Sometimes there is a beautiful synchronicity to the universe if we pay attention! Such is the case with this week's feature and guest mix from Irish-born dj Diarmaid O'Meara. Diarmuid is from the same town in Ireland that I'm from but we only found that out recently!! CGNY has been following DOM's tracks and has several Gobsmacked recordings! Here's an interview with Diarmuid who is now based in Berlin and check out his exclusive CGNY podcast this week!
CGNY: Well it’s interesting we both grew up in the same town and so we know that it’s not necessarily a place one could easily hear any kind of electronic music let alone techno! How did you get into it?
DOM: I was actually thinking the same thing when I found out where you were from. It was definitely a surprise that we grew up in the same place, and almost a completely stereotypically Irish thing to happen to two ex-pats living on both sides of the Atlantic. True that there was no Techno scene in the area, however the electronic music scene in Ireland was booming at the time. All the chart music was electronic, especially with the Ibiza sounds constantly on the airwaves, and dance music culture growing exponentially in every city. However, it was actually moving to Waterford for university where I discovered the gritty Techno culture, which was extremely large for such a small city, and was sucked in quite quickly, having already been a fan of everything from Underworld to Dave Clarke.
CGNY: When and how did you get into djing? What was your first piece of professional gear? What was your first gig like?
DOM: I was playing various instruments since about 5 years old, but began messing around with decks and equipment at around the age of 19. As far as I can remember, the first piece of kit I bought was a Technics 1200 turntable. My first gig was actually my 21st birthday, which was pretty crazy as one can imagine. That kick started a lust for playing, promoting and creating techno that eventually ended up diverging into the form of the brand Gobsmacked in 2008, which took a couple of years to get properly up and running.
CGNY: How has living in Berlin shaped your musical career? It’s obviously a great city for all kinds of music including techno but do you think things would’ve been different had you stayed in Ireland? How easy/hard is it go get gigs in Berlin? There seems to be a lot of competition!
DOM: Making a move to another city is always tough, especially if it is in another language zone, and then especially if it’s as vibrant and liberal as Berlin. On any given weekend, there can be anything up to several hundred electronic music events in the city and surrounds, so it took a while to settle down and get back down to business. I can’t say that I moved to Berlin for gigs, as I moved here mainly for the scene, and inspiration. Also, most of my gigs aren’t in the city of Berlin, but namely throughout Europe. Saying that though, it is quite easy to get to play at events here, once you get to know people, but very hard for anyone to make a living from gigs in the city, even though it is very cheap to maintain a high standard of living. One of the best qualities of the city is that it’s a major hub for Central Europe, and the EU in general, with some hundreds of millions of people within a few hours high speed train ride away, so the possibilities are endless. This is not the case in Ireland, being a sparsely populated island on the fringes of the continent.
"Producing music is the most therapeutic thing I can imagine, and I only wish there was more time for it"
CGNY: Where are some of the venues you’ve played and what would be your dream gig/lineup?
DOM: I regularly play in many dozens of clubs in several countries in Europe, and am regularly surprised by the venues. The most amazing ones to me seem to be left over from the old Soviet era, and include nuclear bunkers, old power station coolant chambers, old underground train stations etc. I’m not really one for name dropping, but anyone can check out my gigs by following me online. The dream gig/line up is also almost impossible to answer, because I have so much respect for and interest in hundreds of Djs/producers worldwide. I’m always happy to be gigging with peers or heroes.
CGNY: Tell us about your releases – your own label and others that you have produced? What do you use to produce?
DOM: Producing music is the most therapeutic thing I can imagine, and I only wish there was more time for it. I’ve had probably about a hundred tracks/remixes released in the past 7 years, and probably have an average of a release every month. My next imminent releases include a vinyl on Nachtstrom, featuring the first track on my mix for you guys ‘Supernatural Occurrences’, and in a couple of weeks, my label Gobsmacked will be dropping a collaboration I did earlier this year with Angel Alanis. My label Gobsmacked has been going from strength to strength for the past 123 releases, and we are now stepping it up with more label parties, and projects. However, finding time to get around to everything is quite hard, especially in Berlin, which is very distracting. Finding a balance between networking, enjoying events, and working can be hard sometimes with so much on every night. For producing, Ableton Live is definitely my forte (I find it to be an amazing piece of software), Maschine, and a number of synths, controllers, iPad apps etc.
CGNY: Where are you playing next and what’s next on your musical agenda?
DOM: Tomorrow night in a wicked Berlin club called Kosmonaut, which will be especially fun, as quite a few friends will be joining. It’s a very Berlin styled club with a large and extremely trippy outdoor area, and intense techno floor inside, with almost the entire club covered in graffiti, and no specific closing time. The musical agenda is quite intensely structured, with always too much to do and never enough hours in a day, even with music as a full time career. More music production, more gigs, more promoting of techno, and more meeting new people and visiting new regions seems to be plan for the foreseeable future. With quite a lot of releases coming out at the moment, there is a lot of work to be done with promoting them.
CGNY: An alien lands from another planet and has no clue what techno is! What track/album do you hand over as a learning tool?
DOM: I would send them to Awakenings in the Netherlands and give them a copy of Dave Clarke’s Red Two. If they manage to get their heads around those, they’re on the right track.
CGNY: Thank you Diarmaid!
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