Shane Johnson of Fish Go Deep

As someone who was there from the beginning of Cork’s history with house music, tell me a bit about the theme of the night, “3 Decades of House and Techno”, and what it means to you and your career.

“It was the venue that dictated the theme. City Hall was the first really big space in Cork to regularly host raves back in the early 90s and there hasn’t been anything like that in there since. It made sense to honour that early history and we wanted to expand the idea to take in all the great music that we’ve played over following years too.”

Are you excited to play in such a landmark Cork venue? Have you played in City Hall before?

“Greg and myself were residents in Sir Henry’s every weekend in the early 90s so, as far as I can remember I only played City Hall once back then. I think Ray D’Arcy was also on that particular bill! So it’s a thrill to play one of the first big parties back in the big hall.”

How has the house and techno scene changed in Cork over the last few decades? What are the biggest changes you’ve seen since you began? 

“When I first started playing, electronic music was so far off the radar of most people that it felt like those of us who got into it were all part of a proper underground scene. Inevitably, that changed over time and the shutdowns during the pandemic massively accelerated this change. Ireland has lost so many music venues in recent years that you’d feel sorry for young people coming up now who miss out on those clubbing experiences. It’s a huge positive that public spaces like City Hall are being opened up for events like this and we hope to get a response from right across the age range, from the original heads through to a younger bunch just getting into the music.”

Can you share any memorable moments from your DJ career in Cork?

“Where do you start? There have been too many big nights with great guest DJs to mention but what really sticks in the memory are those parties where it’s just been Greg and myself playing the best music we could find to a committed home crowd. Pure magic!”

What can the audience expect from your performance on Sunday?

“It’s a big room so that calls for big tracks! It’s been a few years since I’ve played with Jamie but we’ve had some brilliant parties in the past where we’ve both been able to play right across the house and techno board. We’ll be doing a lot of the night back to back and that’s always a blast. And I’m really looking forward to seeing the visuals that Ant, from Generic People, has in store for us.”

Jamie Behan of Bastardo Electrico

Cork City Hall is a very fitting venue for the celebration of the rich history of house and techno in Cork. Are you excited to play in such a landmark Cork venue? Have you played in City Hall before?

“City Hall was the first venue I ever went out to dance to electronic music in the 90s, The Prodigy being the first act I saw there. This was a truly formative experience for my love of electronic dance music and to be sharing the stage there with the legend that is Shane Johnson is a huge honour.”

Tell me about the beginning of your journey as a DJ. How did you get into DJing?

“Around the same time I first went to City Hall I had started listening to mixtapes that were handed down from friends’ older brothers and between school friends. Every genre from old-school rave to techno, trance, and house. I was fascinated by the seamless mix and ongoing flow of music without pauses between tracks – well until you had to turn the tape over at least. I went on a mission to find out how to do this. Before I had decks I bought a crappy cheap mixer and hooked up 2 hi-fis to try and blend tracks together. I remember the results of these first experiments being terrible but it spurred me on and soon after I got decks, started going to clubs, watching and listening to what the DJs playing were doing, and after lots and lots of practice, trial and much error, I felt confident enough to start playing my first gigs in backrooms of bars and eventually clubs.”

How has the house and techno scene changed in Cork over the last few decades? What are the biggest changes you’ve noticed since you began DJing?

“I think the biggest change is the lack of clubs in the city at the moment. When I started we had Sir Henrys of course at the epicentre of the scene but there were lots of other clubs where people could go to listen and dance to electronic music. We will have to wait and see in regards to more clubs opening in Cork but I think the use of City Hall, with its rich history of hosting electronic events going back to Depeche Mode in 82, is an important talisman for the scene going forward in the city, which in spite of the lack of venues is still bubbling. Another change that I’ve witnessed over the years is the narrowing of the age differences of people going out to dance. When I started out there was a huge mix of age groups going to events, whilst nowadays the crowd is usually younger. On one hand, this is not necessarily a bad thing as it shows that young people are still hungry for this kind of music, like I was back then. But  I’m hoping that events like this in City Hall will help foster something that is more multi-generational orientated while at the same time giving the music the same kind of large-scale platform that it did in the 80s and 90s. This, in combination with the proposed licensing law changes next year and we could have a diverse scene to rival anywhere in Europe. Let’s see!”

Can you share any memorable moments from your DJ career in Cork?

“I don’t think the most memorable moments can be shared publicly! But seriously there were just far too many great moments to pinpoint  but I’m sure this will be one to remember and for the history books.”

What can the audience expect from your performance on Sunday?

“Exactly what it says on the tin, a celebration of 3 decades of house and techno! I’m known for playing heavier techno and of course Shane is synonymous with house music. However, there is far more to our respective record collections than those pigeonholes. We have played back to back together before so I think we are just going to see where the music takes us but it’s a safe bet that we will push the tempos a bit to fit the venue and the moment.”

Ant O’Brien of Generic People

Tell us a bit about the theme of the night, “3 Decades of House and Techno”, and what it means to you and your career.

“The night came about when Tom Keating approached me after he secured a late licence for the City Hall (the first in many many years). Tom had already put together an amazing line-up for early gigs there. When the Sunday became a realistic option the obvious thing to do would be book another big international touring DJ, but after we sat down and brainstormed, we felt that we should celebrate the history of a venue that held some amazing raves and events with the likes of The Prodigy, Carl Cox, Bjork, Bamba Rave 1+2 and the list goes on.  So we felt we needed to celebrate not just the history and influence of this venue but Cork City as a whole. Being so rich in electronic and clubbing culture we approach 2 of the most influential and important DJs of the Cork scene with the idea of celebrating 3 decades of House & Techno in Cork. Shane Johnson of Fish Go Deep & Jamie Behan of Bastardo Electrico were the obvious choice to lead the celebrations for this huge undertaking.”

Tell me about your practice as a live visual artist for electronic music gigs. How did you get started as a visual artist?

“My approach as a visual artist stems deeply from the belief that lights, visuals are as equally important as the music in a club or event. As clubbing is very much a sensory experience I adapted my styles out of necessity to have it as organic and fluid as possible and performed as a musician would do. Jjust like the music, everything else needs to be able to move and turn and be as spontaneous as the vibe in the room.”  

What inspiration have you taken from the theme of the night in preparing visuals for the performance?  

“I plan on looking back over the years in the city and have taken inspiration from old flyers and artwork that we all associate with some of the most memorable club nights and events in Cork.  But with that I plan on looking to the future by integrating some new AI tech into segments of my set, but most importantly I plan on vibing off the 2 legends as they soundtrack the night as well as getting caught up in the buzz of what’s happening on the dancefloor!”

How has the house and techno scene changed in Cork over the last few decades? What are the biggest changes you’ve noticed since you began DJing?

“I’ve been lucky in that I have had the opportunity to get involved in the ‘scene’ since before I was even legally allowed into a club 🙂  The clubbing landscape has changed dramatically over the years from its golden highs in the early/mid 00’s to the bleak time of late 10’s… I feel that we are currently at the beginning of a renaissance with new styles, crews, events and a hunger to celebrate our uniqueness. If anything the Cork scene is resilient. There are good times ahead and I can’t wait to see where the journey takes us all.”

Can you share any memorable moments from your career in the scene in Cork?

“I could write a book on that… But one that sticks out: Being about 13 years old and going to the City Hall to see a new band who were just about to release an album called ‘The Experience’…  I think that was a life changing experience for any one who was at that ‘rave’ and people still talk about it to this day.”

Shane Johnson and Jamie Behan bring three decades of house and techno to the City Hall dancefloor for a party with one purpose: MOVE – Sunday, October 29.

Tickets available here: https://www.ticketmaster.ie/move-3-decades-of-house-and-techno-cork-29-10-2023/event/18005F4CD1D45093

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