It was always the dream to play in the middle of a field and now we’ve played in loads of fields, including Stradbally. That was some field.”
Boots & Kats are a duo consisting of Ciaran Martin and Jack Keogh. A very exciting act with an extreme amount of talent and character, they played nearly all of the major festivals in Ireland over the course of the last year, and had a successful 2016. We sat down with them for a pint and some wings (Jack enjoyed himself alot) for an exciting R-rated chat on everything Boots & Kats.
Q: Hello lads! How has 2016 been for you?
A: Hey man, we’re great! 2016 has been absolutely outrageous for us. From the start, we had been getting regular enough gigs around Dublin and one or two outside and were already enjoying the shite out of it. But then the Toast stage at Life Festival happened where we got to play through the entire sunrise from 4am-6am. We still can’t believe the reaction we got from that, it’s been so so crazy since…. in the best way possible!
There’s been more and more support coming from all over the place, we’ve been playing fairly regularly in Galway and a few gigs in Sligo and Cork. One of biggest things we’ve done this year as a brand is start the Boots & Kats with Friends Series in Opium Rooms where we bring DJs that we’ve met over the past few years who have really stood out to us… although there’s a lot of them to get through and we just keep meeting more. As well as that we’ve been made Opium Rooms residents by Abstract. Those lads and Bedlam have been ridiculously supportive since the start! So yeah, 2016 has been a boat-load of fun!
Q: So let’s clear this up… Who is Boots & who is Kats?
A: Ciaran: We’re asked this so often and (since we never actually decided) we always ask the person who they think is who. Their answer has never been different. I’m Boots and Jack is Kats. We don’t know why… it’s just the way it is.
Jack: A girl pointed out before that Ciaran looks quite like a boot though, so maybe that’s it.
Q: Where did the Boots & Kats brand begin?
A: Friday at Life Festival. We ended up playing for 5 hours because no one else was booked but got a really good crowd for it. We got pretty lucky as well because it was one of the only covered tents and the weather was shite that year.
Anyway a good few weeks later someone posted up in Tune Drop asking who ‘those guys in the Bulmers lounge on Friday of Life’ were and a few other people chimed in wondering as well, which was mad to us because, at that time, we hadn’t even considered the fact that people who aren’t our mates were listening to us. So that gave us the kick up the arse we needed to put our own name to it.
Shout out to Dean Kenny
Q: You are known for your variety of different styles, one of the main ones being feel good disco/party-infused sets. Has the brand always been based on this kind of music?
A: Pretty much. We started properly playing together in the Party Shack of Toast which is all about that Hawaiian-shirt-disco-gaff-
We love getting booked for heavier gigs, though, that side of our sound was shaped through playing at a heap of after parties around the same time.
Q: Within every brand there’s always tough points and it’s never easy to get to the level you are at now… What was one of the most challenging points in Boots & Kats’ story?
A: Ciaran: To be honest there’s not really much I can think of. It was really difficult to balance with college work, the late nights don’t go well with engineering. Since finishing college though it’s been great. It can be a lot of work, especially on the promo side of things but at the end of the day we get to play tunes we love, on a whopper sound system to a crowd of people on the same buzz (hopefully).
J: Yeah as far this ‘brand’ has gone I feel like we got really lucky; there hasn’t really been a stale moment and we have just got progressively busier, which is class. I’m still in my final year of engineering at the moment so balancing that is the only issue for me, but I really can’t complain.
Q: Hosting stages under the Toast brand and playing at some of the biggest festivals under Boots & Kats across Ireland must be a pretty incredible feeling. Was this a huge step for you?
A: It is! Seeing our name on the line-ups for those festivals is mad, especially for ones like Longitude where it was on billboards around town. Yeah, when we started out, playing at festivals was one of the things we had always talked about. It was always the dream to play in the middle of a field and now we’ve played in loads of fields, including Stradbally. That was some field.
Q: It’s also very enlightening to see the majority of the lineups at these festivals containing local artists. Do you feel it’s important to maintain a high amount of locals within the brand?
A: Ciaran: Yeah man, there’s a stupid amount of local talent out there at the moment, some of which I’d rather see playing than their international genre counterpart, especially at a festival. In my opinion they’re vital to the buzz at festivals, mainly because they know the crowd better than any international DJ is going to.
Jack: I think BD Festival is the perfect example; the unreal buzz at that festival was made by the locals and the few internationals they had were just a cherry on top.
Q: Over the course of 2016 which was one of the most memorable sets for yous?
A: The Toast Stage at Life Festival…. All of the ‘YERRR’ factors just fell into place at that one. Playing from total darkness through the sunrise, the location of the stage, the sets that were played before us and the sheer size and quality of the crowd and the fact they were still going that strong at that hour. It was completely surreal. Also there had been non-stop technical problems with the stage that whole day which made it even better
Q: With a lot of new collectives starting to graft their way further into the scene. If you were to give any advice on people wanting to start up their own collective, what advice would you give?
A: Stick with what you know well and personally enjoy. It might sound obvious but there’s no point in starting a collective and not actually liking or knowing enough about the genre or genres you’re pushing.
Q: What have you got planned for the year of 2017?
A: We have no idea how achievable this goal is…. but we can always try. We’d like to have some sort of release by the end of the year. Production-wise we’ve been getting more and more into it as the gigs are settling down a bit.
And as far as a hope and wishes for the next year; we would love to get booked as Boots & Kats outside of Ireland. We’ve played abroad in a few different places around Europe already but they’re just been through mates for their parties or trips they’re running. But to get a straight booking from abroad would be sick.
10 Quick-fire Q’s
Q:Ronking or tonking?
Q: Spar or Centra?
Q: If you had one word to describe yourself , what would you choose?
Q: Beyonce or Britney Spears?
Jack: Queen B
Q: Your favourite sound?
Q: Socks to bed or no socks to bed?
Ciaran: No socks
Jack: No socks… I’m not a Psychopath
Q: Spyro or Crash Bandicoot?
Ciaran: Crash Bandicoot
Q: Your favourite word?
Q: Yazoo or Mooju
Jack: Agreed, tiocfaidh ár lá
Q: Whos knob is bigger on the flop?
Jack: I’m pretty decent when it’s medium rare but we’ve all a bit of a cocktail sausage every now and again