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Every Monday we will be bringing you an unsigned singer or band as part of our Independent Music Monday feature. This week, we caught up with Shane Clarke to find out more about him and his band Elephant…

Where are you from and how did you first get into music?
Dundalk, Co Louth, Ireland. I first got into music through listening to my parents and grandparents records (Swing, jazz, pop, country and rock mostly). My friend got me to learn guitar so we could start our first garage band back in primary school... we were probably the best pop-punk band in the little village I grew up in that no one has heard of.

Who were your musical influences when you were growing up and who are your influences now?
Influences include everything from Max Richter to Prince... anything that ever stuck with me, anything that makes me feel all the feelings. But at the moment my biggest influence is David Bowie, who I consider the greatest. His death was surprisingly difficult for me and my new album has taken on a very Bowie vibe... not intentionally, but I cant help it, nor will I try to hide it.

How would you describe your sound?
Constantly changing... rooted in pop you could probably say.

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What is your latest single called and what was the influence behind it?
Mirrors - as before mentioned, influenced by Bowie... but inspired by seeing LCD Soundsystem. It's a dance song performed by a band, and not something I had ever tried before.

What’s your local music scene like?
The Dundalk music scene is great. More and more really great bands popping up all the time. At the moment, the quality coming out of it is exceptional. We, the Oceanographers, Just Mustard, Jinx Lennon, Third Smoke, Nix Moon, David Keenan... to name just a few, I could go on.

What do you have planned for the next 12 months? Any albums or festivals?
Festival season is just about over for us. So all my focus is now going back on the second album, which I will either release at the end of October if I get finished... or I will wait until January for its release.  If I decide on the latter, then we will hopefully do a couple of Irish headliners in the meantime.

Is there anyone you’d love to collaborate with?
I would love to collaborate with lots of people... I would love to sit in a fire lit room with Conor O'Brien and Katie Kim and make something bleak and beautiful... though I'd probably just sit there and listen. I'd love to do something with someone wildly different to me like... Aphex Twin, and just see what comes out. Some of the most heartbreaking music ever made is on Max Richter's "The Blue Notebooks"... I would love to be in the room for something that special and pretend I had a hand in it! haha

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Any funny stories surrounding your live performances?
Nothing laugh-out-loud springs to mind with Elephant... well at least nothing PC enough to print! My old band names were all pretty horrendous, The Squeeling Monkeys, i Like ducks? (with the question mark and all!), Pink Radiator... it's one of my favourite games to play when out with other musicians... compare terrible band names and see who had the worst! You get some real gold.

What is the one thing that you want readers to know about you?
The one thing I want your readers to know... that's a difficult question. I mean, easy answer is that I have a new album coming very soon yadda yadda... but I guess what I'd like anyone to know about me, or better yet about Elephant is that I started doing it out of necessity for myself to feel vital and worthwhile... I didn't go in with an end game of "making it" so in turn any success I have gotten from it is just icing. The cake is that I feel like I contribute something to the world and that makes me really happy. So if you don't feel happy in yourself, you should find something that you love, that you have a knack for and that scares the bejesus out of you and go do it. Worked for me x

You can find out more about Elephant via their website or at Facebook, Instagram, Soundcloud, Spotify, Twitter or YouTube.