From Nine Inch Nails and Ministry through to Nelly Furtado and air piano, the Berlin-based Irishman talks us through his formative tracks.
What’s the first record you ever bought?
The first record I ever bought – or rather requested for my birthday in 87 or 88 – was Michael Jackson’s Bad. I remember loving ‘Smooth Criminal’ on the radio. My stepdad copied the LP onto a tape for me so I could listen to it in my room. I played that tape to death and I was heartbroken about two years later when we moved house and I lost it somehow. For some reason I never told my parents – if I had, they would have just copied it again for me! I still have the vinyl.
The first time you remember hearing electronic music?
My first exposure was in the 90s to artists like The Prodigy, Chemical Brothers and Daft Punk. The kind of stuff that made it onto the charts. I didn’t like it much at the time. I was very much into metal, alternative, grunge, folk – many forms of guitar-based music. It was in 1999 or 2000 that I first went to proper raves and parties and heard underground electronic music. At first it was stuff like French funk house which one of my new college friends played. But it was when I heard proper techno for the first time that I really got hooked. Techno has always been my first love. Of course it was the most obvious record of all time but ‘Knights of the Jaguar’ was the one that stuck with me. I actually was at a house party in the horrors in a corner when I heard it first. I didn’t know who it was and I didn’t have the energy to ask. However the melody stuck in my head and kept repeating for months afterwards until finally I stumbled across it randomly in Optimal in Munich, where I was living for the summer at the time.
Your favourite ever record?
Always a tough question but I think just for sheer sentimental value and the fact that I still listen to it now and love it, Nine Inch Nails – The Downward Spiral. I remember buying it maybe a few months after it came out. It’s an epic journey from start to finish. The production aesthetic and construction influences me to this day. Trent has gone off the boil a bit in recent years. I only like bits and pieces from 2000 onwards but I still hold him in high regard.
As for electronic music, I have various all-time favourites – some obvious, some less so. I’ll go with one of the latter for this:
Ian O’Brien under his Querida alias. I just love the melodies and the dense percussion. It’s so evocative.
The guaranteed floor-filler?
Shed – ‘Well Done 033472 Edit’. Probably my favourite thing that he’s ever done. I almost invariably drop this at every DJ gig and it never fails to get a good response. It’s just a perfect dancefloor record.
Also I like to drop Kiko – ‘Monique (David Caretta Remix)’ a lot. An absolute bomb from 2002. Still sounds fresh. The bassline is killer.