About a year ago, I was down in Cork city for a weekend and looking for something to do on the night of my birthday. My friends and I were told that a local DJ called John Daly was playing in the Roundy that night, so after stuffing ourselves silly at a local restaurant we made our way over to the pub to check him out…now, I’d love to say that we went, had an amazing time and became instant fans of this new house DJ, but the truth is rather more tragic than that – we peeped our heads around the door, saw how jammers it was, and went somewhere else.
What fools we were…fast forward to a few months later and my good friend Kim tells me about a 12″ release she’d picked up by John Daly. Featuring two spacey, Wild West-sounding tracks (‘Solitaire’/’Back it Up’), it was soon to become one of my favourite releases of 2008 and a catalyst for my delving into the worlds of house, techno and disco with renewed vigour (and to this day Kim remains my musical oracle who advises me on what to buy in these areas – though she may kill me for this mention…)
If you haven’t heard of John Daly before, the best place to start is his Myspace site – it has numerous tracks including the house-tastic ‘Lonely Beat’ and the softly-chugging ‘Back it Up’. John’s next gig is at Cork X Southwest in Skibereen on 1 August, but he’s sure to have more gigs lined up around the country in the remainder of the year. Whether you’re a house-head or a disco lover, if you dig a bit of techno, or if you just want to hear a ‘mint choon’, you’ll certainly find something to love in his back catalogue. You can find his album ‘Sea & Sky’ in record stores around the country, including Plugd.
Here’s an introductory interview with John that includes his thoughts on why people shouldn’t compare him to Moodymann, and how Bob Dylan’s getting in the way of him making techno….
John Daly Interview
Hey John, welcome to the Sweet Oblivion blog. First off, to say you’ve been getting a good reaction of late is an understatement – you’ve been compared to producers such as Theo Parrish and Moodymann… How does it feel to get such a positive reaction?
It feels great of course, it’s always nice to hear people saying positive things about my music – isn’t it what every music maker wants to hear? But comparing me to Moodymann is a bit far fetched I think, I wouldn’t have a shred of his talent. Whoever said that needs to take another listen…
Does the buzz around your stuff influence you in any way – does it push you to try different things; or on the other hand does it make you feel a bit apprehensive when you release new material? Or do you not let it affect you?
I guess if you’ve had a good reaction to a certain effort, then it is tempting to try and repeat that, and the fear that people will expect a certain thing or sound from you, and be disappointed if you don’t deliver that. I couldn’t say honestly whether it influences me or not, it probably does I guess….subconsciously??
You released an album, ‘Sea & Sky’, recently – tell us a bit about it.
It’s a collection of work from a 4 year period, about half of which has been previously on 12 inch release on the label, Wave Music. The rest are some remixes or versions of other tracks, along with a couple of new tracks.
Where did the idea for the artwork come from?
I have a friend who does most of my graphics, I left it entirely up to him and he sure came up with the goods! I love it and so do the label.
You have a re-edits blog – what makes you decide what to re-edit, is it as simple as just loving the track, or an element of it? Are there any tracks you’re looking to get your hands on in the near future?
I am so lazy with that blog, I haven’t posted anything in ages. And the edits are just lying around, I did them ages ago. Perhaps I’ll put one up later… I don’t edit something that I don’t think I can do something with that takes the elements elsewhere, and yes, there are lots of tracks I would like to get my hands on, but I gotta keep that to myself for now….
How has your musical taste evolved over the years?
My first record was the hits album vol 1, then there was the heavy metal, then Hendrix, then 90’s (ie proper) indie music, then Zeppelin (my favourite band) then disco and soul, via a lot more classic rock. House music came in there with the disco somewhere I guess.
People may see you primarily as a house producer, but are there any other areas of music you’d be interested in working in?
I would like to work in all areas of music.
What brought you to creating music – and when did you decide it was time to release your own tracks?
I just started making music when I was about 14. My father is a musician so that must have been it. There would have been a guitar lying around the house, and I guess if you are into heavy metal then you are gonna be wanting to learn the guitar, man I remember when I got my first electric guitar, what a buzz that was…
I hear everything from disco to techno to house in your tracks – can you tell me who would be your main musical influences?
I think whatever you are loving at the time will be your biggest influence. But if you are talking house music etc, I would say most certainly Ron Trent, Moodymann, Larry Levan, Francois Kevorkian, who else?…..Loads more I can’t think of….
Who are you listening to at the moment?
It’s really difficult for me at the moment, I can’t stop listening to Bob Dylan, which can be hard if you need to be in that techno music frame of mind or whatever. This has been going on for some months now.
What’s the creative process for you – are you constantly creating music or is it more of an ebb and flow?
I’m at music every day, sometimes it’s going my way, or not, but I try to sit down at it every day anyway.
I heard you DJ at the Twisted Pepper recently, and what struck me was unlike most of the DJs I’ve heard play this year, your set was quite varied. Coming from an ‘indie’ background myself I found this refreshing as some of the sets seemed almost clinical, with more emphasis on the technicalities of mixing rather than on creating an atmosphere. What are your own thoughts on this?
I like when DJs throw a few curve balls and keep things varied, so I guess that I try to do that myself too. Plus you can then get away with sloppy disco mixing.
Do DJing and producing go hand in hand for you, or do you see them as two separate endeavours?
They are the same thing for me, it’s all just playing music.
You worked in Cork’s independent record store, Plugd, a few years ago – did working there impact on your musical taste? If so, how?
I’d get into a new thing, then Jimmy would get in all their albums knowing I’d buy them like a fool. That’s how it went. That’s still how it goes actually….
These days it seems that many DJs/producers/etc are moving to big cities like Berlin for a bit of inspiration. You’ve chosen to locate yourself in Galway – what does living there bring you?
Galway is great. I love it here. I live 2 minutes walk to the ocean. For me that beats Berlin any day.
Are there any producers or artists (dead or alive!) you’d like to work with?
Do you have any new plans for your label Feel Music – are there any artists you have your eye on to release stuff by?
Feel kinda lives for the day, we don’t really make plans. It will eventually be our downfall I suspect.
And finally, what have you in the pipeline yourself for the coming months?
I can’t think names etc off hand, but there will be some more 12 inches and remixes coming soon.