I meet Cry Harridan in the booth of a rustic style bar. The first thing I notice is that the three people I’m sitting with are breathtakingly beautiful. Their looks, their style, their mysterious vibe, it’s even more captivating in person. Prior to meeting them, I was extremely impressed with the brand and image they’ve built for themselves. I was delighted to see that they possess the same image face-to-face. I’m hesitant to label it as effortless, as that suggests they don’t work hard, but I definitely get the sense that their brand comes naturally to them.
Hobo sits opposite me, an exotic looking cocktail sitting in front of him. River Ryan sits beside him, nursing a cup of tea. Victoria Devereux and I sit beside one another, sipping from glasses of red wine. They’re extremely relaxed and comfortable, each giving me their full attention at all times.
They’ve been working on their debut album for a long time now. Victoria tells me how they edit and set everything up themselves. It’s a very time-consuming thing for them to do. Hobo states that it’s about timing. “Getting the songs ready and making sure we were happy with them before we started pushing it. Making sure we had a foundation before we started.” “In that way, we’re not going about it in a traditional sense,” River adds. “The little things we put up on YouTube are so important to us. When we come up with an idea, it’s not just a picture or something, it’s like a project every time. Every time there’s a song, there’s something else behind the song.”
And their YouTube channel is an impressive one. Their beautifully produced and edited clips and songs have racked up a combined total of 286,772 views over the space of 5 months, with Can We holding the number one spot. “Visuals are so important to us,” River informs me. “With a lot of bands, they have great music, but you do wish they’d do some visuals too.”
In recent weeks, the band has started getting noticed by radio stations. Hobo tells me that they’re in no particular hurry to release their album. “You don’t want to think too far ahead in terms of how it’s going to flow. We’ve just started getting our stuff to the radio stations and you don’t want to throw all your cards at someone at once. We do care a lot about everything we do so you don’t just want to throw everything away.”
I stumbled upon this band on Instagram, and I was immediately drawn in by their weird and wonderful imagery. They smile when I tell them this. “We’ve definitely tried to up our game in the past two months,” Victoria agrees.
But putting out such content doesn’t come without its negative side. Hobo and River Ryan laugh when they tell me that everyone assumes that they’re gay because of their style. But Victoria often finds herself the victim of misogynistic trolls, bashing her for expressing her sexuality. Still, none of them seem to be very phased.
“I think it’s that if you’re heterosexual, you shouldn’t act this way,” River says factually. “Once you step outside of stereotypes, it puts people outside of their comfort zone because people like to put you into a box and we are not a band that will ever be put into a box,” Victoria adds. “We’re not really thinking about what they think of us really. We’re just doing what we want to do and if people like it, brilliant. If they don’t, they can do what they want to do,” Hobo sums up.
When I first stumbled upon the band, I admit that I was surprised to discover that they were based in Ireland. There aren’t many bands like them around. They agree that the band scene isn’t diverse enough. “Not the Irish scene anyway,” Victoria states, “it’s all about money.” River nods, “it’s industrialised.” “It’s the same thing every time, there’s no real individualism,” Hobo adds. “You nearly feel like there’s a lack of art. People just aren’t encouraged to create art. It’s like a no-risk life they’re trying to live but art is about risk. People don’t have what it takes to spend ten years trying and then not make it.”
I ask them do they think that modern Ireland is ready for Cry Harridan. River Ryan smiles, “That’s a very good question. From the feedback we get, a lot of it is foreign.” “Irish people seem to have the most issue with the drug imagery that we put up,” Victoria shrugs, referring to a picture of a nun taking heroin that they posted on their Instagram. “We’re maybe seen as counter-culture. We’re not doing it to rebel, we just do it,” Hobo states. River surprisingly states “I find everyone around me in rural Ireland is really accepting. I have huge respect for it.”
They agree that their lyrics are quite unique. “They’re very dark,” Victoria states, but Hobo adds that they all have meaning. “We draw inspiration from across the board. Anything that triggers something for us.” “Breakups are good,” River states, receiving a nod from the other two. He also lists sexual escapades as a source of inspiration. “Can We is about a particular sexual escapade that caused some severe turmoil. I love hearing happy songs but when you look into it you realise that this is about very dark subject matter. Still Need is very much about being trapped and you’re dying because you’re so trapped.” “We’ve seen some dark shit in our time. All together we have. We’re drawing from that for inspiration,” Victoria finishes mysteriously.
I was curious as to whether they’ve adopted personas to create their brand. “It’s not like we’ve adopted personas, this is who we were the whole time. It’s like you’re withholding all this for so long and then you just want to show your colours,” Hobo answers. River Ryan nods, “it’s like an alter ego to a degree but then it’s actually who I am.” “Everyone has a dark side and I think we’re just really tapping into that. Especially with the videos,” Victoria states. “We have shot some awful dark shit,” River concludes.
River and Hobo have known each other for almost seven years, and they met Victoria three years ago. “We’ve all had interesting meetings,” River states vaguely. When it comes to the creative process, they’re all very hands on. Hobo sums up the process: “When everything started, it was just us realising we all had the same idea about what was going on. We don’t like this, we don’t like that, we’d love to do this. Then we were like why don’t we just do it?”
I ask them to sum up their image in three words. “Grotesque,” Victoria announces. “Meaning,” Hobo answers, and Victoria nods. “Nothing’s just for the sake of it. Everything’s thought out.” River smiles at me and asks “what would you think?” Reluctant to define them in the wrong way, I think of the sense I got whenI first arrived on their Instagram. “Sex,” I tell him and they all nod.
“There’s a definite taboo around any sort of sexuality in Ireland. It’s shameful and we’re sick of that notion, that there’s any sort of shame associated with sexuality when it’s completely natural,” Victoria says. “It’s just self-expression,” Hobo adds, “90% of songs are about it in one way or another.
In the next video, Victoria tells me that she’ll be debuting her directing shots. She’s looking forward to it. I’m dying to know what a live show with Cry Harridan will look like. Each of their eyes light up when I ask. “When you go to a show you want to see a show. You don’t want to see someone stand on the same stage you saw someone on two weeks ago,” Hobo states. “We have big plans. Lights, visuals,” Victoria informs me. “Expressing sexuality,” River adds. “Engaging the audience’s senses. Not just visually. Sound, touch, really sensual. Anyone can belong at a Cry Harridan gig. Everyone fits in,” Victoria concludes. I, like many other people, am looking forward to the experience.
After meeting the band, I’m struck by how refreshing the experience was. I can only hope that their unique brand, their confidence and their hard work will take them as far as they deserve to go. In an age and industry that can sometimes be lacking in diversity, their refusal to conform is extremely admirable.