your father mike recorded the first modern irish jazz ep, did he have a big bearing on you musically?
Yeah he did in some ways, we didnt live together when i was young but i always remember music being a general part of the home, be it an old rhodes type thing in the corner or suitcases of sheet music that my dad used to write on...
did your cousin oisin get you into the hip hop or had you figured that out already before the marxmen?
yeah, theres about 10 years between us so when he went off to live in london to make the marxman records he used to send me back these mixtapes of stuff he was listening to, de la soul, tribe, das efx etc etc....he'd come back with these stories of working with Primo in DnD studios in New York or Guru freestyling with their emcee or playing festivals and gigs here and there.
did you feel it was inevitable that you would get into music considering that your family has such a history of producing great musicians?
i never really thought about it to be honest...i just always loved music, i always listened to music and then as time went by became particularly interested in hip hop and then the whole idea of sampling and djing etc and wanted to try it myself, messing with a turntable or tapes or the like. My mum was brilliant, she bought me a wee sampler one birthday, a midi keyboard another and i just kinda built up from there. i dont think it was a conscious i want to "get into" this, more like a "i enjoy this"
did you have any musical training/learn any instruments etc. as a child?
I took piano lessons when i was young and then drums lessons from my uncle but i never saw it through...I would love to be able to play both now but ill get back to it in time,
when did you first start making beats, what producers influenced you to do this?
Hmmm i always listened to a lot of hip hop so just the same ol names anyone will tell you from the nineties and backwards...i always liked good pop music and somewhere i became interested in jazz i think because of general sampling and my dads background. Everything really though.
what equipment did you start out on, what do you use now?
I started on some dance ejay thing program and then cubase and fruity loops and nuendo and an mpc60 and all sorts...i was trying to really find something i was comfortable with until i kinda came full circle and started using fruity loops again.
how did the hearlds of change come about/ how important was this for your development musically?
It was very important, thats when i really began to feel like i was starting to make the music i wanted to make..it coincided with meeting hudson mo also, he showed me a lot and over the course of a summer we spent a lot of time making beats, swapping beats, talking about doing something together and eventually putting a wee beat tape together which ended up leading to our first 12" "Show You/Part of the World" on All City
do you prefer to work independently or to collaborate, is it pretty difficult to collaborate with others with geographics etc being an issue?
i enjoy both but i don't always find it easy to collaborate in actually writing the music, i dont think geography is an issue for most people anymore - its never really been a problem since i started putting records out. By the time the first Heralds of Change 12" came out myself and hudson were living in different countries so that side of things has always seemed normal. It makes no difference if he's in glasgow and im in new york or dublin or whatever now.
would you like to have more vocals with your beats, or do you prefer to let them stand alone, muhsinah track is a fine example of how it can work so well?
I really like both, i want to start doing more vocal work because i dont see myself as just an "instrumental hip hop" guy. I love making that stuff but i enjoy making the other stuff too. Theres a place for it all, i just wouldnt want to consider myself one or the other of anything.
are there too many beat makers out there now and with myspace can you become lost in all the music?
dont know if you can ever say that theres too many...half the time its
people who just enjoy sitting making beats and they can put it on
myspace and get some feedback, i think thats great.
The flipside is that its a lottttt of music to wade through if thats what you want to do. gift and a curse.
how can you push out the boundaries of your music to set you out from the rest?
experiment, be honest and use your imagination as much as possible...?
does your musical training stand to you in that i think that some beatmakers have a good idea but they can't develop it so it ends up being a two minute track that ends suddenly and doesn't go anywhere whereas you are able to have interludes in your tracks and then take it in a different direction...
I dont know if its anything to do with musical training because i really dont have much if any at all.
Maybe more to do with a period of being obsessed with not making just loops anymore and to make music that actually moved and took you somewhere, something that wasnt so obvious as a lot of the hip hop i was listening to... so that you wouldnt really know where something was gonna go or what was gonna happen next. Music is a ladder for the soul apparently so there ye go....Not to be tricky or anything but just to keep interest and create a picture of sorts for myself.
you have a new 7 in the pipeline, any other solo work we should know about?
Yeh i've a new 7" with Muhsinah out on All City this month, then a Flying Lotus remix on Warp Records in nov followed by an ep on LuckyMe...
if you were to define your music for the people of limerick in a couple of words what would they be, what can we expect on the night?
...come down and decide!