For Those I Love, the brainchild of Dublin producer and songwriter David Balfe, released his debut album to significant public and critical acclaim last month. The album sits at #1 release of 2021 on review aggregator Album Of The Year and is 3rd Best Album Of 2021 on Metacritic. The record was also celebrated as BBC 6 Music’s ‘Album Of The Day’ last week.
‘For Those I Love’ is available now on LP, CD and DL via September Recordings.
Now, he follows the release with a film ‘Holy Trinity’. It was directed by award-winning Irish director Hugh Mulhern (Fontaines D.C., Inhaler)
The 17-minute piece contains both a narrative storyline as well as live performances from David and was shot at the home of Shelbourne F.C., Tolka Park. Referenced throughout the album – and enshrined on its cover art – the club has played an integral role in the For Those I Love story.
The film speaks great truths of friendships, hurt and grief, the power of empathy and community in times of loss, and sees David perform three of the most personal pieces from the record – its motif and beating heart in I Have A Love, the searching The Myth / I Don’t and the album’s penultimate track You Live / No One Like You that plays and ruminates on what they held so dear and – with David now stood overlooking the Tolka pitch – he delivers the following lines:
“You live in every twist and turn at Shels,
Alan Byrne head the ball,
And all the glory and hell,
And at times we win as well.
Still sit in your spot at the New Stand,
Watch the young ultras throw cans
And get banned,
Beside old men smoking subpar soapbar hash,
As we look out onto the field
Where we laid your ash.”
David had the following to say about the film’s production: “For me, collaboration has always been based on trust.
So much of this project was spent sharing memories of my life over Zoom, and listening to Hugh share his. That’s the lifeblood, where the trust is built, and I’m glad it was. I feel like we helped each other see the world anew.
It’s that trust that built the groundwork for the patience and comfort on set. That trust took away the fear of sharing this pain on film. That trust helped me feel cared for while still being a subject, not the easiest thing to do. That trust is what I’m most proud of here.
As the myth goes, the public presence of this album can be traced back to Hugh. How beautiful it feels to make things full circle and cap this record off together.”
And Hugh spoke of his inspiration and direction for the piece here: “My intention with this film is to provide the same space for grief. While the album is about Paul, I wanted to provide a wider context of loss in the film. On a personal level, it provided me with something massive. My uncle Kieran appears in this film talking about my Dad, Mick and my uncle John. John left us this year and I couldn’t go home with lockdown. I think grief never leaves you, it just changes shape and size. When I find it in a particularly pointed form, For Those I Love is something I’ve found a release in.
We didn’t lose Mick or John to suicide but their deaths were a direct result of their battles with alcoholism. Our lead actor Tony Doyle drew on his own experience getting sober and losing friends to suicide. It’s hard not to see how they all correlate. It’s hard not to see the impact of a collective intergenerational trauma and for me not to acknowledge [the deaths of] Jack, John, Mick and Paul as symptoms of a deeply rooted problem in Irish society.
I wanted this film to focus on those left behind, because that’s all who’s left. Although this piece is an exploration of pain I wanted there to be hope in its conclusion. I believe we can only make the world a better place than we left it by imagining it as so.”
As well as the release of the film, and after selling out Dublin’s prestigious Olympia Theatre in a matter of hours, For Those I Love have also announced their first ever UK live dates for this October.
David will play the following shows in support of the record:
October 17th – Audio, Glasgow (TICKETS)
October 20th – Courtyard Theatre, London (TICKETS)
October 21st – Courtyard Theatre, London (TICKETS)
October 23rd – Louisiana, Bristol (TICKETS)
October 24th – Deaf Institute, Manchester (TICKETS)
More about For Those I Love
At its core, the self-titled album pays tribute to Dave’s best friend and former bandmate, Paul Curran, who passed away in 2018. Following Paul’s tragic death, Dave locked himself away in his home studio for months, ultimately recording over 76 songs that would eventually be condensed down to form the basis of his debut album. The result is an incredibly beautiful, raw and uncompromising nine-track project addressing grief and catharsis, an important record that could only emerge from an entirely honest place.
Introduced to the world last year through the hard-nosed, beautiful eulogy of debut single I Have A Love and the socio-political ruminations of its follow-up Top Scheme, early 2021 he announced the details of his much-anticipated debut album via September Recordings alongside a third single, the electric “Birthday / The Pain”, paired to a remarkable video forged through a process called photogrammetry (WATCH).
Alongside significant breakthroughs at press and radio over the last year, David performed live for the first time ever under the For Those I Love moniker in November on Later… with Jools Holland, delivering a performance ingrained with such emotional weight that ‘For Those I Love’ was to go on to trend on Twitter soon afterwards.
Watch I Have a Love (Live on Jools Holland) here
David first began work on For Those I Love as a chance to write frankly about the struggles he and his friends faced while growing up in north Dublin. Anecdotally and otherwise, For Those I Love documents the harsh realities of a daily life up against it, and holds a mirror up to the clear disparity between a working class upbringing and the lack of opportunity that remains to this day.
The self-titled debut album from For Those I Love is out now via September Recordings.