An interview with John O'Callaghan... by Gar Browne
It seems John O'Callaghan can do no wrong. Currently ranked 24th in DJ Mag's top 100 DJs, and still riding high off the release of his second (and very well recieved) studio album, "Never Fade Away", John took the time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions for us. If you're a fan, check it out.
John's also been nominated in 3 categories in this years Irish Dance Music Awards, Best DJ, Best Producer and Best Album, there's still time to cast your vote! Vote here... slick-dj.com
CGI: Firstly, congratulations on a fantastic 2009. With the release of your second studio album (Never Fade Away) and being voted 24th in DJ Mags Top 100 (among other things), what’s been your highlight?
JOC: Thank you. It’s hard to say, it all blends into one sometimes I am on the road that much. Never Fade Away seems like a long time ago to me as I was producing that about 2 years ago, but to see all the tracks do so well and still be able to play them in my DJ sets is great. Ibiza last year was a big highlight – where I made my debut in Cream in Amnesia. That and Trance energy were 2 dream’s completed for me.
CGI: What’s your opinion of DJ Mag Top 100?
JOC: It’s a huge part of the industry now and it plays a large part in the career of a lot of DJs. I must admit myself I wonder where would we be without this ‘number’ placed over our heads, but there’s nothing you can do. People like to categorize and order things by nature so I just embrace it and do the best I can with it.
CGI: How did the experience of producing your second studio album compare with the first (Something To Live For (2007)). 2 years later and being older, wiser and more experienced, is the second album easier to produce?
JOC: It was a more comprehensive experience as I wrote 95% of the tracks from scratch. Going into the studio with an empty screen and leaving with a finished song is a satisfying experience and I really enjoyed it. It was a lot more musical than my first album, then again some people would argue my first album was more pure trance but then again (again) at that stage in my production experience all I could produce was pure trance. I have gone a bit further now to writing ‘songs’ as well as trance and techno.
CGI: What tools do you use in the studio?
JOC: Cubase 5, on PC, with all the trimmings.
CGI: As a producer, what’s your opinion of illegal music downloads, and is there a solution?
JOC: I don’t think so. What a lot of people forget is that so many countries around the world simply cannot afford to buy music. It’s ok for people with jobs here and credit cards to go online and buy what you need, that’s totally expected and understandable. But what if you have a low paid job, no job – and no credit card – but you love trance music? Obviously the industry needs people to buy the music to support it and anybody who can afford the music should buy it. But music is a gift in life and people should not be deprived of it depending on their life situation.
CGI: Any upcoming productions we should keep any eye out for?
JOC: Well I have about 5 tracks underway for my new album. Lets see…my new collaboration with Thomas Bronzwaer under ‘Lost World’ is sounding pretty cool!
CGI: What was the last gig you went to and the last album you bought?
JOC: Last album I bought, Smash Hits – Best of the Eighties. Last gig I went to, The Prodigy at the O2.
CGI: What was your first gig like and what’s been your most memorable to date?
JOC: First official gig was the 2FM sessions Tour in Carricmacross at Enigma, with myself John Power, Jay Pidgeon and a few others. Most memorable to date would have to be Trance Energy Main Stage, Cream at Amnesia equals it but Trance Energy; the production and thought that goes behind that gig is spectacular.
CGI: There's loads of underground talent in Ireland, what advise would you give to bedroom DJ's looking to get noticed?
JOC: Make some unbelievable tunes and be consistent. A lot of people are using engineers to make tracks these days and I find that perfectly acceptable as long as the person has a big input into the track. That’s not a bad way to get your foot in the door and then learn production yourself.
CGI: 2009 will be difficult to top, what are your ambitions and goals for 2010?
JOC: To finish my new album by Xmas, to finish building my new studio and to smash the shit out of Dublin sometime with our Subculture night!