Interview: DSNT Belfast

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 I always find it very commendable when promoters book underground acts to play on these shores that often face making a loss due to the tough economic climate here. Oisin O’Brien is someone, who, along with every other underground promoter in Ireland, is fighting through the hard times and bringing acts to these shores he truly loves. Having started DSNT in 2010, he’s been consistently putting on excellent nights in Belfast which always have savage line ups. In November of last year, DSNT hosted the Belfast Electronic Festival which saw Michael Forshaw, Broken Note, The Advent and Perc to name a few take over the city. 2012 looks set to be an even bigger year for DSNT as the label side of things kicks off with a release by Belfast producer Mark Rogan which features remixes by Jerome Hill and Bas Mooy, the latter whose playing the label launch night with Mark Rogan on the 4th February.  Oscar Mulero is also booked for the 17th February.  It’s really admirable to see someone doing all this for the sheer love of music so I caught up with Oisin to find out more about DSNT and shine some light on the excellent label and club.


How did DSNT get started?
It originally started as a party I was running called Freakshow, which was mostly breakcore and gabba, I then ran the first Belfast Electronic Festival which catered to a diverse range of tastes and I then started DSNT which has been host to a fairly diverse range of guests. Recently my bookings have been leaning close towards a dark techno sorta buzz though.
With that said though I’m keen on keeping an open mind and there’s a heap of acts that wouldn’t be considered techno that I really want to book as well.
Recently DSNT has been doing a fairly wide variety of other stuff as well as just putting on parties, Its also an outlet for the graphic design work I do for people and recently we put on an art exhibition showcasing some of our favourite visual artists. I’ve also recently been doing a bunch of motion graphics projects for other clubnights in belfast and hope to have a full showreel online in the next few weeks.
Once I get the website online it will be much more effective for showcasing everything DSNT is doing at the moment, been up to my eyes with a heap of different things and I keep putting it aside.


As well as the clubnight, ye’re also starting a label. Was this always going to be the case?
The label is the newest addition to what DSNT does, it wasn’t always the plan but it just seemed right, I was hearing a lot of music that I wanted to showcase and it seemed like the right time to do it. Hopefully as it grows it will create a platform for some of the artists that are making absolutely amazing stuff but aren’t getting the exposure they deserve.


What releases have you planned for the label? Will it be vinyl and digital?
Our first release is by local producer Mark Rogan, it features two originals titled Anxiety/Paranoia, with remixes from Paul Mac, Bas Mooy, Forward Strategy Group & Jerome Hill, the first release is going to be a digital release though its my goal to be releasing vinyl by the end of the year! Have a few pretty big names lined up for vinyl releases that I can’t really mention yet. Depending on how the coming parties go its possible that the vinyl releases will happen sooner, the only restriction is money more than anything mate. If I had the cash our first release would probably be vinyl but it probably makes sense to let the label grow organically and do the vinyl release when we’re ready for it.
I’ve been talking to Deadsound about doing a release and we’re looking at tracks for it at the moment. He makes some seriously good tunes and anyone that hasn’t heard him should check his stuff out, got a class style!


Another Irish producer that’s making some great stuff at the moment is P-Hocto, he’s living over in London at the moment and I’ve had him as a guest a few times, plays an all vinyl set and produces some quality techno.. He’s studying music production over in London at the moment and it seems to take up a lot of his time but once he has a few tracks ready its likely that he will be doing a release for us as well. Check him out!

What’s the most important aspect when booking an act for the club?
Ah there’s a heap of variables, I’ve recently had to take a step back sometimes and ask myself will this actually work in Belfast, for instance I would LOVE to book Otto Von Schiarach, but a flight from Miami and a fairly high fee isn’t really viable for a show that will interest a fairly small audience.
Recently the bookings I have been doing have all been a reflection of the sort of stuff i’m planning on releasing on the label in some shape or form, our next party is the label launch on the 4th of Feb with Bas Mooy, this is a show i’m particularly excited about as Bas Mooy is one of my favourite producers and dj’s. Check out the podcast he did for us below.

Next off is a party that I’m completely stoked about with Oscar Mulero, I seen him at the surge stage when I was like 17 and it was one of my first experiences of proper techno, man completely destroyed the place was unreal. Cant wait for it!
Back in October I took an initiative to only use Funktion1 at my parties which is kindly provided by Hertz-U Soundsystem, ran by Collie Hertz one of the nicest guys in the industry, since its made such a difference, the artists prefer playing over a system like that and it really adds to the party. This will be the same for the bas mooy party & the mulero one. I’m fairly excited about getting to hear some of my favourite producers kill it over Collies Rig!


How hard do you find it running a club and label in this current climate?
It can be fairly hard but I think the main thing is to stick at it, the last few parties I’ve ran I’ve lost  money from, if I didn’t have the graphic design business side of things to fall back on i’d be a lot worse off.


What is the Belfast electronic scene like in general? Any producers/DJ’s to keep an eye out for?

The Belfast scene is fairly tightly knit but there’s quite a lot of great stuff coming out of it. Acroplane for example are doing brilliant things, putting out so many good releases and that it’s all coming from Belfast is great. There’s also a heap of great producers & DJ’s to look out for. The ones i’m really liking at the moment are;
Mark Rogan (obviously) –
Makes some lovely techno, his release Silhouettes, Shadows & Reflection has been getting support from the likes of Chris Liebing, Dave Clarke & Psycatron to name a few…

Katrina O’Kane/Kiani –
Katrina makes some lovely electronica and we have been lucky enough to have her play a few live sets at our parties, she played a live set at our Belfast Bleeps event with Kyle Hall and he was loving it! Great stuff all together, think Border Community meets Autechre with a little dark techno influence! She’s supporting at the Oscar Mulero show and I cant wait to hear her over that Funktion1!


Chris has been a recent addition to DSNT, makes some great tracks and is worth checking out.


Samaan & Graeme (One DJs) –
These guys have played host to a heap of great guests recently, their biggest show to date was New Years Day with Robert Hood. Samaans just had a few releases on fullbarr digital with remixes from heavy hitters Mark Broom & Vince Watson.. Detroit techno buzz.


Timmy Stewart –
Runs Jet Project and is definitely a must for any house music fans.


Cave Djz – Cricky Lyttle & Blacky
Cave Djz are great as well they regularly play the support at our parties, check out crickys most recent mix, it features a serious tune selection, and even a track fourth coming on DSNT.

The other half of the cave djz is Blacky, whose style of techno is generally referred to as blackno among fellow Belfast techno aficionados.

There are a heap more great producers and djs but i’m going to finish this off with Ryan Dallas a Stiff Kitten resident..
This guy plays the sort of techno i’m really digging at the moment, the mix above features 2 Mark Rogan tracks, one due to come out on DSNT. I’d love to book him as the stuff he’s playing really suits the guests we’re putting on at the moment but he’s exclusive to stiff kitten.


You’ve hosted the Belfast electronic festival which had some serious names such as The Advent, Broken Note and Michael Forshaw to name a few.  Is this going to be an annual occurrence?

Yeah, took a bit of a hit on the last Belfast Electronic Festival, got a bit carried away with the lineup and i’m still paying for it now. It is going to be a yearly occurrence though, i’m already thinking about acts for the next one in November.

004 – Michael Forshaw – Inappropriate Aids by Dsnt on Mixcloud

What producers are pumping your stereo lately?

Seriously nice stuff here, would definitely recommend this to anyone that likes techno absolutely quality, download it and listen.
Serious mix here, its fucking great, another one I can’t stop listening to, seriously good.
Forward Strategy Group – Erratic Podcast –
When you listen to this mix you will see theres a reason why it got chosen as Resident Advisors mix of the day, its quality, the erratic podcast series in general is worth checking out great stuff consistently.
We released this podcast a while ago but its still quality, this is a live set he sent me to release on DSNT, great set, check out our podcast series in general some great sets from jerome hill, neil landstrumm, bas mooy to name a few.
Other artists that I’m loving at the moment are pretty much everything out on Acroplane.
Ohhh and the hip hop buzz from Jerome Hill’s FatHop label.
The guys at Pole Group need a mention too, top quality techno from from Reeko, Oscar Mulero, Exium, Architechural 
Another great label worth checking out is Killekill been following their stuff for a while now and they have a really cool style and are putting out some seriously good vinyl releases. Everything about their label is to my taste, their releases and particularly their artwork really makes it stand out. Even the flyers for their parties always look great, the artist that designs them is quality.


Have you any advice for people looking to start their own labels and nights?

Emmm, the main thing would really be to stick at it, if its something you believe in then just stick at it a lot of the time things don’t work out the way you plan but its best to be open minded and play it by ear.
With events one of the things it took me a bit of a while to be conscious of was the sound quality, when I first started doing parties we where using a really crap p.a and it didn’t do the djs any justice, its always worth getting a good sound-system in as it makes a hell of a difference.


What does 2012 hold for DSNT?

2012 holds a lot of big parties, So far the shows we can announce are Bas Mooy on the 4th of Feb, Oscar Mulero on the 17th of Feb and  Xhin on the 31st of March.
I’ve been working on developing the motion graphic stuff ive been at and ive been chatting with a few people about working on AV sets for them so its likely ill spend a bit of time on that.
I hope to put on a few more art exhibitions and release some great music. Will still be sticking at the graphic design stuff as well as I really enjoy it, come summer its likely we’re going to be doing some showcases at festivals so I’m looking forward to that. Should be some craic. I’m looking forward to a heap of great parties with nice soundsystems and hopefully minimum tinitus (fingers crossed).

Big up to Oisin for the interview and make sure and check out  facebook and the night if your ever in the Belfast area 🙂

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