29 Nov 2021

Dundalk musician returns home to rock Electric Picnic


Dundalk musician returns home to rock Electric Picnic

Leaving Ireland’s harsh economic climate for a better job and quality of life was the main push factor for
Ireland’s latest diaspora.

For local musician Gary J. Conlon, having played in Dundalk bands for nearly 20 years, moving abroad was also an opportunity to restart his music career in Canada.

Landing in Toronto in 2011, he and his now wife Niamh Harmon began the difficult job of settling in a new culture and integrating with their new city. Between job interviews and apartment searches Gary soon met Montreal native Tom Bell through the local Aussie Rules Football team, and from there Honey Beard was born as an alt-folk band.


Drawing on early influences such as Depeche Mode, MGMT and The Doors, the band have built up quite a reputation for their frenetic live performances, with edgy songs that tear apart typical pop arrangements while balancing dark synths with bright thumping beats.

Avoiding the need for a drummer led them down the electronic music rabbit hole, which gradually evolved their act into an electronic synth-pop creation, playing a myriad of live instruments with a pulsating high tempo.

Running local Dundalk music eZine Highway67 and fronting his old band Artificial Flight gave Gary invaluable experience, which proved vital in mobilising his new band quickly. His time with old Artificial Flight bandmates David McEneaney, Jennifer Finnegan and Sean Branton is something he fondly remembers and counts as an important part of his music education.

Bringing all this knowledge to Toronto has at times been eye opening. When comparing the two music scenes, Gary believes Irish musicians are more disciplined and friendly, and create music which is more risky and non-commercial compared to their Canadian peers in general. Yet, on the flipside, Canadians enjoy better funding opportunities and a lot more music venues.
Coming home to play a slot at Ireland's biggest festival is an opportunity not lost on the Haggardstown man and he hopes that he can build on this every year, playing more festivals and larger stages.

Their Electric Picnic performance will kick off a 15-show tour across Canada, supporting their new album Dreamless Sleep.
With already talk of a second album being released this time next year, Gary is already planning his return.

Honey Beard play the Global Green Stage on Saturday, Sept 2nd at 7 pm. Check their website for tour details:

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