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🎵 IT189: It’s a fiver in with guestlist
✏️ Joanne McAlary
🗓 30.11.22

Joanne is an illustrator, graphic designer, animation-dabbler and all round creative person, based in Belfast.

Hi Jo. Can you tell us a little bit about your tape and your song selections?

Hi Sam! I’m currently based in Belfast and my tape is dedicated to my favourite local bands from Northern Ireland, both past and present, that have soundtracked many of my favourite memories.

I grew up in a rural town in County Derry, and by rural, I mean there are fields, fields… and more fields. Thankfully, we have people like Paddy Glasgow who took advantage of this and created our small but massive music festival ‘Glasgowbury’.

I went to my first Glasgowbury festival in 2011. This is where my love for local music really started. I remember sitting on the grass near the main stage watching a band called Wonder Villains and thinking to myself – what the hell, they’re from Derry?! I felt really proud that a band that cool could be from where I lived!

I moved to Belfast to go to art college and continued to follow and support what was going on in the music scene. My favourite nights out involved seeing bands in local venues such as the Oh Yeah Centre, The Black Box and The Ulster Sports Club.

Belfast is a small city, so it’s easy to spot familiar faces at each gig. Everyone is also incredibly dead-on and knows how to have a good time. Music fans here adore their local bands, so every gig just feels like a reunion with friends.

I love the atmosphere, the sticky floors, the cans of lemon hooch, the mosh pits, the DIY merch, the catch ups in smoking areas, the ringing in my ears, the fact that it’s a fiver in with guestlist… I just love the music scene in Northern Ireland and I’m so grateful I am able to champion these bands on this tape.

What direction did you take with your cover art, and what was your process?

I just had a lot of fun with it! I went down an illustrative route for my cover art. I listened to my playlist and began doodling in my sketchbook. Once I had a few sketches I was happy with I began playing with Illustrator. I created a storyboard of how a local gig in Belfast looks to me. I used a limited colour palette against a black background so the colours would pop and give a sense of the loud, bold atmosphere you get in our local venues.  

What are your fave album covers, records with a great music and artwork combo, or musical projects with a visual component?

“Railroad King” [MV] – Junk Drawer
Dir: Matty Killen

Starting off local - great, creative, DIY music video paired with a wonderful song… what’s not to love?

The Midnight Organ Figh – Frightened Rabbit
2008, FatCat Records
Artwork: Scott Hutchison 

Scott Hutchison will always be one of my favourite artists, an incredible musician and illustrator.

Things Take Time, Take Time – Courtney Barnett
2021, Mom + Pop / Milk! Records

Again, one of my absolute favourite musicians. I admire Courtney so much, I love that she illustrates so much of her own artwork and merch. She recently curated the Here and There festival which included a wonderful visual aspect. She asked fans to submit stories about the places that have a special meaning to them, the stories were then turned into illustrations for Here And There festival stage backdrop visuals.

“Carry Me” [MV] – Bombay Bicycle Club
2013, Universal / Island Records
Dir: Powster
Animation: Anna Ginsburg, Loup Blaster, George Wheeler, Jake Evans, Daniel Sherer, Grace Helmer, Mark Prendergast, Aaron Cook, Luiz Stockler

Great band and love any illustration / animation work by the incredibly talented Anna Ginsburg! Frame by frame animation always blows my mind!

What did you listen to growing up?

I was obsessed with music videos as a kid. I always had Kerrang and Scuzz on TV, this heavily influenced my music taste. My favourite bands included Green Day, My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, Paramore… the golden era of emo!

I began listening to local bands and chatting to different people about music a lot more. This broadened my horizons. I literally listen to everything and anything now. Of course, that 2007 emo playlist still gets a blast every now and again too!

And what’s on heavy rotation for you at the moment?

Robocobra Quartet – Living Isn’t Easy

Julia Jacklin – Pre Pleasure

Gabriels – Angels & Queens - Part 1

Against Me! – White Crosses

Janet Jackson – Control

… yup, It’s a mixed bag!

What’s happening in your creative world at the moment?

Currently working full time as a Graphic Designer, looking forward to spending some more time on personal projects in the near future!

Where can we find you?


Thanks Jo 👋🏽