Interview: Diarmaid O Meara

Irish electronic music artist, deep into intense but soulful, atmospheric but industrial, heavy but spaced techno. As an owner of the Gobsmacked label and club-night, Diarmaid O Meara has been promoting global artists large and small through releases and underground events since 2007. We had a chance to speak with him about his cutting edge unreleased techno is unrelenting.

Hello! Thanks for your time! How would you introduce yourself to our audience?

I’m an electronic music artist, with over 400 tracks released under various monikers since 2006, mainly techno but also electronics. Also, a touring DJ, label owner and event promoter of numerous club-nights, mainly under the Gobsmacked name for techno, which began in Ireland ca. 2006 and is now situated in Berlin.

How does your creative process start?

Being a firm believer that a track should be a snapshot in time, be it on hardware or in-the-box, I always push to have the track creative recorded and sequenced within a couple of hours. Depending on the track, tweaking and mastering can go on for a few weeks, but if the main basis of the piece isn’t fully laid out within those first two hours, I usually bin it. A track needs to be started around an inspirational sound, sequence, or beat… Especially the beat for techno. A couple of the tracks in this EP were recorded in one single take using modular hardware, which was a process I used for about 18 months. It means post-recording, the track can ́t be reworked, and although this can be very frustrating if there just one or two elements that don ́tfit correctly, it is also very final and allows for the production of multiple tracks per day during an inspirational period.

The reason for this interview is your solo release on New York-based label De-Konstrukt. What can you tell us about the inspiration and its story first?

The tracks took inspiration from a number of different points. 2019 was a good year of growth for me as an artist Gobsmacked was planning and running a constant stream of the bunker and outdoor parties, alongside regular gigs and other projects. Taking a step back from the constant pressure of event organization, disconnecting from the online world, and locking myself in the underground cavern where my studio is giving me a sense of peace. De-Konstrukt has been one of my favorite labels over the years so a release with them was on the cards, and the vibes created with these tracks suit the label.

How would you describe the current situation on the global electronic scene?

It’s a disaster overall. As a promoter and DJ, it’s a very tough scenario, but also a good shake-up of the scene that is there. No-one can tell what will emerge from this in the end, however. Personally, I’m tired of seeing untalented ‘Djs’ making waves through well-manicured Instagram profiles where the music takes a second or third stage to image and politics… Also, broad management teams who promote ‘artists’ based on the image alone. The longer the current situation lingers, the less ‘industry professionals’ there will be building costs on behalf of larger artists and driving the overall commercialization of ‘techno’. The underground will never die, however, and that’s where we try and keep our heads. We are currently working on a number of hush-hush projects in Berlin to keep the culture in our vicinity alive and kicking. For those who just want to party, they will always find a way, and those of us who have spent our lives curating music events because we live the culture and aren’t simply chasing money, so will we.

When is the best time of day to be in the studio?

For me, it’s early in the morning or late at night for techno. Lying in the sun with a laptop, controller, and killer headphones for more downtempo vibes. This recent shutdown has thrown studio time on its head, however. Half of the time I don’t even know what day it is anymore as there are no sleepless weekends.

How would you describe your sound?

I get bored quickly and am constantly trying to evolve the sound in every means possible. During some periods of sharp change or emotional stress, I’ll produce fifty to a hundred tracks in a short number of months, and try to make every track as different as possible to all others. Releasing as Diarmaid O Meara, I’m always trying to push a raw, rough, warehouse-style vibe that fits into quickfire 3 deck mixes.

Tell us something more about your Audio Affair show.

Audio Affair is my way to catalog the tracks I like the most from the thousands of promos I get every month. It’s also a way to thank those artists who catch my attention and receive a play on the show, which is now close to 135 shows… So 135 hours of the newest techno I can get my hands on. Usually unreleased when broadcast, and it goes out over 20+ stations. It’s been my second music baby after Gobsmacked, keeps my sets fresh, and my ear to the ground for new artists deserve slots at our events.

Are you planning some new music? Can we expect your new releases soon?

Producing music has kept me sane during this collapse, and in all dark times, I always return to it to keep my head above water and a smile on my face. Over the past number of months, I’ve produced a lot of music, albums, and albums worth, in a multitude of genres from Techno to D&B to Downtempo, so I’ll start looking into releasing these soon. Upcoming as Diarmaid O Meara, I have a 12” on Gobsmacked with Kucera, a digi EP on Lounge Squatt, and a couple more tba for 2020.

Being both DJ and a producer, do you believe that an artist has to be both?

A DJ who doesn’t produce and play at least some of their own productions is akin to a cover band in my most humble of opinions. It doesn’t mean there is no talent, but they don’t put the same work into the art by only playing other people’s tracks. Not producing means they have a lot of extra hours and cash to invest in their social media image and networking skills, however, and can flip their music style to keep up with whichever mini-genre Beatport has decided is en-vogue at any point in time… Not all, just most.