As a nation, we’ve managed to pull in the cream of the international crop to fill our clubs and youth’s ears with the very finest of House and Techno, leading to an emergence of producers and the indigenous scene. While it’s getting less and less mind-boggling to think of high-quality artists within the genres here at home and a bit more confusing to wade through the slew of Sound Cloud startups, one name that is somewhat overlooked in the Irish scene is the ironically Irish one of Daithí.
The West of Ireland native has developed into one of the most diverse artists both in his (very) live sets and in his production, which (maybe) to some degree makes him slip out of the usual conventions of a DJ and producer, leading people to sometimes, naïvely leave him out of the conversation. While he has no doubts about his undisputed talents, he has no burning desire to ‘fit in’.
Since you’ve launched Tribes [his last EP] how have things been going for you?
The response for Tribes has been unbelievable. It’s been huge, we’re delighted with it. While I was doing all those shows [11 festival shows over the summer], I was traveling along the West coast of Ireland recording samples for a new EP and I’ve just finished recording that now, so we’re just in the middle of getting that mastered. It should be out next year around February or March.
You’ve done an insane amount of gigging over the summer, how did you manage to coincide that with producing?
The way it worked out, every weekend there’d be one or two gigs. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were about going to a studio here and building the tracks. It was pretty non-stop, but I’m lucky enough to be able to do it full-time. I think you have to treat like a 9-5 job because if you don’t then what’s the point?
How have you developed musically and mentality-wise since the release of Tribes?
The success of Tribes was really interesting, I was doing it not thinking about what people would like, it was a real double-down on my convictions, I should probably just do what I like to do. That’s why on this record I’ve [advanced] on that idea of mixing natural sounds into the EP. Tribes really developed the passion I have for what I’m doing, that’s kind of what has changed a lot. I’m also more self-sufficient, I used a lot of the success from say, Mary Keane’s introduction, to get stuff like cameras, recorders, microphones and that stuff, so that I’d be able to be as self-sufficient as possible so I’m not relying on anyone else to do the stuff, I just have to learn how to do it myself. I think that’s really important being an Irish producer, or any type of artist, you have to be able to do 6 or 7 things rather than just one.
Has your time abroad and gigging this summer allowed you to be more business-like about such a creative process?
I guess so. It’s kind of a weird one, I’m having more fun than I ever had, relying on other people makes you stressed, being self-sufficient added a lot of relief. Being able to create stuff gives you a natural buzz, I don’t know if it’s ‘matured’ me all that much but I’m just enjoying stuff a lot more.
Has creating and recording your own samples relaxed your approach to music and what you do with them?
It definitely makes the tracks mean a lot more to you. When you’re usually producing something you open a folder of about 100 snares that you downloaded from the internet. You go through them and pick your favourite one out of that, but that snare means nothing to you. If you’ve been building this sample library of your own stuff, you know where you got it from and you know where it was recorded, that’s really special because then every single sound in the production means something to you. It makes me so passionate about what I’m releasing. Tribes and the next EP feel like that they mean a lot.
Do you think that your next EP launch will expand your profile in the growing House & Tech scene, do you want to be a part of that?
From what I’ve seen from the shows this year, there’s such a passion for Dance music in Ireland. When I look at my festival cards 90% of the people who’re there are 3 or 4 years younger than me and they’re so into it, I guess it’s probably the sort of thing where there was always an interest coming up and then the people that’re growing up and going to college and stuff, they’re getting into it. There’s a better culture for it here now, we’re getting better clubs, I mean we’re here in Electric and it’s super important for the Dance music scene in Galway, they really know what they’re doing in terms of making the club an experience, I love coming here. Dance music is becoming the thing that everyone wants it to be, when you’re in a room with people and there’s a feeling that you’re with people. When everyone starts getting into something, there’s no better feeling in the world. An Irish crowd is always the best crowd.
Sometimes I feel like you’re overlooked in the Irish scene because everyone’s so focused on House & Tech, are you happy in some ways about that because it allows you to do your own thing without being heavily scrutinised?
For a very long time I wasn’t considered part of the Dance music scene and I don’t know if I still am, one of the main reasons is because I came up through the ‘band’ side of the music scene, the whole way up. I started off in the Roisin Dubh, which is well-known for bands, I was playing venues as opposed to clubs and that’s a very simple as to why. Maybe because I was over in Galway and maybe because I never DJ’d, I never came up through that scene. My show is at such a level now that people go and say “Where the fuck did this come from?”, especially this year at festivals.
You played a gig at a wedding in Ibiza, how did that come about?
There’s this guy, a big Dance fan from Navan and he booked me for a gig there and Sinead [White, the singer on his hit track ‘Love’s on Top’ that performs at his live shows too] went down as well. We got off stage and Sinead said to me “Your man wants to meet you, he wants you to play at his wedding.” He told me it was in Ibiza and that he’d fly me over and put me up for two nights. I thought he was hammered and thought nothing of it for the evening. The next morning, he told me the flights were booked. Myself and Sinead got flown over to Ibiza and it was just the absolute perfect free Ibiza experience. Those type of moments are incredible.
Do you put any conscious thought into making your Social Media accounts so relatable and accessible?
I studied media in college, TV and Radio journalism, so I already had an interest in it. Basically when I was signed to a major label, I dropped the ball and expected others to do the social networking stuff for me, which is kind of rubbish. Once I started doing it myself and getting into it, I started enjoying it because you get an immediate reaction, sort of like playing live. When you start seeing people tagging their mates on videos, you know you did well and you can hone in on that. It’s a different world now where you have to talk to everybody, you don’t have fans anymore, you have mates that go to your shows, it’s a really important outlet that everyone should have.
Do you think social media has allowed electronic music to grow as much as it has?
To put it simply, if it’s one person you’re not waiting on another band member to reply. When people see a band, they see a name and music but when they see a producer they see a singular person. What you have to do then as a singular person is show your personality, way more than a band does.
Has it benefited you in some ways that you’ve got to make your mistakes early within the safety net of a major label?
I’ve made a ton of mistakes, it’s really good to do that. The hardest thing is to keep going, you have to spend ages to get good at everything, the other hard part is the financial side. I’m lucky that I’ve gotten on okay with gigs and stuff that I’m able to keep going. When I think of the producers that came up the same time as I did, I’m seven years producing, I can count on my hand how many people are left. Myself and Toby Carr came up during the time when there were all these people doing live electronic stuff and it’s only the two of us left. There’s so many amazing people, but it’s hard to keep going without making any money.
If you haven’t had the chance to catch Daithí perform, Have a listen to Four/Four Mix 003: Daithí below.