World of Illusion - Biography
On Feb 1st 2002, Brian Wilson, the creative genius of the Beach Boys, played the Point Theatre in Dublin - The Pet Sounds tour had graced the isle of Ireland. John McKeever and Paul O’Brien, although both from the same town and both present in the audience, were completely oblivious to each others amazement with Brian and his music. Their paths were not destined to cross that night. John & Paul knew each other in passing, spoke briefly on occasion as go betweens for a mutual friend, but the following day was to change that. While John, was talking with a young trumpet player who would later provide the excellence of his playing on ‘Cabanaessence’, and asking him if he was interested in playing on new material, the topic of the previous nights concert emerged and John spoke of his special meeting with Brain Wilson backstage, a dream come true. This prompted the young trumpeter to pass on this news to his friend and teacher Paul. That very night Paul turned up at John’s house and common ground was found in the pursuit of emulating one Mr. Wilson. Although both agreed to work together, they didn’t realise at that moment - “World of Illusion” was born. The First Works. What turned out to be ‘Cabanaessence’, World of Illusion’s first album started with the writing of the final track on the album - “Mamma's Little Baby”. Paul would come down to John’s and they’d write there. It was difficult to begin with, what direction would they take, who did what? Their time together was limited to Wednesday mornings writing and recording with a couple of nights recording other players that Paul contracted from the wealth of players in the Ardee Concert Band in which Paul was a long standing and respected member and teacher. Although John & Paul co-wrote some of the music on the album, John, having previously worked on 2 solo albums took more to writing the lyrics for Paul’s compositions. Two of John’s instrumentals were recorded but were left off the album along with one of Paul’s songs and another song they co-wrote. These remain unreleased. Two things came out of those recording sessions, a great first album and a blossoming friendship. Although it was a great learning curve for both men and it was a fun filled working environment it took a long time before they would follow up with their next mammoth opus. In the Garden. Although ‘Cabanaessence’ saw release on June 5th 2003 and writing was continuous it took a long time before everything fell into place for the second album. The first signs of it happening came in the latter half of 2005 but were quickly dashed by not being able to secure equipment for a period of time that Paul had available for recording. Further problems arose with equipment malfunction that luckily resolved quickly enough but not in time. The 11th of February 2006 saw the first recording session for what became ‘Garden of Earthly Delights’, a double album, consisting this time with only two co-written tracks, eight Paul penned songs, seven of which John co-wrote lyrics with Paul, one being an instrumental written and recorded near completion of the album in complete hilarity and the balance were songs John was working on for a possible third solo album. All in all this would be a grander experience, not only was it going to be a bigger work load, the palette of instruments was also growing which meant further delays in procuring time and talent. The Summer of 2006 saw near completion of 23 of the tracks, all that was missing besides vocals were the other artists recordings and percussion. This time also saw the birth of a side project “The Plastic Freebies”, which yielded two EP’s. This provided much needed outlet for the frustration of a slow burning second album. Later that year saw further recording sessions for The Plastic Freebies resulting in combining new tracks with the EP tracks to produce their first album ‘Rocket Child’ released on January 6th 2007. 2007 was a fruitful year in it’s recording dates of the players old and new and even though time was again a premium the album was well on it’s way to completion. Vocal sessions saw 2 new vocalists, Olga Crehan and Annamaria O’Brien, Paul’s new bride. John and Paul also provided backing vocals and some instrumentation to Mathew Lock’s album Butterflies and Tears, released 2008. In return Mathew Lock provided many of the wonderful illustrations for the booklet in the double album’s limited edition boxset. The balance of which were provided by John. Garden of Earthly Delights was a huge undertaking that took time nobody had and utilised the talents of many fine artists as a glance at the credits will prove: Olga Crehan - Vocals Annamaria O'Brien - Backing Vocals Kevin O'Brien - Tuba Vincent McArdle - French Horn Laura Jones - Alto Sax Claire McCormack - Clarinet Grainne Thomas - Cello John Gaynor - Trumpet Betty Roddy - Oboe John McGing - Baritone Sax Alison Brennan, Rebecca Brennan & Leah Brennan - Violins Ciara Taffee & Shane Taffee - Harps Grace Kerr - Flute Adam Byrne - Tenor Sax Oisin Clarke - Trombone It was finally released in all it’s glory on March 29th 2008. What’s next? You’d think that after such a long haul World of Illusion would want a break, well, they took one, instead of getting back into the swing of things as World of Illusion they once again turned to The Plastic Freebies to blow off steam. “Born out of a need to Rock” as John has said after writing “Tempered Steel” and wanting to do something different. The Plastic Freebies created a fine first album and armed with the idea of creating an album in a shorter space of time than the previous long journey John revealed a plan to record an album in a Lunar cycle, approximately 29 ½ days. With plans in store to start everything from scratch on May 5th 2008, everything seemed fine, but once again conflicts arose to throw this project into disarray. Paul, owing to other commitments couldn’t commit to the set dates, it looked like it was a bust. Hoping that all would turn out promising John began work on the album after the appointed time of 13.18Hrs. GMT, the beginning of the Lunar cycle. Paul did indeed come through and they also collaborated with Mathew Lock on one of the album tracks. ‘Lunacy’ was finished on May 31st 2008, days ahead of schedule. These Are The Days. Work began on World of Illusion’s third album when John and Paul wrote Room To Breathe in early March 2008, before their second album was completed. They haven’t collaborated on anything since. That’s not to say they haven’t been writing, in fact between them they’ve more than enough for two albums again, and there are many other projects on back burners also. As of July 2009, recording for the third album has begun as well as working again with Mathew Lock on the soundtrack of his current Animation project.