Over The Hill Music Collective for Mature Artists

Founder Paul Kane on making creative connections, welcoming new recruits and rocking in his 50s

In these youth obsessed times, it can be difficult to make it in the music industry if you're over 25, overweight and dressed in the wrong clothes. Meanwhile, an army of young hopefuls – clad in their finest clobber, guitars and laptops in hand – are ready to clog up your inbox.

But for songwriter and facilitator Paul Kane, when it comes to experiencing the joys of music, age and modern technology are irrelevant. Leader of a motley gathering of artists in Belfast – none of whom fit the traditional mould of tomorrow’s pop stars – Kane's Over The Hill Music Collective bills itself as being 'aimed at mature musicians' who may otherwise feel excluded from the Northern Irish music scene.

The average age of attendees is, by Kane’s reckoning, in the mid-50s. But with age so frequently comes a sense of maturity, and the collective’s ranks have grown to include an increasing number of younger people, keen to learn from the experience of others.

Over The Hill is based in the Oh Yeah Music Centre in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter and is open to new recruits of all abilities, backgrounds and musical tastes – it is a meeting ground for people who simply love music, irrespective of age, image and genre.

For those who may have played music in their youth, but fell out of it as the responsibilities and requirements of day-to-day life began to pile up, Over The Hill provides an opportunity to reconnect with that creative spark in an environment conductive to making the magic happen.

On the other hand, it provides a space to engage with music – playing, performing and writing songs; meeting like-minded individuals, and forming lasting creative connections – for those who have discovered an urge to perform later in life.

And, whilst Kane is under no impression that the Over The Hill group are likely to score their first number one hit in the immediate future, he is well aware that they don’t need to, secure in the knowledge that playing music brings its own rewards.

Members can regularly air their newest songs at a series of increasingly well received concerts, The Jam-Jar Sessions, in Belfast's Strand Cinema and elsewhere, and Kane is currently finalising the art work for the collective's first album, fittingly titled The Velvet Revolution, which is due for release in summer 2014.

And, with plans to expand the operation outside of Belfast, it seems that the time is right to pick up an instrument and prove that being 'over the hill’ only means that you’ve got a better view of the landscape. Watch the video above for an interview with Kane, and visit the Over The Hill Music Collective Facebook page for more information.