The people of Liverpool with Kieran Molyneux
Leading up to the highly-anticipated launch of our adidas Originals ‘Liverpool’, we spoke to four people who span generations of the city's modern era, telling the story of those who have been devoted to its defining themes: football & music.
We’ve already spoken to Peter Hooton, Jacqui McAssey and MC Nelson, and last up it’s Kieran Molyneux.
Kieran is a singer and songwriter from north Liverpool. A lifelong Liverpool fan, his performances with the BOSS Night collective have taken him from Anfield to Madrid, Kiev, and Doha, where he played in front of tens of thousands of football fans. He returns home with us, to Byrne’s chippy, a Liverpool institution...
Tell us about this chip shop, then.
Byrnes is the best chippy in Liverpool. I don’t think you’ll find many people in the city that haven’t heard of it. It’s a family business which has passed through four generations.
It even made the paper once for its massive queues on a Good Friday. It’s always been my chippy anyway; I grew up two streets down from there.
When I was a kid, it only used to open for an hour for lunchtime and two hours at tea time, so you had to time it right.
Scousers are creatures of habit, and that habit of eating certain things on certain days, et cetera. When did you go there?
It’s a family thing which comes from my grandad. For me and my sister as kids, we just loved going there and would ask a few times a week “can we have something from Byrnes”, and if we were told no would usually reply with “just a sausage?”.
The chippy could be a family meal, or it could be dinner on the go while playing football with your mates.
It’s a home thing now, when I was younger it was just “a chippy”. I don’t live in Walton anymore, so when I’m there, I like to walk past places that remind me of those days as a kid.
How important is that identity of the north-end of Liverpool? It seems like it has its own character.
Yeah, definitely. I think any north-ender would tell you that. As someone who’s just moved to Liverpool 8, I have to be careful here, but I think it’s fair to say that everyone in the north end is on the same page.
The north of Liverpool is known for being a bit more rough and ready than the south, but you appreciate that—it makes you who you are.
What makes you most proud about Liverpool?
I think it’s that Liverpudlian attitude. Me and my mates sometimes buzz off how funny the older generation is, but I think we were laughing at how out of our league they are.
We sometimes laugh at our dads or Grandads because of the way they think and the things they say but they all have this sort of whatever-it-is, I’ll do it attitude, this self-taught mentality that inspires a spirit of just go and do it into young Scousers.
That ties us in nicely with your music. How did that all get started?
The event I have been a part of, BOSS night, has just grown and grown. It didn’t really start out as a solely LFC event: it was pretty much an open mic night. Those get-togethers went on for a few seasons and in that time BOSS Night moved on to a bar called Sound on Duke Street.
That season, Liverpool found themselves in a title race and had just beaten Man City at Anfield. People were falling out of the windows spilling onto the streets.
It was on the road to Kyiv where it went up another level, the songs went from the stands to the stage and ended up in the charts after Jamie Webster recorded ‘Allez Allez Allez’ as a charity single before the Champions League Final which saw me and Jamie play before a massive crowd for the first time in Kyiv.
We lost that game, but the movement continued, and we followed Liverpool right through the next Champions League campaign playing big shows in Paris, Munich, Barcelona – even the M&S Arena in Liverpool.
This all before walking out to play to a crowd of 60–70,000 people in Madrid before your team lifts the European Cup.
It blew all of our heads. I think the reason it’s happened is because it’s real. It’s two or three lads who just go on the coach to away games every week.
We’ve just gone for it and have ended up as this focal point for Liverpool match culture at the minute, it’s unbelievable. How does that even happen?
What is it that you think appeals to the fans in Dublin, for example?
It’s hard for me to explain because I’m a Liverpool fan from within the city. If you fall in love with the club from outside the city, I’m sure you fall in love with Liverpool beyond football.
You probably understand and agree with its values, you laugh at its humour, you end up clued up on what it’s about to be a Scouser. I think they want a piece of real Liverpool, and BOSS Night is a piece of real Liverpool.
We went to see you play last night at The Sandon, it seems like there’s a musical tradition to Liverpool that you don’t get anywhere else. Do you think that’s fair?
I think it stems from Liverpool’s musical dominance in the sixties: The Beatles and that. Since I was a kid, I’ve been told it is a musical city, and it’s always felt that way, even though there are no musicians in my family, they’re all still clued up on music.
I don’t think there’ll be many families in Liverpool that don’t have some sort of passion for it.
Music is up there with football. It’s just something everyone has: you pick a club; you pick some music. You become obsessed with one or the other or both.
Music became an outlet and an obsession for me which is the reason I write songs, it’s why I want to be a musician for the rest of my life.
Is that an Irish influence?
Possibly, take what I do for example when singing to Liverpool fans on a matchday: that’s me, an acoustic guitar, and 500 people singing in unison. That’s folk. They’re songs anyone can clap their hands and sing.
We’ve seen it time and again: if you’re from Liverpool, you have principles. How much responsibility do you feel to push Liverpool values in your music?
There’s still this idea that you can leave your front door open in Liverpool. Some still do, but it’s about being able to walk into your neighbour, and they’ll help you out.
People care, generally: Liverpool has a high level of empathy. It must come from the fact that us Liverpudlians can still hear our nan shouting at us in the back of our minds. That doesn’t leave you.
Does that come from the place feeling a bit separate from the rest of Britain?
Maybe it’s a case of us knowing we have to stick together or we really are on our own. I think Liverpool will always feel like it doesn’t need anything other than itself and that’s what I love about it, I don’t want to be from anywhere else.
I was at a crossroads in my life once, asking do I give up or do I go for it and see what happens now I’ve played shows all over the place and I’m writing and recording my own music.
My two biggest loves have always been Liverpool and music, and I’ve managed to combine them both and see the world with it. That’s the dream, isn’t it?
You go to away games a lot and travel about playing shows: do you ever think about leaving Liverpool and living somewhere else?
I like moving about, and I can be away from Liverpool for a while, but I miss it whenever I am.
I love seeing the world and want to see as much of it as I can, but I’ll always end up back here. I want my kids to be brought up here, so I don’t think I’ll ever leave this place, and it won’t ever leave me.
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