‘Silences’ band making big noise in Shanghai

Presenter, Goldierocks, recently launched the campaign  fronted by the band 'Silences' in Shanghai and is joined (from left) by British Council's Meera Saujani, Lisa Zhang and Nick Marchand.
Presenter, Goldierocks, recently launched the campaign fronted by the band 'Silences' in Shanghai and is joined (from left) by British Council's Meera Saujani, Lisa Zhang and Nick Marchand.
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A local band has been building a vast fan base in Northern Ireland - and on the other side of the world.

Silences are an Indie-folk group founded by Portadown native, Conchúr White, back in 2013. Since then, they have taken the local music scene by storm, and their music has quickly gained avid listeners across the UK.

The band played the island’s favourite - and largest - festival, Electric Picnic, in 2014 and been asked back again to join this year’s line-up.

Now, though, they’re jumping into a slightly bigger pond. Silences have joined up with UK Music on the GO, a campaign by the British Council which is setting out to promote 10 cutting-edge UK bands - in China. So far, Silences have had their faces splashed across buses and around major university campuses in the Asian country and, naturally, the band are a little in shock.

“It hasn’t really sunk in yet; it still seems a bit surreal,” says Conchúr.

“We didn’t expect to get such a reaction and we’re hoping to get good exposure both at home and in China. Whatever happens though, it will be a great story to tell!”

Silences are a five-piece band, consisting of Conchúr White, Christopher Harbinson, Brendan White, Jonathan Downing and Michael Keyes; and their music has been compared to the likes of Coldplay and Jeff Buckley. As part of the British Council’s UK-China Year of Cultural Exchange celebrations, lyrics from Silences’ songs are now being promoted across China on more than 100 buses in Shanghai, Beijing and other provinces. The adverts also feature QE codes, which direct the Chinese audience to a website called UK Now, where they can listen to 10 chosen tracks from the band.

“There’s loads of bands involved (in the project) that I really admire and look up to,” 24 year old Conchúr explains.

“I guess the Chinese audience like our music as our songs are quite melodic and you don’t necessarily need to understand the lyrics to enjoy them. It would be great now for us to be able to capitalise on this and see the campaign on the ground. We would love to be able to do a small tour of China at some point, as we’ve never played that far from home before.”

Although Conchúr only formed the band a little over a year ago, things have moved extremely fast - and the lads have no plans to slow down:

“We’re just back from playing in Brighton, so we would like to build on that and what we’ve got going on in NI. Currently we’re in the midst of planning our third EP and we’ve just signed deal with the Music Service, Secret Road in LA.”

Listen to Silences’ latest track ‘The Sea’ on Facebook.