Interview: Kormac


Ahead of his forthcoming release on Reckless Records. We sit down with the Irish native DJ & Producer ‘Kormac’. His ‘I Believe’ Remix pack sees influential producers ‘Get Down Edits’, TITEKNOTS, Jonno Brien, Simon Resoul and Phaze Control provide remixes, we spend some time getting to know Kormac and dig deeper into his release.

You’ve had a big summer playing places like Glastonbury. How was it? What were some highlights?

This summer was a slightly unusual one for me in that, part of it was spent doing the usual array of festival shows and running around and part of it was spent in Bulgaria learning all about orchestration and more traditional composition. I did this to tee up my next big project (details soon…) and also to try and ‘forget’ everything I’ve taught myself musically over the last few years and start from scratch. I wanted to dive really deep into new ways of writing music, to explore new territory.

Give us a little bit of history of how you got into dance music, what label, parties, artists first turned you on?

I come from a rock background so my first big influences were Sonic Youth, Pavement, Sebadoh etc. From there I got really into drum n’ bass and spent ages just playing D&B clubs. That, in turn, led me into hip hop, sampled-based and cut n’ paste music which was a huge influence on my early work. My most memorable early clubbing experiences were going to Andy C’s parties at The End in London and the legendary Metalheadz Sunday Sessions at The Blue Note, again, in London. Metalheadz were huge for me growing up. To me, it sounded like an ultra-futuristic take on classic drum breaks which was (and continues to be) so inspiring.

How did you find your own sound, and what is that?

I think any producer/artist will struggle to define their own sound, in fact, most struggle to find it. It’s something I’ve been thinking about alot lately. I was watching a Chilly Gonzalez interview recently and to paraphrase, he reckoned finding your own voice is finding what excites you. The music I make that excites me the most is tracks that start out with organic, acoustic elements that are twisted and morphed, digitally, into something different. My favourites among this new batch of material seem to be the ones that evoke certain emotions pretty strongly.

You’ve done everything from hip hop to house to big band ensembles. Is there anything that ties all your music together? What makes you, you?

Yeah I think the common thread is that I tend to start with acoustic elements, natural sounds, be that instruments or voices or the sound of two spoons banging together, whatever and then set about treating them digitally, f**king them up. A lot of people, these days, will start with synthesiser tones and go from there. I think the way I choose to work and the sounds I’m attracted to gives my music a certain texture that make it sound like, erm , me…

What’s the Dublin scene like right now? Is it vibrant, with new young producers and labels coming through?

Yes, of course. Always. Dublin’s constantly awash with exciting new acts. It can be hard to keep up!

When DJing, are you always thinking a few records ahead? Do you have certain records you aim for an work up to, as it were?

Well, there’s always a plan. I always know what my first few will be. I tend to think in groups of 3-4 tunes, often little routines. It’s fine to think a few ahead but important to keep a close eye on how the audience are reacting right now. Conversly, I’ve a good idea which 3-4 tunes I’ll probably finish with!

And when in the studio, are you making tunes to fit into your DJ set?

Not always but, that said, I find if I want to make something to play out, either DJing or live, if I keep imagining it playing out to a crowd as I’m writing it, it always works much better on the dancefloor.

Tell us about the remixes of your I Believe tune – how do you feel about them? What’s it like being remixed?

Titeknots

I became aware of Jon’s work through his releases on Tru Thoughts. I played “So Natural” everywhere, in almost every DJ set I did for about a year. I think he’s got a modern approach matched with an old school sensibility and his tracks always work on dancefloors.

Simon Resoul

As well as playing drums in all my live projects, Si’s an excellent house and techno producer. He was the first person I asked to remix the track as I knew he’d deliver, well, a killer! I love the edgy slant he’s given I Believe in his, ever expanding, analogue studio in Dublin.

Get Down Edits

I love that the guys are doing so well right now. They’re great guys and have a huge love for Disco, funk and soul and I’m delighted they’ve let that aesthetic shine through on these remixes. Dancefloor warriors.

Jonno Brien

He did a banging version for us. I was on my way into the studio the other day and someone sent me a video of Carl Cox banging this out in NY to thousands of people. ‘Mazin’…

Phaze Control

The last remix we’re relasing is the winner of our remix competition. This was a wonderful experience. I’m so glad we did it. I was amazed by the number of great entries we got. I’m really grateful for all the effort everyone put in as I know how difficult it can be getting tracks over the finish line. There could have been 10 winners but we chose his as he took a different tact and twisted it into something completely different.

I’m delighted with the reaction they’re getting on promo. To hear that an array of poeple across loads of genres (Francois K, Carl Cox, Nick Warren, Horse Meat Disco) are into them is just wonderful

And what did Jameson commission you to do? How did that come about?

Ah! It was a found sounds piece. They got in touch and asked if I’d be interested in visiting their factories and making a song using just the sounds made during their production process. I turned up with my zoom recorder and a video crew and recorded every single sound I could find and took them back to my studio.

Bottling machinery became percussion loops, forklifts became organs and synthesisers, barrels became snare drums etc. I loved doing it and have done a couple more since. Restricting the pallette can make you a lot more creative.

Can you tell us about working with Irvine Welsh? What was that like, what was the project?

It was for my last album, Doorsteps. I wrote a piece for him and he was really happy to do it but it took us some time to get in a room together. One night I got a call to say he would be back in Edinburgh the next day and was free to record if I could come over. I flew to Edinburgh the next morning and we met and recorded at his appartment. He wrote lyrics right there and then. He’s an absolute gentleman and it’s one of the musical moments I’m most proud of. Here it is below.

What else have you got coming up/are you looking forward to?

Still a couple of festivals left to do this year and the I Believe remixes are out, everywhere, this Friday the 15th of September. All info at www.djkormac.com


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