Galway-based party, Vault, have been one of the front-runners in the city’s dynamic midweek techno scene. We spoke to co-founders Oran Mulvey and Cian McGovern about Galway’s dance music landscape, giving young dancers the space to learn about the culture, the importance of pushing local acts and more.
Galway, like many other cities in Ireland, has a peculiar dance music scene, owing to the fact that it revolves, for the most part, around the city’s student population. Galway’s club scene essentially operates from Monday through to Thursday, and students from around the country make the pilgrimage to West of Ireland, where many will dip their toes into the world of club culture for the first time.This currious dyanmic presents challenges of course, but it has also turned Galway into a playground for the future stars of Ireland.
Promoters come and go in this town, college periods aren’t too long, and when exam season arrives, the city’s midweek nightlife comes to a standstill. There is a brief but lucrative period in the Galway nightlife calendar, however dates are scarce, especially when the city is losing nightclubs at a rapid rate. Galway can be rough terrain for running party’s, but some people stick around for better or worse.
Vault have been throwing some of Galway’s most accalimed techno nights for over half a decade now. Co-owned by Oran Mulvey and Cian McGovern, the pair are on a mission to host noncompromising techno parties midweek in Galway City. The party boasts a long-list of acclaimed past guests from Stranger through to Cleric, it’s obvious that the pair of mates are serious about their vision for the party.
We sat down with Oran Mulvey and Cian McGovern to chat about Vault parties ahead of their party with LB aka LBAT on Thursday.
Not many promoters last the test of time in Galway but Vault has been a real mainstay within the techno community in Galway for many years now. What’s kept you promoting shows in Galway?
It’s something that we’re passionate about and we both enjoy doing. It’s given us a chance throughout the years to promote local DJs and also bring in some international acts that we wanted to see ourselves but it hasn’t always been straightforward, we’ve had some setbacks along the way.
As any promoter would tell you, nights don’t always go to plan. We’ve had setbacks resulting from the timing of our events, acts pulling out on short notice and so on, but we’ve learned so much since our first event and we’re grateful to still be in a position to be able to continue putting on these shows today.
Galway nightlife is primarily dictated by college students, do you think this has an effect on the styles of music played?
Definitely, the sheer number of students in the city attending midweek events gives a platform for collectives to grow and showcase their own style and music interests.
There are a lot of different independent collectives in Galway all with their own styles of music with their own unique following. You have Groovy Tuesdays, Bumble, Translucent, Verve and Express. Each collective brings a different vibe and atmosphere to their events to the next one, so there’s plenty to choose from for all tastes.
You’ve been putting purist and raw techno at the forefront of Vault parties, do you think you’ve been somewhat teaching young dancers about club culture in Galway?
The audience of people listening to techno or open to attending a techno gig in Ireland, not just Galway has grown so much in recent years. We wouldn’t look at it as teaching but rather as giving young dancers a space where they can further explore the genre and develop their interest in it. This is how we developed our interest in more purist and raw styles of techno from when we were first introduced to it.
The Loft has been your home of Vault parties for many years, what keeps bringing you back there?
Without bias, it’s definitely one of our favourite venues in Galway. The in-house sound system, lights and layout of the venue are perfect for an intimate event. It’s also where we ran our first event and the majority of them throughout the years so we have plenty of memories from the venue. We have a great relationship with the management and staff in Seven as well which helps to keep the events running smoothly.
You’ve hosted a number of revered techno acts from Randomer, Clouds, Stranger and more, but you’ve always prided the party on supporting grassroots talent. How do you find a balance of international and local acts when running parties?
Over the last few years, there have been so many talented DJs and producers that have been based in Galway that have played a part in our events, acts such as Ansbro, Ges, Fionn Curran, SMBG, IMO and Niall Kelly. The standard has improved year after year and it’s a promising sign of things to come in the future.
Galway has been similar to the rest of Ireland in the way that it has been affected by venue closures and a lack of venues for DJs so it’s been important to give local acts the opportunity to showcase what they can do. But on the other hand, it’s been great over the years to bring international and Irish acts to Galway.
Galway hosted G-TOWN Festival during the summer, a large-scale techno event outside of the college year, do you think this could help the Galway scene as we head into club season?
Yeah definitely! Fair play to the G-town records lads, the scale and the production of the event were unheard of in the city, so it was massive for Galway.
Events like this can only benefit club culture within the city as it introduces new faces to it. We’d like to see the Arts Festival use its platform to promote local DJs, producers and collectives going forward.
You began hosting nights in 2018, what changes have you noticed at your parties since within those five years?
The style and tempo of the music have changed drastically over the years since we started. When we first started we would have been playing a lot of big room and progressive style techno but in recent years, our taste and direction have evolved to hard groove, hard techno, hard house and trance-orientated nights.
What parties stick out to you when you think about the history of Vault thus far?
There are so many! The first event we ran will always stick out as we didn’t really know what to expect, the aim of the night starting off really was just a way to get gigs for ourselves, the event sold out the venue on the night and it went better than we could have imagined.
You have a party forthcoming with LB aka LABAT, what can dancers expect at this show?
He’s an act we’ve had on our radar for some time, he’s a top-quality DJ and producer. Expect high energy from the start. We’re collaborating with Translucent for this one, we have to give the lads a shoutout they’ve done loads for the local scene in Galway over the last few years along with some big nights and they’re definitely ones to keep an eye on.
How would you like Vault to be remembered if you had to call it quits tomorrow?
We’d like to be remembered for hosting some memorable nights for people and for giving people the opportunity to see some of their favourite DJs whether they were international or local acts.
You can purchase tickets too Vault and Translucent Present LB aka LABAT at The Loft here.