It could have been in his home town of Dundalk, or somewhere between Manchester and London, or even perhaps in India that Trick Mist (a.k.a Gavin Murray) and I decided to meet. We instead sat down in a café in Cork, his current residence. After two years of hard work and travels, the electronic musician and songwriter brings us his debut album Both Ends, an electronic and experimental blend of lyrics, traditional Irish music, and recorded sounds.
You must have went through a number of different feelings throughout these two years
Absolutely. Two years is a long time. The thing about the album was that it kind of punctuated a strange journey for me. For the first period I was at home. It was a period of change in my life. I was living in the UK for six years, and then I moved home. I lived with my parents to save money for travelling. During that time there was a lot of anticipation for the trip. And the second big part was actually being away, in different countries. And that obviously brought a lot content.
Travel is a very important part of the music that you make, and you’ve lived in different cities. Is it the places themselves, or is it the displacement that inspires you?
It’s a bit of both really. Places definitely, but it’s the people and the things that happen in the places that are interesting. I guess for the album that’s been a new thing. For my previous work displacement was maybe slightly more of a thing. But it’s always there you know. Jeez, I don’t know where I’m gonna live or end up.
Are there places actually that you would like to visit? What’s the next destination?
I’m not sure. Berlin is always one that’s been interesting and exciting. It’s meant to be amazing! There’s lot on offer, and it’s a very relaxed atmosphere. You get everything you get in London, but without the negative energy. It’s more European.
Was there a difference in the process between how you made the EP and this album?
I wasn’t used to making a huge body of work. it was my first time doing it, so it was a massive achievement for me. It was very difficult to think about how it would work as a cohesive thing. With my EP for example, each song was like a little box. That’s why I called it Jars In Rows. I started the album with that in mind, because it’s a stable process for me. But then I reached the point where I needed to just let it all blend into each other a little bit more. Usually I can describe what my songs are about quite clearly, but there are a few tracks there where I am not sure if I can do that. They just kind of came out. This is weird, it feels really right, but I don’t know if I can put pen to paper about my work to the same extent that I have always liked to.
Do you see yourself continuing that way?
I think so. See, I am very calculated and analytical. That works for me, but there is a big element in the album of marrying that with being relaxed and letting things flow. To marry the deeply thoughtful with more expressive, off the cuff, raw stuff.
The songs have a very traditional vibe, but it’s coupled with electronic music. What draws you towards these genres.
I’ve always been into electronic music. When I was in college I really got into electronic music.I studied music technology. So I got really into electroacoustic music and recording sample and manipulating them. So that process that I am still doing now began then. This is why I was drawn towards electronic. And also it is so liberating. I started playing drums, and you can do a lot in a band, but I think electronic is more suited to diversity. So that’s my vibe. In terms of traditional music, I don’t really know it, but I like it. It also has a weight, a charge. For me, it’s a nice subject matter to use.
Was there any music that helped you in the last two years. What were you listening to while making Both Ends?
I actually started listening to softer electronic music, a more relaxing sort. A couple of years ago, I was listening to more experimental electronic. Jarring stuff that would melt your head. Now I’m listening to more chilled out tunes, which is funny.
Is this something we will see in the album?
Yes, I think so. There’s a lot of tracks in it that are meditative. It’s in there big time. It’s a very unusual sounding album. Because of the material that I’m using, it can be strange and jarring at times. There are other time though where it is more atmospheric.
Both Ends will be available as a record. Why the interest in the more physical side of music?
I think having something physical is amazing. To have that in your hand is fantastic. The artwork is amazing to see, in big. That’s all a huge part of it. It’s not just a thumbnail image. It’s 12 inches. It’s a great advantage.
You do seem to enjoy visual art forms, as can be seen from the music videos and your album art.
My fiancée is an artist, and I spent a lot of time in college around artists. Most of my best pals were in art college. I’ve been surrounded by that world for a long time. It’s been a huge influence. Throughout every period of my life artists have been hanging around with me. It has always been a big feature.
On the subject of music videos, will you be producing more for the LP?
There will be one more in the new year. There will possibly be another one, I’m not certain yet. I’m still undecided on whether to do one or two more, but there definitely will be one.
How involved are you in the production of these videos?
That has changed with each project. One of the first project I did, before I even did a show, was something called ‘The Gap Series’, conceptual videos made by different artists, who didn’t work with each other. I said to them ‘You take this song and make a video. I don’t want to see it until it’s done’. I thought it would be interesting because I didn’t exist. I was just in my studio (a wardrobe in my flat at the time) and I was locked in there making this stuff. I had no visual cue, no images, no press photos. Just music. So people had to react to the music. That worked out very interestingly. There was a lot of motif that would cross over. We screened them on the launch night before the show, and out of the five videos three had mouths in them. That was really weird, that’s saying something. I don’t know what it’s saying, but it’s cool! That sort of continued for all of them apart from one which was the Two Doors Down video. I’d be a control freak outside of that, but I think with the visual stuff I’ve been lucky with the people I worked with. They get me and I get them.
What shows have you planned in the near future?
I’m playing Other Voices Music Trail in Dingle in a couple of weeks. I’m launching the album in The Spirit Store in Dundalk on the 20th of December, with Participant and Conal McIntyre. That’s my home town so it will be a lot of fun. I’m playing in Manchester in January. It will be nice to go back to where it all started! It’s been a while since I’ve been there, except a couple of months ago for a wedding, but I haven’t played a show there in a long time. I’m doing an in-store gig in January at Lion Coffee+Records in Hackney. I’m doing that with Elephant, a label mate on Pizza Pizza Records. So this will be like a Pizza Pizza showcase event.
How do you find working with Pizza Pizza Records?
Amazing. They are doing great things. I’ve known some of those guys personally over the years. It’s great to channel your resources together, and they are putting out some amazing stuff. They’ve only been in existence for a year and I will be their third album already, so they are set to keep going. It’s been a pleasure.
And finally do you have any favourite songs from Both Ends?
I really like the second last song. It was the last song that I wrote, the final piece of the jigsaw. I really like that one because it marks a different writing approach. It’s got that relaxing vibe that we were speaking about earlier, so for that reason it’s a bit of a favourite.