Ciaran McMeeken

by Insiders Dunedin

We catch up talented Dunedin based musician Ciaran McMeeken, he tells us about making music, inspiration, Nirvana and some local acts you must see live. 

Can you describe your sound?
Every time I try to, I fail and it gets awkward. But I’ll try again. It’s ambient and spatial. But there are moments where it’s intense, heavy and melancholic. A friend of mine told me the other day that one of my songs is a mix between Rihanna and Bon Iver.. I didn’t know how to take that.

Were you into music as a kid?
No, not at all. I was all about rugby and cricket. It wasn’t until I was 12 and my family and I moved to Dunedin from Queenstown. My parents brought me a drum kit from cash convertors. I was in a wee rock band and we played Nirvana and Guns n’ Roses covers - It was awesome. I was obsessed with Kurt Cobain. I started playing guitar about a year later and singing a year after that. 

How did you get into making and recording music?
It took me a while to figure out that, for me anyway, music and songs are born out of a need as opposed to a want. I needed to write songs because I had stuff in my head that had to be vented out. Music has been a great healer.

How has your time in Dunedin shaped you creatively?
Well after 2 years overseas getting all lost, I came back home to Dunedin with no songs and a pretty damaged self-esteem. So I just locked myself away and started making some music. Being back in Dunedin has allowed me to really focus, work hard on my music, and gain some momentum behind me. My family have given me the freedom to do what I need to do. I am so thankful. 

Can you tell us about where you are currently at with your music, what are some projects you’re working on?
Well I’m really close to finishing my first batch of songs, which will be up online very soon. And just last night we recorded 4 new demos – Which I’m just really excited to get stuck into. It’s all flowing nicely at the moment! 

You have recently released a couple of songs on your Soundcloud, can you tell us about those? We’re itching to hear more what can we expect?
“I was gone” is basically about being lost. Then meeting someone who really helps you, loves and cares for you, and then losing that person. I know…sad right? It’s all good, she’s back! - I’m about to put up a song called “The Valley”. It’s about that moment in your life when you’re at a crossroad and everything is on the line; letting go and going for it. 

What/who inspires you?
Timothy Greenslade. This guy is the most enthusiastic; sleep deprived, hard-working, talented, completely bonkers kid I know. I have learned so much from him and his work ethic is inspiring. 

Who are some Dunedin acts you recommending going to see live?
Paul Cathro, Ded Sparrows, Males and Matt Langley! 


What is the most amazing musical experience you’ve had?
Just yesterday! About 30 people were slow clapping in unison to one of my songs! I was so stoked!

Where do you see music headed in the future?
That’s up there with where do we come from and why are we here?!

If you weren’t making music what would you be doing?
Playing 2nd grade Cricket and teaching in Outram.

What’s your favourite place in Dunedin?
8.25am Moray place.

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