MOTZ – Eomac Interview: ‘DJing is an artform’

Eomac is one of Ireland’s most forward-thinking and experimental DJs and when you see him behind the decks you can be guaranteed that zero fucks will be given. His eerie productions have attracted the likes of labels such as Stroboscopic Artefacts, Bedouin Records, Trilogy Tape and Killekill amongst others and he has also gained acclaim as one half of Lakker (with Dara Smith aka Arad). A jack-of-all-trades would be an apt description of Eomac’s many artistic endeavors; label boss of his own Eotrax, radio host, DJ, producer, artist and musician all fit within his job description. In his latest creative foray on Eotrax he has invited a eclectic host of musicians into his studio, ranging from techno maverick Paul Temple to multi-instrumentalist Seán Carpio. In this interview we tried to get into Eomac’s head just like he has gotten under our skin so we could understand what exactly the role of DJ and producer means to him.

1. How did the move from Berlin to Dublin influence your career and what is your diagnosis of clubbing culture in Ireland at the moment?

I left Berlin when I needed to – I had gotten all I could (or all I wanted) from that particular experience and needed some fresh inspiration. So the move back to Dublin gave me the space to reset and reconnect and prepare for the next things. It helped push forward my new projects – like the Eotrax label, collaborations and experimentation in my own music.

To be honest I’m a bit out of touch with Irish club culture at the moment! I’m staying outside the city, in the peaceful countryside and working on new projects and material. I imagine the scene is as it has been for a long time – small yet vibrant with a great energy, but hampered by licensing laws and lack of venues.

2. Where do you position yourself within the DJ as an artist (creates for himself/herself) or DJ as performer (creates for an audience) debate?

I’m on the side of a DJ as an artist. DJing is an artform, and my favourite DJing experiences have been when the DJ has been unconcerned about the dancefloor / audience and simply played music with feeling and honesty. For me, in any artform, if the primary concern is what people think of it then it loses some essential part of itself.

3. When you produce a track do you intend to produce techno, or do you simply produce a track that happens to comprise of techno elements?

Definitely the latter. I have never seen myself as a techno producer. The notion of sticking to one style / tempo / genre / feeling is too restrictive for me. Techno is an influence – particularly in the tracks I was making a few years ago – but it is only one of many influences.

4. Was there a turning point in your early days of DJing and producing when you realised that this was something you could do professionally?

I don’t think there was one particular moment. It was more like a growing feeling that this is what I want to do with my life. Not just DJing, but music in general. Making music, DJing, performing live. I do remember hearing Shed’s ‘Estrange’ (from the ‘Shedding the Past’ album) in 2008 and I had a clear vision of me performing in front of a huge crowd and playing that track. That vision inspired me and helped set me on a path, and it was around that time I decided I would do music full time. That track is still very special for me.

5. How do you cope with writer’s block?

I’m not really sure… I think I cope in different ways depending on how I am feeling. I used to bang my head against the proverbial brick wall and stay in my studio for long unfruitful hours.

And that rarely (if ever!) worked. A pretty bad idea. Now I try to just step away from it and do something else. Something productive like reading an inspiring book or spending time in nature (but too often I waste this time online or on social media). Sometimes if I’m having writer’s block in terms of a track I might just make some sounds and not worry about the track. Or I listen to other music. I suppose I just try not to worry about it and do other things until the inspiration or desire to write comes back. And I trust that it will.

6. We loved the video accompanying your track ‘Temple of Jaguar’ in which you disrobe and perform ritualistic like dancing. Unlike other musicians DJs and producers tend to seek obscurity behind monikers, advertising their music with artwork rather than their own image. In this video you have made yourself the subject and used your body as a form of expression. Can you tell us about your thought process leading to this?

Thank you! I’m happy that you like the video! The thought process behind this was quite simple. I had written the track – which I intended to be quite raw and primal – and when I listened back I had a vision of me dancing like an animal in a dark space. The entire video and choreography formed in my head as I listened. That had never happened me before so I knew I had to do it and make the video. Also around this time I was feeling a bit uninspired making tracks, so making the video and dancing in it was a chance to be creative in a different way, which felt amazing.

7. You perform the dance to ‘Temple of Jaguar’ semi nude and you strip down fully at the end without sexually objectifying yourself. Do you think a female producer would have been able to do the same?

Yes, a female producer would have been able to do the same, but I think the reaction would be different. I think far more would be made of the nudity and people would sexualise and objectify her in the way that they wouldn’t (and didn’t) with me. There would probably be disparaging comments and harsh judgements made (remember Nina Kraviz ‘Between the Beats’?). Women are treated much more harshly than men in pretty much every way, but especially when it comes to their bodies and sexuality. Which is clearly not ok, and needs to change.

8. You collaborated with Paula Temple for you latest release on Eotrax. Tell us more.

Paula is a good friend, we’ve been label mates at R&S (through the Lakker project) and we’re also mutual fans, so it felt very natural to go into the studio together. We had talked about it for a while, and so when the timing was right we got together and things clicked pretty much straight away. The first session we did we basically had the track ‘Kralle’ finished. It was just before this time that I had the idea for the collaboration series on Eotrax, so it made sense for the tracks with Paula to be a part of that.

9. It must have been an amazing experience collaborating with the formidable Paula Temple because you take each other to creatives places you would never explore as individuals. What did working with Paula teach you about your own creative process?

Yes it was! She’s amazing. It was really inspiring to see and hear how she works. One of the things I love about Paula’s music is her sound design, so it was great to get to see how she creates her sounds.

I learned that I often rush things. I’m always in a rush to finish things, to get to an end point, to have a finished track. Then I rush to the next one! But Paula’s focus (and work ethic) really showed me how beneficial it can be to take your time, to extrapolate ideas, search for the right sound, the right melody, rearrange, edit, restructure..

10. What is the weirdest sound bite you’ve ever recorded to include in a track?

Hmmm, good question! I made a noise track out of my family’s cat’s purring once. It’s not that weird a sound, but the track turned out well.

11. Was there any moment in your career that was pivotal to you becoming the DJ and producer you are today?

Another good question… I’m not really sure if there was a single moment, or, like I was saying above, it was a gradual journey comprising many influential moments that grew from a love of rave music as a kid to music becoming all that I wanted to do as a grown up. But the vision that accompanied Shed’s ‘Estrange’, and the whole time of my life from 2008 to 2009 – when I started to take music and DJing really seriously and realised that electronic music that was my main passion – was a definite turning point. It was the time in my life when I was the most clear about what I wanted to do, and once I had decided it, things started falling into place.

MOTZ – Eomac Interview: ‘DJing is an artform’

Eleanor Brooks

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