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Old 23-10-2006, 04:44 PM
electric city electric city is offline
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Join Date: May 2006
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Default Donnacha Costello Interview - This Sat at ES #5



Though Donnacha Costello first began producing music back in 1989, it wasn't until late 2000 that he globally emerged as a truly remarkable producer. Long recognized as one of Dublin, Ireland's most talented producers, Costello may have began his musical career in 1989, but he first began to dabble in minimal electronic music around 1996 after completing his philosophy degree and immersing himself in the concepts of Steve Reich and John Cage. In fact, his inspiration led him away from Dublin to New York City, where he took his minimal take on electronic music a step farther, integrating the dub aesthetics and crackle sounds practiced by artists such as Pole. In 1999, he started his own label, Minimise, where he released a trio of EPs before catching the eye of mammoth German experimental techno label Force Inc., who asked him to record an album for their label. Embracing new software-driven production technologies, Costello spent summer 2000 creating the music that would appear later that year on the Growing Up in Public album. Benefiting from the massive reach and prestige of Force Inc., the Dublin artist catapulted from little-known cult status to one of the most exciting up-and-coming producers in the experimental techno realm.

You’re from Ireland, Dublin, city of old pubs, where the folks are singing the traditional lyrics, whilst drinking loads of Ale…Wasn’t it difficult for you 2 “express” your music in your hometown, were there enough facilities? ‘Cos with all respect, but Dublin, hasn’t got a scene like Berlin, London, Brussels,….

You’d be surprised how many electronic producers there are in Dublin. Per Capita, it must be one of the highest concentrations in Europe. From what I can tell, ‘scenes’ don’t really exist anywhere. One imagines this incredible ‘scene’ in Berlin for example but in fact it’s just hundreds of disparate producers living in the same city. It’s not as cohesive as you might think. However it’s probably fair to say that electronic music seems to sit more naturally with Germans rather than the Irish. As for being able to express my self musically in Dublin, it’s pretty impossible but thankfully there’s a good airport here, (laughs)

You’ve got a philosophy degree, is music for you a medium to express your vision concerning the “big questions” in life?

Well, it would be nice to actually have a vision concerning the ‘big questions’. Unfortunately, I find them as perplexing as ever. I think it’s also worth mentioning that what bothers most people is not really the big questions like ‘how did the universe get here’ or even ‘where is here?’ but the small ones like ‘why can’t I have a car like that?’ or ‘am I attractive enough?’. Music certainly helps me express something but what that is quite abstract. In truth, I think I am expressing my ‘self’, asserting my uniqueness.

You started your music career in the mid-nineties, what/who convinced you 2 fully focus on music? After all you just graduated….

Ever since I was child I wanted to be a musician and little else, so everything was kind of just getting in the way. Since 2001, I kind of backed off a little bit but I’m back to just doing music again now since January this year and even though it tortures me in many ways, music is what makes me happiest.

‘About your label, in 1999 you founded with David Donahue & Mark Clarke ”MINIMISE “ How did you 3 get in contact which each other?

Well, I actually started the label myself. David and Mark have had various degrees of involvement over the years. Right now, David is very involved and is a huge help in running the label whereas Mark isn’t involved at all. We all met through one mutual friend – the inimitable Emmet Edmonds. He’s a bit of a guru, I’m hoping he’ll do a record for us next year.

And for most people who want to set up their own label, what sort of things should you make sure you have in the beginning?

The most important thing is to have a good distributor. It is hard enough these days to get a distributor to take you on but it is even harder to find a good one. I’ve been blessed with KOMPAKT. They’re so great to work with and are doing a really super job with minimise.

How do you think of Minimise in the techno continuum? What sounds different to you from what’s come before? How do you feel ‘bout that?

Well, this year I really tried to bring the focus back on to a more machine driven sound. To emphasize feeling and groove and sounds with some weight behind them in opposition to the mass of ‘clicks and tricks’ records that have been around for the last few years. That kind of record [clicky, tricky] might be intricately sequenced and change direction about ten times in each track and so give the illusion of being innovative but I think it was a dead end and it’s totally played out. I think it’s better to use sounds with real energy and a certain ‘density’ to them. Regarding arrangement, I also think that groove and emotion are more important that ‘flash’ masquerading as sophistication. A few gestures by Matisse are infinitely more touching to me than the surrealism of Dali, even though Dali’s work can be photo-realistic.

How would you describe your own sound?

It’s hard for me to do that but I’ll try: emotive, machine driven, groovy, acidy, bleepy, analogue, looking back but facing forward.

I’m a big fan of the “Colour Series” , every EP is like a chapter of an exciting book. The latest one was “Opal”, when does the “book” end?

Thanks, that’s a very complimentary analogy. The book ends later this year but there are still a few more chapters!

What will the future bring from Donnacha Costello? Any new EP’s or albums coming up?

I’m starting now to work on next year’s twelve's and there has been an album of ambient music that was started with a friend which I’ve been meaning to finish. There should also be a new album on raster-noton under my ‘modul’ alias. I’m also getting the chance to work with a label I’ve wanted to work with for many years now but I can’t say which one.

Lemme guess, Warp?

Nope. That would be nice though! (laughs)

Some short questions:

Hardware or software?

For me: Hardware for sounds, sequencing and mixing, software for recording/editing [protools].

Kitlist [if you’re interested]

Roland TB-303
Roland TR-909
ARP Odyssey MK1
Akai MPC3000/2000
Nord Modular
Nord Micromodular
Ensoniq DP4
Mackie 24-8
G4 powerbook x 2 [Protools Free, Ableton LIVE, Max/MSP, Soundmaker, EMAIL Smile]

I’m also about to purchase two secret weapons for next year’s productions Wink

Dublin or NYC?
Both have their strengths. New York is an inspirational city but my family and friends are here and they’re very important to me.

Hawtin or Mills?
Again, both have their strengths Smile

Freud or Kant? (laughs)
Buddha.

Ok I wanna know more of this Buddha kinda thing LOL

Seek without seeking, my friend (laughs)

Thanks for the support!!

Donnacha Costello plays support to Steve Bug this Saturday at Electric Shock 5 in the Temple Bar Music Centre.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~
Forthcoming Electric Shocks:

Electric Shock #5
Saturday October 28th at Temple Bar Music Centre

Poker Flat Records Party:

Steve Bug [Poker Flat - Berlin]
Donnacha Costello - Live [minimise / Poker Flat]
Eddie Brennan [Electric City]

Doors 11PM / Tickets e20 from Selectah Records / Tickets.ie
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~
Electric Shock #6
Friday November 3rd at Temple Bar Music Centre

Kne' Deep Records Party:

DJ Rush [Kne' Deep - Chicago]
DJ Bold [Kne' Deep - Berlin]
Rian Ryan [Electric City]

Doors 11PM / Tickets e20 from Selectah Records / Tickets.ie
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~
Electric Shock #7
Saturday December 16th at Temple Bar Music Centre

Electric Shock Christmas Party:

Hardfloor - LIVE [Cocoon - Dusseldorf]
Alexander Robotnick [Fuzz Dance - Florence]
Dan Power [Electric City]

Doors 11PM / Tickets e20 from Selectah Records / Tickets.ie
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~
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