The Riptide Movement Biography

Est – 2016

‘Ghosts’ is a journey that began somewhere between the Caragh River and the Seefin mountains of Gleinbeigh, Co Kerry, and came to completion in Tornillo, Texas, thirty miles East of the Rio Grande, under the guidance of Grammy award winning producer, Ted Hutt.

“Throughout 2015 we had rented various houses around the country, we would pull all the furniture out and bring in all the amps and drums and we’d write solid for a week.” – Gar, TRM

Two sessions, one in Glenbeigh and another in Ballyfinnane Co. Kerry, kickstarted the creative process but the third and final session in Ballinaclash became the band’s favourite. The venue for it, the old mill house, was perched on the banks of the River Avonbeg and the power and roar of the waterway seeped into the tone of the recordings. The sessions had produced over forty songs, which TRM packed into their luggage before jetting out to the States for their date with Ted Hutt and destiny.

4,896 miles due west of Ballinaclash near the Texas/Mexico border is Sonic Ranch Studio, the world’s biggest residential studio built on a 23,000-acre pecan plantation.

“The collection of instruments was incredible, there was any guitar and pedal you could think of, every kind of piano, keyboard and synth, all acquired and collected from every part of the world by owner Tony Rancich. Basically it’s the best music shop you’ve ever been in, it’s a musical sweet shop in the middle of the desert”. – JPR, TRM

What TRM encountered at Sonic Ranch was a world away from what they knew. Along the western perimeter the band would watch the mile-long freight train roar across the deserted landscape. When they would slip out for a beer in the evening they’d smile nervously at each other as the lonesome cries of coyote packs pierced the air.

Exploration during the day revealed a coterie of oddities – TV sets riddled with bullets, toilet cisterns and photocopiers strewn across the open desert plain. You couldn’t take a step without coming upon an empty bullet casing. This is Breaking Bad country, the setting for The Walking Dead. It’s eerie and soulful and lonesome. And fascinating.

The forty songs that the band had brought to Ted Hutt, the man who they had previously worked with to craft their #1 Gold selling album Getting Through, were swiftly cut back to nine album candidates.

“That was a shock to us. We all sat down together with Ted on the first day, we’d play the first four/eight bars and he’d put his hand up and say ‘next’. Ted would say ‘do you really want that on the album?’ None of us were too precious about it, everyone was geared towards the one direction – we wanted to make a deep and emotive album.” Gar, TRM

Before delving into the making of ‘Ghosts’ its important to go back to understand who The Riptide Movement are – four friends from Lucan (a quaint village in the Dublin suburbs nestled within a wooded valley on the River Liffey) who began their musical journey in 2006.

They self-released their first two albums ‘What About The Tip Jars?’ (2009 – produced by legendary producer, Tony Colton) and ‘Keep On Keepin’ On’ (2012 – self-produced) – a snapshot of a band in evolution, full of character and brimming with songs whose passionate and raucous charm still makes for a great listen.

Building their fanbase through relentless touring, they have an insatiable drive, dedication and work ethic, their first major show at Dublin’s Olympia in 2012 was a gamble.

“Everyone said we were crazy to do it, that we were overreaching. But we went on to sell it out three time”
-Gerry, TRM

Their live shows are legendary and perhaps their most defining quality:

“Playing live is everything to us, no matter what the gig, venue or audience we’re playing to – we give it our all, we play like it’s the last time we’ll ever play. The buzz from playing live is better than any drug, it’s what keeps us going.” Mal, TRM

After recording their third album ‘Getting Through’ independently TRM booked two shows, one in LA and one in New York, to give the industry a chance to get on board. Off the back of those shows, they signed with a major label, but their mindset has never changed– work just as hard.

Keep on keeping on, no matter what.

“We’ve always been like that – we know what we want to do and what we want to achieve. That’s just the way we’ve always been.” – Gar, TRM

So with ‘Ghosts’ what did the band set out to achieve?

Having reached a consensus on the songs to be recorded for the album, Ted put the band to work – Mal in one part of the ranch honing lyrics, Gar, JPR and Gerry cloistered in another routining the songs. For ten days they only occasionally saw Mal.

The atmosphere without the frontman was tense. The pressure to be tight for the tracking was immense. The band knew from working with Ted on Getting Through that he was a perfectionist in the control room. He pushed the band to their limits. He created an atmosphere that was often challenging, but it worked. In short, he knew how to get the very best out of The Riptide Movement.

In the lyric-writing sessions, Ted had encouraged Mal to focus on the themes that were most personal to him.

“We all sat down together during that initial stage of pre-production and discussed what we wanted to say through the music and through the songs. Some of the themes were dark but they were real and something we felt everyone could really relate to and understand. I guess the catalyst for this was ‘Elephant In The Room’- Mal, TRM


“In A Heartbeat was another song to define the essence of the album both sonically and lyrically, the intro and the opening lyric opened up the forum for what was to come”. – Mal, TRM

‘Changeling,’ ‘Skull And Crossbones’ and ‘I Could Have Loved You’ were the final songs written in Texas to complete the album.
There were several breakthrough moments in Texas. Gar remembers “Powerkick” being one such moment.

“It was one of the first songs we developed a real feel for. The demo was fast and upbeat. We brought it down to this big, low, slow, 64 bpm (groove)… real thick and fat. The four of us were in the room jamming it and as soon as that happened Ted freaked out! ‘I just got a glimpse of how perfect this could be!”- Gar, TRM

Mal remembers ‘In A Heartbeat’ being another pivotal moment in the making of the album.

“In A Heartbeat was another song to define the essence of the album both sonically and lyrically, the intro and the opening lyric opened up the forum for what was to come”. – Mal, TRM

 It won’t change if we don’t change it,

– Heartbeat, Ghosts

Gerry remembers ‘Skull And Crossbones’ and ‘Turn On The Lights’ as being big breakthroughs for the album;

Ted brought ‘Skull And Crossbones’ to the table and ‘Turn On The Lights’ was another song gifted to us by Kath Williams that really tied into the whole fabric of what ‘Ghosts’ is. Gerry, TRM

JPR remembers ‘Our Time’ and ‘Changeling’ being the breakthrough songs for him:

“Our time’ and ‘Changeling’ are two of my favourites on the album, they feel like a real link from our previous three albums to this album. They’re belters and for me really define who we are as a band.” JPR, TRM

Tear your pillars down, it’s our time now,

– Our time, Ghosts

From the depths of the desert, surrounded by the spirits of the Tigua, the band sensed they were walking with ghosts, the same ghosts that sang from the Avonbeg river and haunted the waves that crashed upon the shore at Rossbeigh.

The final track on the record is inspired by a poem that Gar’s grandmother wrote for his grandfather on the night before they were married in 1946. When Gar played the song to his Dad, he filled up with emotion on hearing his mother’s poem brought to life.

The song, like the poem is both heartbreaking and unusual – it doesn’t feel or sound like anything else the band has ever done. They stay true to the poem by using the exact words in the chorus, whilst building out the story in the verses. The tin-whistle solo, played by JPR, adds an old-time, Irish feel to the song.

It’s an emotional listen and the perfect bookend for a concept album that opens up conversations that span the generations.

The Riptide Movement are four lifelong friends from Lucan about to release their first American-recorded album.

There is an authenticity in everything they do. It permeates their sound and defines their approach.

They are dreamers with a plan, on the journey of a lifetime.

This is special.