Dugdale is the moniker of friend and personal hero Dan Sykes. His dedication to the Irish music scene is inspirational and has made for some of the best events I’ve ever been to. Macronite, BUMP! Festival, DIE, Lough Weekend and his Component show with RTE Pulse, among others, have left a lasting impression. With a career spanning over the last 10 years, teaching sound production and organising some of Ireland’s finest nights, his release Clubtracks in Minor, was highly anticipated.
Available now on Forte Techno, it has elements of organic, raw beats among the driving techno rollers which remind me of early Objekt or Pariah. The distinctive use of warped vocal samples fuse the shuffling percussion, razor sharp hi-hats and big bass – this one will be staying in the DJ bag!
Check out his mix here and interview below:
First up, tell us a bit about your upcoming EP, Clubtracks in Minor and how you would describe the Dugdale sound.
Well CTIM has been a long time coming really. One of the tracks(Astroplaning) is 4 years old …but hey its great that Forte decided to release it so I’m very pleased. The 3 tracks are pretty much all dance floor tracks and are tracks that on a personal level I feel I can be pleased with.
Herschel is the biggest tune I think and definitely the most Techno. Astroplaing is a bit more abstract but my personal favourite and Insight is much more dubby while still being very heavy and percussive. The EP is getting some good feedback so far from people like Truncate Aka Audio Injection, Ade Fenton, Energun, Paco Osun and Kereni, which I’m delighted with!
In terms of a Dugdale sounds well that’s a conundrum really…… Originally it was meant to be an outlet for more downtempo and melody driven stuff…..but hey now its kinda banging techno so I suppose the lesson here is …TECHNO…..don’t even try and hide from it.
Both by running events and teaching music production you’ve contributed a lot towards the Irish music scene, what has been your proudest achievement in that time?
Hmmmm tough question….. I don’t really have an answer as I don’t want to put any one event or time ahead of other ones. But I’m proud that people came to events and enjoyed themselves. I think I’m proud of the VIVA nights that ran every Thursday night for 3 years in Trinity Rooms and we got to expose lots of people to Djs Like Sunil Sharpe, Kalif, Jamie Behan, Lee Holman and many more. From there we had a platform once a week to showcase music we felt needed to be heard. After this was when I moved to Baker Place and set up Micronite …. and from here some great minds and people came together and we all made some super cool projects.
I’m very proud to be a part of Macronite, Bump Festival and Lough Weekend. I still get a smile when remembering the first TNAC we did in the factory outside Limerick…insane. By and large its all been good and all the time I had fantastic people working with me ….so the collective experience you have when making these events is what you look back on. I’m pleased with all of it really. The proudest parts are realising how lucky I was to work closely with a lot of very talented and great people in our events.
From a teaching point of view I love when you see someone doing something and making a sound or loop or track and you clock that excitement they get, that look they have and you know it as well. That’s a great feeling. I still get it sometimes, your twiddling away and you make a sequence or loop and that feeling is amazing when your happy with what you did. Seeing other people or enabling someone with software or technology to do something like that is cool.
I don’t think I ever had that ‘one’ experience but I had lots of different gigs and different sounds that all added up. In fact I went to so many bad gigs for a long time but simply because I didn’t have access to what I needed. I loved new music when I was young, first from my parents then my friend Risteard who always had new music, so graduated from Megadeath to Burzum, NWA to Wu tang etc.
A run down of great gigs that influenced me over the years would be GnR Slane Castle 91 .. I was 11…it scared the living shit out of me. Kerbdog at some hotel in Nenagh in 96 – super energy and what a band at the time. The Prodigy in the Point Depot in 96 – just crazy good fun with loads of mates. Homelands 99- I was there apparently.
Best overal gig experience and general just loveliness vibes was BLOC in 2011….that is still my favourite festival and so many amazing gigs within it. I saw a metal band the other night called All Tomorrows, from Santiago and they really kicked ass. So ya, I think those experiences are constantly happening and evolving.
Now that you’re travelling in South America what do you miss most about the Irish music scene? What do you think of the Irish electronic scene in comparison to the rest of the world?
I miss the craic of the Irish scene …it’s full of characters and full of life. I think the Irish scene in electronic music is exactly as it sounds. It’s that Irish humour and social tendencies in the environment of Electronic music. You have some serious heroes in Ireland who really strive to put on great shows and really forward thinking bookings and nights with great concepts. I think due to Ireland’s size it means you can get a flavour of the whole country quite easily and that in itself is brilliant. Like the way you can go to a gig in Limerick, Dublin ,Cork, Galway or Belfast and decide on a Friday afternoon which one you’re going to.
Since moving away it gives you more of a perspective of what it was and where you came from. Here the music scene is totally different. Cumbia, Reggathon, Sala, Samba, Baile Funk…they have a totally different music culture…….granted the big cities have Techno Clubs and House clubs etc but overall it’s quite different here. In saying that, it’s great to experience different music cultures. We met up with Mick(T-Woc) in Sao Paulo and he took us to this great Electronic Cumbia gig with a Peruvian band called DengueDengueDengue …..fantastic band and gig. But at the same time I’m a gringo over here but so I can’t exactly have my finger on the pulse with my basic Spanish! But I’m sure there is plenty of class stuff happening. Buenos Aires is an unreal city with something for everyone….deffo need to get back there soon tbh. So when comparing both places I would have to say, Ireland for the size of it really stands its ground in terms of variety and dedication to music in general.
Being a serial crate digger and having such a varied taste in music, what labels have stood out to you as being consistently quality?
Another tough question! I think R&S, their sister label Apollo, gonna be predictable and say Warp/Mu/Brainfeeder/Ramp/Hessle Audio. PERC TRAX for me is really driving that UK, raw techno sound..Workshop/TUSK …really like pretty much all their releases. Gonna have to give some of my hometowns labels some shouts too….but well deserved. Subtle Audio, Outonalimbrecords, HSUAN and Never Learnt. All have released amazing music and quality is and was their only focus.
You’ve run some of the best events I’ve ever been to as part of the Macronite group, considering this is no easy feat in the Irish music scene, on reflection, what is the biggest lesson learned and is there a way the Irish entertainment industry could improve?
Well the Irish entertainment industry is a long way from what anyone who promotes underground music ever experiences.
Biggest lesson learned is that often you don’t need headline or international acts to have a great club night or even, the Irish crowd are really up for it and knowledgeable. Some of the best nights and atmospheres we had were at residents nights. I’m sure there are lots of ways the Industry can improve…… the licensing laws are draconian when compared to the rest of Europe but it has to be said …that 2.30 curfew makes people really really go for it. But ya in general things like license and drug laws need to change to make it a better and safer experience for people.
What mix/album do you have on repeat at the moment?
It’s Roc Marcino – Marcberg.
What’s your favourite piece of kit?
At the moment its my laptop. A serious lifeline when away from home.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Gonna try and get a new Techno night off the ground here in Chile from December with Ali …… that’s the plan. There’s a pretty cool venue here called Vieja Escuela (The Old School), it does pretty good music and is open to anything once its good.
That and carry on my research of fine wines and food. Chao Y Hasta pronto amigos.
Massive respect to Dan for this amazing mix! You can buy Clubtracks in Minor here.
Tessela – Total music
Tzusing – No Primordial State
Cosmin TRG – No primordial state
Get Raw (Samulli Kemppi Remix)
Gareth Wild – Get Raw (Samulli Kemppi Remix)
Dugdale – Astroplaning
Peter Vanhoesen – Transitional state 2
Unidentified Fleeting object – Flesh Gordon
Tommy Four Seven- Sor
Dugdale – Herschel
Clouds – Genista cave 4
Roman Poncet – Walfisch
Surgeon La Rael
Chemical Brothers – It doesn’t matter
Blacknecks – Hotline
Truss – Kymin Lee
Dugdale – In Sight
Stanislav Tolkaachev – Raw -1
PRIS- If she bends she breaks
Joton – overflow
Unknown artist- unknown
Energun – Resolution
Ténèbre – Fonction N°3
Monya – Verweht(PERC Remix)