The Carrellines get ready for their big return

THE Carrellines are making their long-awaited return to the north west music scene with a gig on Thursday, December 29 in Sandino’s Bar in Derry.

It has been thirty years since Paul McLoone, Billy Doherty, Damien Duffy and Aidan Breslin all shared the stage together and despite some nerves, McLoone spoke about how the lads are excited to be performing together once again.

“We’re all pretty nervous, we are just in the middle of trying to get everything ready and we may have left ourselves a bit short on time. It’s a bit nerve racking after so long but we’ll be okay.”


The Carrellines were originally formed when Duffy and Breslin, both electronic music buffs, joined forces with drummer Doherty, at something of a musical loose end following the dissolution of The Undertones in 1983. Doherty had enjoyed great success with The Undertones, touring across the world.
McLoone was recruited as lead vocalist for the Carrellines and the rest was history. Doherty and McLoone continue to tour as a part of The Undertones, but they spoke about how keen they were to get the Carrellines up and running once more.

“With Paul and I there are still a lot of Undertones dates and tours but when Covid started it gave us a bit of a breather,” said Billy Doherty.
“Damien came up with the idea then to come back together. We had been putting it off for so long, but we decided to just go for it.

“We’ve spent the last few months getting everything together. Back in the 80s there was no internet so there was a lot of transferring synths and music into computer form. Adding practising songs and setting up stage visuals on top of all that can really complicate it.
“The last time we played together there was no internet and music was on vinyl which really says something.”

The Carrellines only released one single called “Bridesmaids Never Brides/Credence” but had great success throughout their time as a band, doing radio sessions for the likes of the legendary Dave Fanning and having multiple live appearances in London. A personal highlight for the lads was winning the Hot Press award.

The band took inspiration from the likes of New Order, Depeche Mode, David Bowie and The Velvet Underground in their formative years. McLoone spoke of their style and inspirations “I would say our style is very electro-rock. It is very electronic but there is a rock element within. If you enjoy The Killers, it would be a familiar style.
“We do covers of Heroes by David Bowie and Isolation by Joy Division; they would also be big inspirations and influences to our style.”

I asked the lads if there will be any further gigs beyond the 29th and McLoone said that they are happy to take things step-by-step. “We’ll see how this one goes, at the moment probably not as we’ve really put ourselves up against it, but if we get away with it and it turns out alright, we will figure it out from there.

“The good news is if it does go okay, we’ve got a lot of the hard work done. If we decide to go again, we won’t have as much as a nightmare putting everything together.
“It can be difficult at this time of year working around the Christmas schedule, with everyone having family commitments and such.”


Although the band are expecting a good crowd of those familiar with their work, McLoone is hopeful that some of the younger generation will want to attend the gig.

“I realise there are a lot of very talented young bands and artists in this part of the world at the moment which is brilliant to see.
“Whether we have much in common with the younger scene is open to question, I think the 80s synth style of music is coming back again so maybe we will get some younger fans attending as well as those who are already familiar with us.”

With the music scene in the north west ever growing, this would be a great gig to attend if you are a fan of 80s synth/rock, you’re looking to meet like-minded music buffs or just want a great night out in Derry at Christmas time.

Tickets are available at


Donegal News is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. St. Anne's Court, Letterkenny, County Donegal, Ireland