The Charlotte Interview: Leo Moran
[Leo & Anto, The Saw Doctors]
written by Charlotte Jakobsen
Leo, whilst The Saw Doctors have been taking a break, you have been very busy with new projects. Can you tell us more about your involvement with Cabin Collective and Leo & Anto?
Knowing that we were going to be on a break for a while, Anto and myself were eager to keep busy. We fell into a group of friends and fellow musicians who were accustomed to rehearsing and recording in Larry Kelly’s log cabin, a few miles outside of Tuam. Noelie McDonnell and Keith Mullins had recorded albums of their own out there and Anto Thistlethwaite and I joined in the crack which led us to putting a group of nine and sometimes more musicians onstage under the name Cabin Collective. We played some gigs, released two singles and were on the TV a couple of times but despite the amount of talented musicians, singers and writers on the stage, it was hard to get gigs and get people to come to them. It was also difficult to get all the musicians at any particular gig, never mind rehearsal!
It wasn’t difficult; different of course. And when I say it wasn’t difficult, it’s not fully true because in many ways, smaller gigs are more intense and more intimidating; plus there’s only the two of us onstage for the whole set – we don’t get to hide off in the wings twiddlin’ away at a guitar. It’s full-on from start to finish. So I’ll revise my original answer – yes, it was a bit more difficult for sure.
Can you tell more about the two albums “Pushing it” and “Flying it” that you recorded with Anto?
They’re mostly our duo versions of Saw Doctors’ well-known, and not-too-well-known, songs: there are a few of Anto’s own songs and there are a few of our songwriter friend, Padraig Stevens’ songs which we’re delighted to have on board. The albums are quieter affairs, similar to our gigs – we recorded them in a simple fashion, not just for convenience but also so that if people bought the CD because they liked what they heard at the gig, it would be pretty much the same version.
You have just come back from touring Russia for the first time. How was it?
The Saw Doctors have had an amazing career. What have been the highlights so far?