Will Kinsella Interview with DJ Mag Italia by Massimiliano Sfregola (January 2012)
Below is an interview I did for DJ Mag Italia about the Irish scene back in January 2012. The interview was conducted by Massimiliano Sfregola and was translated into Italian for publishing. I really enjoyed reading back over this as it brought be back to the Apocalypse Now Project and all the friends we made along the way.
you describe us the clubbing scene in Ireland: which cities are the
main hubs for the club culture and which styles have become more
I haven’t been this excited
about the electronic music scene in Ireland since the late 90’s. I
think the country is in a very healthy place in terms of club nights,
international guests and our own homegrown talent. Pretty much every
city or large town has a scene of some description going on. Dublin,
Cork, Limerick and Waterford have always had healthy scenes. There’s
also lots going on down in Kilkenny, Carlow, Galway, Sligo, Donegal
and there’s even a strong Dubstep scene in Wexford.
House music has always had a place
in Ireland. Cork is arguably the Deep House capital of Ireland. Kerri
Chandler pretty much has an honorary Cork passport at this stage!!
Outside Dublin Trance has been very popular in towns/rural areas and
up north for a long time. I think there is some movement towards
Techno on that front. The Dubstep/Bass Music scene has blown up all
over the island in a big way.
2. Can you name the most
popular local clubs, radio shows and dj/producers among the irish
In terms of clubs, Dublin’s
main spots are the Button Factory, Pygmalion, POD, The Twisted Pepper
and the Underground. The
Button Factory has become the spot for big room parties in Dublin.
Big Room, Big Sound System, nice location, perfect for my Apocalypse
Now parties. Pygmalion and POD attract a nice house crowd although
I’ve hammered out Techno in Pygmalion and it always went down a
treat! Twisted Pepper is a multi purpose venue which caters for all
walks of life in terms of electronic music. Their Friday shows have
become the real spot for Bass music in Dublin. They’ve also got a
bookshop, a barbers and a cafe. Venue 6 is a new Warehouse style club
that is opening in the Docklands this year. That is looking
impressive. Then for people out in North Dublin you have the Wright
Venue which attracts a lot of big names and has a solid crowd. In
terms of club nights we’ve got Apocalypse Now, Test, Mongo, Hidden
Agenda, Big Dish Go, Release and Tenth Planet. DJs like Sunil Sharpe,
Simon F, Fran Hartnett and Tuki have served the scene well over the
Down in Cork we have the Pavilion
Club which was a theatre many years ago. I played there in November
with ¨Click Cork¨and ended up staying for two days I had such a
good time. Click push the minimal sound in a big way. Jamie Behan’s
“Bastardo Electrico” night pushes the harder Techno end of
things. For bigger acts such as Dave Clarke you have The Savoy. The
Long Island is another nice venue. They’ve got the Frequency nights
which are a lot of fun, Robyn Keys and John Barry are residents
there. You’ve got club nights like ID by Chris Cashman and Liam
Kearney, John Hennessy’s “Sunday Times”, Electric Underground
and Dub Culture have provided an outlet for Bass Music in the city.
You can’t talk about Cork though without mentioning Greg and Shane
from Fish Go Deep. They made Cork the Deep House capital of Ireland
with their legendary night “Go Deep” at Sir Henry’s club which
is now sadly gone.
Limerick has a fantastic venue in
Dolan’s Warehouse which houses big numbers and again hosts bigger
acts. BSeven events are a new crew bringing over big names to Dolans.
They also do the Bunga Bunga party’s at Bentley’s Courtyard. In
Galway city Rory O’Donoghue and 110 Street have brought some great
acts over to the West Coast.
Up north of the border you’ve
got the largest club on the Island which is Lush which caters
predominantly for the Trance crowd. In Belfast Alan Simms runs Stiff
Kitten and Shine which are both cracking venues with really good
bookings. In terms of DJs you’ve got Space Dimension Controller,
Fergie, Phil Kieran and Psycatron. In the North West you’ve got
John O’Callaghan, Timmy Gibson & Tommy Conway driving the
Trance scene in Donegal for many years.
Waterford’s House scene is
really bubbling at the moment. The UNTZ Movement are doing some
really cool stuff. They’re a group of friends that custom built a
sound system, bought a van and pretty much started running these
crazy parties around the South East. DJs with them include Petshop
and Ikeaboy. Crystal Nightclub/Shorts Live Music Venue seems to be
the main spot for parties. Their biggest club nights include House
Tweekin, Just Groove with Enda Geoghan, Posh Funk by Will Power,
Skelly and Nick Furlong, Niall Power’s Electric Circus, Re:publik
and Re:tek. Local DJs worth mentioning there too are Sexshop (who
used to run a sexshop) and Cailin Power. The Loft is a club worth
mentioning as well.
In terms of Radio shows, RTE is
our national broadcaster here and Mr Spring and Jenny Greene are
popular across the country on 2FM. RTE Pulse (Digital Radio) is
Ireland’s only 24/7 electronic music broadcaster which represents
every form of electronic music. My show Ceoltronic broadcasts there
every Thursday night which covers the Techno end of things. We’ve
got others then like Orla Feeney (Vandit Records), Niall Redmond
covers all things House and soulful, Adam Fogarty on Breaks, Karl
Davis and John Kerrigan prop up the Hard Dance side of things. Other
Dublin based radio presenters include Arveene, John Gibbons and Barry
Redsetta. Then down the south east we have Ray Colclough broadcasting
quality electronic music. Up North Paul Hamill's show “Across the
Line” broadcasts on BBC North and has a solid following up there.
3. Is known that one of
the main issue for the irish club scene is the strict licensing
regulation and the “unfair” competition by many late pubs: in
this situation has still been possible to offer the crowd big events
and world famous names?
I think clubs have worked around
it over the years. Ireland has always had a tradition of bringing
over acts from the UK/Europe etc. A few years ago there was a small
Thursday club night called Electric City who brought over
international acts before they really hit the big time. I saw people
like Magda and Luke Slater play there. Entry was 8 euros and the
capacity was just over 100 people. Those nights were really special.
Weekend clubbing is pretty much driven by international names. You’ve
got a lot of promoters operating in Dublin at the moment so it is
very competitive in terms of getting the acts you want at your night.
I think the important thing here is to have a concept or a community
ideology. Strictly profiteering promoters will find it difficult.
It is true that the licencing laws
in Ireland really work against the night club industry. The word
nightclub doesn´t technically exist in Irish legislation so each
venue has to pay weekly licence fees. Its expensive to operate and
there’s only small windows of trade each week. This also creates
social and health and safety issues because everyone is thrown onto
the street at the same time. Binge drinking is also an issue because
people traditionally get to the club late and have to leave early.
There has been a movement against this for many years called “Give
Us The Night” but it has been ignored by the past three
governments. They’re not interested.
The legislation or lack of has
pushed the after hours scene underground. There´s a lot of after
parties popping up now in underground locations such as warehouses,
boats and restaurants. There´s also early houses legally allowed
open from 7am such as the Dark Horse. We certainly don´t have
anything on par with “El Row” though!
I think there´s still always
opportunities to do cool stuff. If a promoter is hungry and creative
enough, he or she can make something happen.
4. Which scene between
underground and commercial gets more attention?
That’s a good question.
Traditionally yes commercial music ran the roost here. The general
public pretty much demanded the most commercial music possible on a
night out which made it difficult for DJs and promoters here wishing
to try different things. My only issue with a majority of this
commercial music is that it is created a product for a young market,
mainly 13 year old girls. To see grown adults shouting at you because
you don’t have Britney Spears was pretty funny I have to say. I
never took it personally. I think anyone who has rode out the past
ten years in Ireland’s electronic music scene deserves credit. It
was really tough here after the millennium. Now things have improved
a great deal.
Dubstep has changed everything and
I am very grateful for that. Kids are now listening to electronic
music again. From Dubstep to House to Techno they are getting
involved. There is a completely new generation of clubbers out there
which is a breath of fresh air for the scene I have to say. People
grow up and stop going out so much so the numbers for electronic
music parties got quite small after a while. Now I think it’s
getting more coverage and attention than ever.
Within electronic music media here
in Ireland Trance took a lion’s share of the spot light. Again I
think that isn’t feasible anymore given the growth in Dubstep,
Techno and House Music.
5. Would you describe
Irish electronic sound more oriented towards the Breakbeats from UK
or to the techno and house from the “mainland”?
Bass or Beat music took off here
in a big way. There are lots of club nights pushing this end of
things and there´s a healthy community of DJs. I think it’s fair
to say that it is definitely leading the way here in Ireland. It has
brought in a whole new generation of people to electronic music from
mainstream controlled media.
House and Techno has always had a
good following in Ireland. The European Techno and house sound has
been very prominent over the past few years with a lot of people
making regular trips to Berlin, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Barcelona.
With the influx of new people into these club nights the energy has
6. Could you name some
local new talents?
In terms of Techno and House I
think the main people to really take note of here are Matador, Sian
and Chymera. Matador recently signed to Minus records, Sian who runs
Octopus Records has had releases with Sci+Tec and Bedrock and Chymera
who had a release with Cocoon. Donnacha Costello, Eamonn Doyle (D1),
Fish Go Deep and John Daly have been doing it on the international
stage for many years. These are the men of the moment down south. Up
north Psycatron and Space Dimension Controller are doing great
In terms of new talent there’s a
lot of people on the rise here too. I had my debut release with
Sleaze Records last year and my next release is with Sasha Carassi’s
Globox label (Italy). Al Keegan released on Sleaze last year too. Ian
O’Donovan has been really busy. Mano le Tough is releasing with
Buzzin Fly and has played in Panorama Bar. Dave Drokkr has been doing
really well on the Dub step scene as has Lee Mcenery. Fran Hartnett
has a Fabric mix on the way and Sunil Sharpe was a guest on Dave
Clarke’s White Noise show last year.
Other producers on the up here
include Shane Linehin, Glen Keohane, Diarmaid O’Meara, Jamie Power,
Luke Creed, Adam Fogarty, Jamie Behan, Michael Lovatt, Dave Devalera,
Joe Gould, Cian Frawley, Dan Sykes, John Hussey, TR-One. Ikeaboy,
Gavin Boyce, Mark Flynn. Marq Walshe, Hypertic (Resopal Schalware),
Rob Glennon, Daz & Martin, Brian Taffe, Orla Feeney, Bryan
Kearney and Lorcan Mak.
7. If you had to
recommend a “clubbing tour” in Dublin which dj bars/clubs and
record shops deserve a visit?
Alright so a night out with me in Dublin would start on
a Friday evening in All City/Earwiggle Records in Temple Bar. It’s
one of the last record shops in Dublin. Then we´d have to pay a
visit to my favorite Dublin pub McDaids for a pint of Guinness. This
is a real old Irish boozer which first opened its doors in 1779. It’s
a place where the great poets, thinkers and drinkers used to hang out
in days gone by.
Around the corner from McDaid’s is Pygmalion where
I’ve been a resident for the past 3 years. It has a nice
atmosphere, people are nice there and you can have a cocktail if you
wish. I will probably stick with Guinness for the time being. From
there we’d take a stroll up Wexford Street towards the Bernard
Shaw. The Shaw was an old Dublin pub taken over by Bodytonic. Now its
a real hub for good music, art and food. So we could have a few
beers, listen to good music and get something to eat if necessary.
From there we’d head down towards the Button Factory
for one of my Apocalypse Now shows. Apocalypse Now is a series of
monthly Big Room European Style parties counting down to the end of
the Mayan Calendar in 2012. So the idea is to host international
artists like Jeff Mills, Sasha Carassi, Radioslave, Industrialyzer
while centering the production around that theme. We will also be
hosting themed art exhibitions beforehand in Filmbase. There’s
always the possibility of an after party too!!
First Discovered by Dave Clarke in 2010. Over the past 5 years Irish producer Will Kinsella has studied Sound and Music Technology, spent a year under the mentorship of Matador (Minus) and worked as a House engineer in Temple Lane and Grouse Lodge studios (where Michael Jackson recorded his last work).
As a producer he has signed tracks to Kombination Research, Sleaze Records and Globox. He was listed in Dave Clarke's top tracks of 2011 with "Kongo". As a radio presenter he presents Ceoltronic Radio for Ireland's national broadcaster RTE (www.rte.ie). As a promoter he has brought artists such as Jeff Mills, Joseph Capriati, Alan Fitzpatrick, Slam, Sasha Carassi, Cari Lekebusch, The Advent and Industrialyzer to Irish shores through his Equinox/Apocalypse Now projects. Will founded the DIT DJ Society in 2001 which is now Ireland's largest University DJ collective.