Motley’s Features and Opinions Editor Édith de Faoite and Fashion Editor Justine Lepage interview Cork-based band Pretty Happy. They discuss the Cork music scene, politics in the art-punk genre and their love of stuffed mushrooms. 


As a proud Kerry woman, nothing warms my heart more than hearing praise for my home county. When we sat down with Pretty Happy in New Bar, they began by talking about their time in Dingle playing for Other Voices there last year. They mention how they won over a crowd of mostly families. 

‘That was actually one of my favourite gigs ever’ says Arran, the bassist of the trio. ‘The best thing in the world [is] when you come into a crowd you don’t know and turn them’

Andy, the drummer, agrees; 

‘it’s like your uncle’s wedding’. ‘Very much that vibe’

they laugh. 


Pretty Happy are an art-punk trio from Cork. The band is made up of Abbey Blake on vocals and guitar, her brother Arran on bass and their friend Andy Killian on drums. The sibling duo began playing together before eventually recruiting Andy Killian as the drummer. It is clear that they are focused on enjoying the processes of creating and performing. 

‘We are genuinely just having a bit of fun here’

Andy says as he reminisces on the organic, laid back way in which the band was formed.

We never were like “let’s start a punk band”, we just all came together and bonded over sounds we liked.’  ‘Wait, is this a band?’, 

was his reaction when they booked their first gig, at a metal night in Fred Zeppelin’s on Washington Street. Since then they have opened for bands like Pillow Queens, The Mary Wallopers and Future Islands and have played festivals across Europe, including Primavera Sound and All Together Now. 


Their fondness for Cork shines through as they discuss their origins as a band. They praise the Cork music scene for giving the band its start, while also acknowledging the lack of funding for the arts and the venues crisis. 

A music scene is made by the people’

Arran says. Pretty Happy frequently played in The Roundy and at Plugd when they were starting out. Abbey acknowledges the up and coming talent in the Cork music scene at the moment. 

It’s fun to see young bands come up now like Mossy or I Dreamed I Dream. Always weird stuff comes out of Cork, which is cool’. 

As they lament the difficulties the music scene faces, Abbey points out that the venue crisis 

can lead people to be more DIY and that’s probably good practice as you get on. I think it’s very important for a band to know how to run a gig because then you know what you want and what you should expect’. 

She concludes, however, by admitting that there is a need for a space to support Cork musicians. They point out that cities like Glasgow and Limerick have 

‘DIY music scenes’ 

that still manage to provide appropriate venues for artists. 


We continue on from this to discuss the role of politics in the art-punk movement. The band acknowledges that some of their songs are political in nature, touching on themes of domesticity and rape culture, but they never conciously try to politicise their music. Instead, they focus on always writing about their personal experiences. 

‘People think you’re being political when you have a point of view.’Sometimes when you write a song about personal experience(s), people call it political’. 


Needless to say that I am already enjoying the guys’ company (if you like Kerry, I like you) as they go on to discuss the logistics of performing for an event like Other Voices. The Other Voices performance was not the same as most of the performances they are used to as it was filmed early in the day, with only a small audience. 

It’s so weird to put that much energy into it that early in the morning.’ 

They begin to talk about performing for the camera, which they became accustomed to during Covid times. 

‘We kinda become a bit unhinged when we have cameras on us, so we just embrace that, go a bit mad. The difference between a livestream gig and a normal gig is the difference between theatre and film, it’s about the energy in a room, in a space, versus being able to transfer energy into a camera.’ 

Their Other Voices performance in the Glucksman Gallery shows that they’ve mastered the art of captivating an audience both in the virtual realm and in person.


We get on to discussing their iconic music video for their song ‘Salami’. A vegan’s nightmare, the video is an ode to all things porky and all things processed. The video begins with Abbey in the meat aisle in Lidl. 

‘We brought a camera to Lidl and just started filming meat, there’s not much more to it than that’. When questioned about whether they had permission to film the video, they all laugh. ‘No, we had to hide from the security guard, he followed us around at one point’, says Arran. Abbey reveals; ‘We had a tripod in a trolley’. 

The video was a product of the lack of resources available during Lockdown. 

‘It was during lockdown and we wanted to do a music video for it. We couldn’t leave our house, we couldn’t really do anything, only the shops’. 

The result is a wonderful and wacky musical (and culinary) experience. When asked what became of the haul of salami from the video, the trio shared that none of it was thrown away.

‘We didn’t want to waste €70 worth of meat’. 


Leading on from this, to round out the interview, I ask the trio the most hard-hitting question of the whole interview. Salami or mushrooms? The answer? 

I think mushrooms are unbelievable.’ 

Andy recounts a meal from a few days previous. 

‘We had a lovely stuffed mushroom the last day.’ 

As the interview draws to a close, I ask Abbey for final words. 

‘Up mushrooms.’ 

Then, after a moment’s consideration, 

‘up button mushrooms.’

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