TR One: Chicarlow’s Finest Talk Shop


Racks of enviable equipment and releases with labels such as Don’t Be Afraid, Bodytonic, Lunar Disko, Apartment and Photic Fields. TR One have been remixed by Lerosa and Juju & Jordash, mastered by Alden Tyrell and have collaborated with New Jackson and Phantom Planet Outlaws. This is not a studio in Berlin, London, or Dublin – but in Carlow.

TR One –  Eddie Reynolds and Dean Feeney, run a strictly hardware homestead. Known for their ruckus filled live shows and slick, savage releases – they are the perfect example of doing what you can, with what you have, with where you are. Eddie talks about the importance of community, finding your confidence and channeling your influences into your signature sound.


The Early Days

My introduction to music was through friends. I first met Dean at secondary school – he was a DJ and I was getting heavily into music at the time. I loved listening to Dave Clarke’s World Service, Richie Hawtin’s – Decks, EFX & 909, Jeff Mills – Live At The Liquid Rooms but especially D1 Records. The First 8 Years Of D1 mix from Active Service Unit was a major stepping stone for me – it peaked with that mix. It felt like I was the only guy my age in Carlow into this music, but it felt good.

I became obsessed with buying D1 Records from Rob Rowland, Decal, Decoy, Active Service Unit, Visitor – all the D1 classics. I was amazed that this deep Detroit techno was coming from Dublin and only an hour up the road from where we were. We started collecting records – travelling to Waterford to Rotate Records, up to Spindizzy in Dublin and Selectah. Looking at the art and sleeves on the way home on the bus is a good memory. I eventually saved up to buy my first set of 1210’s from a good friend who ironically bought them previously from fellow Carlow man John Gibbons – I still have them!



Getting Started

It was just the DIY ethos of music, seeing all the grainy pictures of old Detroit and Chicago producers with their drum machines – it felt like anybody could do it and we could do it.

They just made such an impression on us and we eventually got our first record released and it snowballed from there. We got more and more gear, more into the scene and into the Irish dance music culture.

Our first piece of equipment was the Yamaha SY77 synthesizer – a mouse actually crawled into it and shit all over it and destroyed the circuitry, that one is now in the graveyard somewhere!  Also the Jomox Xbase 09 – it’s a 909 clone but with a unique sound and I still have that – it’s one of my babies.

I’m not musically trained but I’m self-trained over the years – to anyone that is getting into production – it’s trial and error and you will find your own sound and you will realise what’s right. You make a lot of bad, bad tracks, but it’s a learning process like most things. We felt it was right and it was great  – but listening back it was heavily out of key and it was so bad …but it was just the energy.. that feeling it gave you.

At the moment Dean is in Canada and before that he was in Cork at university and his life was down there and mine was up here and we didn’t make that much music together.

At that stage with me personally, any track I made it wasn’t good enough. I was comparing it to all the other great tracks I was hearing it every week. The anxiety was building up for making my own music, it was just unbearable and I just froze every time I turned on a machine. I was just eating myself up inside thinking it wasn’t good enough.

Eventually, you get your head down and maybe you realise it is good enough. Dean will be back making music but I’m enjoying making music on my own at the moment’s good to find your own sound and eventually, it should go back to being the two of us.


This is advice to anybody starting to make music or experiencing this right now, just stick at it, and no matter if you think it’s bad and you are anxious over your tracks, they are good. The fact you are putting creative energy into these tracks is amazing –  you are putting your time, thoughts, love and emotion into these tracks – that is enough. People have to sit back and realise the tracks are good enough and just give them time. All it takes is a friend or someone from a label to say that’s good and then your idea changes.



The Live Show – and the lamp!

The lamp is actually sitting in my sitting room now! When we got our live show on the road ..which was basically bringing our whole studio. was an absolute nightmare but obviously great. The lamp idea came from one of our favourite movies of all time which is ‘Stop Making Sense’ and David Byrne had a lamp in one of his tracks. And we said we would take it like that, set it up beside us on the stage and make it our little calling card. It eventually featured on our vs Phantom Planet Outlaws record. It started out as a bit of a joke but then we got known for it. The lamp will always hold a special place in my heart!

With the sheer amount of midi cables, wires and jacks for the live shows, there was always something that went wrong. One classic story was in The Twisted Pepper – our battery ran out on our DX100 and we had to send New Jackson out to the shop to replace them. During performances sometimes things just don’t work –  but it’s all part of the energy.



Hardware or Nothing

Have I ever used software? No, even the way I record.. after I put the structure and the spine of the track together, I always record live and in one take. I record as a live performance with live effects. If something is not right.. if the levels are off and I can’t really change it, I have to re-record the whole thing but traditionally you have a certain amount of sporadic energy in tracks that happen on the fly and it seems to work so I stick at that.

The Creative Process

This is something I have been thinking about…subconsciously throughout the week or throughout the day you are picking up’s like a track or an idea starts playing in my head on a loop and I think I have to try and get this.

But ironically I think this happens due to something that happens throughout the day….and it’s your brain and your mind.. it’s trying to transfer it to what you know best. That’s the creative process…you have to get it into the studio.

The Studio

It’s all hardware-based which is a lot of maintenance but I just don’t know any other way. I love the hands-on approach of making music. The MPC 2500 is the heart of the studio. From there I have a midi patchbay going to a Juno 106, a Korg Minilogue, a Jx8p, a TG500, a TX81Z, the Yamaha DX reface, JP8 amongst many other things. The TX81Z cost me 80 quid and it’s such a solid little module. No matter how expensive your gear is, it’s all about how you use the machine. The cheaper items always have such character.

I have about 7 mini channels going into that alone and then I’ve got a couple of drum machines, samplers, outboard effects units and a compressor. I’ve got the space echo which adds that signature fog to the mix. I will always start with the skeleton of the track and usually start with beats. Sometimes I think it’s better to start with the music elements and then work with your beats around it. But I’m so stuck in my process, I’m so used to it at this stage. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t, again for me it’s the live take and the live performance are something we have always done. That’s why the tracks transfer into the live show so easily, we were used to that jamming in the studio. It has its pros and its cons, but it’s the signature sound from TR One.

I’ve always wanted to have the foresight to realise what a track might sound like on a dancefloor but I just don’t have that. It has to please me – I’m not really sure what I’m looking for. You could spend 6-8 hours in a studio and the next day they just sound shit – your ears have just gotten so used to the loop.

‘Herd Of Trains’, the B side of ‘Living In, Now’, that came together in an hour and a half. We started off the MPC, we overdrove the kick drum in an effect and the effect was from the boss but that had no effect on it so it was just giving this crunch. It was kind of a random discovery, this crunch to the beat, and then we just took a lo-fi bass sample and looped it over and over to get that unique sound underneath it and it just enveloped from there. And then something like ‘A Month Has Passed’, that took me about 6 weeks to finish. I just don’t know what it was about it – I was just never happy with it. But eventually, when I recorded it, I still say to this day …that it’s the one track that I’m truly happy with.

When I listen back to tracks I’ve recorded I always turn my chair around and turn away from the monitors and look at the door, and it gives you a different perspective – so you are not focusing in on the speakers. In that moment you can almost think how someone else can hear it.

My biggest influence would be music itself. I’m obsessed with buying vinyl. It’s just hearing that one track that someone has done – it might be fresh and different, you are not necessarily going to want to do something the same as it, but it spurs you on to just think – ‘yeah – just get on with it’. There is so much good music out there, it’s just amazing ..and in turn, as well you think there is so much good music – what makes yours stand out? And then you think, do you want it to stand out, or do you just want to have it there? It’s nice to know it’s there – that you might have a bit of a legacy.

On Working with Labels

The biggest lesson from working with labels would expect and be able to take criticism for your music. It’s something that you do in the early days  – you put so much love, time and effort into music and someone just turns around and says no, it’s not good enough. But you have to be open and realise if you want your art to succeed in the world you have to let it go….you can’t be too obsessive about it.

I have a good working relationship with Kenny from Apartment Records, for the release with Lunar Disko I knew Barry and Andy well so I just sent them the tracks. It helps that we all became good mates over the years. With Bodytonic, I have worked with them over the years especially Trev and Conor Lynch who I have the utmost respect for – it’s nice to have another passionate crew there now. I was a big fan of the Don’t Be Afraid label – Benji is a great guy. I just said fuck it, I will send him a couple of tracks. It was during that period where it was very quiet and I had just come out of that lull of making music and I was starting to get confident in my music and to hear that he liked the music and that he enjoyed it, was really good. It comes back to my previous point, it’s good to have someone to challenge you ..there is a lot of back and forth – a lot of ‘can we do this to make it better’ and you come to the conclusion that you do want the best music out there.

The new record with Bodytonic

A favourite of mine is ‘From Me To The Rain’. I made that about eighteen months ago, it just really came together even the way the snare and the hats swing in it, it’s absolutely perfect and I love how the strings develop towards the end. Surprisingly, some tracks that you think are dead or you think are not good enough would be tracks that other people love. You are constantly surprised.

His Record Collection

My records span from some hip-hop to a lot of disco, a lot of old soul music and to classic house, Chicago house, Detroit techno into the deeper ends of techno. I have an unhealthy obsession with all Detroit based electronic music which influences my buying habits. I’m really into the Hessle Audio and Shackleton sound at the moment. UK Bass is exciting especially with the elements of techno intertwined. I find it impossible when people ask what your favourite record is – it’s like asking which is your favourite child… I can’t answer it! Every one of these records has given me a special moment. We are DJ’s first and foremost and a live act second. The question is will I, or we ever play live again..we definitely will play live again.. I’m just not sure when.


Sampling is a fine art – people like J Dilla and Moodymann have made sampling their own. There have been a couple of tracks where you attempt to sample but you have to be very skilled at it. I would like to be better at sampling but then you hear people like Terrence Dixon who I read doesn’t agree with sampling culture – it makes you think beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder. That’s what is so amazing about electronic music. Some people have a real talent for it, a real ear for it, and hopefully, it’s something I can work on in the future.

The Community Found in Music

The scene is very supportive, but because it’s small it’s almost a victim of its own restriction as well. There is only so much that can happen in a country this small or in a city like Dublin,  especially when things are restricted.

Again it’s great that the clubs are selling out every weekend but part of me thinks maybe the big clubs and the big names are not the way forward. It’s great to see so many young people into music but when they look back it’s just going to be a lot of faceless nights.

It’s crazy, the amount of people we have met over the years and you hold friendships with them. I have also now have a monthly show on Dublin Digital Radio –  it’s amazing how they are opening boundaries and are harbouring an amazing aspect of togetherness.

There is so much good music coming through now but it feels good but this country is not nurturing the talent like it should. These draconian licensing laws, you have 3 or 4 hours and that’s it. How can a DJ even build his own set in an hour, hour and a half? I hope we get traction with this ‘Give Us the Night’ programme. Realistically there is so much talent in this country – but there are not enough venues. There are not enough venues, not enough hours to play to develop a scene..therefore so many talented producers just give it up. You can see it over the years and why it happens and how it happens. I think it’s just time to change that, we need to nurture what we have here.

The Future

This year I want to get more music out than I ever did – there are a couple of things planned. I feel like it’s a good period, it’s a good time for me making music personally, I feel like this year could be something different. I’m also going to continue with my DDR show that I’m thoroughly enjoying.


My idea of success has gotten more realistic since our first record was released. Success is skewed in a way because success can be playing to 10,000 people on a weekend or playing in a different country every weekend, or it can be knowing your music is getting out there. I’ve always had this idea that maybe you might not become international, become mainstream, become big…but there is that one time where you think that your track was played by a DJ somewhere and there was someone on the dancefloor that had that moment –  they might be smiling ..and you get a bit of solace in that. Maybe that’s the best way to judge success.

It’s frustrating too because the way the internet is today –  it’s so full. You have to sponsor your posts on Facebook for them to be seen and that’s just wrong. There is nothing wrong with that and I would never rule it out, but it just goes against the idea of being 17 years old and going into a record shop and discovering a record, looking up that artist and finding more of their records. Now there is so much good music released – which is great, but it’s very hard to balance that promotion aspect because you are not just a DJ or producer you are now a promoter and agent and a manager. Part of me just wants to be in the studio making music, I don’t want to be that guy that tries to sell himself because it stands against what I want to do with music. But then you want to see people come and see you and you want to have gigs.

There is not a lot I could change going back to those early years because the journey I went on good and bad has helped shaped my music, your sound develops over periods of bad shit and good shit in your life or just music in general.

But my advice to anyone starting out would be definitely develop your own sound. Don’t do it by the numbers house music, deep house, or thumping techno music…just jam with your machines and come up with ideas and don’t be afraid to develop them.

Ask people for advice or their help. The mixing end of things is important – it doesn’t have to be a perfect clean mix, to be honest, I think that’s a good thing –  if you have that bit of edge in your mix. A bit of distortion on the hi-hats or whatever or the low end that might be a little’s giving you that signature – that taste of your own music, and that’s how I think artists can develop their sound.

Thanks to Barbara Reynolds & Liz Rooney.

This interview originally featured on

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Magical Mareh Festival

Mareh Festival – my perfect little paradise.

Imagine laid back vibes, wonderful weather and dreamy disco edits, topped off by a warm Brazilian welcome. Organised by Mareh Music, the 2017 edition was set in Cumuruxatiba, Bahia, on the North-Eastern coast. It’s a solid eight-day soiree where you can get your musical fix while enjoying that amazing aqua blue coastline.

Mareh’s luscious line-up cherry topped the tropical location. A choice combination of the peachiest international names joined local mainstays. Vincent Floyd, Idjut Boys, Lexx and Delia Gonzales aboard the Resident Advisor boat party, José Padilla, Darshan Jesrani and many more all signed up for the incredible 2017 edition.

Travel plans meant we only got to experience Mareh’s first 3 days – but what an incredible 3 days was had. Here are some of our memorable Mareh moments:

Rafael Cancian

Mareh was spread out over a number of lush locations, beachside Bar De Praia was where we had our first Mareh moves. We were welcomed by founder of About Disco Records Rafael Cancian for a solid beachside boogie full of the finest disco, standout soul, and fantastic funk.

Barbara Boeing:

Alter Disco collective and Gop Tun digger Barbara Boeing was another opening night knockout – she literally knocked my Haviana’s off. I found my hips zig-zagging to her set of bold selections and big Brazilian bass lines, and swapped shoulder dancing for salsa shapes.

Beats In Space Boat Party:

The Beats in Space boat party has become an annual event on the Mareh calendar – and for very good reason. Captained by Tim Sweeney and Rub-n-Tug’s Eric Duncan….our deck turned dancefloor was an outrageous aquatic adventure. A tropical, tune-filled, taps afff trip!

Mr Mendel:

After our afternoon at sea, Mareh went Dutch with Mr Mendel on closing duties. As per, Mendel brought heavy, heart felt heat  – while working those luring lush levels. We got sentimental with Sylvester, nostalgic with Peven Everett and dreamy during Ish.   

Mark Seven:

On our final night of Mareh the festivities moved to Reveioka for Tahira, Wolf Music and Mark Seven. Set on another stunning Bahian beach, surrounded by palm trees – this was my musical version of a death row meal. Mark Seven cast 101 emotions over 3 hours in the neon disco dome – there were tears, twists and triumphs. Seven is not just a champion record collector but a master of time: dropping ‘Night Dancer’ as the sun began peeking up through the coconut trees. This was Mareh at its most magic.


A visit to Brazil is an absolute must, and if you go, you simply have to make it to Mareh Festival. Etched on my heart forever  <3


Thanks to Felipe Gabriel for the photos. 

This article originally appeared on

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Dublin Digital Radio

Mainstream commercial radio has long dominated Dublin’s FM band. A small section of alternative and pirate radio stations such as Radio Nova, Jazz FM, and Power FM offered a satisfying substitute for predictable playlists, colourless content and advert overkill. While the major pirate stations have all but disappeared over the last ten years, following massive clampdowns or burnout, the advent of internet radio and podcasting has brought about a rock steady recovery for alternative stations. Dublin is once again all ears.

Dublin Digital Radio (DDR) launched as “a platform for groups that are underrepresented in current mainstream media”. With a diverse, sturdy schedule, consistently promoted via killer illustrated artwork (by Aoife Davis), they are on a musical mission to “break the mold with the medium of radio” and 9 months in,  have succeeded in acquiring audiences and harnessing diverse hosts.

DDR does not want to be a clique, a boy’s club or to be stifled by genres or bureaucracy. The station was founded by four but is maintained by the solid gold volunteers who continuously contribute valuable time and manpower.

We sat down with DDR founders Brian, Simon, Sean, and Breen and some of their regular hosts at Jigsaw (DDR’s physical and spiritual home) to hear more about the Dublin Digital Radio story.


The station has evolved into a very different beast to what we originally thought it was going to be –  in a great way. We started broadcasting in October 2016 but wheels started to get in motion in early June  – that’s when we really started to talk about it… it was an idea for years before that.

Together is Better

The whole idea from the start was to get different people from various music scenes together, that’s definitely been my favorite thing  – meeting people who I never knew existed. You meet someone who plays Dub in a bar on a Sunday, you never knew that before and all of a sudden he’s doing a show here.

We wouldn’t have gotten going without building a community around us early on. At the start we were asking people do you know where we can get a desktop computer or a mixer or do you know anyone that might be interested in a radio show, or do you know where we can get a space? So by talking to people and delving out into our own communities, we were able to build it – it was very much a word of mouth.

Programming wise the only things we say no to are things that there is already an abundance of, no one wants a station of just house and techno. But other than that –  we are always an open book and open door.

Our House, Our Home

We were really lucky, all we need is a space the size of a cupboard to operate the studio in. However, having our studio in Jigsaw allows us to operate both online and to meet our community through regular DDR events and parties in their downstairs space, here you can bring everyone together. We are so lucky, it’s so central, there are no time or noise limits.

The hardest thing we are continuing to deal with is finance, the only thing that’s holding us back from doing most things like buying better gear is having cash. Every party is a fundraiser, no one makes any money from this, every cent we earn goes back into the station.  

Let’s Get Political

One of the days that got the best feedback was the day Cathy organised for International Women’s Day (Strike 4 Repeal). Dj’s like Kate Butler, Aoife Nic Canna, Dandelion took part – they are all pirate radio heads who were dying to get back on. Listening to it that morning, it felt like an outlet for something that’s happening in Dublin….they are not going to get coverage on RTE or coverage anywhere else  – which it didn’t.

Lots of other media platforms are scared to piss someone off, whereas you have the freedom here to do whatever you want to do which is the best thing.  

Social Responsibility

I would hope that inspired other women to get involved with radio. For example, The Gash Collective workshops that we facilitated a few months ago (offering women vinyl, CJD and production workshops) were full within a couple of days – it was all women doing the workshops and on the after-party lineup in Wigwam.


Future plans? To keep going as we are going and see where it takes us. You see these pirate radio stations that do a couple of years and then they fall to the wayside, so I think longevity itself is a goal. I think how you do that is consistent quality radio, good organization, and getting fresh faces involved every now and again to stay relevant.

The worst thing in the world would be if Jigsaw closed, it would be hard to find another home that would be as accommodating, it wouldn’t have the same atmosphere.

Jill Woodnutt

* I’m Jill Woodnutt from Dublin – my show is Staxx Lyrical. I play old school, underground & independent hip-hop along with some jazz, soul, downtempo and R&B.

* DDR is an inclusive platform for people to share their tastes, ideas and opinions. It gives full creative freedom to all the show hosts which is what I enjoy about it. DDR is important because it lets listeners hear uncensored discussions and music that might not otherwise get played on Irish radio. It’s ran by people who volunteer their time and effort to let listeners hear what is genuinely exciting to them and I feel listeners really connect to that. DDR also runs different events to interact with the community – like the recent DDR X GASH Collective female music workshops.  

* The station has been growing nicely since it started and I hope it continues to do that ..I’ve started to do more interviews and discussions which has been fun – I’m currently lining up some more guests for the coming months.

Emily Carson

* I’m Emily Carson from Dublin. Each week on my show ‘Vocal‘ I pick a famous female artist (usually one that was at her peak in the 80s/90s) and do a retrospective of their music, why they caught the public’s imagination so much and what issues faced them as women during the period they became famous.

*It’s been an amazing experience to meet so many new people and collaborate. Cathy Flynn (host of Getting Away With It) organised a full 24 hours of female-led programming for International Women’s Day in aid of Strike4Repeal and it was both radical in its content and was a worthwhile opportunity to work together with other women. The day turned out great and I was really proud to be a part of it, the buzz in the studio on the night was also deadly.

* Seeing DDR come together so quickly, with such a swell of support from people who are all giving their time and expertise for free is a really positive reflection on Dublin. While there’s been so much discussion in the media of bias or the bizarre requirement for ‘balance’ in some debates it’s really refreshing to see a space where new and unheard voices can shine, unfettered by outside influences or parameters.

* I’d love to see the station get more subscriber support through their Patreon and for the studio to get equipment donations etc so the broadcast quality is as high as possible. The founders have great ambitions and a great ethos and I really hope the whole thing goes from strength to strength. I’ve really enjoyed researching and working on my show it but I’m going to give it a few month’s rest while my day job gets a bit mad for festival season. I’m planning to return to it in July – maybe with an entirely new concept.

Gib Cassidy

* I’m Gib Cassidy – originally from Wexford, but living in Dublin 6 for many years.

* During The Elastic Witch Show I play a fairly broad range of stuff – I guess the show is primarily known for 80s post-punk, minimal synth, coldwave and all the stuff that those genres have influenced.

* DRR is a vital, much needed and true underground/DIY radio station. I never listen to commercial radio but I listen to loads of other shows on DDR.

* I think all cities benefit from having a DIY radio station. You’ll find great local radio stations in cities all over Europe – why not Dublin? There’s quite a considerable community vibe, pretty solid political element and above all though, is the music! So much great stuff that would never be played on commercial, playlisted radio.

* I’m going to keep plugging along every second Monday afternoon.. I’d eventually like to get more guests in,  I’ve had a few already and it’s always been good fun. My 75-year-old Mum even texted me one time to say she was listening in and enjoying the show down in Wexford. I was playing fairly banging techno at the time!

Cathy Flynn

* I’m Cathy Flynn from Swords, Co Dublin, now living in Phibsborough,.

* My show is ‘Getting Away With It’, is every second Saturday 3-4pm. I play Indie/Alternative, post-punk, 80s and 90s one-hit wonders, Manchester bands, acid house, psych, synth…(whatever I want). My show has been described as “great music to clean to house to”.

* DDR is a great example of collective organising, and is a real alternative voice in Dublin’s music scene and media landscape – there is so many different kinds of music and shows and people. The sheer amount of variety in DDR is what is best about it to me. On a personal level, I am delighted to finally have an opportunity to be involved in running a radio station.

* I hope DDR continues to grow and be interesting. I also hope we get to throw more parties & host some gigs. I also hope to support other organisations & movements like we did with Strike 4 Repeal with our 24 Hours of Women’s Voice’s  day. Personally, I would like to start djing parties/nightclubs, which I haven’t done since a brief dalliance back in the day. I would also like to produce some documentary shows.

Brian Mc Namara

* I’m Brian McNamara-  originally from Glasnevin, Dublin but moved to Galway when I was around five years old, returning to the bright lights of the big shmoke at the tender age of eighteen.

* I usually DJ under the name ‘Breen’ and my show on DDR is called ‘Beneath The Bricks w/Breen

*My show usually has a bit of everything from ambient, jazz, soul, afrobeat, highlife to some more heavier bits but in general I use the radio show to play stuff I don’t really get a chance to play in da cloob.

* My favourite thing about DDR is that it’s grown into a platform and a space for all different types of people to hang out, exchange music, give advice, discuss ideas and all that. There are people from different music scenes all hanging out together now which is great. It’s also been nice to see people get gigs off the back of starting a show and seeing people with DDR beside their names on the gig posters. Without sounding like a massive dickhead, it does have that community/family feel, at least for me it does anyway.

* Hopefully DDR is providing something different to Dublin in terms of giving a platform to people, music, cultures etc. that otherwise wouldn’t have had a platform to showcase their talents. I think (hope) we are contributing to the scene we have going here and if not we’re trying our best anyway. We also throw the odd party so I think that counts for something.

* I’d like to see the station continue to grow the way it has been for the last eight months and increase the diversity of shows on offer. We are trying to increase our listenership, the broadcasting quality and the equipment we have but these things take time and money. Hopefully, we can convince more people we are doing something worthwhile. Most importantly I’d like the station to continue delivering consistent quality radio to all the listeners. In terms of my show, I just want to keep sharing all the great music I find. Simple as that.

You too can be part of Dublin Digital Radio’s community. Listen live, listen back on their website or do contribute to their Patreon which helps cover basic costs. Every cent will help sustain and support this much needed Dublin station.

This article originally appeared on

Pics by Killian Broderick & Greg Purcell

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New Jackson’s City

David Kitt has always immersed himself in all genres of music, which can be heard on releases under his own name. But following ‘The Nightsaver’ in 2009, Kitt realised he had to alter his artistic outputs. He found that merging all his musical influences into one channel was creatively exhausting so he sidestepped to a new project he would call New Jackson. This new avenue allowed Kitt to focus his love for electronic music on New Jackson, while his singer-songwriter work remained under his David Kitt flag. Ironically, by separating the two, he created unity – and has never been busier, with this year seeing the release of ‘Yous’ under David Kitt and ‘From Night To Night’ his debut New Jackson LP.

From the cosmic chaos of Found The One, the subtle smash from Blaze All Day, the intriguing and enchanting Of A Thousand Leaves and the comforting rhythms of the title track, he doesn’t just channel this creativity, he completely owns it.

Key to creating the New Jackson sound was the purchase of an SP 1200 sampler. Kitt explains “It’s a sound I’ve tried to get close to for almost half my life now and the only way to really nail it was to get the machine itself. It’s featured on so many of my favourite records by the likes of Premier, RZA, MF Doom, Daft Punk, Moodyman and Theo Parrish”

I sat down with Kitt to talk creativity, staying focused and what Dublin means to him ahead of his album launch in Dublin on the May Bank Holiday Weekend.

On the New Jackson sound

It’s been a gradual movement since day one, my first release was an instrumental, primarily electronic release and that is nearly 20 years ago, so it’s always been there. If you listen to The Nightsaver, it’s fairly obvious the signpost leading to this album. There are one or two songs in particular that could almost be on the New Jackson album, and there are a couple of songs on New Jackson that could be on The Nightsaver.

Why he’s most creative at night time

I’m just a bit of a vampire – a vocational insomniac. I remember Leonard Cohen saying something like not wanting the day to do down in debt, where you reach that point where you still haven’t got anything from the day and refuse to be beaten.

Overcoming creative blocks and staying motivated

I find that exercise helps you with procrastination, that you run it out of you, you get through the noise. When you come back you have dealt with some of the stuff, rather than having 4 hours of sitting looking at something. It’s a balance.

Even younger people asking me ‘do you have any advice’, it’s just about showing up really. I put in 50-60 hours a week to music most weeks, and that’s really all it is – just showing up. 

His creative process

It’s both structured and playful, there is a thing that Seamus Heaney said about writing poems, that you write your way into something, and then you write your way out of it. And I always find that the more you get on the way in, the better – the easier your job is. I spend a lot of time trying to think of ways to where I will get as much as possible on the way in, because the way in is the initial rush, excitement, the creativity of the eureka moment – when you can kinda see it, but then, actually finishing it…if you don’t get enough on the way in finishing it can be very difficult because it’s not as fun, playful or exciting..and it can take months to finish.

Discovering new sounds and influences

Right now is as good a time for new and old music as I have ever known. They are just reissuing all sorts of weird and wonderful stuff from the past. Undiscovered stuff, and all manner of amazing stuff that maybe wouldn’t have found an audience in its time. With that you have a lot of really exciting new music, like Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, that really blew me away. Having All City as a record shop is a good one for going in, they know your taste and they can recommend stuff. Do I dig in shops or online? It’s a bit of both. I have a couple of sites and blogs that I go to regularly, but you can’t beat going into a record shop, it’s still the best way.

On his studio

It’s a combination of new and old – it’s mainly hardware like old drum machines and samplers, and then some newer modular bits, bits of electron stuff and a lot of old synths and some more modern digital stuff. It’s a hybrid of new and old really and I’m trying to bring some newer sequencing approaches to older equipment, and ultimately trying to make as much of it bespoke and have as much of your personality in it as possible.

On Dublin Bay being the backdrop to his studio

I remember when I was 16 or 17 being in Sandymount and thinking “one day”. My parents were always slagging me saying “you haven’t made a penny but you yet have managed to live in Sandymount”. It was a really, really magical time. Just felt so lucky to be staring at the sea and across Dublin Bay. I think ultimately, everything about the house, my housemates were big music fans, there were records everywhere, you would be working on a track and you would come down and someone would be playing a jazz record that was in the same key and you would think I’ve to sample that. You would be straight back up, and there was this amazing library of music and a constant flow of interesting people coming through the house. And then the view itself, I had a listen back to some of the David Kitt stuff that I did when I was there, songy stuff and you can really hear it lyrically.

What Dublin means to him

With the city, it’s a love/hate thing – it’s where you are from and as soon as you are away from it even for more than a month you miss it so bad. Sometimes when you are here it can be too small, and you can’t get away from yourself or your history or your ghosts on every second corner, but I think the overriding feeling is one of massive love. It’s an amazing place, and you appreciate it more as you get older.

When he finally got that SP 1200 sampler

It was a very big moment, I borrowed one …I’ve always heard it on records and thought “oh my god how do you get that sound” and tried to get it with sample banks that you buy for Ableton or different filters and plugins and stuff like that. It was an aesthetic that really influenced my work but I never quite nailed it because I didn’t have the actual machine itself. I borrowed one from Paudi Ahern, just to make sure because I wasn’t going to buy one because they are quite expensive, I wasn’t going to buy it just on spec. And literally the first day it did exactly what I hoped it would do. I use it every day and it just brings me great joy.

On his other influences for ‘From Night to Night’

It’s a long journey, it goes back all the way to being an 18-year-old going to see Billy Scurry in the Temple of Sound…It’s not like it’s a retro record or anything, it’s a fresh take on some stuff that’s been with me a long time.

Why ‘From Night To Night’ was chosen and the title track

It just summed up the album as a whole. It came right in the middle of making the record, it was after my first time playing in Panorama Bar and there were a lot of friends over for it and my girlfriend and stuff, and it was just one of those magical weekends that kinda sticks out.

I suppose there are certain things with New Jackson that I already feel like I’ve kinda ticked a few boxes, that I wasn’t expecting to ever tick. I’m playing there for the third time in a few weeks, and there is a part of me that wonders how long I can sustain the nocturnal approach, and so and also I kinda was very aware that this is going to be my last time living in a house with a bunch of music freaks. I thought it was a good title – from the night shift to the night people, to my fellow vampires and to the night itself.

The album’s artwork

I bought that picture from an exhibition of Rich Gilligan’s about 8/9 years ago, it’s a polaroid actually of his wife’s parents house in West Kerry. I was struggling a bit with the artwork and I was just sitting at home one day and I just thought that’s it..that’s the cover. And Donal Thornton did this thing with the design that really lifts it as well. It’s a lovely collaboration between everyone. Rich has just done a video for Anya’s Piano, and he’s someone that I’ve been working with for a long time, he did the cover of The Nightsaver too. I’m just really happy for it to be him. It’s one of those things that wasn’t that difficult in the end.


On approaching All City Records

I’d been trying to get Olan (All City label boss) to release something of mine for a while, so I was like “ok I really have to make my case” and I think Olan really thought I was giving him stuff in a really willy-nilly way – him and maybe 8 other labels, and seeing what stuck. But it was actually genuinely head and shoulders above any other labels that I wanted to work with and a lot of that is just instinct really. So when you actually start working with someone that’s when you see what it’s all about and it’s been a very fruitful relationship.

It’s actually the first time I think in my whole time working within the music business where I have been more or less left to my own devices and completely trusted as an artist. And there is a level of respect between both people that makes things simple and fruitful; and we actually got quite a few releases planned for David Kitt stuff, New Jackson stuff and another new project that I’m working on. The Lock In is me and Tim Wheeler from Ash and an old friend of mine Conor Creaney, it’s a lot of synths kinda stuff that we did about 3 or 4 years ago that I’ve been sitting on that I just sent to Olan, he really loved it we are going to be releasing some of it on All City Records soon.

Thanks to Sarah Doyle for the fantastic images

Find out more about New Jackson on Facebook and support them on Bandcamp here. 

This article originally appeared on

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Dublin Ghost Signs

We all know every city has a heartbeat, but have you ever heard your city speak?


Ghost Signs are old building signage – subtle, silent souvenirs and glimpses into a city’s past. They represent changing times, trends and trading patterns.

They are the little clues to how the city and its people evolved, reminding us that we are one part of a long story.

Dublin Ghost Signs is dedicated to ‘capturing Dublin’s history through its old and fading signs’, recording signs that are often replaced, covered over or forgotten. I met up with founder Emma Clarke to find out more.


When I moved to Dublin (I’m from Cork originally) I used to be on just to get information on things. One of the threads on the Dublin City forum was Ghost Signs from Dublin and I started following that and spotting them as I was wandering around the city.

I started taking photographs of them and soon started to realise that they would disappear. There was one, in particular, that was up by Portobello College at the Georgian Restaurant so I took a photo of that one day and about a week later it was covered in hoarding.

That was when I started thinking that there was more to this.

I would find information about the signs that I was taking photographs of in bits and pieces, here and there, so I thought it would be great to bring that info and my photos together in one place.

As the site grew I realised I was documenting way more signs than I had time to fully research so the site has become more of a catalogue now, recording these signs for posterity, with basic information, location and that sort of thing, sometimes linking out to other sites.

At the same time as I was working on Dublin Ghost Signs, Antonia Harte was working on her book. We met at the launch and I was really happy to see her book out because she has done amazing research into about 50 signs around the city, with a lot of nice anecdotes and photographs as well. That’s a great resource to have.

When researching, I do an initial Google search. Often nothing comes up so then I check the street directories, I check the National Library in Trinity Library, I look at Antonia’s book, and in the Thoms Street Directory.

Dublin Ghost Signs really took off on Instagram. It’s a great way to raise awareness and it’s where I get most of my traffic from. It’s taken on a bit of a life of its own with people posting their own shots under the tag #dublinghostsigns. I think I’ve only put up around 700 images but there are over 1500 on that hashtag which is great. People come on and say ‘I never noticed them before’ or ‘now I can’t stop seeing them!’, which is great to hear

The wisdom of the crowd online is really useful too. I have had a few times where I’ve taken a picture of a sign in bad condition, have been unable to make it out, have posted it on Twitter and in 2 minutes someone has deciphered it!

Loads of people have also shared their memories of the signs with me in the comments sections. I think this is really important, to record this kind of social history, the sort that doesn’t get typically recorded in the history books.

Some of my favourite signs are the hand-painted ones. On Parnell Street, above the Post Office, there is The Well Known Boot and Shoe Retailer. I haven’t been able to find out any information about that but it’s one of my favourites because when you walk down the steep hill on North Great Georges Street it’s there in front of you in full view.

I understand the need to modernise but conserving these signs is an issue. There is some effort on the part of DCC and developers to conserve old buildings and ghost signs but I do think they could do more. Bewleys on Westmoreland Street is an interesting example of this – it’s now a Starbucks but they were ordered to keep the old mosaics and sign.  It’s great that they can both keep the building in use commercially but also retain the links to the past.

McBirneys (now Supervalu on Aston Quay) and the old Switchers signs on Brown Thomas are further good examples of protecting the building’s history and hopefully Clery’s on O’Connell Street – one of Dublin’s longest established family businesses, an iconic building, on a street which has so much history yet has seen so much decline and bad decision making – will receive the same special treatment in its upcoming redevelopment.

Emma’s Favourite Signs

Alex’s, George’s Street Upper & Stoneview Place, Dún Laoghaire

Alex’s was a once the “24 hour magazine king” of Dún Laoghaire. Now, pretty much all that remains of Alex is two ghost signs hand-painted on the side of the building.

Apollo House, Tara Street/Poolbeg Street, Dublin 2

I’ve always been intrigued by the Greek-style lettering of the much-hated Apollo House. Of course, Apollo House will now go down in history following the Home Sweet Home movement’s takeover of the building.

The Barley Mow, Francis Street & Mark’s Alley West, Dublin 8

The Barley Mow is a derelict pub which street artist, Fink uses as his canvas. Every time I walk past there is a different artwork adorning what would otherwise be a pretty sad building.

Beggs, Railway Road, Dalkey

I love the detail which you see in some of the doorway mosaics around Dublin such as this one in Dalkey.

J.O’G, Lower Mount Street, Dublin 2

This beautifully detailed mosaic entrance was uncovered during a refurbishment on Mount Street last year.

The Central Dairy, Stephen Street Upper, Dublin 2

This city centre shopfront regularly changes colour and purpose. One thing that always remains the same, however, is the old sign.

Williams & Woods Ltd., Loftus Lane / King’s Inn Street, Dublin 1

This fantastic corner sign is for Dublin’s old sweet factory, now home to The Chocolate Factory creative community.

The Irish Firm, Capel Street, Dublin 7

By day, you’d barely notice this sign above a sex shop on Capel Street. However, by night your eyes can’t help but be drawn to the neon ROCK shining above The Irish Firm ghost sign.

Kennan & Sons Ltd. Fishamble Street, Dublin 8

The Kennan & Sons ironworks was established on Fishamble Street in 1934. If you keep your eyes peeled as you stroll around Dublin, you’ll see their nameplate on gates and railings.

Ghost Sign, Lincoln Place, Dublin 2

I get very excited when ghost signs reveal themselves. I always hope that they can be somehow integrated into the refurbishment.

Ghost Sign, Lincoln Place, Dublin 2

Another part of the ghost sign uncovered at Lincoln Place in 2016 – the Irish Industries Association

Weaver’s Square, Dublin 8

Peeping out from under the render of a house on Weaver’s Square is the P l of an old advertisement.

City Saw Mills, Thomas Street, Dublin 8

The City Saw Mills (Kelly’s Timber) arch was originally built in 1881 and was a restoration project undertaken by Chadwick’s Builders Providers and supported by Dublin City Council’s Shopfront Improvement Scheme for the Liberties and the Built Heritage Investment Scheme. It would be great to see more initiatives like this one!

St. Patrick’s Female National School, North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7

I lived close to Smithfield Square for about five years and spent plenty of time in the area, but only noticed this sign after I’d moved away and happened to be there one summer’s evening!

J. Tallon, Fairview Strand, Dublin 3

I love this old shopfront and faded ghost sign in Fairview.

The Moy, Dorset Street Upper, Dublin 1

This is one of my all-time favourite old and forgotten signs in Dublin. I’ll be genuinely upset if it disappears. I love everything about it – the lettering, the colours, the broken light. I wonder what it’s like behind the shutters….

Thomas Keogh Family Grocer. Tea, Wine & Spirit Merchant, Leonard’s Corner, Dublin 8

Following Thomas Keogh’s death in 1912, he was remembered in the Freeman’s Journal as “a man of keen judgment, successful in business, and at all times prepared to give assistance and advice to those engaged in the [licensed] trade”.

W. & R. Jacob & Co. Limited, Bishop Street, Dublin 2

The lettering of the old Jacobs Biscuit Factory sign was repainted last year and it has given it a new lease of life.

McBirney & Co. Ltd., Aston Quay, Dublin 2

A few months ago, I noticed that the I in this doorway had come away and a few cigarette butts had made their way into the space. I was happy to see recently that it had been restored to its former glory.

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