Dara Smith, Ian McDonnell and Rory St. John are three originators of euphonious sounds that emerged from Dublin’s electronic music scene, and migrated with ease to the musical hub of Berlin.
Nowadays, the Berlin dwelling duo of Lakker, is a different one to that which mangled venues with breakcore sets in their home town in the past, whilst Rory’s UniNerves off-shoot has given him focus on his back-to-basics techno project.
Although they have migrated both physically and musically from their beginnings, their roots are still present in their work today. Evidence of this is audible throughout this excellent instalment of the mix exchange.
Lakker: What was one memorable track / experience / gig that made you want to make music?
Rory St. John: My ear was always tuned electronic sounds I think, so it's hard to pick one track, but as an experience, this one is one that had the most effect on me:
I was already making music by this point (albeit very bad) but a friend and I got kicked out of a 'normal' club one Saturday, when I was about 18, and we ended up going into Switch on Eustace St. Dublin.
Barry Dempsey and Dean Sherry were belting out some proper techno there, my jaw hit the ground, and I was forever changed after that :)
Lakker: And why did that affect you?
Rory St. John: Up until this point I didn't really know what good techno was. I had some odd bits that I found in one of the more commercial record shops, but wasnt aware of Spindizzy and only had been into Tag a few times.
When the Phunk'd Up lads played, they would start with some housier stuff, then into full on stompers.
For a while after that I was in Switch 4 times a week.... Joe McGrath gave my first proper club gig at Damage where him, Fran Hartnett, Sunil Sharpe, Giles Armstrong and Jamie Behan showed me what proper techno was all about.
Lakker: Name a record people may be surprised you're really into.
Rory St. John: Ultravox - Vienna
Lakker: What's your favourite current track?
Rory St. John: UVB - Mixition
Lakker: If you weren't a musician, what would you be?
Rory St. John:A complete waste of space :) or maybe a Graphic Designer.
Rory St. John: You have been working together for many years now, from a band to breakcore, to now Lakker. How has the transition been over the years? Did it all happen naturally?
Lakker: It's been really easy and really natural. There's never been any sort of difficult phase. We've kind of always made what we want, when we wanted to, and then moved on if / when we got bored of a particular sound. There was never an urge or a feeling that we 'should' do a certain type of music. There was one stage, around about 2009, where we sat down and had a serious talk about where we wanted to go. Kind of like you do after a few years of being in a relationship. You need to figure out if it really has a future and what both parties want from it. We had gotten bored with a lot of the music we had been making, so we had to think about what we wanted to do next. Luckily we were both still on the same page musically, so we drew up a little manifesto that reinvigorated us and helped us move to where we are now.
Rory St. John: What has been your biggest influence over the years?
Lakker: Hard to say. But probably each other. We've learned a lot from each other at various times over the years. And I think we still do. We both still surprise each other in the studio, which is great. Also, the people immediately around us - friends and family. You can't help but be influenced positively and negatively by the people closest you.
Rory St. John: What one thing is a must on your musical Bucket List?
Lakker: Hmm. A headline slot at one of the big electronic music festivals - Sonar, Bloc, Movement...the kind of festivals we loved going to when we were younger. They were always super exciting and to play one would be a little dream come true.
Rory St. John: Both of you have separate solo projects. What's the process for differentiating between what constitutes a Lakker track or an Arad / Eomac track?
Lakker: Ian - it kind of intuitively works itself out. Usually a certain type of sound will tell me if something is better for Eomac or Lakker. Sometimes I'll have an idea and really want to hear Dara's input, so it becomes Lakker. Sometimes I have an idea and I know exactly what I want for it and I see it through to completion myself so it's Eomac. I usually just know as a track develops though, which it's better suited to. I don't like to think about it too much.
Dara - Yeah not really sure , think it will become more apparent over time , I tend to write with out any project in mind and then figure out what i,ll do with it after, some track it becomes apparent straight away some get a bit of molding.
Rory St. John: Favourite electronic Album of all time?
Lakker: Ian - The toughest question, always. My favourite is always something with real emotion for me. Off the top of my head 'Untrue' by Burial.