Born in the scenic surroundings of Kerry, David Sheerin began dabbling in creating music, like many others, locked away in his bedroom. It wasn’t until he left home to attend college in Limerick when he started sharing his then secret passion with the world. After founding electronic music collective Touch of Techno alongside Charlie Moloney, the crew quickly gained momentum. The duo booked the likes of Baltra and Folamour, and eventually under the name SHEE, David was recognised as a DJ in his own right.
We catch up with the rising DJ and producer to discuss the importance of the collective and dipping his toes into hip hop.
What was your ethos when starting Touch of Techno collective? Did you see a gap in Limerick that you wanted to fill?
Touch of Techno started at a house party back around three years ago when I met the two lads. Myself, Charlie and Shane never expected it to grow into one of the most successful nights in Limerick, to be honest! We all had one interest and that was to put on good parties for people who want to party. We never looked at the future really, we just took it in our stride and managed to put on some crazy events, while having as much fun as we could.
How important was being part of that collective to your development as a producer and DJ?
Ah, it was huge. I would be nowhere without Touch of Techno. It gave me the opportunity to play in front of big crowds and I got to meet some amazing DJs and producers who gave me inspiration and guidance for my productions. It’s crazy, the people I learn from the most are the DJs, promoters and producers who come from Ireland. Just talking on Facebook and asking someone to give some feedback on a track, it goes such a long way with me.
What’s it been like on the Building Society agency roster? A lot of the artists on it DJ frequently together, is it close-knit?
I was lucky enough to be asked by Sam [Greenwood, founder] to be a part of such an amazing agency with such talent on it. Sam is trying to do everything he can to get all the up and coming Irish acts what they deserve, such as gigs and festivals and gigs abroad which I respect massively. I recently moved up to Dublin to get more involved with the whole process. It’s great being a part of TBS. I don’t feel like it’s competitive, everyone is there to help and support each other’s tracks and gigs. Everyone is super sound it’s great to be a part of.
Do you find being surrounded by a collective, like Touch of Techno or TBS, helps your creativity?
Being involved in collective’s like TOT and TBS is something that is necessary for me to help with my creativity when it comes to my productions and even my DJ sets. You have to be open about your productions and being involved in collectives lets you do that. It lets you express yourself much more than just trying to do it on your own.
What environment do you work best in when producing?
My bedroom from the hours of about 10pm ’til about 4am!
You’re from Killarney, is that where you began making music or was it when you moved to Limerick?
I started making music when i was about 14 in my bedroom in Killarney. I was only doing it for fun, never, ever thought I was going to make a career in doing it. But it was really when I moved to college in Limerick where I met the likes of Charlie Moloney and a few of my other friends who really helped me by saying my music wasn’t actually that bad! I’m still learning every day. That’s what is great about producing, it’s endless. Best hobby I’ve ever picked up [laughs]!
Kerry is such a beautiful place, does it have any bearing on the dreamy, textured nature of your productions?
Kerry is a wonderful place, bit far away from everything, but an amazing place with beau- tiful scenery and lovely people. I am a lucky man to say I’m from there. Does it have any bearing on the nature of my productions? I don’t know, maybe! I love basing my tracks, especially the lo-fi hip hop stuff, on a certain mood and image. The mood could be sad, rainy atmosphere or the complete opposite. It depends how I’m feeling in that moment.
Picture credit: @waltesers
Speaking of hip hop, tell me about your ‘a lad who can’t cook’ alias on Soundcloud, when did that come about?
I have always loved hip hop beats, especially lo-fi hip hop. I have been listening to it for years and what I love so much about the genre is how few rules there are. Put the snare out of time, sample whatever the hell you want, it doesn’t matter! I love that. Complete freedom. When I started producing lo-fi hip hop it was like breath of fresh air from my other stuff as I could do things I couldn’t do when it comes to house music. What I also love is just sitting in my bedroom digging for mad samples. Some of the music you come across is hilarious, but the feeling of when you find a nice sample is wonderful. I’m still only using the alias just for a bit of fun and to experiment. Nothing serious, yet.
How immersed in Irish hip hop are you?
I’ve always watched the Irish hip hop scene with enthusiasm as I’ve always felt that there is a gap for a proper Irish hip hop, not “best MC inside the country” type hip hop. It’s great to watch it grow. I don’t feel like I have the right to say much as I’m only getting into the whole lo-fi buzz now. I have been following a few lo-fi hip hop producers such as j a r j a r j r, who are all another level compared to me. I listen to these producers and I’m like, ‘How the hell does it sound so clean?’, Irish hip hop is on the rise and it’s going to just explode soon I feel.
Would you consider producing for MCs?
Oh, of course. I have done a few projects for a few of my close friends before and it was really fun. I’m always up for doing anything when it comes to making music. However, when I do produce all this lo-fi stuff, my aim is to try capture a mood rather than make it a beat someone could rap over… So I’m not sure if my tracks would be for every MC. But we will see!
Is it important for you not to limit yourself to one or two genres?
So important! I really want to emphasise that. The first genre I produced was liquid drum and bass, then went to more deep house to more disco/French house and now lo-fi hip hop. Never limit yourself. You are a producer and are supposed to show your creativity! Be experimental, be weird in your productions, don’t care about what people think. That’s what I’m doing at the moment and it’s great.
Words: Eric Davidson