Where it all began, mmm...Well my parents pushed me into learning traditional Irish music as a kid and I joined all the school and church choirs when I was young, which later developed into involvement in local community choirs and some competitions. I was a pretty innocent kid and I remember my older brother like most teenagers in the nineties, would talk about Dance music and DJs. He had a large music collection on the family's old Windows desktop and I would play all his happy Hardcore and House after school, and pretend to DJ by turning up and down levels in Windows Media Player. I guess that's when my interest in electronic music began.
Was there anything special about the environment you developed your skills in; Musically, culturally?
I feel like I only really started to develop musically later in life when I moved to Spain when I was in my early twenties, and started going to some amazing underground free parties. I became obsessed with bass music and the culture behind it, and hung out with a lot of people that were building their own sound systems. Spain's economy is really struggling at the moment and it has a massive impact on the residents. When you live in a country where the minimum wage is low and people don't have much disposable income, your values change. Music and DJing is so much more than just a way to make money in a commercial club or festival; the parties I went to were getting people through serious times, when some families could not afford to live or eat properly and were really struggling. They could go to a party after a hard weeks work and the DJ would take them to another place. Their happy place. I heard some of the best DJs, producers and sets of my life back then. I think this was a special and unique experience that definitely has had an impact on me.
Is there any moment in your gigs that stands out, or is most significant?
My first free festival in Portugal. One of my first DJ sets and a real turning point in my life, it will always stand out in my mind.
What was the first record you ever bought?
Lion Dub was the artist, "Run Red'' was the track.
What, in your opinion, are the main challenges/obstacles to becoming a DJ today?
Well let's just say music and DJing can be an expensive hobby. But honestly I think finding your creative space can be difficult; somewhere you are grounded enough to stand still for a while, set up your equipment and just play, create, mix and practice too. Somewhere you can be as loud or as quiet as you want, sing or make beats and just develop in whatever it is that you're up to musically. I think finding the place where you can express yourself creatively can be a challenge to find.
What has been your favourite festival experience?
I really enjoyed Dream Gathering in Cork last year; after a summer of working at festivals I treated it like my festival off, to just relax and enjoy. I went with some great people and met loads more there, definitely a great experience.
Sometimes people bring up questions of originality concerning electronic music, claiming this type of music is merely copying and not creating new material. How would you defend this genre of music?
I can see how a lot of people would think this. I guess it all seems similar, as artists are trying to create a certain vibe with their music. The drums and basslines are affecting humans in all sorts of ways, certain tempos and styles are maintained sometimes on purpose; artists generally know how it will affect the listener. So by doing things that might seem repetitive or copied, it is really causing someone to rave it up or chill out. Sound is a science and it someone, for example makes a kick drum that gets peoples hearts racing, happy and dancing, I think it's a positive thing to want to sample this and spread the vibe; everyone can add their bit to the scene and some people can take it to new and exciting levels with productions that are completely fresh and original. It's amazing and great when they do. But others may not have that in them and feel more comfortable replicating an artist's work that inspired them, or using previously produced loops or samples; I think that it's up to the individual what they do. DJing and production is a form of creativity and self-expression, and everyone should express themselves in the way that feels right for themselves as an artist. There are lots of royalty-free stuff available out there that are not copyrighted, although coming up with newly synthesised sounds will always be great too; each to their own!
What are your plans for the future, or your next project?
I'm pretty new to this world of production and DJing in general; I have lots of ideas of what I'd like to do musically but I know I need more education, knowledge, time and equipment to piece the ideas in my head. I have a lot of learning to do when it comes to music and sound. I like to sing and beatbox, I love the Amen breaks and 170 bpm bass filled productions; I'm hoping to just develop these interests naturally over my lifetime, I don't feel the need to rush anything, as music will always be a hobby of mine. I do know that I will work to buy my first technic 1210 this summer as currently I only have CDJs and use other people's turntables. I'm looking forward to getting my own set so much.
If you could stage a rave (unlicensed and free) anywhere in Ireland, where would that be? Your only limitation is the weather.
I would have it at the lake I learned to swim in; a small beach called Corry Strand on Lough Allen in Co. Leitrim. It's a beautiful place and also one of the proposed fracking sites in the North West of Ireland. I would call the festival "DON'T FRACK ME FEST''. I always thought that if I could get it together to buy my own PA maybe this could become a reality, as creating awareness about the subject is something I feel strongly about, and Leitrim is lovely.
Is there anything about Galway in particular that encourages the growth of electronic music, perhaps 'something in the water'?
Galway has a great scene for underground music and lots of young people that want to make the movement happen. There is a lot of work behind this movement and it's great that people are responding positively to the vibrations that collectives such as PUZZLE are making.