Fuinneamh’s Lucas Ogma has shared the first two singles from his debut album ‘Native Wildflower’ on the Four Four Mag Soundcloud for free download, along with an exclusive interview about the project. His debut album is a homage to the natural world and its inherent impact on music, focusing on deep, lush, and textured sounds throughout 13 tracks.

Luke Reddy, also known as Lucas Ogma, is one of the most influential figures in the Irish dance music industry right now. The Fuinneamh founder has dedicated his life to creating safe and unique dance spaces, and his passion for authenticity and freedom of expression pervades all aspects of his work. Lucas’ music, like his festivals and parties, exudes a profound sense of tranquillity. A sense of security and connection to both our forebears and the natural world. The Sligo-based artist’s unique approach to music-making blurs the lines between traditional Irish percussive rhythms and those of the electronic continuum, resulting in a distinct Gaelic take on the quintessential techno sound.

His latest musical undertaking is his most bold and honest yet. The 13-track album provides a glimpse inside the mind of one of Ireland’s most adventurous creatives. Lucas delves further into the world of layered hypnotic techno, with each track exuding a genuine feeling of sorrow and romanticism. The project is categorised as techno. Pure techno. However, describing this as club music seems somewhat reductive. The album is slightly unconventional in terms of techno, with an acute sense of story-telling and cinematic bravado coursing through its epicentre. The relationship between the painter and the painting runs deep in this project. The prospect of releasing music that has been largely sequestered for so long seems heartbreaking. This is important to him. It’s more than surface-level bangers; it’s a record of life thus far.

From the smoky basement growls of ‘Introspect’ and ‘Surveillance’ to the flickering beams of fantasy-style bliss on ‘Left Behind’, the album shifts from light to dark in a delicately poignant manner, gently bringing listeners from Panorama to Berghain at the flick of a switch. Lucas’ distinctive approach to the dub sound pays homage to pioneers Moritz Von Oswald and Mark Ernestus. Lucas takes a purist and organic approach to techno, drawing on a luxurious bed of pulsating atmospheres to lay the groundwork for fluttering delay swells on luscious chord stabs that echo through the soundscape like a gust of wind blowing through the towering oak trees on the Fuinneamh grounds. Despite the evident inspirations, there is a strong sense of solitude in this offering. Lucas was isolated in his home of Sligo while writing the album, shielded from the world of warehouses and murky dance floors. He curated a sound that mirrored his journey. This is the quintessential Fuinneamh sound: a groove that honours our roots and history.

We spoke to Lucas Ogma about his Native Wildflower album ahead of its official release on April 4th.

Congratulations on your debut album. Why did you decide to release your first album now, after so many years of producing techno?

Thank you so much, I’m excited to finally be putting this out there, it’s been on my mind for a really long time to release an album. I’ve been getting more and more people looking to hear and play my music after they’ve heard me perform sets and I’ve been in a good headspace creatively this last while so I decided to focus on the album and put in the work, and now here we are! I’m really happy.

Can you tell us about the meaning behind the album’s name, ‘Native Wildflower’?

Absolutely. So I’ve actually used photos I’ve taken of native Irish wildflowers on the covers of each of the Ogma releases so far… I use them to represent the beautiful softness that is present within techno, but this cover in particular is very dear to me. It’s a native coastal wildflower called ‘thrift’ or probably better known by its more popular name ”Sea Pink”. They pop up around springtime every year and stay for the summer. These flowers always inspire a great sense of hope in me… you should see some of the crazy places they decide to grow. Insane cliff faces that look almost uninhabitable, but these guys are so resilient and strong, they thrive there. I love their energy, I love the message they send out… I’ve actually got them tattooed on my arm. Native Wildflower felt like the right name for this album and for my journey with music. 

The album employs a diverse sonic palette but appears to gravitate towards a deep and textural theme. What influenced the album’s concept?

I love all techno, but I’ve always been a fan of the journey techno can take us on, so I think that’s why the deeper, more textural styles are what I tend to express in my production and sound design. It just comes naturally to me that way. I love painting pictures with the sonic spectrum and taking people on a deep journey.

‘Native Wildflower’ appears to be the culmination of your long-term work as a producer. Do you think the album is a definitive representation of your sound?

I’ve been producing music since late 2011, and this album really feels like a special moment for me. I’ve spent many years crafting my own sound and it has probably changed in and out of different feels a bit, but I think this is a nice snapshot of my range of style currently and how it has developed from 2011 to now. I’m really proud of this body of work and how it represents my sound.

It’s been a long road to this pivotal point of a debut album, as you begin to blend influences from your early days in production with your current style. Was the album able to connect you with your younger self? 

Most definitely, I’m always drawn back to my younger self when I’m working on music. There are some tracks on this album that are more inspired by me as a younger artist than they are by any other artist because I wanted to make sure that this element of my sound was captured. I’m also still using techniques that I developed back in my early days of producing techno that is still very much a part of this album.. for example, I used to try and make my process as minimal as possible, I would try and create a track using only 4 or 5 maybe 6 channels. Kick, clap, hats, synth, and maybe something atmospheric.. boom, done. The tracks ‘Introspect’ ‘Modern Designer’ and ‘Psychedelic Projections’ are tracks where I stayed true to this process. 

You’ve been road-testing some of these tracks at clubs and festivals for quite some time. Has your opinion of the tracks changed at all during this time of exposing them to audiences? 

One of my favourite ways to get a feel for a track is to play it out to a crowd, then I might bring it back to the production process and add things, subtract things or put things more front and centre in the mix. There are a couple of tracks on this album that probably got an early road test in 2019, or at least some parts did and realistically they’ve been evolving since then. I know that ‘Place of Ritual has been evolving since about 2020 and so have a few others. It’s funny because sometimes you feel so connected to a track, and then other times you don’t like the sound of it. I feel like having a process where I’ve been able to go back to a track and change things has meant that I’ve slowly been able to bring the best version of that track into fruition for this album. And maybe that’s the beauty of a timeless classic style of techno that I’ve slowly made my own, I’m not trying to follow a trend, I’m not trying to be anyone else, I’m just making music. Some of my favourite tracks came out in the 90s and early 00s and they still sound as good as anything… So I never felt under pressure, these tracks have had room to breathe and develop naturally

You are perhaps best known as the founder of the Fuinneamh festival. The track ‘Ogham Alignment’ appears to be a direct reference to the festival. How did your involvement with the festival influence the project? 

It’s funny, so when I started running parties back in 2012, a big part of it was because I wanted to play at them… I would produce my music with the forest locations in mind and then play the music in my sets. It’s probably one of the ways how I developed my sound – envisioning the location where the music would be played! But as things evolved I ended up so busy with the Fuinneamh project that my own production took a bit of a back seat between 2015 and 2019 and Fuinneamh became my primary focus. I don’t think I even opened the Ableton at that time and I didn’t even play at Fuinneamh in 2017, but hey, look, I think it was all a positive… breaks can be very healthy for creativity, and Fuinneamh wouldn’t be what it is now if I hadn’t made the sacrifices I had to at the time. Anyway, In 2019 I played a few big sets, I played Body and Soul and Electric Picnic and that really got me excited to produce again. Then I played at Fuinneamh that year, twice actually. So, for all four festival sets that summer I played only my own productions. The feedback I received got me so inspired. That’s when I set up Ogma records. Covid gave me so much time to focus on producing new music. In 2022 I closed the Ogham Alignment stage at Fuinneamh on Saturday night. I played for 4 hours, a mix of probably 70 per cent my own music and 30 per cent artists that inspire me.. after that set I went home and produced a rough version of the ‘Ogham Alignment’ track on the album, it’s inspired me totally by the energy of my set in 2022 and while I was producing it I was completely immersed in the vision of playing it there in 2023. It was a pretty cool moment when it all came to fruition and I got to play it in my set in 2023. It seemed to go down really well too. Anyone I’ve shown the track to says it reminds them of Fuinneamh. 

The album definitely falls on the classic side of the techno spectrum, with plenty of dub and Detroit-style influences. What artists inspired you to pursue this direction?

This list could be quite long haha.. but I’ll just stick to some of my main influences. Ostgut Ton as a label really inspires me, Klockworks too… then artists like DVS1Aril Brikha, Function, Slam, Steffi, Drexciya, Octave One, Robert Hood, Boris, Rodhad, Etapp Kyle and Snakebite 616 aka Nathan Jones, and maybe in more recent years Stef Mendesidis, Claudio PRC, Blazej Malinowski, Esshar and probably Yan Cook too a lot as of late…oh and Barker. Okay, the list ended up quite long.. there’s so much good music out there. The techno spectrum is so wide and diverse. I’ve just always found myself into a more classic style that leans dubby, deep and atmospheric I reckon. 

Releasing music can be a nerve-racking experience because the process of creating music is often very delicate and personal. This 13-track album provides a raw and honest look at your artistry. How do you feel about sharing this with the rest of the world?

Exactly like you said, it’s definitely a little bit nerve-racking for me, I’m nervous and excited at the same time. This is my music, this is years of work learning my craft and creating my sound. I’m excited to be putting out such a large body of work and so far the response from artists has been phenomenal, it’s been very encouraging and I do feel like this is only the beginning. I’m excited to get straight back to work on more releases on Ogma and perhaps even a follow-up album. I’ve also been working with other artists so expect to see a lot more from Ogma Records in the next while. 

Although concepts and themes in albums can be reductive and cliche. Is there a particular feeling or motif associated with this album?

For me, I guess without even trying to be and without any pre-planning, the album is definitely about inner journeying into the psyche, a sort of self-exploration, what it means to exist, as a human, as a person within the societal systems here on earth, as a living being in the cosmos.. it asks questions about the world around us through meditative sonic scapes and pulsing rhythms. I would love to know that my music serves as a tool that invites a deeper experience for people. That’s pretty much what it’s all about! 

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