Noise Annoys: Reevah shares her views, Gama Bomb still shredding with Bats, NI Music Prize winners, General Fiasco return

Derry artist Reevah takes over Noise Annoys to share her views on what it's like to be a up-and-coming musical artist in the north, while our album of the week comes from our old friends Gama Bomb...


HAVING released her excellent debut album Daylight Savings to rave reviews last month, Derry-bred artist Reevah, AKA Aoife Boyle, has been awarded funding from the PPL Momentum Music Fund to help take her career to the next stage.

Nominated for Single of The Year and Video of The Year for her song Call Me Up at last night's Northern Ireland Music Prize Awards, here Aoife writes about the challenges and opportunities of making a living from music in this part of the world...


I AM a born and bred Derry girl and have built my music career on this soil. Being based in Northern Ireland has brought many benefits to me, as it has to a number of aspiring musicians.

On a practical level, it is easy, accessible and much more affordable in terms of the cost of living than some of the other cities across Ireland and the UK. But more than that, there are the beautiful surroundings and the incredible people, both inspirations to me in my work.

Being Derry-based means I am working among a much smaller pool of artists and musicians, connections are easier made and the scene is tighter and slightly more insular. The people of Derry have, in particular, been so supportive of the release of my debut album, Daylight Savings, released in October.

Read more:

Noise Annoys: Buí do Drawing, Reevah gives us Daylight Savings

Noise Annoys: Problem Patterns, Paper Tigers, Reevah and The Dangerfields

NI has such an amazing, rich history of music, arts and creativity – I truly love where I am from.



There are many provisions in place to help emerging artists here, with a wealth of support that includes various schemes and initiatives. I experienced this first-hand with the Nerve Centre in Derry, which provides initiatives like Music Hothouse, Create a Track and Camp Rock, and I have also been able to take advantage of the Oh Yeah Music Centre in Belfast's talent development programme, Scratch My Progress.

However, being an artist based in NI is in equal parts amazing and challenging, as the north can simultaneously feel quite isolated from the south and from the UK. There is a separation from the music scenes across the rest of the island of Ireland, and being from a border city means identity and belonging can feel unknown: am I an Irish artist or a Northern Irish artist? Where do I fit within the overall scene?

Then there is the music business infrastructure. Once artists reach a certain level of breakthrough success, there is a sense of not knowing where to go next. Without a manager and a label, it can be very difficult to navigate a career and progress as an artist.

My record label, Bloom Records/Faction Music, is based in the south, yet I live and work in the north.



And then there is our music history: I'm an indie-pop artist based in NI, a place with a history saturated in punk rock, yet I sing about female empowerment and being a mother. It is an ongoing challenge, but I revel in it. It continually provides me with creative inspiration.

I believe that where there is a problem, there is an opportunity. And I truly feel like the opportunity has arisen for the style and subject matter of my music to be recognised.

While grappling with these challenges, I am extremely grateful for the support I have received from a wide number of music organisations that operate 'behind the scenes' in the music industry, both here and in the mainland. These include the PRS Foundation, PPL, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Help Musicians.

Without the recognition of these organisations, Reevah would not be where it is today. Plainly, it would have been impossible.


The unfortunate reality is that being a full-time musician is still not a career that is adequately recognised and appreciated by (some of) the general public and the government. We can easily become disposable as artists and we are continuously fighting to protect our craft, our own wellbeing and our livelihoods.

Myself and the entire Reevah team have worked extremely hard over the past number of years to get to the point we are now: however, hurdles remain, particularly around financial survival.

How can we make sure all of our hard work is recognised? And how can we create a sustainable business, career and creative pathway with longevity?

Being awarded the PPL Momentum Music Fund last week was career-altering for me. Having just released my debut album, this support and guidance has come at a pivotal time as it will enable the next crucial step in my journey.

I am so grateful to PPL, PRS and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland for their continued and much appreciated guidance and support. This opportunity solidifies a very clear prosperous pathway for the future of Reevah that we can look forward to.

Find Reevah via linktr.ee/reevah


Gama Bomb – Bats (Prosthetic Records)

NOISE Annoys has been in a reflective mood of late. Whilst sifting through a dusty file of cuttings marked '2003', I was reminded of the one and only Gama Bomb, a young squad of "Newry thrash titans" with a mission to revive the shredding sounds of 1986 via bracing, sci-fi/horror-informed speed metal assaults.

They were brilliant right from the off: two decades of recording and touring hence, the Philly Byrne-fronted band are now a truly international concern who have just released their eighth album, Bats.

Gama Bomb (and friend), still thrashing in 2023. PICTURE: EMMETT MOORE
Gama Bomb (and friend), still thrashing in 2023. PICTURE: EMMETT MOORE

Beneath the added polish of 20 years extra recording experience and despite evidence of a slightly broader musical palate, it's immediately apparent from Bats that Gama Bomb's fundamental 'faster is gooder' DNA remains intact, along with Philly's operatic vocal wailing and their inherent sense of fun.

While the 2003 version of the band might have viewed the entertaining metal-funk leanings of Egyptron feat. The Egyptian Lover (no, really) and Secular Saw as an alarming betrayal of the bullet belt cause, they would surely have thrilled to the rampaging, circle pit-friendly sounds of Don't Get Your Hair Cut, Speed Funeral, Mask of Anarchy and Dreamstealer.

Elsewhere, vivid comedy horror crushers like Living Dead In Beverly Hills and Bats In Your Hair also find the Bomb staying true to their roots, although be warned: the latter features a sudden outbreak of honking saxophone amid its abundance of thunderous riffage.

Here's to another 20-something years of Gama Bomb, then: actual proof that there's life beyond Noise Annoys – and now with added sax appeal.

Release the Bats at gamabomb.bandcamp.com

NI Music Prize winners

Problem Patterns celebrate their win for Video of The Year. PICTURE: JIM CORR (no, not that one)
Problem Patterns celebrate their win for Video of The Year. PICTURE: JIM CORR (no, not that one)

THE results are in from this year's NI Music Prize Awards, which took place at the Ulster Hall last night. 

Here's who won what:

  • Album of The Year - Arborist
  • Single of The Year - Moonboot, To U
  • Video of The Year - Problem Patterns, Who Do We Not Save?
  • Live Act of The Year - Chalk
  • BBC Introducing: Across The Line Artist of The Year - Tramp
  • Oh Yeah Legend 2023 - Paul Brady
  • Joe Cassidy Chrysalis Award - Chalk

IN PICS: The Northern Ireland Music Prize Awards 2023: the winners

Do you agree that Problem Patterns were robbed of Live Act of The Year? No harm to Chalk, but there are a ton of heavy, arty, powerful noise bands out there offering a very similar live experience to them, whereas Problem Patterns offer something powerful and unique - especially in this part of the world.

Answers on a brick to my face.

Anyway, at least Arborist won Album of The Year for the incredible An Endless Sequence of Dead Zeros. In a word, 'deserved'. Also, 'required' - tickets for their show at The Empire in Belfast on November 23 are still just about available.

General Fiasco return

THIS news just in: defunct indie popsters General Fiasco are to reconvene for another of their occasional and hugely popular end/start of year reunion shows.

This time around, the trio are back at Voodoo in Belfast for a pair of shows in the new year: January 19 and 20, to be precise, which gives you all plenty of time to shake off your new years blues beforehand.

General Fiasco, back to provoke mass hysteria
General Fiasco, back to provoke mass hysteria

Tickets will go on sale tomorrow, Friday November 17, via Eventbrite - as ever, you'll need to move fast to grab them before the inevitable 'sold-out' notifications hit.