Thursday, 27 September 2012

Psycatron are Paul Hamill & Dave Oost Lievense, Ireland’s hottest techno act. Robin Ball talks to Paul ahead of the Socialeyes gig this Saturday

Hi Paul thanks for taking the time to answer some questions :o)

Q: How did you first get hooked onto electronic dance music, what djs were you into and what style of music were they playing?

A: I'd always been into electronic music before I became aware of actual DJ culture. I was into stuff like Art of Noise, Depeche Mode and Kraftwerk from a very early age. In 1993 I remember picking up my first mixtapes from Billy Nasty and Justin Robertson as part of the Journeys by DJs series. I also discovered Colin Dale around this time too funnily enough through a mixtape from the Evolution/Hellraiser raves that were happening in Belfast. 

Q: How did that love for the music progress into you making your own?

A: I think every DJ reaches a point where they want to discover and learn more about how the music they play is made. My mum made me go to piano lessons for a couple of years while at school, I never fully appreciated what she was trying to do for me at the time or the sacrifices she would have made to send me to lessons, but I definitely took something from those couple of years even if I didn't follow through and do all the grades. Dave and I only began working together in 2008 even though we'd been friends for years but doing our own thing. Once we started working together we realised we were both really into the same music and shared a lot of common influences. He's been running his own studio for years though.

Q: You have a residency at Shine in Belfast tell us about it?

A: Shine celebrates its 17th birthday next month with John Digweed, Julio Bashmore, Space Dimension Controller and ourselves and is the longest running club night in Ireland. Both Dave and I have been going to it right from the start as punters before Psycatron became residents around 10 years ago. It's always had an amazing vibe in the room which is just big dark room with a balcony, great sound and lighting. Because the venue is situated in the students union of Queen's University its crowd has always been a right melting pot from all over the city, this is a big part of the reason its vibe has always been amazing. It’s the only regular gig we do in Northern Ireland, partly because the guys behind it have always put on great shows and have the kind of attention to detail that always makes it a joy to play.

Q: If you were going to have a night off and go out to a club which artist / dj would you like to hear?

A: Probably Nile Rogers and his band. Went to see them a few weeks ago and they were mind-blowingly great.

Q: Do you get time to listen to other styles of music and if so what music do you take inspiration from?

A: Yes of course, this week I've been listening to a lot of The Charlatans, Devo and The Clash mainly because I started reading Tim Burgess' autobiography. I try to listen to something new every single day, not just dance music. I went through a phase a few years ago of listening to nothing but dance music, then realised how much great music I'd missed out on. Lately I've been digging deep and re-discovering some of the tracks that got me into dance music in the first place but have been somewhat left behind, stuff like the early Plastikman, Emmanuel Top, Tresor and KMS. I find a lot of music from this era far more inspirational than whatever flavour of the month is doing the rounds.

Q: You played on the 20 years of Planet E tour! How did that come about and did you enjoy it?

A: We had put a couple of singles out with Planet E and just got an email out of the blue a few days before Xmas from the label inviting us to play Berghain as part of the tour. That was the first show in a yearlong series of gigs which was a great adventure.

Q: One of our favourite releases of last year was “Stolen” a collaboration you did with Paul Woolford. How did the hook up with Paul come about?

A: We just became mates through playing each other’s music really and we invited Paul over to the studio in Belfast. The first time he came over we ended up with an EP on Cocoon and on the second visit the Hotflush record was born. He was the first collaborator we'd worked with in the same room as we'd done a few things over the net at that point, but it made a huge difference to the production process. I remember all three of us throwing everything we had into the pot; we couldn't get the ideas out quick enough. Dave was cutting up loops while Wooly programmed the 909 and I was programming delays and writing chords all at the same time. He really brought energy to the studio that brought out the best in everyone. We're planning some more bits and pieces once we get the time to schedule them in.

Q: We hear Depeche Mode’s Martin Gore is a Psycatron fan! What an honour! How do you hear about that?

A: He charted a remix we did a few years ago on Beatport which was undoubtedly one of our proudest moments. As a band they've connected with us both since we were kids in a huge way and really influenced our music over the years. To have that connection come full circle was (and still is) a massive deal for us.

Q: What projects and releases are you working on at the moment?

A: We've a new Planet E release in the pipeline we're just working on the b-side for. There's a remix coming out next month on Fools Good of this track from Jokers of the Scene we've done also. Trying to sort some time to get back into the studio with Francesco Tristano for a project we started last year and also just prepping the next releases on our label Inflyte which has been going really well. 

Q: As a dj do you play cds, vinyl or are you computer based?

A: Been through vinyl, CDs, Serato, Ableton and now using Traktor with Touch OSC on IPad. We used Traktor a few years ago but it was quite buggy back then, but the latest version has ironed out all the issues we didn't like and is rock solid. We use it in four-deck external mode which just allows a level of creativity that's not really possible with other programs. I really don't care what people use, so long as they use it well.

Q: What makes a good party for you?

A: Great sound, great music and great people.

Thanks Paul. See you on the 29th September

Interview by Robin Ball

Psycatron dj mix;