Next up in the interview and mix series for Skirmish comes from Ireland’s Unsafe Girl. He’s been on the scene in Ireland for a good few years whipping up dancefloors with his techno fuelled DJ set’s and after relocating to London is now perfecting his production skills through his studies. It really shows as tunes have gone from strength to strength and his set at the Glitch Kitchen in Stoke Newington in February saw him take it up a notch with a live hardware set. Think of Boards of Canada having a seizure in a bath with Autechre . He was good enough to give us the interview and the set, with a bonus track at the end. It speaks for itself really. Quality!!
How did you get interested in electronic music? Was there a particular moment?
I got into it mostly through a friend of mine, Deborah, and her brother, Stuart. Stuart was a DJ and about 7 or 8 years older than us so, he was a big influence on what we listened to at the time but, my first encounter was The Prodigy at 8 years old. This is when my older cousin gave me Music For The Jilted Generation on tape. I remember the teacher I had at the time taking my walkman off me with that tape in it. I was so annoyed, it made just want to listen to it more. To this day it’s still one of my favourite albums. I also remember my friend Deborah playing Little Fluffy Clouds by The Orb in her front garden when we were about 11 or 12. So there’s a few defining moments, good times.
You’re very much into hardware. What do you feel it offers you over software? What pieces of kit can’t you live without?
Well, I started off using software and became in grossed in the electronic sound but, I’ve always been a hands on kind of person. I’ve tried various midi controllers with VST’s and never getting the results I wanted or liked but, when I bought my first synthesizer I fell in love. It progressed from there, with samplers and other synths. I doubt I’ll ever stop my synth fetish, I have about 5 or 6 different lists of equipment that I’ll buy, at some point. List 1 is the most important stuff I need, 5/6 is the least but, the list always changes when I come across a new piece of kit. As for stuff I can’t live with out, probably my Nord Lead 2x, it’s just delivers every-time. I love the cold aesthetic it gives.
How does putting a tune together come about? Do you consciously sit to make one or do you just let it flow?
Eh, I don’t really have a way for composing, I try out different techniques from time to time. Like right now I’m experimenting with modes as I’ve been trapped in D Minor for far too long….. Sometimes I have a sound in my head and I try to recreate it or I’ll try to recreate something interesting I’ve heard in another piece of music. I used to always start with the drums and then add layers of different elements on top of that but, I try to approach it differently now. I’ve been hung up on melodies for about a year so, now i try to start with them, or keep them in mind, and work from there. Flow is very essential, even though I haven’t gotten to where I want yet, I try to let it flow as much as I can.
You relocated to London from Dublin about a year and a half ago. Have you found may similarities between the two places musically or otherwise?
Similarities, well there is a good bit, as the U.K has influenced Ireland a great deal in it’s electronic music. The only thing really is, nights might cost the same but, you get about 2 or 3 headliners and it’ll buzz on until 5 or 6am but, the craic is the same. Also, all the underground techno heads you meet over here are just as sound as the lads back home, all out to have the craic and just enjoy the choons. Big up Jerome Hill for all his hard work at the Don’t nights.
Where do you see yourself evolving musically? Is it something you want to do full time?
If I could only see into the future….. Musically, I’m still learning and thirsty for it. I’m into a great deal of different genres and sounds and dabble in a few things. It’s the dream to do it full time but, as long as I get a career in the music industry, I’m happy. I’m currently studying Sonic Art and taking up Sound Art and Design in September, with a masters already planned so, we’ll see where that takes me.
Techno and Jungle seem to be two genres prevalent in your sound. What is it that attracts you to them both?
I started off listening to Techno with the likes of Dave Clarke and Johannes Heil when I was about 14 and that just grew into going to raves and various parties that were mostly Techno so, that would be the Techno influence. As for Jungle, I started going to a lot of Drum’n’Bass and Jungle gigs when I was clubbing at 18 and through this I got introduced to a lot Dublin’s Jungle scene through mutual friends with the likes of Badman Deego, Executive Steve, Nippoman and Boz, to name but a few. It was a lot of gigs they played, and some other friends played, that introduce me to the sounds of Jungle and I’ve been addicted since. Much love!
You started off playing drums, how much do you think having this grounding helped when making electronic tunes?
It definitely help with rhythm but as for harmony and melodies…. eh, not so much. But drumming helped with my knowledge of song structure and the likes, which is good.
As a DJ, what tunes always guarantee to kill the dancefloor for ya?
Chris Clark – Vulcan Viens
Dave the Drummer and Jerome Hill – Steamliner
Lee Coombs – Would Be True: http://www.discogs.com/Lee-Coombs-Breakfast-Of-Champions/master/111540
There’s more, tons more but, these are the ones of the top of my head.
What outside music inspires you?
Long walks on the beach topless covered in mayonnaise
Walking my pet seagull Larry
Handing out notices about the two for one offer on everything in the local shop that I printed myself. It was a delve in to the human psyche.
Square Dancing but, I make rectangles 😉
What does the next year hold? Any releases to look out for?
I’m working on a lot of new music, more than I have in a year so, hopefully more gigs so I can play it all out. No releases yet.
”This mix was my live set from The Glitch Kitchen on the 21st Feb. I put it together over the the 2 months on a Nord Lead 2X, a Korg Electribe and Ableton. Hope yiz enjoy :)”