Introducing Any O’Neill & CeeCee

Towards the end of 2014 I was introduced to the music of Any O’Neill & CeeCee and their EP ‘Admissions‘. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure about their music on my first listen but there was something about their sound that deserved a second try. I gave it a few weeks then I gave their music another listen and this time it was a different story as I started enjoying their sound. Since then, my appreciation for their music keeps getting stronger.

So, who are Any O’Neill & CeeCee? The are a London based multi talented duo who play 10 different instruments between them. They create what they call ‘their own brand of Indie-Polk with gusto‘. To find out more about this duo, I thought I would ask them directly. I had the opportunity to catch up with CeeCee who was kind enough to answer a few questions. This is what she had to say.

What made you both get into the world of music and how did your collaboration of musical talents come together?

Music was a huge part of my life as a child, and for various reasons, I lost the thread.  I met Any by chance in a tiny central London bar on New Year’s eve. We became friends and he re-ignited that love of music.  It was great, but also really scary. I had lost a lot of confidence, but Any is an amazing teacher and he was also, and still is very astute at knowing what I need.  So he built my involvement up gradually, more as a mate I think, to get my confidence back.  I didn’t sing in front of him until we were having post gig celebrations at a festival, and the first rehearsal where I started singing, I did the majority behind a cushion, so the fact I stand up and do that on stage now is still quite remarkable to me (although I wouldn’t do it if Any wasn’t there!).

I love your sound and the use of the various instruments that you use. How would you describe your sound and why is the use of these instruments important to your music?

Any and I both have first instruments that we learnt the ropes of music on.  For him it’s the drums and violin and for me it’s the flute.  These are like secure bases for us, that we like to weave through the music.  For me, playing the flute is like going back home, but because it is so familiar I can be more flexible with it.  Originally I played flute with Any, then vocals and finally I learned the bass.  I love the bass – I’m a bassist, not a guitarist and I love experimenting with the sound, it’s so adaptable to fit to what we want and when I play live it’s the instrument that makes me feel connected to the audience and the venue, because I can feel it through the whole of my body.

It is hard to describe our sound, I think it is the amalgamation of the 2 of us and it just happens.  It is what it is.  I’m not good at boxes and labels.

What were your goals when writing your EP and how did it feel when you heard the final version of it?

I was incredible proud and felt really humbled.  This sounds ridiculous until you realise that Any is the driving force behind this duo.  The vast majority of the creativity comes from him, so that’s why I feel humble that he wants to work with me and that he gives me as much credit as him and that he values and integrates my contributions. 

I don’t really have a goal for it. I see the EP as the first chapter and I have no idea what the ending will be.

What is your favourite song from the EP and why?

This is a really difficult question for me to answer as I have emotional attachments to all of them.

Spellbound or Hellbound says a lot about us ethically – a shared viewpoint that we have about the world we live in.  Fairtrade is very important to us.  On a more individual level it is one of the first songs that Any got me to try and play the flute and bass at the same time – something that I didn’t think was possible. But Any often seems to get the impossible to be possible.

Times of Change is pretty special to me – this is exactly how I see Any, who he is and how he looks at life, and that is what is completely infectious and so charismatic about him.  If you know Any, I think you begin to want to live your life in this way, and with this song, it is like he’s singing directly to me, saying come on – stop blindly walking along that same life line that’s been drummed into you and try something different – be who you want, open your mind, expand your world. And that’s exactly what’s happened.

Dear Future self is beautiful.  It’s a more vulnerable song about fulfilling your hopes and dreams and wondering would the child me with all those aspirations be proud of what i’ve done and would the version I currently am be proud with the future versions of me. Have I lost anything along the way? Have I found myself in a different direction than I wanted? I think a lot of people can relate to this song as I think many people have a fear of selling out and waking up one day realising that their younger self wouldn’t like them.

Evolution is an older song with more history and it lives up to the title, as the song itself has evolved. This stops me tiring of it and the EP version has a sultry quality that i really like. We had great fun seeing what sounds Any could get out of the violin (including the percussion  sounds) and how high I could sing. Turns out pretty high. The first time I heard and saw Any perform Evolution I cried (in a good way). It still astounds me and is sight to behold! You can check out a solo performance on youtube to see for yourself what I mean. And yes, all of that sound comes from just the violin and Any. When we perform it live I have the first half off and I love seeing the audiences response – mainly ‘wow’ or ‘really??!!’.

What are your plans for your music in 2015?

Continue to create and have fun and meet people and uphold our ethical and fairtrade principles and keep true to ourselves. There isn’t any great masterplan, I don’t think life works that way, but I don’t mind the unknown- that’s what is exciting, that we could go anywhere.

Their EP ‘Admissions‘ was a grower for me and now  I really appreciate what they have created with this release. Each song delivers a great vocal performance from Any which is supported by the vocal talent from CeeCee. Both sound so good as they blend together in an effortless way to deliver the impressive lyrics found throughout. With each listen I started to notice more about the music they create as they interweave various musical instruments to create multiple layers within each song in a way that gives each song its own individual sound. This is the reason why the music from Any O’Neill & CeeCee really stand out for me.

With only 4 tracks on offer this EP is way to short, but what it does give the listener is a strong collection of songs. ‘Evolution in Disguise’ is a stand out track due to its edgy feel and its great sound but it is ‘Spellbound or Hellhound’ that is my overall favourite. This song symbolises the great music that this duo produces which includes amazing vocals with its folk edge. I highly recommend you give this song a listen, you will not be disappointed.

Overall this EP maybe too short but it is still an impressive release that shows you what this duo has to offer. Head over to their Bandcamp site (click HERE) to hear ‘Admissions‘ in full and you can also buy a copy of it while you are there.

I am already curious and excited to hear how the music of Any O’Neill & CeeCee develops as I know that they have only scratched the surface of how good they can sound. I’m sure when new music is available then I will hear all about it on their social media pages at Facebook and Twitter. If you want to find out more about this band and their future gigs then you should head over to their website at Anyoneill.com.