Ceol Anocht

Ceol Anocht: Interview : Robert John Ardiff : 24/2/2021

Comhrá Covid

Robert John Ardiff has been a persistent songwriter, by his own admission. Throughout his time with the very well regarded band “Come On Live Long”, he had been building a repertoire of songs.

Time moved on and these songs were insistent and he has collated them in to an album. “The Corridors Of Love” is now on release (since April 9th). He found that the songs seemed to combine in ways that felt right. The themes coalesce around apartment living, of love and observations and is a fine album indeed.

He has said of the album:

“The album is a love song to the forgotten; the left behind. I wrote the songs over the past year, while I was looking around at the city I live in, thinking, ‘what the hell is going on and where has the soul from this place gone?’ And I don’t just mean because of the pandemic. The anxiety that people feel because they can’t afford a house or a place to rent, when they are living paycheck to paycheck, when they are trying to create art or raise children or buy food – and the people in charge don’t seem to care for them,” says Ardiff. “The idea came about after reading a book by Deborah Levy entitled ‘The Cost of Living’ in which she describes the apartment she lives in as ‘the corridors of love’. So I took this idea and tried to tell the stories of the people behind these doors and incorporate it with my own personal experience.”

Covid prevented him from recording in the traditional way but this did not prevent the work from continuing. It came together in a variety of ways, locations and using socially distant recoding methods. It was recorded in houses and studios in Camden Street, Rialto, Beggars Bush, Clontarf, Capel Street, Dunboyne, New York and Copenhagen. Unless you had heard information this in advance you’d never know it wasn’t created in one place with everyone in attendance. He says of the experience of recording:

“The main reason for the album being recorded in different places and cities was due to the covid lockdown,” explains Ardiff. “Most studios weren’t operating during the second half of 2020 so the only thing to do, and to limit my family’s contacts, was to travel from place to place with my equipment and record the players in their own houses. The bass on most of the record was done above a chipper on Capel Street in Dublin; the guitarist in my band is based in Copenhagen and he has a friend with a studio there so he cut some of the electric with him; the oldest track on the record ‘Public Taxes’ was recorded in New York when I was there to play Mondo Music week in October 2019.”

A recent project has seen him write ‘to order’ and Robert has gone on to write for television after John Carney (formerly of The Frames and director of films such as Once and Sing Street) asked him to write songs for Amazon Prime’s Modern Love which stars Anne Hathaway, Tina Fey, Andy Garcia and more.

This is a wonderful album and a statement of intent for a committed musicians and songwriter. There’s a wonderful mix of intimacy and breadth and the album needs to be listened to (a lot) in one sitting, to get the full effect.

“The Corridors Of Love” album is available now in all the usual outlets (including vinyl!) and you can get further information from his website

(As you’ll see, the interview was recorded a few weeks previously to the release of the album)