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UL Librarian will be turning up the noise at Electric Picnic

Author: Michelle Breen

The return to school and college every year means that Electric Picnic is just around the corner. The 2016 festival promises a bigger and better than ever line-up. We know it will be enhanced this year by having UL’s Student Engagement and Success Librarian, Michael Smalle, on stage on Saturday evening. When not ensuring the success of UL's new students Michael is a musician. Michael took time out to talk to us about how he manages to get the two things he loves most i.e. teaching and music - to work together.

UL Librarian Michael Smalle is one half of Augustus & John
UL Librarian Michael Smalle is one half of Augustus & John

So which one are you, Augustus or John?
We get asked this question a lot. As my musical partner (Matteo Grassi) is Italian, I’m usually taken to be the ‘John’ of the unit.

Is this the biggest gig to date for Augustus & John?
It’s the biggest festival we have done though we had the pleasure of playing a packed out tent at last year’s Body & Soul festival.

What sort of stuff do ye play?
Broadly speaking, it’s electronic music with lots of analogue synths and live instrumentation. We dubbed it ‘Sunshine Jams & Melodic Mood Swings’ for our debut album. We have a pretty broad range of musical influences from 60s soul and reggae to indie, disco, house and soundtracks. Our live shows tend to accentuate our more upbeat side. 

Any chance of a sneak peek?
Here’s a link to our  Soundcloud page and our website  You can listen to the album there and the eps we have released this year. Also this link has a lovely piece of writing from Claire-Louise Bennett. She published her fantastic debut novel 'Pond' last year. (Oh and it's in the library too). Our 

What other acts do you want to see at Electric Picnic?
There is so much going on this year but at a quick glance, Toots & The Maytals, NAO, Jessy Lanza and Mount Kimbie.

Who should we watch out for?
Rusangano Family (based in Limerick) put on a fantastic show to launch their debut album in Dolan’s earlier this year- Well worth checking out!

How did you get in to being a librarian?
This goes way back as I am sure it does for many librarians. Trips to Galway library as a child to take out books. College days reading legendary poet/librarian Philip Larkin. (http://philiplarkin.com/larkin_biography/) The song ‘Karen’ by the The Go-Betweens.( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPErA7NZISM)  Actually working in NUIG library as a student gave me a real taste of the library environment. I had thought about librarianship in my mid-twenties but it took until my thirties until I got the ball rolling and completed the MLIS.

What’s next for the band?
We are currently finishing a new ep and have some shows lined up for winter. We have a few dates in Berlin in the New Year as well.

View the full Oxjam lineup