My first experience with making music came when I learned the guitar at an early age. I became pretty obsessed with it and basically spent full summers just learning out of this one magazine that used to come out monthly. I still have stacks of the issues at home. I went through all the phases you would expect, rock and blues etc but once I started getting into funk and disco that was it for me.
As I got older more of that groove influence led me into electronic music and producing hip hop beats, learning keyboard, before eventually messing around with old records in Logic and Ableton. I am a Web Designer by day so merging the tech side of sampling with being able to play music is really rewarding.
I’ve had releases on Irish label ‘Doubleu’ for their free download series and youtube features. UK based edits label Slightly Transformed signed my ‘Island Edits’ EP. I will have a collection of sample-based house coming out with Italian based ‘Bellissima! Records’ very soon. This work kind of touches back to my early days of beat making.
Samples are the main driving force of the tracks thus far but now I’m actually making some house tunes which are all original mixes. I compose the main guts of the track myself so I’m hoping more into that space in the future.
The one I included as a free download for Zone Focus ‘Already Yours’ was created with synth plugins to my MIDI keyboard, a guitar, and a combination of both Logic and Ableton. I started to play the chords on my keyboard in Logic using a really nice wurlitzer plugin, and once I got the idea was able to layer more synths over it and process basically a 4 bar loop. Then I brought into Ableton and started to build upon that with drums, lead lines and so on. It’s was an experiment that I’m really happy to have put out!
I’ve also managed to play out a good bit around Dublin over the past year. The guys at student night ‘TOAST’ especially have been really sound in giving me the opportunity to play multiple times. As well as that, getting to play Hangar in Dublin before it shut down with Doubleu was a great experience.
Who would you like to collaborate on a track with why?
Probably a toss between Ian Pooley or Joey Negro, from the house and then disco re-edit sides respectively. They are the two artists I would absolutely love to see a deconstruction video from – you know where they go through how they made one of their tracks or an ‘against the clock’ type thing.
Every time I listen to their music I’m trying to imagine some mysterious masterful techniques they have true to them that gets everything so clean and huge. Both vastly experienced in their field, they would be great to learn from.
Which artists do you listen to the most for inspiration or enjoyment?
I’m really enjoying a bunch of artists right now that I’m finding on labels such as Sundries, Bellissima!, Moment Cinetique and Fine. Most of the releases that come out there from the likes of Sweet Fruity Brunch, Derek & DJLo, Tilman to name a few I really enjoy listening to.
At the moment I’m loving going back through tracks by Soundstream, Get Down Edits, Chuggin Edits, Ash Reynolds and REES. Really inspiring plus they just manage to breathe extra life into some of the older lesser known disco records which work really well in sets. Lots of Irish artists on my radar too, people like SHEE and Jimmy Rouge are ridiculously consistent and I’m always buzzing for new releases by LPM, Dylan Forbes, Purple Ice, Small Bear – the list goes on.
Why do you enjoy producing electronic music?
I’ve never got lost in something more than when I sit down in front of the computer with Ableton open, a keyboard, sample idea or a guitar than I do with producing. It keeps me in a frequent state of flow as well as even something simple like hearing the radio in a supermarket can trigger an idea.
It’s cool to be involved with groups of people who are doing the same thing as well. There are lots of people online and who you meet on nights out who share great opinions, tunes, offer opportunities, encouragement etc that pave the way for up and comers. It’s a real sense of community.
Which are your all-time favourite labels to dig tracks from?
Apart from the ones I mentioned before I’ll rarely not put an ear to something from the likes of Toy Tonics, Razor N Tape or Sloth Boogie. To be fair it’s worth mentioning YouTube channels too like Houseum, Definite Party Material, Moskalus, Gazzz696 and Listen Closely. Anything from there leads me to labels that I usually keep an eye on. Some Irish labels like Secret Society, 045 recordings and Doubleu put out some of our best stuff here too.
What is your go-to guilty pleasure track and why?
I don’t know if it’s a guilty pleasure or not but I actually think the ‘Mr Jack Club Mix’ of ‘Freed From Desire’ by Gala from 1996 is savage. The original seemed to be getting a bit of a bashing recently in a group I’m in haha so I don’t know if it’s considered cheese or not but yeah, it’s obviously not underground, check out that remix though!
How did you begin DJing?
I began DJing after I took it upon myself to bring a controller to pretty much every party/session, anything at all really. I think the first time I did it I brought it to a mates kitchen for a very small gathering and literally had my back to everyone trying to mix while the controller was sitting beside the sink.
I just did it to be able to play all the tunes I had been adding to YouTube playlists over the years. The more and more you listen to house and disco on the bus the more you realise it would feel so much better if you were to whack it on at a party rather than just sitting in your SoundCloud favourites haha it’s no use there!
It’s the type of music you want to share and you imagine scenarios unfolding with – I wanted to make it a reality by DJing. I love performing even more than producing for those reasons. Everything from the buzz of going for a pint before then sharing the experience with people on a dance floor is so enjoyable. Can’t beat it.
How did you learn how to produce?
It mostly comes from my background in Digital Media in college, we learned a lot of different types of software from video editing to coding to audio.
I also did a summer interning in a radio station and the sound engineer there introduced me to ‘Cool Edit Pro’ haha its ancient but I remember staying back in work and trying to re-make ‘One More Time’ by Daft Punk using this – I was hooked.
If you could offer one piece of advice to new DJ/Producers what would it be?
Just bring music everywhere and anywhere if you want to play, any gaff even if there’s 5 of you. Offer to do birthdays or bbq’s whatever just to get into that position. Make a habit of shopping for tracks online through whatever medium, check it as regularly as Facebook. Be social, be sound.
For producing it’s practice really. You have to be interested in learning and putting in the work to learn the hardware/software/instruments. Some of my first demos were utterly woeful but being able to compare the stuff you make later on to that stuff can bring up a lot of realisations about how it all works.
It helps you get better and more knowledgeable, so just constantly practice and try to listen to other people’s music from a constructive point of view.
Try to figure out what it is you like about a certain sound in a song and why. That kind of curiosity gives you a lot of material to work with and search for. I’m by no means an expert, I’m still always learning that’s just what I’ve managed to take from it so far.
Can you describe your idea of an ideal DJ set, what tracks would you include?
Ideally, I absolutely love playing groovy/buttery/choppy house/disco with lots of movement and melody. In the ideal packed dance floor scenario you will have to change it up at some point if it’s starting to blend too much but that’s when it gets interesting, to be able to go into other territories but still enjoying yourself,
Rather than just throwing in something you saw someone else do last week because it went down well. If it’s the right moment for a classic or a curveball I’ll go for it, when things go off its the best. I wouldn’t necessarily say my producing style always reflects my DJing. I think to be a good DJ you can’t be too limited by that but depends what way you are pitching yourself as an artist I suppose.
What was the first single/record/album that really meant something to you and why?
That’s a really hard one but in terms of electronic music it would probably have to be ‘Stardust – Music Sounds Better With You’. Apart from being hugely influential and a certified banger of legendary proportions it was also the first vinyl record I bought that only had one track on it.
I was a little late to the party, this was well before I started DJing and I remember rather innocently thinking ‘what an inconvenient thing to do just put one track on this big yoke and they have CD’s and Tapes around?’. Of course, then I got into Djing and observing how the underground scene works haha facepalm