Donal Ward-McCarthy

Donal Ward-McCarthy

Donal Ward-McCarthy

the Chemical Brothers & U2 and descend to the Underworld whilst listening to great indie electronic music on the RadioheadFollow on instagram: redxdown
From an EDM beginning, REDXDOWN has become one of Toronto’s most exciting indie rock projects. 
Since the release of ‘Give them a home’ EP, front man Donal Ward McCarthy formed a musical relationship with Shane Wixted (Drums) and Mike Evans (Bass/Synth). It was soon clear that the EDM solo project Donal had laboured over was no more. What replaced it is an indie-electronic project born in the band room.

Having rehearsed meticulously, the boys took to the city's dive bars and music venues to hone their live show and build up a following. After progressing to the semi-finals of Indie Week with material written for ‘give them a home’ EP, the band has embarked on a new phase of writing and testing out material to an ever growing audience of electronic and indie music lovers alike. What transpired from this new body of work and new influences, is “Love is Coming Down”; a single released in April 2016.  Mixed by Chris Allen in Brighton, Love is Coming Down is a more polished sound and reflects a fresh direct song writing style from REDXDOWN.

What people are saying?

“Frontman Donal Ward-McCarthy spoke to us beforehand about how it can be tricky transferring something you’ve done in your bedroom into a live show, but it came across awesome. The band is comprised of a bassist, drummer, and Ward-McCarthy on guitar, and loops and backing tracks on a laptop. They even garnered in the audience the guitarists of The Hot Sprockets. It is not a surprise to see that Redxdown won the competition for Detour that night.”

Jarod Semple,

About Donal

What are your first memories of music?
Walking around the living room when I was about 3 or 4 years of age with no pants on and using the trailer of my tractor as a guitar. 

Who are your main influences?
Undeniably growing up in the 80's in Ireland, U2 were a major force which seemed to represent not only a great shift musically within the country but also within the psyche of a nation walking up out of a deep sleep. 
Then in the 90's, I remember hearing Fugazi on one my trips to California one summer.. that led to a major obsession for many years, to which I think the climax was navigating my way into the suburbs of Washington DC to a residential neighbourhood in search of Dischord Records. On finding the correct address I sheepishly knocked on the front door of American suburbia and a lady answered.. and I asked if this was Discord records showing her a CD case, "oh she said, you're in the right place alright.. I'm Ian's mother, they still use my house as the mailing address" - classic!
Then there was dance music... it was Leftfield and Chemical brothers which began my romance with electronic music and I won't even go into how many major influences I have in this vast and broad genre. 

When did you decide to form a band?
Having worked solo for many years as REDXDOWN releasing tech house / progressive tracks with a well respected and twice Juno nominated Toronto Label; Thoughtless Music, I began to crave writing songs again and creating a hybrid of both the electronic and indie genres. Having written a album full of material I wished to represent it in more of a band orientated fashion rather than my initial solo shows. It's much more fun to work with and feed off other people playing live. This energy is very hard when you are sole person on stage. So I guess the decision was made over  period of time as I neared completion of the body of works I had poured years of work into. 

What is your plan going forward?
To continue writing new tracks and in a very different vein whilst maintaining the goal of blending various genres.. having brought new voices into the band REDXDOWN will undoubtfully change into a new beast, but the lads are still keen on keeping a spirit alive in the REDXDOWN which they heard initially. 

About Shane

How did you get into music?
My first memories of music were my mother running into the sitting room telling me to turn down the soundtrack for USA 94' that came free with Kellogs Corn flakes. It was a mashup of the Horselips song Dearg Doom and 'Ole, Ole, Ole', a football anthem used to support the Irish football team in the world cup. From there I just piggy backed off my brothers music collection, Offspring, Nirvana, Metalica, Gn'r, Orbital, Prodigy, Pearl Jam etc. All the born in the 80's grew up in the 90's staples. After hearing Dave Grohl, I knew I wanted to be a drummer, but the constraints of a semi-detatched house meant I played guitar until I was 21 and had a place to practice. 

How did you meet your band? 
I moved to Toronto in 2012 and met Donal when I was networking and looking for a job. The conversation soon turned to our shared love of bands we both thought no body else had heard of. After that we began jamming Donal's songs, Mike joined us on bass and began writing songs as a band.

About Mike
How did you get in the music?
I was born into the music Business. My father was a professional musician and toured United States and Canada. By the time I was a young teenager I had a very solid musical background and musical ability on multiple instruments. 
What were your influences?
Growing up there was a lot of R&B soul funk jazz in the house with the mix of the classic oldies but I was always rocker at heart. At a young age I was drawn to rock music, And when I heard a bass player named Junior in one of my fathers many show bands play the immigrant song, as they say the rest was history. 
How did you meet Donal and Shane?
I met Donal first whilst doing sound at the Big On Bloor Toronto street festival. Even though he was having probably one of the worst days in his musical career, in that, anything that could go wrong did go wrong. Once he got playing onstage I knew right away he was doing something very different and very cool. So when he asked me to back him up with the REDXDOWN project as he was expanding from a solo artist to a band, I was very eager to be a part of it.

Recent Submissions

Donal Ward-McCarthy submitted media.

Give Them a Home by REDXDOWN

Alan Cross

I listened to this one on a sunny Sunday morning and I can honestly say it made me feel better. There is lots of potential here because of the melody and the anthemic quality of the chorus. It could lend itself to all sorts of different production styles. If you were to give it to five different producers, they'd probably come back with five different sounds--and all would work. That's the sign of a good song.

It also reminds me of some of the work Bill Nelson did back in the very late 1980s. Nice work.

It needs to be shorter, though. Could you chop it down to around 4 minutes?  Off to listen to the second track now.

Donal Ward-McCarthy submitted media.

They Move Too Slowly by REDXDOWN

Alan Cross

Another good track, a solid demo worthy of sending around. Hey, if Owl Eyes can do it...

Both songs should be used to showcase what you can do. It doesn't have to be an either/or situation.

Because the nature of what you do, you should check out a site called Music Gateway to see if there's something you could do to pick up some extra cash while doing what you do. I've met the people behind the site and they're good dudes.

Let me post both these songs on my site and see if we get any producers to bite, okay?

Donal Ward-McCarthy submitted media.

Love Is Coming Down by Donal Ward-McCarthy

Alan Cross

I remember! Glad you followed up. 

There's some good stuff here, but this recording would benefit from an outside producer who can lend some fresh ears to the arrangement. In this form, it's a very good demo, but not ready for the world at large. I'm not a producer, but I'm sure there's much that could be done with the arrangement, mix and overall sound to bring out the absolute best elements of what you've written. There are good bones here, but it needs...more.

I once sat in one a series of sessions conducted by producer Steve Lillywhite for an indie band who won a contest. He turned one of their good songs into something truly great. It was amazing to watch/hear.

I'm not suggesting that you contact someone like that, but if you can find an experienced guy who understands your vision, I think you may be amazed at how many levels higher you'll go.