Having played in various musical projects from a young age, in early 2004 Ciaran
Smith began playing his own 4-track recorded songs live under the name ‘Crayonsmith’.
Soon after, he asked close friends and local musicians Ronan Jackson and Ruadhan
O' Meara to jump on board. With them, they brought bass, synthesizers, samplers,
autoharp and live percussion/drums to the mix resulting in a fuller band sound.
After touring the songs for 2 years, in 2006 Crayonsmith self-released the
lo-fi debut album, Stay Loose, featuring superb artwork by Mike Ahern of
D.A.D.D.Y. to critical acclaim. Apart from small musical contributions from
Ronan and Ruadhan (and some drums by ‘Goodtime’ John Cowhie), the album was
primarily written and produced by Ciarán himself (with mixing help from
Northstation’s Steve Fanagan) during 2005.
On hearing Stay Loose, American indie icon Mark Linkous personally asked
Crayonsmith to open for his band Sparklehorse for 14 dates on their UK/Irish
tour in October 2006. The album also secured Crayonsmith support slots with
international acts like Quasi, Islands, Robin Guthrie (ex- Cocteau Twins), Juana
Molina and Charlotte Hatherley (ex- Ash), as well as gigs with Irish bands such
as The Chalets, Jape, The Redneck Manifesto and Giveamanakick.
In February '07, Crayonsmith signed with long time friends Out On A Limb
Records (who had previously released albums by givemanakick and Waiting Room)
based on a mutual respect for each others work and ethos. Directly following
this signing, Ciaran did a solo Crayonsmith tour of the US West Coast and Canada
playing with likes of Jason Lytle (Grandaddy), Casiotone For The Painfully
Alone, Starfucker and Mt. Eerie.
On Ciaran’s return, the band reconvened and began work on the second album
under the working title, White Wonder. This was to prove to be a more
collaborative effort than its predecessor Stay Loose. Influenced by the US indie
label Anticon, the band decided to compose their songs by combining sampled
drums and sounds with live instrumentation. Crayonsmith enlisted the help of
George Brennan (from dark instrumental hip-hop act Deep Burial) to help with
beat production on the new songs. The finished beats were then taken to
Experimental Audio Studio where Steve Shannon (of the electronic act Halfset)
recorded all the instrumentation between July and November 2007. Between breaks
in recording, Crayonsmith continued to tour Ireland and the UK, playing with
some of their favourite bands including Caribou, Meneguar, Danielson Famile, Dan
Deacon, Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, Loney Dear and Monade.
White Wonder was released on April 4th on Out On A Limb records with another
fascinating artwork job by Mike Ahern. The album features catchy punchy songs
made up of sampled beats and drum machines combined with live drums, duelling
vocals and vintage synthesizers, guitars, bass, autoharp, toy piano, percussion,
classic harmonies, found sounds/samplers and headphone interplay. After their
headline album release tour, Crayonsmith went on to play some Irish shows with
Why?, Yeasayer and The Mae Shi before setting out on a 14 date US tour with
Islands, fitting in extra gigs with Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and All Girl Summer
Fun Band around America. Returning home to play the Oxegen festival in July,
Crayonsmith have also recently completed a short German tour with Casiotone For
The Painfully Alone and played dates around Ireland with Calvin Johnson and
Trans Am, all the while continuously writing and playing new material. They
start 2009 with some shows with Max Tundra and School of Seven Bells.