We team up with Life Festival to chat with one of the sought-after DJs on the Isle of Ireland, Fionn Curran. Rising through the ashes of the Galway house party scene, to frequently playing to thousands of people, Fionn Curran’s rise to popularity is one of the most captivating stories in contemporary Irish dance music.
Galwegian Fionn Curran is yet another West-Coast success story in the world of Irish dance music. Curran cut his teeth as a DJ across various gaff parties in Galway City, as well as landing slots at The Loft, Electric, alongside becoming a firm favourite in the Galway rave scene. It was at dingy gaff parties, warehouses, and make-shift venues where Fionn learned his trade as a selector. Often making notes & studying crowds like a book, the youngster was devoted to crafting his own sound & road-testing new flavours of music wherever he could. Fionn began to build a solid repertoire for being the go-to party DJ in his hometown, often rescuing a party from its grave or keeping the candle lit until the very end – a difficult task when dealing with fleeting students in the city of Galway.
Post-Covid is where Fionn really found his feet as a DJ, quickly establishing himself as one of the most in-demand selectors across Ireland. Video’s of the youngster hammering out vintage rave anthems across house parties, dancefloors and raves began to flood the internet, making the Galwegian hot property for promoters across Ireland. Fionn captured a frivolous and fun-loving side to Irish dance music, that can often be lost amidst the flurry of highbrow marketing campaigns that have become the norm in Irish electronic music culture. There’s a refreshingly authentic feel to Curran’s rise to fame, and people can feel the righteous sense of transparency as Fionn brings us all along the ride from kitchen raves to festival’s main stages. At the end of it all Fionn has just been able to capture the simplistic and light-hearted approach to club culture, and you can’t knock that.
Fionn’s 2023 touring schedule has been quite relentless thus far, the young DJ and producer is running off the back of a number of landmark shows across Liverpool, Glasgow, London, Manchester, and Belfast as well as headlining Index and a milestone homecoming headline at Monroes. The Galway native is also looking towards a number of monumental shows across Creamfields, Electric Picnic, Belsonic, Life Festival, Longitude, Ibiza, Magaluf, and many more. Aside from DJing, Curran has enjoyed a fruitful 12 months of music releases, with a number of self-releases, as well as a release with his beloved Reboot family. Tracks amassing over 1 million streams across all platforms and a selling out shows left, right and center, it’s blatantly clear that the Fionn Curran train is running steam ahead, with no sign of stopping.
We spoke to Fionn Curran ahead of his return to Life Festival later this month.
Let’s start from the beginning. How did you first discover electronic music & what drew you into it?
I was always a fan of melody-driven club music and loved the progressive house style that was big in the early 2010s with Basshunter, Avicii, Alesso, and the like. To be honest though I was only a fan on a casual level and never even considered getting into DJing or producing while I was in school. Going to see DJs once I got into college really opened my eyes. Specifically seeing Kettama making the music he was making, and knowing he was a similar age from Galway, really made me believe that going down this route was possible. I can’t really overstate how much of an inspiration he was to me. With his piano house tracks, I really felt that he was bringing a melody-centred style that was so different from the other DJs I was seeing play at the time, and I couldn’t get enough of it.
You’ve become a sort of cult figure in Galway’s house party scene & this helped propel you into many people’s radars. Do you think this party style of DJing helped you once you’d started regularly playing across the country?
Ya for sure. Playing countless house parties all the way through college definitely shaped my style. I was also always paying close attention to what kept people dancing at every pre-drinks and afters. I even used to take notes on my phone of things that worked and didn’t work when I was playing haha. I really thought of the house parties I played at as practice and a chance to learn.
You’re one of the many thriving acts on the Reboot roster. How did your relationship first begin with Reboot?
Coming out of Covid, Reboot booked me for their Sligo weekender event in Kilgallen’s Bar, and that was my first interaction with the group. I can’t be thankful enough to them for reaching out and giving me a chance that weekend, and for the way they’ve supported me ever since. They’re such a welcoming group and being on their roster has been massive for my development. It gives me massive confidence having them behind me, and I can go to them with any problem and I know they’ll have an answer for it. I’m really blessed to have them supporting me.
Your music style seems to carry a certain sense of Irish nostalgia. What do you think draws a new generation to a sort of old-school style?
I’ve always really loved and prioritised melodies in the music I make and play. The tracks I find with the best melodies are often the old-school ones from the late 90s and early 2000s. I think people are really drawn to these both from a sense of nostalgia, but also because I think there is a bit of a longing from crowds for more melody-centred music which is sometimes lacking from dancefloors nowadays.
From playing locally in Galway to playing in front of thousands of people on a regular basis, how are you finding adapting to a hectic gigging schedule?
To be honest I don’t find the schedule too stressful, and I genuinely look forward to playing every show and don’t ever really get too anxious about any specific event. I suffer pretty badly from obsessional OCD and anxiety so I’m very careful about doing what I can to stop myself from getting too tired. I basically never drink because that can really make these worse for a few days after.
Do you feel a certain sense of pressure now that you’ve become such a prominent name on Ireland’s dance music circuit or are you taking it in your stride & enjoying the ride?
The main pressure I feel is really the weight of the opportunity I feel like I have in front of me, and I really just want to make the most of it. I know that I’m in a massively privileged position to be playing in front of the crowds I’m playing to and have a fan base that will give whatever music I put out next a chance, so I just don’t want to mess it up!
Festival season is just around the corner, are you approaching your busy string of festival dates different from your club show performances?
I think you have to approach a festival differently from club shows. I really think festivals are the pinnacle of what you can play at and it’s important to prepare with that in mind. You may be playing a slot at a festival that’s different to what you would ever play in a club and it’s important to fit your sound around that.
Life Festival is first on your list of festival gigs. What can fans expect as you return to Life for the second time?
This will be my fifth time going to Life, I absolutely love it! It’s really one of the most important shows for me because I was imagining myself playing at it for so long before I did. Hopefully, I can show my progression as a DJ in the year since my debut last year when I played b2b with Ges.
Life Festival is one of the biggest dates in the Irish calendar for dance music. What other Irish acts are you looking forward to checking out while you’re there?
The lineup this year for Life is insanely good, one of the best I’ve ever seen at a festival in Ireland. Really looking forward to seeing Mall Grab, IMNOTYOURMATE, Parfait, IMO, CNTRL, Reboot DJs, Maedbh O’Connor, 666cmg, blk. and Bumble Blegardz.
Before we leave you, can you share any upcoming plans with our readers?
I’m really really excited about the project I’m currently working on, hopefully for release mid to end of the summer. It’s a slight change in style for me and a bit out of my comfort zone, but all going well I think it could be really good.
You can purchase tickets to Life Festival here.