My love affair with music began at a very young age; more specifically, at five years of age. Every Sunday morning, while my step-father was off playing poor man’s golf, my mother would be gliding around the kitchen and cooking one of her famous Sunday roasts while listening to the super sounds of the 70’s on whatever radio station that was popular at the time.Any-time the DJ played Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive my mother’s eyes sparkled that little bit more. It was around that time I realised the power a DJ wields.
During my late teenage years I started frequenting the clubs of Dublin City and absorbing all around me like a sponge. I was hitting such clubs as The Olympic Ballroom, G1, The Asylum, Sides DC, The Beat Club and The Temple of Sound… the list goes on.
Back then the music getting pushed through the clubs was hardcore, techno, progressive house, trance and straight up house cuts. To the uninitiated this was all labelled as rave music, but a select few knew better.
I soon learned who was playing what, when and where. Taste-makers at the time were the likes of DJs Johnny Moy, Billy Scurry, Pat Hyland, Mark Kavanagh, Warren K and Dean Sherry amongst others.
During this time I began to familiarise myself with new genres, always searching for what’s fresh and relevant to my taste. This has probably gone against me over the years.
Staying underground with my music and adopting an uncompromising attitude towards what was mainstream and popular wasn’t always the best way to go about winning fans.
I feel that one of the hardest parts of being a DJ is finding those hidden gems that aren’t so popular, getting behind them and pushing them forward making them popular in the process.
As for where I am at the moment within the music industry, well, I’m moving along the outskirts waiting to explode onto the scene.
I’m also involved in a number of side projects. For the past eight years I’ve been putting together scores for The Rampage School of Dance which encompasses everything from contemporary to hip-hop.
Once a year we put on a show and have enjoyed a sold out run from the get go.
My latest project is an internet radio show I do live & direct from my studio every Friday night between 8 – 10, this show is all about house, techno and the sub-genre’s contained within.
What was your first ever record?
Tracey Chapman, Fast Car.
Who were your heroes and influences growing up?
My love of music goes back to a time long before I could afford to buy my own records. I was very lucky in that my step-father and uncle had a lot of records in a large variety of styles between them that I could thumb through when the mood took me.
It was between these two collections that I discovered a love of synth-driven melodies from the likes of David Bowie (Low), Tangerine Dreams’ (Ricochet), Jean Michel Jarre (Oxygène), OMD (Architecture & Morality) and Giorgio Moroder (Midnight Express/Soundtrack). A short while after absorbing the latter, I was introduced to Donna Summers’ I Feel Love, an epic production that still has a huge musical influence on the sound I play now.
In terms of DJs who have had a big influence, I’d have to tip my cap to two duos, the first of which is Coldcut. Their 70 Minutes of Madness mix is one of the best I’ve heard. It really opened my eyes about how best to utilise vocals for smooth transitions. It also showed how much more of an enjoyable journey you can bring the listener on by incorporating numerous genres. The second would be Sasha & Digweed. Their Renaissance mix and Northern Exposure series illustrated what can be achieved when you push hard enough.
Which came first, DJing or producing?
Djing came first for me. Back in the day, just after the Acid House explosion in Dublin, I started to take collecting vinyl a lot more seriously. Unfortunately, at the time I couldn’t afford to buy myself a set of decks, so I had to be content with jumping on my mate’s set as much as possible.
What is the story behind this mix?
Rhythm, synths and nostalgia. I took my cue from the questions I’m dealing with here and produced a mix that reflected the synth-heavy sound I fell in love with all those years ago. As per usual I tried my best to add some intelligently-placed peaks and troughs without losing too much energy in the process.
What is your home studio set up like?
2 x Technics 1200’s, 2 x Pioneer 350’s, Pioneer DJM 600, Pioneer RMX 1000, M-Audio MBox 2, M-Audio Trigger Finger, Oxygen 88 – 88-Key Graded Hammer-Action USB MIDI Controller, Apple Macbook Pro running Serato Scratch and Ableton Live, Apple Power Mac G4 Tower running Logic and a set of B&W DM603 S3 loudspeakers.
Any future plans you would like to share?
Over the coming months I plan on stepping things up on the production front. At the moment, I’m looking at bringing a percussionist and a pianist into the fold.
Whats your take on the Analogue vs Digital debate? I think it’s evolution and it should be embraced. At the end of the day it’s all about the punter. Obviously you have to lay down high quality audio, preferably in Wav format, but in as far as what equipment is used, it shouldn’t really matter once the mix is delivered with some imagination.
Are there any producers/labels you always go to for new material?
Christian Smith and the Tronic stable never fail on the big room vibes. Nor does Jamie Odells’ Freerange imprint when you’re looking for something a little bit deeper and melodic.
What makes them special to you?
Their output is consistent. I suppose that’s not surprising considering the quality of their featured artists.
What is your dream DJ gig?
I would love to play Fabric on the same card as Christian Smith, Andre Lodemann, Jimpster, Alex Nggemann and Funk D’Void.
1. Vlada D’Shake – After You [Roland Ultra]
2. Mr. F – Rain (Dub) [Only Records]
3. Wigbert – Want You (Luca Agnelli Remix) [Roots And Wings Music]
4. Cevin Fisher & Tiger Stripes – It All Comes Back [Toolroom Records]
5. Hardfloor – Acperience 1 (Robert Babicz Spacefunk Mix) [www.hardfloor.de]
6. Deep’a & Biri – Fractal [International DeeJay Gigolo Records]
7. T Fuller – Naked [Manali Records]
8. Alex Niggemann – Point of No Return [Tsuba]
9. Dale Middleton – Kicking Fences [DAR Digital]
10. Guy J – Nightstalker [Bedrock Records]
11. Jim Rivers – 7 Days (Steve Mac Remix) [Renaissance Back Catalogue]
12. Slam – Eterna (John Digweed & Nick Muir Remix) [Bedrock Records]
13. Tony Lionni – Hypnotize [Madhouse Records]
14. Scuba – Hardbody [Hotflush Recordings]
15. Thomas Schumacher – Electric Ballroom [Electric Ballroom]
16. Marco Lys – Blue Cream [100% Pure]
17. Underworld – Dark & Long (Christian Smith Tronic Treatment Remix) [Tronic]
18. Johannes Heil And D.Diggler – The Embrace (Part 3) [Unclear]
19. Chymera – Dreamrunner (Funk D’Void Remix) [Outpost Recordings]