Photo: Press (Saoirse)
When Saoirse Ryan says that she “weave(s) between a few different scenes,” that is absolutely correct – in the past decade or so, the Irish DJ has proven to be a dance music polymath. That’s not surprising though considering that Ryan, who this year is also starting to make her mark as a producer both in tandem with Alex Anderson under the name 2 Pisceans and solo, quite literally grew up in the rave scene and cites crossover projects like Underworld or Leftfield as early influences. Saoirse’s mix for our Groove podcast explores the many shades of house, techno and everything in between.
Before DJing in clubs, you were very active in radio, from pirate stations to public broadcast companies and these days still have a monthly show with Rinse FM. Which role does radio play in your life these days as a listener? And since radio like all other media is progressively moving online, which advantages or even disadvantages do think radio as a medium faces today?
Radio is such an important medium for discovering non-club music, if you’re not a DJ and don’t spend all your days searching for music then I think it could be really hard to find music it you don’t use things like Spotify, etc. It’s also a great way to get to know the artist as a person. To feel a connection with them. For me, it was a gateway into electronic music, I’d sneak home from school just so I could record pirate radio hard house shows. Now, I try and listen to as much non dancefloor-orientated radio as possible, this is where I find music that I just listen to at home and that cooky shit that I layer over club tracks when I DJ. I don’t think radio is at a disadvantage now that it’s more online, in fact it’s given us access to so many more artists around the world, meaning more diverse music discovery – which is a positive. Albeit, the traditional recording method of going into the studio to do a live show is becoming less and less practical for touring artists. I’m happy we have the technology to be able to pre-record and continue our shows from wherever we are.
For your Rinse FM show, you regularly invite guests from very different fields of electronic dance music – DJ Deeon, HVL, Aurora Halal, Sonja Moonear have been with you. How do you approach the programming to these shows, what’s important to you when selecting possible guests?
Well, it’s quite similar with the shows I choose to play at. I weave between a few different scenes and I’m quite happy that promoters trust me to one week play alongside artists like Craig Richards or Nicholas Lutz and the next week it could be Objekt or Aurora Halal. I like a lot of sounds and often attend different types of events and this relates to who I get as a guest on my radio show. I think the artists appreciate this too, that it’s not just one type of sound or “scene” on the show.
You have recently debuted on Midland’s INTERGRADED label with a track under the name 2 Pisceans, a collaboration with Alex Anderson. How did the collaboration come about and what is your working process like? Moreover, are you planning to release more music together?
Yes, me and Alex lived together for quite some time. That’s where we began to write music together, from our bedrooms, our neighbor Victoria tried to get us evicted six times, she even made up lies to the police about us so eventually we got a studio together in London. Alex used to write D’n’B and more bass when we first met, and I always wrote more house and techno, when we started hanging together his tastes changed and what we started to write as a pair felt much more aligned. He’s super talented and we have a nice working relationship, we have finished a few more tracks recently, more fast, dark and moody. There are some labels keen to explore a release with us. News to follow on that.
There’s also some solo productions in the pipeline, or at least you have implicitly announced some material at the end of last year. Having made music for quite some time now, what was the key moment in which you felt that you’re ready to make your debut as a solo producer – and when will that happen, exactly?
Yes, it’s a long time coming to be honest, I started to feel quite stressed out about releasing music as a solo artist once my bookings really took off. As I was getting where I was solely from DJ’ing and I was playing a lot of different sounds so my worry was that if I released something that was, let’s say house music, my whole career thus far would be defined by that particular record. I didn’t want that, really what I want is to release some music that represents me as a DJ because a DJ is what I am. I’m working on a solo EP that I feel represents the many different sounds I play, until I get that right I won’t release anything solo. It has to feel right.
Apart from playing regular club sets, you also do the occasional all-nighter and usually play a very varied selection of music. How do you prepare for long sets like these, in which you have to take on different roles throughout the night – warm-up, peak time, closing?
My last All Night Long set I woke up at 4am on the floor in my record room, I’d been in there for about seven hours trying to prepare. After that I realised I need to use more digital for these all-night shows so I started the process of ripping my records, this is really helping get organised for the long sets and also is better for my back. When I did an All Night Long at Concrete in Paris one time, I had three large record bags with me and was travelling on my own. That wasn’t easy! I’ve also began labelling all of my records with coloured stickers so I know which track to play and what mood it is. I mix quite fast so it’s good to grab it out of the bag and not have to mess around listening to it before mixing in. My next and only All Night Long set this year is at my new event TRUST on October 12th in Fold London. You can expect a bit of everything at this one but with more labeled organisation.
What was the idea behind your contribution to the Groove podcast?
I recently played at an amazing club called Mtkvarze in Tbilisi. It’s dark, intimate, around 500 capacity or so and goes until late. The crowd are really engaged, dancing by themselves, the energy is real. Their residents are PLO Man, DJ Masda and Vladimir Ivkovic, so you get the idea of the sound there. I started at about 5am and played until maybe 9 or 10 I think. I thought at the time, this is me, this is what I like to play and when I like to play. I wanted to do a mix that represented me in those types of environments and I feel this one does just that.
Last but not least: Where can we see you behind the decks in the near future and what are your plans for the future?
This weekend you can catch me at Dimensions Festival on Thursday, fabric on Saturday and Longevity Festival Strasbourg on Sunday. As for Berlin, I play at REEF’s birthday at Griessmuehle in September, I’m taking over the Silo that night, this is also the type of room I really love. That metal, enclosed feeling really does it for me. And don’t forget, TRUST launches at Fold October 12th. Trust me, it will be killer. (laughs)
Stream: Saoirse – Groove Podcast 221
01. Der Zyklus – Recognition
02. Tocken – Span
03. Berg – Nixon
04. The Moody Boyz – Pygmy Song (velcrocity version)
05. Lazare Hosch – Maths
06. Wed – Space Beyond (Un-zone mix)
07. Dino & Terry – The Stretch
10. Pacao – Cycle 10
12. Savvas Ystasis – Bubblin
13. Roz White – A little more live (Solid Groove dub)
14. Volsoc – Needle
15. Jeroen Search – Upekka
16. Pacao – The HQ Track
17. Bushwacka – plus 1(b)
19. GUS – Shape one
20. Speedo – Fat Beat (Sharaz remix)
21. Libertine – Purple
24. Tobias Schmidt – work (David Tarrida mix)
25. Paul Blackford – a1
26. Jens – Booya
27. Struktur – a1