Cailín Power has crafted an esteemed reputation for being an uncompromising DJ and producer who thrives on honesty, tenacious graft & analogue sounds. Cailín somehow seems totally transparent yet somewhat concealed in her nature, the vinyl only selector put’s an onus on the music & the music only, a strange rarity in techno culture in 2022. The Waterford native touches base on equality in the industry, social media, recent successes & much more.
In 2022 everyone seems to be either a DJ or an influencer, and the smartest fighters are doing both simultaneously. Technos focus on music & underground ideals, routing back to the nature of the genre, appears to be getting lost in the soaring artist fees, private planes, puerile riders, five-star hotels, and everything else that comes with the newly coined business techno term. Amongst the cesspool of soulless techno figures lye’s an avant-garde cluster of new and bold techno talents, those who are dedicated to honing their craft, paying respects to the history and creating something radical and unique. Waterford native Cailín Power is part of this real and honest techno renaissance.
While Cailín needs very little introduction in Ireland, it feels like the sunny South East techno guru is beginning to break through Europe with an honest and analogue driven sound, that is both startling & refreshing. Cailín gained a large following & massive respect from Irish punters & promoters alike, throughout her time in the Irish techno scene. Cailín’s unambiguous approach to techno has seen her receive several career milestones within recent times, such as; two Boiler Rooms, a release on Ben Sim’s Symbolisim imprint, a mix on the coveted Feel My Bicep Mixtape, gracing the historic Tresor booth & a whole lot more.
Cailín’s success didn’t come over night, the vinyl only DJ has been crafting a career in dance music for many years, and has often been moving in the shadow’s, honing a sound that is gritty, forceful & utterly veracious. Honesty and a brutal refusal to skip corner’s within dance music may sometimes mean that your trajectory will be more gradual and inherent, rather than contrived and egotistical motives that lurk around techno cultures fringes. Cailín also came up in a very different time in Irish techno, a time dominated by male figures, and female DJs were few and far between in, both the Irish scene and on an international scale. Cailín’s tenacity and hard work didn’t let this construe her from her ambitions to become one of the most authoritative dance music figures in Ireland, and in 2022 Cailín Power is just that.
We caught up Cailín for a well overdue chat about previous success’s, thoughts on techno in 2022, vinyl only, social media, equality in the industry & a whole lot more.
Your schedule has been pretty hectic as of late. Has it been a challenge going from lockdowns to a packed gigging schedule ?
No, not at all. It was a very smooth, long-awaited transition. It’s so good to be back.
You played at both BD festival & The Cellar in Dublin last Saturday, how does preparation differ for festivals and club shows?
Headlining sets and festival shows don’t differ greatly when it comes to preparation. Lots of big bangers, attention grabbers and one-more-tune records are packed. If I was opening a club/supporting a big dj or playing an extended or day time set, there would be a very different selection going in my record bag.
You’ve garnered a name for being a DJs, DJ over the years, with a unique but also varied style of techno. What labels or producers are you keeping an eye out for this year?
I tend not to get caught up in following labels and artists. I like to go to a record shop and just spend a few hours having a dig and seeing what I find. But to answer your question I’m going to refer to Irish artists and labels. Fyun has be busting out loads of really good tunes. Mode_1’s impressive discography is pretty large now with releases on big German labels. ELLLL has been doing really well since her move to Berlin. She’ll be doing her third Boiler Room at AVA this year. Alt8 has clearly been working really hard too, as well as Richie Corrigan who has released a multitude of bangers. I feel like Taint, Offtrack and Shannen Blessing are going to do big things this year, along with your good self Max! Aaron Thomas definitely deserves a mention too, he does excellent live hardware sets. As for labels, RLSD have been consistent as ever – Fran Hartnett’s EP which came out recently is so good. Waterford man Niall Power founded MiniMan Records this year. The first EP is his own and is really fresh sounding. Modem records is definitely one to watch too. Their Overlooked Essential VAs show case the talent we have on offer here in Ireland.
You’ve had a few international shows within the last six months. Have you been doing any digging abroad and what shops could you recommend?
I try and find the time to have a dig wherever I go. I will always visit Audio In in Berlin. Oye Records is on point too. Rush Hour in Amsterdam is a must. A1 in New York is A1 (haw haw) Phonica in London is deadly too.
Moving onto production, you had a big year of releases; featuring on Ben Sims coveted imprint Symbolism, a 12 inch on All City’s new sub label, Gurriers & to round off the year, you released on a stellar all Irish VA on Modem Records. That’s a great output, did you have more time to dive into the studio during covid times?
Thanks, I was pretty happy with that output. I had limitless time to make music but it wasn’t easy. The last two years was a major struggle for everyone. I was also trying to cope with grief. This slowed me down alot but also fuelled the fire in a way. I’m back in a good flow now thankfully and am getting lots done. I’ve improved tenfold as a producer and use it as an outlet to express my feelings about all the shit that went down.
You’re very dedicated to keeping it analogue in both the booth and the studio. What’s in your studio at the moment?
Yes, I’m really passionate about sound. Digital just does not resonate with me at all. As a result, I have a very expensive hardware purchasing habit. My work horses at the moment are my Korg MS20 Mini, Jomox Xbase 888, Future Retro Revolution, Korg Volcas (Kick, Beats and Modular) and my mixing desk (Soundcraft Signature 22). I use a lot of effects pedals, mostly Boss. Teenage Engineering pedals sound amazing too. I love my Alesis sidechain compressor. Daft Punk used to use one! I also have a Roland Juno 106, JP-08, and a Micro Korg. Lots of other little bits and bobs in there too.
Dave Clarke named you as one of his top 10 producers of 2021 alongside Oscar Mulero, James Ruskin, Inigo Kennedy, Dimi Angelis and more. That’s an amazing milestone to reach in your career, how did you feel at the time?
Completely stunned as you can imagine. Considering the amount of talent he features on White Noise each year, along with the fact that it was Dave Clarke, my biggest inspiration and idol, it came as a real surprise. Once the initial shock wore off I’d say I smiled for a week straight, even in my sleep.
Speaking of techno legends, Ben Sims has been a massive supporter of both your DJ sets and music over the years. How did the connection between yourself and Ben begin?
I supported Ben in the old Index in March 2019 and must have made an impression because a few months later I got a mail from his manager asking me to play Bens Machine Parties stage at Dockyard Festival in Amsterdam during ADE. Shortly after Ben asked me to contribute a track to his Symbolism VA. He was really keen to have me on it. He has featured my music on Run it Red too. It was pretty surreal; Ben is another OG I’ve always looked up to.
We had a brief conversation about social media’s impact on Irish dance music recently. You’ve been known to keep it quite real and about the music on social media. What’s your take on social medias presence within Irish dance music ?
Anyone who knows me will know how I feel about social media. I can feel a rant brewing. It distorts reality. It can kill confidence in a person and their ability. It promotes skill-less, follower-based careers. Artists who aren’t into it or aren’t as savvy with it suffer in their careers. The scene was a much happier, healthier place before social media. It has too much presence and importance. Too much mass is placed on likes, views and followers. On the contrary, it has become an essential tool for promotion and something that can’t be avoided. I aspire to one day do a Helena Hauff on it. She has a SoundCloud account. Thats it. Yet she still has a massively successful career based soley on the fact that she’s a bad ass DJ and producer and nothing else.
Equality in the industry was quite a taboo subject in Ireland throughout the years, but we’ve seemed to turn a corner as of late. How did you find breaking into the Irish techno scene in the more male dominated era of Irish techno ?
It set me back years. There were no (visible) female artists for me to look up to. It was a career men followed. It didn’t even cross my mind that it could have been more than a hobby for me. It was only when Nina Kraviz started to break through that it hit me. She played vinyl at the start and I remember thinking, hang on, I can do that, pretty much as well as she can. And so, I went for it. It was hard. I wasn’t taken seriously at all. I only ever got opening sets playing to empty rooms. For years. It was disheartening but also character building. I kept at it and gradually built up to where I am now. If you love something, nothing will stop you.
How are you feeling about the Irish techno scene right now, are you noticing any differences since the pandemic?
The loss of so many clubs and lack of venues has left things feeling kind of weird for me. Also, the scene isn’t thriving the way I expected it to. However, its looking like we will have 6am opening times in the not-too-distant future and there are lots of new faces in the booth and on the dancefloor so I feel like the future is bright.
Lastly, can you give us a hint at any releases or gigs we should look out from you this year?
Lots of releases on the cards thankfully. My first of the year was a remix on [R]3volution Records in January. I have a 5 track Ep dropping on that label in August. I have a track on a VA alongside Pet Duo and Myler on a new Irish label coming very soon. Keep an eye out for that one. Also, an EP on a pretty big German label and a remix on an Irish label which I hope to have release dates for soon. Gig wise, I have 3 closing sets to play Easter weekend, 2 of them sold out. I’m supporting Dave Clarke again in Index May 1st, Life Festival the end of May and a big one in Manchester in June which is TBA. I have a few other festivals that are TBA also.
You can catch Cailín playing alongside Dave Clarke in Index on Sunday the 1st of May. You can purchase tickets here.