Under his Royal Yellow moniker, Mark O’Brien creates warm, textured sound collages referencing everything from 1960s country and folk music to soul, jazz and old film scores.
Consciously blurring the lines between indie songwriter and hip-hop producer, O’Brien blends original lyrics, beats, and melodies with an extensive bank of carefully scavenged samples.
O’Brien previously established himself as a bass player and frontman for Enemies — the Wicklow four-piece who gained international acclaim through their intricate, guitar-led sound. Embracing the fresh start here, he places his voice front and centre, often accompanied by orchestral strings, soulful brass and fat, chopped-up beats.
Royal Yellow's debut single ‘Hazeldene’ is equal parts sun-kissed and melancholic; a hybrid of soft rock meets lo-fi bedroom hip-hop. Produced by O’Brien and mixed by Irish electronic stalwart Bantum the song immediately flips expectations and exhibits exciting new terrain for O’Brien.
Follow-up single ‘Aruba’ (co-produced with SENU) paints with similar colours on a wider canvas, oozing with confidence and self-assurance and evoking a romantic, gold-tinted collage of white sand beaches and 1960s Hollywood. Sonically there’s a lot to sink one’s teeth into, with a combination of tribal chants, swooping falsettos, bouncing flutes and orchestral strings all set against a tight soul-funk groove.