Through Rock Soc, Music Soc, the university orchestra, or just by meeting people through chance, NUI Galway has always had a way of nurturing the latent talent within those studying here, one such talented musician is Tom Freeman, a recent NUI Galway graduate.
So, you’ve been involved with music in NUI Galway since you set your foot in the door, what enticed you to start?
I suppose I just kind of heard about it and I was just getting into playing music on my own, I think the Open Mic with the Music Society was the very first thing I did, and I think they’d advertised that everyone who played got a free refreshment from the college bar afterwards, so I kind of went off on my own and I did it, I was able to play in front of people I didn’t know.
What happened next? Did you stay going solo?
Yeah, a little bit but you know deep down I always just wanted to be in a band, but I think it’s quite important that you find people who want to play the same things as you and if you can’t find them all the time then maybe you’re better off starting on your own.
Then you started Conman?
Yes around second year I found someone who was kind of the same wavelength as myself, we had similar ideas for songs and we just liked playing together, that was Des Conroy, which is where we got the name, Conroy and Freeman together.
Did it stay just the two of you?
Yeah we would play and then Karl Healy from the Rock Soc asked us if we wanted to play a gig, and I almost told him that we were only acoustic and then he said that it was in the Róisín Dubh so we said we’d do the gig – then we had about a week to find a bassist and a drummer. We got Dylan Chambers on the bass and James Walsh on the drums.
How did you meet?
I actually met Dylan at the Witless competition in first year and I had no idea he played bass but kind of through a friend of a friend I found out so I just kind of asked him on the basis of “look we really just want to play this one show, can we have you for the one night” and he said no bother I’ll help you out and then he just stuck on.
You’re playing with The Clockworks now, how did that come about?
Correct, huge Clockworks fan, I actually met them in first year at Witless, I think that night at Witless in first year was like my introduction to the music scene in Galway, everyone in the band that I’m still playing with I met that night. Clockworks were there, Field Trip were there, Bob Skeleton were there, even some of them were like bands that hadn’t even started yet.
I enjoyed the Clockworks, they were probably my favourite in Galway, and then some time passed and I saw they were getting a bit more attention, they started releasing some singles out, so I started trying to make more of their shows and got to know the three boys, Seán Connelly, James McGregor and Damian Greaney.
And eventually just got the offer?
Yeah they said that their current bassist was focusing on Music Technology down in Cork and he wouldn’t be able to commit enough time to the band.
So are both bands still going strong?
Conman has taken a bit of a back seat, we’re kind of focusing on the writing and stuff like that and the other boys have some external commitments that impede on Conman a little bit. Whereas with the Clockworks, we all have our day jobs, after that we’re all 100pc focused on the band, we’ve a way to make money, then we’re totally in the band.
Any projects/gigs coming up?
With Clockworks we just released “Rumours in the Stockroom” which is our fifth single released, that just came out. We are recording two more tracks in the next month and they’ll be released maybe before summer.
We’re playing the Róisín Dubh on Friday 16 March and that’s going to be our homecoming gig cause we’re going to London, Dublin and Cork before that. It’s going to be upstairs, a nice and intimate gig.
Tickets for the Róisín Dubh are available for €5 and can be purchased either online through the Róisín Dubh or by contacting The Clockworks through Facebook, not a gig to be missed.
By Michael Glynn