the group’s modest lineup, Sheary explains: “I was kind of done with the whole big band thing and having six creative brains battling to figure out the direction. So it’s been nice for it to be a more intimate sort of experience.”
I was kind of done with the whole big band thing and having six creative brains battling to figure out the direction. So it’s been nice for it to be a more intimate sort of experience
After having grown up together in Tipperary, Geaney and Sheary then respectively moved to Cork and Belfast. “We’ve always been sharing music back and forth”, says Geaney, noting that maintaining creativity during quarantine wasn’t “too different from what we were doing originally”. The band have consistently utilised this separation to their advantage, gigging extensively nationwide for festivals such as Other Voices, Output and Electric Picnic.
Kyoto Love Hotel are also no stranger to the capital, having performed in venues such as Whelan’s as part of the Ones to Watch festival. The pair even travelled to New York shortly before the pandemic, appearing alongside a multitude of international acts in the New Colossus festival.
Having narrowly avoided being stranded overseas, the duo promptly reverted attention back to their impending EP release. All tracks thus far from Kyoto Love Hotel have been recorded and produced in Geaney’s home studio, thanks to the musician’s extensive arsenal of equipment from his degree in music technology: “I always have a big standard that I want to set for myself in terms of production, and I think every artist when producing their own material just wants to up themselves again and again with each release.”
Despite impressively curated initial releases, the duo sought further refinement for the production of Glow in the form of Joe’s brother, Owen Geaney of Atlas White Studios. “It can be very hard when you’re the only producer on the whole thing. You can get very caught up in your own ways with tunnel vision”, admits Geaney.
With the four tracks on the EP, there’s a vague theme to do with the birth of consciousness and what makes us conscious beings
With Geaney handling the production side of things, Sheary has taken it upon herself to ensure the upcoming EP can deliver on lyrical coherency. “Machine” follows on from Kyoto Love Hotel’s 2019 single “Shapes That Bond You”, in tackling the concept of ego existing beyond the physical world – a theme which looks to be developed even further in Glow. “With the four tracks on the EP, there’s a vague theme to do with the birth of consciousness and what makes us conscious beings”, says Sheary.
This theme can be exemplified by the accompanying video to “Machine,” which premiered on music blog Nialler9 last week. “This is our first official music video, so we’re really excited to have that to go along with the song,” says Sheary. The feature was made by Shaun Doogan of Re-Act Productions and stars Aoife McCann, a friend of Sheary’s.
The vocalist talks me through the meaning behind the physical imagery of the sea in the video, as well as the outlying shots of McCann in barren isolation. “I had been swimming in the sea loads and my ears were really blocked, you know when you have that real detached feeling?” she says. “You feel really uncomfortable in your own body. But sometimes that odd disconnect can be quite helpful creatively I suppose.”
Kyoto Love Hotel’s debut EP, Glow, is due to be released this November. The second single, “Machine,” will be available on major streaming platforms this Friday, August 7th.