Sean and Conor Price are chilling backstage before their gig at the National Opera House when I meet them. They’re extremely chatty, and eager to head out into the auditorium to start the interview. “It’s designed to resemble the inside of a cello” Conor tells me as we stare around the empty space in awe. After getting slightly lost (the Opera House has a lot of doors) we decide jumping off the stage is the best way to get into the seats, the boys joking about health and safety.
As we start the interview, a strange noise emanates from the speakers and the lads joke that this is what their show sounds like. “2 hours of ehhhh” .
Before we head back to the dressing room to start the interview in a quieter place, the noise stops and Sean and Conor Price tell me all about their journey so far…
How did you get into music?
S: Initially, I suppose, everyone sort of learns the recorder in primary school…
C: Our Ma forced us when we were like 8 to learn the recorder and then eventually we moved on to saxophone. So saxophone is the first instrument we learnt.
Oh wow, that’s a big jump!
S: Yeah! We got into music and really loved it and really enjoyed it.
C: Then Sean started a little rap group with our neighbour.
S: And eh, we were terrible *laughing* but we were full of energy and I realised I needed a singer so I roped Conor in.
C: Yeah, we were like 10 and 12/13 and we wrote our very first song the very first day and we went busking the week after on Grafton Street. It was Christmas Eve that kind of stood out to me, we were busking on Grafton Street, we didn’t have any microphones, and I was screaming cos I wasn’t really able to sing back then. But it’s still in my memory cos it was such a good experience. And we just kept busking busking busking.
S: Yeah, I think we were forced to start music by our mam, going to lessons and everything, but we really fell in love with it and busking.
“So you owe it all to your mam?”
Both: Oh definitely, completely! *laughing*
What made you decide to apply for the X Factor?
S: I suppose we had been busking for about 3 or 4 years and it was coming up to the Leaving Cert and Junior Cert, and we decided well we don’t want to put music on the back burner this year so let’s give it a go!
C: Yeah, and also the X factor emailed us asking to come for an audition so it was kind of like a no brainer for us cos we wanted to take a different step rather than just carrying on the busking route so we just jumped up to that step.
It was kind of meant to be then?
S: Yeah! And it worked out for us!
How did you find the whole X Factor experience? Was it beneficial to you or do you sometimes feel maybe you should’ve gone a different route?
S: No way, we went in with no expectations so we were literally just having fun, riding the wave. It couldn’t have been a better experience. We learnt a lot about ourselves, about our music, and we made so many friends from it. It’s such a good platform, we wouldn’t be playing a show in the National Opera House if we weren’t on the show.
C: We didn’t treat the show like the be all and end all, it was kind of just a step to get to where we want to be. Right now we’re kind of where we want to be, we’re gigging around the country, we’re making music that we love and hopefully it keeps growing for us.
S: It’s still early days
C: Yeah, very early days! Sure I’m going back to 5th year *laughing*
What other artists/bands inspire you?
C: I think early on Hudson Taylor, definitely for us. Cos they’re brothers, and when we were busking we loved all of that type of stuff. Recently, for me anyways, cos I’ve kind of dived into production/ electronic music Jon Bellion, stuff like that. You? (asking Sean)
C: It’s cliché for a reason
S: Yeah, I really like Eminem, he definitely inspired me with his rapping and stuff.
As brothers, do you think that has shaped your experience in the music industry? Has it been a hindrance at times, or is it a really good thing? Has your relationship maybe become a bit different because of the music?
C: On stage and all it’s brilliant, like you can’t experience anything like it, performing with your brother. I don’t think being brothers is a hindrance *laughing*. Being on the X factor [as brothers] was probably the only way it was a hindrance in our career cos people can just go “oh the two brothers off the telly”. But I think we’re more than that.
So you’d like to see yourself as individuals in a band rather than just brothers?
C: Yeah, exactly, we want to be seen as musicians.
Sean, do you have anything to add?
S: Oh no, I hate him! *both burst out laughing*
C: That’ll be the headline “Sean hates Conor Quote”, cos you did quote it… *laughing*
S: Definitely with the X factor we wouldn’t have been able to do that individually by ourselves. And the whole thing we’ve been able to experience together which is unbelievable and our parents get to come to all our shows.
C: It’s a family affair!
What’s your creative process like? When it comes to music, lyrics, music videos etc, are you both really passionate about the same things or is one more interested in one aspect?
C: I think it’s different every time. A lot of the time we write songs together, a lot of times we write songs [individually], and come together and add more ideas. Then with music videos and stuff again, it’s just a mix, it’s really just a creative collaboration between the both of us.
The past year or so has seen you release new music, and go on tour. What’s in store for 2020?
C: This is our second headline tour and we’re still learning and the show this year is definitely a much better show.
S: Bigger production, we’ve got the band, live music. I was saying, our music career is sort of like a stairs and we’re only on the first step, so we still know what we want to do, we’ve got loads of music to bring out.
C: We’ve taken this year to just write music that we really love and hopefully it will be out in the next couple of months or so.
S: And we’ll have an exciting Christmas show at the end of the year in Dublin… *laughing* Whoops…
Is that an exclusive for Missy.ie?
S: We just hope to keep gigging and keep bringing loads of music out, we’ve been so fortunate.
C: We’re just gonna keep climbing those stairs.
Obviously you’re very busy, Conor you’re going back into 5th year ?
And Sean, are you in college?
Yeah, I’m in 2nd year studying music at BIMM.
So, how do you manage and juggle everything?
C: Well, we haven’t managed it yet, we haven’t done that yet.
S: When we were on the X factor we did the Leaving Cert and Junior Cert and we actually did it!
C: And we did well, that’s the weird thing! That blew my mind!
S: We’re very balanced and we’ve got good motivation for music
C: It’s not a side thing, it’s what we want to do so it’s not like we’re going to put it on the back burner, we’re still going to go at it full throttle
What do you do then to relax, or take time off?
C: Same as everyone, just watch a bit of Netflix
S: I read a book recently!
*Conor laughing* : His first book in years!
S: Took a big step!
Do you feel social media has helped you in the music industry? How?
C: Yeah, definitely, I think social media makes everything so accessible. The fan base that we have…
S: Is all thanks to social media.
C: Yeah, it’s all thanks to social media. We can communicate with them. We see people make friends through being a fan of ours on social media. Which is really unbelievable.
S: Yeah, that’s the best thing ever.
Both: It’s definitely been a positive for us.
Lastly, what advice would you give to young aspiring musicians? Would you recommend the X factor/talent shows?
S: It’s so tough, a bit of luck definitely plays its part in the music industry, but if you’re persistent, keep working, keep practicing things are bound to happen.
C: Persistence is really key, if you do something for long enough there’s a bigger chance of something happening. So persistence and just do what you want more than what other people want.
Sean and Conor Price hail from Blessington in County Wicklow. They began their music career busking on Grafton Street before auditioning for the X Factor in 2017.
Sean and Conor Price were sent home from the show in a double elimination, a result that shocked many as the two brothers were tipped to win.
They didn’t let that stop them, and have been releasing music and videos ever since leaving the show. They’re now on their second headline tour around Ireland, for information tickets and merch, check the Sean and Conor Price website.