Meet The Guggenheim Grotto -- More Than Just a Cool Band Name

Erica Mayyasi

The Guggenheim Grotto first piqued our interest thanks to their awesomely alliterative name. Turns out they also make some great music to match. The Irish folk duo, comprised of Mick Lynch and Kevin May, recently released their second album Happy The Man, on which they show off their range: from the despondent ballad “Lost Forever And” to the plucky Andrew Bird-esque folk fairytale “The Dragon” to the uptempo electro pop song “Fee Da Da Dee,” the album has it all. We recently chatted with Kevin.

Where does the name The Guggenheim Grotto come from?
One of us plucked it out of the air -- possibly me. At the time it meant nothing and was just a goofy name to call ourselves, a bit artsy which we liked. Some months after we picked the name and we had our music online someone from the Guggenheim Museum contacted us wondering how did we know about the 'Grotto'?... a room in the Guggenheim where the art handlers throw wild debauched parties, apparently.

"Fee Da Da Dee" is one of our favorite songs of yours. Why "Fee Da Da Dee" as opposed to say, I don't know, "Fee Fi Fo Fum" or "Fa La La La"?
The melody for the song is Mick's and the words are mine -- this is often how we write a song. Mick had recorded himself singing a demo of the song where he was making up nonsense lyrics so I could get my head around the melody. One of the things he was singing in the chorus was 'Fee Da Da Dee.' I liked the fairytale nature of it so I took it and ran with it.

Can you talk more about the songwriting process?
It works whichever way it pleases. Sometimes I write alone, sometimes I write with Mick. Sometimes it comes fast, other times I could be working on a song for months. Sometimes it's lyrics first, sometimes it's melody first, but often times they come together. I write on piano and guitar. Sometimes I'm feeling around in the dark to see if there's anything there, other times I'm shooting an arrow at a definite target.

If you could have any artist (living or dead) make a gig poster for you, who would you pick and why?
Van Gogh for our European tour and Edward Hopper for our American. Or maybe the other way around.

Of all the venues you've played at, which has been your favorite?
I couldn't possibly single out one particular venue as being our favourite as we've played in places that are so different to each other that doesn't make sense to compare them. Aside from traditional music venues of which there are loads that I have a love for, we've played in bookstores, peoples’ living rooms, hunting lodges, a yoga studio, cool independent record stores and cafes.

LISTEN: Fa Da Da Dee - The Guggenheim Grotto

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