“I took my work experience whilst at secondary school with John O’Neill from The Undertones”
Eamon Harkin, co-founder of the famous NYC-based Mister Saturday Night party and label, has had a wild adventure with his career. Originating from Northern Ireland, he had a strong interest in dance music and a desire to find out more on all styles of music.
I attended Eamon’s ‘Mister Sunday’ party in June, after seeing videos on YouTube of their loft parties and how intimate they were, which had me very keen to find out more. My whole idea of an ‘intimate’ party changed. I was lucky enough to catch up with him during the week to chat about his journey.
Q: Hello Eamon! Thanks for taking the time out to talk to us. How has 2016 been for you?
A: I think for a lot of people 2016 has been a pretty shitty year actually. We lost Bowie, Mancuso and Prince and the political climate globally has taken a very frightening turn.
Here in New York the presidential election has been acutely difficult to process. I still find it hard to tune back into the news and face what’s happening. On the Mister front we had a another solid year – a great tour of Japan, an epic eight hour set to close out Panorama Bar on a Monday morning in February, a couple of epic parties at St John’s in London, we took Mister Sunday to Nowadays – our very own venue here in New York, launched Planetarium – our new immersive listening and live music series, played a bunch of nice festivals in Europe and released some really great records on the label.
Q: I wanted to know, what would you describe ‘underground’ music as?
A: There seems to be different opinions on the topic. I’m not sure that term means anything anymore. The so called underground artists are as visible (or are trying to be) as the so-called commercial artists so the suggestion they’re out of sight no longer holds. I think it’s a question of musical taste, values and aesthetics. Artists and promoters who identify as underground are suggesting their scene is more tasteful, thoughtful and tied to the original ethos of club culture.
Q: Hailing from the North of Ireland, tell us a bit about your early days in Ireland. Did you gain your music inspiration from there?
A: I did but not in the world of dance music. I was into guitar music – mainly grunge, indie, shoe gaze and post punk. I took my work experience whilst at secondary school with John O’Neill from The Undertones. The couple of days with him really opened me up to the idea of a career in music. This was pre-internet times so your role models were very much local to you.
Q: Travelling to England to study, then to emigrate to New York City must have been such a rapid and intense change of lifestyle. How would you see your life if you didn’t make these changes?
A: I certainly wouldn’t have met Justin and Mister Saturday Night wouldn’t have been created but what I do now is very much a representation of who I am and I think that I would have pursued a somewhat similar path, no matter where I ended up.
Q: How does the American crowd differ to the Irish crowd?
A: There’s a level of intensity that is possible with an Irish crowd that is pretty rare. We’ve always been people that knew how to party when the conditions are right and so when it kicks off in Ireland it REALLY kicks off.
Q: Do you think a wide spread of different genres and styles in a set is a necessity?
A: Not really. I see the value of a practicing a single genre and exploring depths you wouldn’t otherwise explore if you’re trying to scan across too many options. Equally I like all types of music and I like how a DJ can access all types of music to create an arc and a journey. We’re talking about two very different but creatively valid approaches to the art form.
Q: Seeing such a vast amount of countries, different lifestyles and cultures, is there anything you’d like club goers to focus on more?
A: Everyone should stay off their phones on the dance floor. If I could have one thing it would be that. Dance music is about collectively surrendering yourself to the music with the people around you. Taking out a phone is very anti-social to that notion.
Q: I’ve seen a few posts online talking about record sales are outselling digital sales. Is this a surprise to you?
A: Not really. Other than DJs playing mp3/wavs from USBs, digital files are becoming obsolete now streaming technology is taking over.
Q: What is it about records that you love?
A: I love that it helps me build a relationship to the music and the artist. This relationship gives me a connection that I just can’t have with the digital form. This connection is vital to be enjoying music at home and playing music out when I DJ. It means DJing is a creative expression of the relationship I have to this music which is what DJing should be.
Q: Anything major you’re excited for in 2017?
A: We’re expanding Nowadays into an indoor space which is super, super exciting. I’m putting a record out on our label which feels really nice as I’ve been very quiet on the production front for a while. Next summer is already looking busy too with festival dates and our usual plans on the ground in New York.