BIMM Dublin: Epicentre of new music in the heart of the Liberties

Coursing through the Liberties is a music culture evident from all corners of the district.  

For many years, Dublin’s inner city has been the home, school, and playground for young and eager musicians looking to express their talents to anyone who would listen.  

The Cobblestone (in Smithfield, just north of the Liberties) known for their live trad music (Source @cobblestonedub via X)

An area submerged in distinct culture, the Liberties has been the birthing place for many successful Irish artists such as local artist Imelda May, and drummer Mark Sheehan, and was the home of major Irish band Fontaines D.C for some time.  

But why have many artists flourished here?  

The Liberties’ identity with music and the gigging scene that is embraced by pubs and late bars allows these creatives to have a platform.  

The fact that BIMM College, an institute devoted to artistic and creative people, is bang in the middle of the area is also a huge plus in recent years.  

BIMM is a music school that opens doors to the music industry, offering courses in songwriting, music production, performance and business.  

BIMM have several successful alumni, such as the previously mentioned Fontaines D.C. Thumper, and The Murder Capital.  

Fontaines D.C has received many global accolades over the years and has just picked up the Best International Group at the 2023 Brit Awards.  

Fontaines D.C for GQ Magazine (Photographer – Polocho)

Thumper released their debut LP in 2022 and played shows at the Reading and Leeds Festival and Electric Picnic.  

The Murder Capital have just released their second album, Gigi’s Recovery and saw their work hit number one in the Irish charts and played at Coachella in April of 2023.  

BIMM never stops enhancing young talent as more & more ‘BIMM Bands’ continue to break into Dublin’s music scene. 

CABL, a self-proclaimed “indie pop band put through a broken dishwasher” are a group that started 2024 off in the best possible way, releasing their debut EP titled ‘See You In a Year and a Half’. 

CABL (Photographer @theratt_gorman via Instagram)

See You in a Year and a Half is a collection of songs both new and from the CABL archive, dealing with relationships and loss through a story narrative.  

Lead vocalist, songwriter and bassist Ava Durran and guitarist Luke White are graduates of BIMM and credit the college for forming CABL.  

“The college was the official band meeting ground… we became good mates by doing projects like the end-of-term performance exams. I had a song, and I asked the lads to help me out with it and we stuck to it ever since!” Durran said. 

“There’s no question we wouldn’t be in a band together if it wasn’t for BIMM,” added White.  

Both musicians also explained how their stage presence and overall understanding of music were improved by the music college.  

“I learned a lot of guitar theory which improved my lead playing. The college has a heavy focus on performing live during the first two years, so you really do end up getting comfortable playing in front of an audience,” said White.  

“Some of the classes challenge you creatively which in return helps you combat the likes of writer’s block or motivational issues which was super helpful too,” added Durran. 

CABL has a very high ceiling.  The Indie group set their sights on more headliners, dreaming of opening for Slowdive and collaborating with music legend Rick Rubin on a record. 

Pretty Police is another band consisting of current BIMM students seeking to break into the Irish music scene. 

Pretty Police are set to make their mark after announcing their debut headline show in Workman’s Cellar on the 27th of February. 

Pretty Police (Photographer – pmaxxlivepixx via Instagram)

Pretty Police frontman Michael Bourke spoke about what he gained from studying music. 

“I think the main thing I’ve gotten from the college isn’t necessarily a huge improvement in skill but an increase in confidence. Being around musicians all the time, playing gigs and writing music gives you the confidence to do the same,” Bourke said. 

“A lot of opportunities come up that otherwise mightn’t have, even if it’s just the opportunity to jam in the practice room,” he added.  

2024 will likely be another a year of great music for the Liberties. Supporting these local musicians is vital for keeping love for music and culture alive. 

With an open mind, there is no such thing as bad music! Keep an eye out, buy a ticket, have a drink and just enjoy it.  

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