- Hi Niall we are happy to welcome you on board of the Purple Music„Boat“ with the great selection you did for our project „There Is soul in my house“ .Do u have any top 3 favourites in your 24 selected titles that you can absolutely recommend and why?
Firstly what an honour it was to be asked, Purple Music has been one of my favourite labels for over two decades of DJing. With that in mind it was so hard to even narrow down 24 tracks that i would pick to represent my favourites from over 20 years, so for this question I would have to pick three tunes that are “go to” tracks for me in my sets even til this day, in other words, I play these ALL THE TIME especially in my Dublin residencies. Anyone who has heard me play in Dublin has heard these.Firstly Ray Paxon ft Syb and Freda Gottlett – Music Is My Shelter , but the lesser played VOCAL DUB. I bought the whole release and loved all the mixes but the final, almost bonus , Vocal Dub version just had me going WOW! I play it early on, usually in a long set, and for me it’s one of those “announcement” records, the crowd sense the vibe is changing and things are heating up. The guitar floating in for those opening few bars is magical.
Secondly Jamie Lewis – Cookys 9. It’s one of my “always” plays. When the dancefloor is simmering, I go find Cookys 9.The drums, the energy in the stabs and of course the quirky take on Lil Louis and Brancaccio & Aisher makes it the perfect party record for me. Dublin crowds love something with a familiar lyric or vocal, even if it’s a totally new record and you can see the smiles as they sing along to the “It’s Gonna Be…” part ‘cos the B & A tune was huge here around 2002. When Jamie told me the story of the vocals on it many years later I was even more impressed…this record is a Niall Redmond staple for sure.
I tried not to overthink this question and let the 3 tunes float into my mind with ease. So the number 3 choice was pretty easy .I always loved Jamie’s collaborations with Michelle Weeks. The Light was one of SOUNDsystem radio show’s all time classics back in the day and when “Be Thankful” came out some time later and Brian [Tappert] and Marc [Pomeroy] gave it the Jazz n Groove treatment, it became an absolute secret weapon of mine. So Jamie Lewis ft Michelle Weeks – Be Thankful (Jazz n Groove Old Skool Mix) is my other choice for this question. The drop makes the dancefloor gasp. Especially with the Dublin love of something slightly familiar as the hook is kinda “Gypsy Woman” ish. But it’s Michelle’s vocals and lyrics,with that energy of Brian and Marc. The final breakdown especially, it’s so immediately uplifting and empowering you can feel the energy in the room elevate into the stratosphere. It’s a Purple tune I reach for when I want to take it to the next level. I must say for all the tunes on the compilation that the entire selection hold a special memory and place for me in my DJ journey. But these three mentioned sprang to mind immediately.
- where did you meet Jamie Lewis the first time?
Well, the quick answer to that is Amsterdam ADE 2013. But since the early 00’s I had been a big fan of Jamie and Purple.At the time I had a really big pirate radio show in Dublin and i played A LOT of Jamie and Purple, so in that way i had encountered Jamie from a long time ago (musically) . I was lucky to phone interview him and have him do a mix on my pirate show on many occasions over 8 years and we used to say “I hope to see you one day, maybe in Switzerland” in 2008 I took my first trip to Switzerland on a holiday and sadly Jamie wasn’t in the country on that occasion. I came back in 2010 and he was away skiing, but I used to always try and see was he around and sadly I had timed it badly.My first ADE event I went to was amazing as I finally got to meet so many people in person I had only spoken to on my show(s) and when I met Jamie outside the Felix Meritis in Amsterdam in 2013. we said “Wow we FINALLY met !!!” but it was really like meeting an old friend. It was a great moment, I think I still have a picture of the big hug we had.
- What do you think about the swiss music scene? We have seen you djing often in our country in the past years …..
When I go through my vinyl collection and in the last decade my digital collection. Swiss artists and labels feature massively. So i have always been a big fan of the Swiss House sound and to be honest Purple Music label was probably the start of that. I used to read about Jamie’s record store Dee Jay Service and the Purple Music night in Kaufleuten and think how amazing it must be there and dreamt about visiting one day.In fact I was given a book of “contacts” of the Swiss Music industry many years ago and I used to browse through it and wonder would I be crazy to ask someone could I come and play in their club or party.I never did. It took a while, but in 2008 I finally got to visit your beautiful country for a few days and I fell in love with the vibe there. I had just started a new radio show on our national broadcaster’s [RTE] Digital Dance station and it was a really cool project.Facebook was starting to become a functional tool for networking by then and through the show I got in touch with a Swiss lady called Nath from Perceptions, who ran the Sparkles : Afterwork parties in Lausanne and Geneve. I got a booking for one of her parties in Montreux in 2010, it was April I think. I went to the airport and on the way there I got the news of the Eyjafjallajökull Volcano eruption in Iceland and that it had grounded all flights over Europe and so I never made it.Flight cancelled. Some years later, in early 2013, again through the radio show, I asked the guys at Deeptown Music how I could come and play at their night in Zurich. I had played lots of their music on the show and we would chat on FB from time to time. They said “well why haven’t you been over yet ?? get over asap!!” The next month I played at 2.akt in Zurich and it must have gone ok as I ended up over there every 6 weeks or so for a few years. The people I met and got introduced to each time I came to Switzerland were so cool and kind and one thing led to another and next thing I was DJing at the biggest street party in Europe – Streetparade in 2014!
I’ve gone on to play at many venues in Zurich and beyond and of course Streetparade 3 times! So the scene seems really close over in Switzerland and everyone seems to know each other , the Swiss crowd are quite educated when it comes to nightlife and unlike Ireland are used to going out a lot later in the evening, so it was cool to play to a crowd ready to party all night . One example is I started some sets at like 5am ! I am normally home in bed at 5am after I DJ in Ireland so it was a good education in how to play to an audience at that stage of the night and where to begin musically at 4 or 5am. I also noticed the disparity between different kantons regarding music tastes, they like it a lot tougher sometimes in Zurich.
- Is there any artist , music producer , singer or dj who inspired you?
In one way I have too many to mention, as silly as it sounds every exciting piece of music I hear whether it’s by a legend or someone I have never heard of before, I find inspiring and exciting. To give a specific answer however, one person that has contributed immensely to my life and my DJing is CJ Mackintosh. I would go and see CJ play in the Ministry of Sound in London back in the late 90’s and it honestly changed my life…the music he played, the way he played it, the vibe he created. I learned so much from listening to him DJ and he really was especially kind to me and gave me a lot of his time and more importantly his friendship and trust. He is a big part of this answer because what I find the most inspiring about this scene we love, is what happened here, with pretty much everyone I’ve idolised in this scene becoming friends of mine.The people who influenced me the most, gave me that passion and education are as a small example, legends like Dave Lee, Grant Nelson, Brian Tappert, Terrence Parker, Michael Gray,Sandy Rivera, CJ, Jazzy M,Jamie Lewis and I more importantly count them as friends.
Quick Answer haha is, Artist – Phil Lynott -Music Producer – Ross Couch -Singer – Lisa Shaw -DJ – C.J. Mackintosh
- You count more than 2 decades of professional presence in the “radio industry”…. What can you tell us about it?
I was fortunate enough to start on radio at age 15 on what was the second golden age of pirate radio in Ireland. In the early 90’s, the emergence of electronic dance music and “rave culture” created quite a vibrant and underground scene in Ireland.There really was no legitimate radio outlet for this music, in other words no commercial station would play what you had heard in a club that weekend. This spawned a large amount of “dance music” pirates (illegal radio stations broadcasting without a license) that for the most part, were run out of garden sheds or someone’s attic! But like the original pirate wave in Ireland in the 80s, these illegal stations catered for an audience that commercial radio did not understand and played the music you couldn’t hear anywhere else on the FM band.I was still in school and I used to listen to a local pirate called DLR 106 FM which, although during the day played mostly radio friendly output , it allowed specialist music later in the evening. I used to listen to Bud Johnson (who was the owner’s brother) and he would play this mix of House and some harder dance stuff late into the night. Back then you had to call the station for requests / for them to say hello to you on air, (I still remember the number 2855106 !) and I used to call up to hear my name on the radio.I asked could I come down and answer the phone and they let me come down and write down the names and requests. That led to me doing my own afternoon show on a Wednesday after school playing anything really, my friends used to listen on the way home from school in their parents’ cars! After I got used to it, I started to play more and more “dance music” and at this time where I lived we had a good collective of DJ’s who played the local nightclubs and junior discos(for underage kids with no alcohol) so I was getting to hear and buy a lot more underground music. I moved to some other pirates on and off when DLR got shut down, but at that stage my name was out there and I was known for a type of sound. My friends called it “American House” but it was what we really knew as Vocal House or US Garage really.
I joined a fledgling station called NOVA 947 in 1998 and by 2000 pretty much it was the biggest dance pirate in Dublin. Every single DJ who played in the city’s clubs was on there. So if you went to see your favourite Dublin DJ on the weekend in the city, they were also to be heard on your radio on NOVA 947.My show was Saturday afternoon into evening and it was called SOUNDsystem, (shortened from the original name Saturday Soundsystem) and the format was 3 hours of radio , 4pm to 7pm. The first hour was deep soulful stuff, hour 2 was a guest mix and hour 3 was all the best new releases. It caught an audience that was making their way home from their Saturday job or shopping, and then when they were home they were getting ready to go out to party. The other thing i somehow managed to achieve was some really big guests for the weekly mix, at the time it was a “whos who” of the underground House scene , from Axwell to Kerri Chandler – that really set the show apart and it ended up having quite a cult following in Dublin. When it finished in 2005 (it finally got raided) I floated around a few stations before being asked to join a new project for digital radio from the state radio station RTE. RTE Pulse was born in November 2008 and my Digital Groove show has been there from day 1 playing the best in new House music each week on a Monday night.
- What can you tell us about your New York dj experience?
Firstly you must understand, that most of us born around 1980 in Ireland have this romantic and fanciful view of America and particularly New York. This was due to the diet of American TV shows we grew up on most of which depicted New York as a cool and edgy place. SO …NYC was always a dream to go to, never mind DJ in. I in fact only played New York twice . The first time was ultra special. I had (through my pirate radio show) interviewed and met Erick Morillo a few times, including the year before, going out to Subliminal Records in Weehawken NJ. When I knew I was coming back next September, I employed a great ethic of mine. That ethic is “you don’t ask, you don’t get” in other words sometimes it’s as simple as just asking someone and they might say yes. So I asked Erick, “hey can I play at the Subliminal Sessions” which took place every Thursday in Centro Fly on 23rd Street. I figured the worst he could say is “No!” or maybe laugh and think I was nuts. Well…he said “Yes sure, let’s do it!” …so that’s how l got to play not only in New York, but at one of the biggest label nights around at the time. I was soooooooo nervous, I mean these guys were the BIG TIME. I arrived that morning so I was jetlagged to bits and I was on at 4am!I don’t think I ever felt so tired before a gig, maybe it was nerves also. Melvin Moore played before me ( I remember Richard F dancing away on the dancefloor like a maniac) and I went on before Erick, as he and Jose Nunez stood there I put my first record on>mean those names 20 years later may not mean much to today’s music fans but these guys were superstars back then. I knew they had the UREI rotary mixer. I had never seen one for real let alone played on one. Well I had to learn quick, it was deep end stuff – 4 decks and Urei mixer. I put my first 12 inch on and after the first mix went ok, I relaxed a little. The whole set went fine and Erick seemed really cool about it and told me we’d be doing it again ! What a high ! I managed to get 2 pictures one of me and Erick and one of me DJing. We almost got kicked out as cameras were not allowed(this was before camera phones). I still cherish that picture, especially as Erick is no longer with us, you can see how pale I am in the pic. Erick is a contentious figure sadly now, but I’m eternally grateful for that kindness to me and years after as it really set me up back home ( I was now the Irish DJ who played over in NYC at the Subliminal Sessions) – That week myself and DJ Jae Brown, who came with me, went out to Sandy Rivera’s house and hung out with him all evening in New Jersey. It was right about when Finally was blowing up and we did a great interview with him and just couldn’t believe we were in his house hanging out on his porch. We went to what was the final Body & Soul in Vinyl. Sunday 1pm till 11pm. I had never heard music as loud in my life and it taught me the power of lights on the dancefloor. The club was starting to bubble energy wise and they played this track ” Love Each Other” by Yukihiro Fukutomi. It had this tom tom drum that went BOOM BOOM BOOM every 32 bars. Next thing a club that had been pretty dark up til now, exploded in light in tandem with this Boom Boom Boom bit and it was like the lights guy (Aeriel) knew the track like a DJ would ! The energy of the lights used in that way was amazing , I don’t think I’ve experienced anything like it since . It really opened my eyes to how you should bring energy to your dancers ….We left early as it was so loud and decided to head up the WTC south tower and watch the sunset – 36 hours later it was rubble That trip was magical. Made more poignant as we left to go home at 21.00 on 10th September 2001. 12 Hours later 9/11 Terrorist attacks took place and the world changed forever.I did another gig in New York 2 years later to an Irish crowd- the warm up DJ was playing Hard House !! I had about 11 techy records in my vinyl box, I had to pitch them up plus 6 or so on the turntables and wallop them out for about an hour – stuff I had never played before and never played again – but it worked – I finally managed to bring the vibe back around to a more groovy sound and tempo and had them all enjoying Vocal House at the end ! But I remember that gig for the panic of not having anything close to whatever the headcase warming up for me was playing ! I basically did a reverse set – started hard and ended soulful !
Although Wicklow is now home (next County/Kanton)Dublin is where I am from and have spent all my working life and DJ life. The club scene has changed so much in the 27 years I’ve been djing there. Our first anomaly is the closing times (although this is to change in the next few months ) .Our clubs close at 2.30/3am, for the most part means you have to get your set across early and to be honest the club can be only getting going and it closes It’s only when you play around Europe you get to experience that all night party vibe . It can be a real challenge for visiting main act DJs who get told , yeah your set is 1am to 3am !! Most of the big underground clubs are gone – I was lucky to hold residencies in most of them even for a short while . Now it’s mainly “disco bar” type of set ups with a generic almost commercial House leaning and one or two decent underground clubs . I’m hoping with the extension of opening times , venues will now programme a more diverse and underground policy.I am lucky to be a monthly resident in probably one of the last real underground clubs in Dublin – Pygmalion. Here the dancefloor is dark (no lights !) and the sound system is crisp and LOUD. The crowd come to dance and appreciate the DJ doing their thing and the vibe and energy is really special there ! Also their cocktails and terrace are Dublin famous ! So I am recommending you come to party there when in Dublin ! like, Bow Lane Social and Izakaya Ukiyo also throw decent nights as well as the Bodytonic crew with Wigwam on the North Side of the river . It’ll be interesting to see has Covid killed a lot of these venues ..some like Jam Park have already gone under sadly
Dublin in general is a brilliant city to enjoy with many wonderful shops and eating areas as well as culture, being an ancient city . Ireland is famous for it’s party scene and more accurately drinking culture ! Dublin especially. My advice would be , see Temple Bar but don’t buy anything – it’s a tourist hotspot so you’ll be ripped off for merch and booze ! Stick to the Grafton Quarter and the newly regenerated Grand Canal area ! Some really nice things there – and visit my friends at Lemon Crepe on South William Street ! They have fed their famous crepes to many a super star DJ since 1999! Some nice boutique hotels here too so come see us sometime – it’s a brilliant city and you’ll fall in love with it .
- You are a man full of surprises: can you tell us why you have chosen such a special interesting job as fireman ? & How is your work day?
Since I was a child I wanted to be part of the emergency services and if I’m honest especially the medical side. I grew up near an ambulance base and i was always kinda scared yet kinda excited by the blue light journeys that used to pass by our village . As I got older (in school) i looked into a career as a paramedic. I joined a voluntary fire service (civil defence) and it gave me a taste for the firefighter job. I applied for the Dublin Fire Brigade in 2003.It sounds a cliché, but I really chose the job as I like to help people . Dublin Fire Brigade provide Fire and Ambulance for Dublin city and county, so my job is both Firefighter and Paramedic and I work on a fire truck and also an ambulance.We are a busy ambulance service with 14 ambulances for 1.6 Million people so it’s busy ! Even on the trucks we go to medical, as well as fire calls ! We work a mixture of day and nights each week. Normally 1 Day 2 nights then 3 days off – then 2 days 1 night then 3 days off . Our nights are long ..15 hours from 18.00 – 9am but days are normal hours 9.00 – 18.00
My working day is :come in and get told what I’m on – ambulance or fire truck (you do the ambulance in my station about every 4th day or night your on) If you’re on the truck you do a duty (like clean the station – make the dinner – clean the trucks ) till midday ! Then have lunch – some relax time and 3pm you do drill which is practice on something like ladders or hazmat or car crash cutting . Then free time for gym or whatever til you go home – all the time you need be ready for a call out. We have 1 min during the day to be out the gate from the time the bell sounds and 1.30 mins at night – so we respond quick at any time of the day or night .
I work with 12 other guys and one female firefighter and we are like family …when we work, we eat, sleep, laugh and cry together as a team and we are all close. The kind of calls we get are ,of course fires in houses and industrial premises , car crashes , river rescues , heights rescues , hazmat calls(I work in the hazmat station) as well as medical calls from cardiac arrest to child birth to all manner of medical emergency and injury calls. It’s a really satisfying job and no two days are the same. 5 years ago I became an “advanced paramedic” which is a specialist role – like an elite medic – I carry more medications and can do interventions the paramedic level cannot do. I’ve seen some terrible things of course but I also have been involved in some amazing rescues and it’s great to help people at some of their worst times – you feel you’ve done something positive with your life ! love it – it’s different to DJing but it also gives me the time to do that also !
- we know about the big love you have for your dogs and horses …….
Well.. my horse friend is a special one …I really know nothing about horses lol…during our lockdowns I went on a 10k walk most days to try and keep fit as the gyms closed.I live in a beautiful part of Ireland in Wicklow and my walk has lots of amazing scenery and countryside – well this horse was on my walk route – and she was alone . I use to stop and talk to her for a minute and then bring her apples and carrots. Her hair was really matted with thistles from her field and one day I took them out with my hands – she didn’t mind . So I bought a brush next time and now each time I walk by I stop and brush her mane and talk with her . Her name is Grace and she’s my horse friend now . I think for me spending time with animals has been helpful for my wellness and mental health , especially because of my job . You can really connect with the vibe of an animal and be yourself. No judgement lol Dogs of course are the best example of this !When I got married in 2005 I have never had a dog in my life ever ! Well , my wife loved them and went to work in a rescue centre and we got 1 …then 2…then 3… we ended up with 8 dogs – and over all 11 rescue dogs It’s probably the most rewarding thing I’ve done , to see animals that have been badly treated recover and become amazing as themselves. Our house is great – every day we walk with them and hang out ! They are all beautiful souls .When they go however it is difficult , probably the worst thing I’ve been through . I have 4 dogs left at the moment and they are all old now but I’m so glad we did that …the pain of losing them is horrendous but we got to make the most of our time we have I guess
- How did this pandemic change your life?
Well work was hard as we had to change our work practice and quickly , nobody knew what we were dealing with and that was stressful – all our PPE for every call changed – the horror of thinking you would also become sick and maybe make your family sick was hard all last year especially. So I guess I appreciated when our job was simpler and we weren’t wearing plastic aprons and goggles and masks every callIt made me appreciate the place I live in more …we were only allowed out 5K from our houses- so I would walk 5K up and down in my village and I truly enjoyed where I live more and what is on my doorstep.
In our job you get to see how fragile life is and how things can change for people in the blink of an eye, so in that way it didn’t teach me anything new about being grateful for being alive but I did miss and do miss my friends abroad and the normal way of life I had , but I know it’s not forever and hopefully soon we are back to life as we knew it.
I did enjoy going to bed early on the weekends and spending more time with my wife – I had been djing almost every weekend I wasn’t working in the Fire Brigade for 2 years so I was kinda tired !
It sadly also showed me how toxic social media can be (as if we needed a reminder!) and I really considered coming off the likes of Facebook. I saw how mentally fragile a lot of people were that I thought were rock solid before and some of the views people expressed, the way they behaved made me really angry, I chose not to get involved in those discussions on line as it really would have been pointless – but it changed my opinion of alot of people I respected before sadly.
I saw first hand, how sick (and dead) people got from this and then you had some keyboard warrior, self proclaimed expert making crazy statements or putting out misleading info on Facebook …. It really shocked me that . So it changed my life from a point of view of seeing how some people react under that mental pressure ! Don’t get me wrong it’s been really hard for everyone across the world and nobody knew what to do initially but I really was surprised how many “sensible people” spun off the planet with crazy notions.I do think it’s a big reset – so let’s see how things come back – travel , clubbing , socialising , work …I know I’m keen to get back djing now and traveling again ….
So how did it change my life ? I wash my hands more ! And i know all of these things we take for granted can be gone in the flash so don’t take anything for granted and use your time well .
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