Penrose Live The Dream: We Talk to Darragh McGrane


Penrose have been featured a few times here at Essentially Pop, and with the launch of their next single, ‘Melody’, coming up on October 22, we took the opportunity to have a chat with front man and band founder, Darragh McGrane.

EP: Tell us the Penrose Story!

DM: Well it started as a dream of mine in early 2012 after writing many original songs, it developed to a 2 piece acoustic for a year gigging around the Dublin circuit and then after a couple of years into a full 4 piece band. The 4 of us currently in the band have been only together since Jan 2015 and since then we have recorded our debut EP and been gigging as much as we can to get the band and the songs out there!

EP: None of you are called Penrose – how did that come about?

DM: I used to travel into college on the bus and was always looking out for signs or billboards to get ideas for a band name. I saw on the back of a tombstone the word Penrose and immediately thought it was a cool name. I then texted my mate who was in the band at the time, and found out he used to work in Penrose Industrial Estate in New Zealand, which I’d known nothing about. We decided there and then it was fate and so called the band Penrose.

EP: Talk us through ‘Live For The Dream’ – is it a concept album? What’s the underlying theme?

DM: I had a bunch of songs I have always wanted to record and decided on 4 that fitted well with each other and told somewhat of a story of life, love and happiness which I have experienced. It has a start, middle and an end, which I like, and is what I set out to achieve for the listener.

EP: Do you have any advice for anyone trying to get into the music industry?

DM: Yes, get a solid band together first before you go anywhere, the foundations are key in any band.

EP: What’s your take on the current state of the music industry right now?

DM: Its hard to say, sometimes I look at lots of bands and artists I know doing really well which is great, and I am delighted for them as they have all put so much into the game, some for many years, and then I look at it and think its never going to be like the 60s again, where bands sold millions of singles or albums. It’s a promoter’s world out there; they are the ones running the “music business.”

EP: What do you think it is about Ireland and Dublin in particular that so many quality musicians come out of the country?

DM: I love it, for such a small country we continually punch above our weight and it’s something as an Irishman I’m very proud of, but I think in some circumstances we should take a leaf out of the UK’s attitude to music, sometimes they seem to get and appreciate bands better over there. Maybe it’s just the Irish culture…

EP: If you could do it all over again would you? If anything, what would you do differently?

DM: I would start younger and make sure everyone in the band was in it for the long run.

EP: What’s your top 3 songs/artists you’re listening to right now?

DM: Richard Hawley: ‘Heart Of Oak’

The Academic: ‘Different’

Gaz Coombes: ‘Detroit’

EP: Who are your inspirations? Musically? Personally? Why?

DM: Emmmm to many to mention….

The Beatles: mainly because they wrote the best songs of all times;

Oasis: when it comes to song writing Noely G is in my top 3 and then of course the fact that seeing Oasis in Slane 2009 changed my life and made me wanna start a rock’n’roll band after seeing Liam and the lads;

Queen: as a frontman Freddie was the best ever and as a band they never seemed to disappoint.

EP: What question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview but nobody ever does?

DM: ‘What’s your favourite food?’

You can find Penrose online on their website, on Twitter, Facebook, SoundCloud and YouTube. ‘Live For the Dream’ is available on iTunes.

Penrose launch their next single, ‘Melody’, on October 22 at Dublin’s Academy 2. Information here.

About the author

Lisa has been writing for over 20 years, starting as the entertainment editor on her university newspaper. Since then she's written for Popwrapped, Maximum Pop, Celebmix, and ListenOnRepeat.

Lisa loves all good music, with particular fondness for Jedward and David Bowie. She's interviewed Edward Grimes (Jedward), Kevin Godley, Trevor Horn, Paul Young, Peter Cox (Go West), Brendan B Brown (Wheatus), Bruce Foxton (The Jam), among many many more. Lisa is also available for freelance writing - please email

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