starting over Walking On Cars frontman Pa Sheehy says he decided to go solo after the band 'fizzled out'
"The magic had kind of disappeared. We did try to re-spark it and find it again, but it was pretty much gone."
Walking On Cars were one of my favourite Irish bands, so like all fans I was shocked when it was announced this time last year that they'd split up.
Lead singer and songwriter Pa Sheehy today reveals that, despite their success, he felt the Dingle group had lost their mojo and it was his decision to leave.
Now all fired up again as a solo artist with an EP out this weekend and an Irish tour on the way, Pa tells Shuffle: "It was in the back of my mind for a good 18 months, and then lockdown happened and it gave me some time to really dive into what was next and was I happy where I was.
"I suppose it was the first time in a long time I didn't have to think about the next release, the next show, so it became apparent our time was up."
Were the rest of the band aware of it?
"I don't think so," he admits.
"But I'm not sure if anyone was super happy in the group towards the end of it. It was just one of those things, it just kind of fizzled out.
"The magic had kind of disappeared. We did try to re-spark it and find it again, but it was pretty much gone.
"We probably could've held on and done another album or two, but I don't think it would have served anyone.
"Even creatively we stopped inspiring each other.
"Energetically as a group in the early days we were taking over the world, and by the end of it it was just flat. I don't know how it got to that, but it did and it was just time to call it.
"Everything we set out to do on day one we did, and we struggled to create new goals and aspirations after we'd done the likes of the 3Arena and the Electric Picnic and stuff like that.
"I don't think we re-envisaged where we wanted to go next and that's probably one of the things I regret."
Sheehy is clearly excited to be emerging from lockdown as a solo singer and songwriter, and with a new band around him. "I feel like I'm starting over again, I really do," Pa tells me.
He has the benefit of all the experience he's gained. "Exactly, but I'll still make mistakes, there's no doubt about that. But I'm very excited about the next chapter."
He created new music and wrote a batch of songs during lockdown. "I have a little space here in Ventry where I spend a lot of my time and where I spent a lot of lockdown.
"I put the head down and I've got another batch of tunes pretty much ready to go after the EP."
Like many young parents, lockdown gave Pa some valuable time with his young children, aged eight and three.
"When my first daughter was born, Walking On Cars were kind of a big thing and we were on the road a lot, so for the first two or three years of her life I was kind of in and out," he explains.
"This time around I've been there every step of the way, which is really, really cool. It's such a special time to watch them grow."
As we chat, Pa sings the praises of his wife, Roisin, who inspires one of the new songs bearing her name. "Roisin is amazing, she's the backbone of everything I do," he says. "I run everything by her."
"The lyrics for the song jumped into my head one night as I was about to fall asleep. I got up and I whispered them into my voice memos, and then I worked on it over the course of a year."
Is Roisin happy with it? "She definitely is," Pa laughs. "It's such a great Irish name, and it feels really good to sing that name."
PA Sheehy's EP, The Art Of Disappearing, is out now.
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