Hi Liam, this is the first time you’ve been interviewed for Puzzle Project, could you tell everyone a little about yourself, your background and how you got into DJ’ing and production?
It all started when I was about 14. My brother in law was a DJ at a local under 18s nightclub and used to let me tag along. After seeing the way crowds reacted to him, my obsession with dance music began! From then on I was always pestering him for a set or a quick ten minutes on the decks and eventually he started to teach me the ropes in terms of beatmatching and set progression. That Christmas I got my first set of decks and have never looked back. I started to get involved in promotion from 16, running my own night in Derry at a place called “The Dangloe” – it held about 120 people if you packed it right to the rafters! I started getting more bookings through this until I got my big break at 19 when I was asked to play Lush by Colin Hamilton (promoter of Lush). I’ve played regular sets there since then and hope to do so for many years to come.
By all accounts 2008 was a massive year for you, with your tracks gaining huge support and some very tasty gigs, not least playing the mighty Cream @ Amnesia in Ibiza. What’s been happening for you in 2009?
Playing Amnesia has undoubtedly been the highlight of my music career – it’s an unreal club. 2009 has been very hectic for me. I’ve missed out on Ibiza this year because I have been gigging all over the place so trust me I’m keeping really busy. I have also spent a lot of time in the studio making new tracks - really excited about the stuff coming out in 2010.
You’re a Derry boy, perhaps you could tell us a bit about the scene in Ireland. What’s the health of the clubbing industry like at the moment and what sort of music does everyone go for over there?
The music scene has gone underground a little in Ireland in recent times, but the last two years it’s really started picking up again and at the moment the scene is strong and healthy. Around the area I live in most people prefer trance and a smattering of electro house – this is basically the sound Lush caters for week in, week out. In other parts of Ireland, for example Dublin, other styles of music like techno have a significant following. It’s great to see a good selection of music styles being played throughout the country.
A fair few heavyweights of the trance world hail from the Emerald Isle – the likes of Bryan Kearney, Paul Webster and of course John O’Callaghan are all smashing it at the moment. Can we expect any interesting collaborations in the near future?
You certainly can. John has been doing so well lately and if that weren’t enough he is one of the nicest guys I have had the pleasure to meet in my music career. He is totally willing to help younger producers progress by giving them tips on production and how to perfect their production style. Top bloke! Bryan and I have actually just signed a new track (“The Other Half”) to Fraction which is set for release in early 2010. We’re also working on another collaboration at the moment which is sounding very exciting indeed – unfortunately I can’t tell you too much more about it at the moment. Paul has just started a new label, Vibrant, and has asked me to do a remix for it which I’m excited about working on. There’s plenty of work for the Irish lads in 2010!
Most of your work has been released on Fraction, but you’ve been involved with other labels such as Tekelec and Vandit. What labels do you anticipate working with in the near future?
I have just finished my remix for the new Heartbeat track which will be released on Armada – can’t wait, so excited about that release. John Askew has said this track is my best work to date, always a good compliment to hear especially from someone of his stature! Then there my Vibrant remix for Paul and more remix work for Vandit. I also have just finished 2 new tracks this week - one is a more laid back techy track coming in around 133bpm and the second back up to my standard pacey 140bpm. Watch this space for release dates, labels etc.
You’ve got a remix coming out on our very own Matt Church’s label Red Sky Digital on 7th December. How did you come to get involved with Red Sky and do you have anything else coming out on this imprint in the near future?
Well, Matt was kind enough to invite me over to London to play at his night “Puzzle Project" and ever since we have kept in close contact over the net, exchanging ideas and feedback on tracks. He then asked me to do a remix for his label Red Sky Digital and I’m going be working on an original for the label too.
One for the tech heads – what’s in the studio?
Imac with a 21 inch screen, Access Virus TI, 2 Alesis M1 Active speakers and a M Audio Oxygen keyboard.
How do you go about making a track? Do you have any set technique to get the creative juices flowing?
Yes I do. I always bring in about 4 tracks that I like and would like my track to get a similar sound to. I listen to them closely, take little ideas out of all of them and create my own from this. I always start off with kick drums, then bass, then leads etc.
This is your second set for Puzzle Project this year so clearly you’ve impressed the team behind Puzzle. Have you had many other gigs outside of Ireland recently and do any standout as being particularly memorable?
Yeah, it’s always great to get away and play in different countries. I have to say I always enjoy it, there is nothing better than going to another places miles away from home and people knowing your name and singing along to your tunes. It shows just how much people respect the scene and the music.
For the uninitiated, describe your sound and DJ’ing style?
Energetic, driving and fast!
You’re playing back to back with Matt Church at the Puzzle Project Christmas tear up. Have you ever played back to back before and what can the Puzzle faithful expect from the pair of you?
I have played back to back on a few occasions though never with Matt before – everyone will just have to come along and see! It’s always exciting not knowing what tunes next or what the other fella is going to do, so you can expect some nice changes in the set. It’s good to have 2 DJs who play the same styles of music but with different approaches to building a set and so on.
To give everyone a bit more of a hint as to the sort of thing they might hear, what are the three deadliest weapons in your box right now?
1. John O’Callaghan - Find Yourself (Heartbeat Remix JOC Edit)
2. Heatbeat - ID (Liam Melly Remix)
3. Liam Melly - Automator
For many of the people reading this, sets at Amnesia, Eden and Planet Love are literally the stuff of dreams. Do you have any tips for anyone looking to succeed as a producer and/or DJ?
If you’re really looking to break into big clubs the way forward is in the studio! I know a lot of people struggle to make tracks but there is help out there in the form of websites and engineers to help you on your way. It has taken me nearly 2 years working in a studio before I could build my own tracks. There is plenty of software available and tutorials online. I also did a course at Pointblank which was fantastic and I would recommend it to anyone.
How do you unwind when not producing or gigging?
I love movies – I’m a big cinema fan!
And finally, the obligatory quick fire round. Turkey or goose?
Exotic fruit juice from Tescos – winner!
Favourite TV show?
All time classic tune?
Members Of Mayday - 10 In1
Ibiza - best place on the planet!
Top clubbing/DJ’ing memory?
Amnesia or one of my sets at Lush - both amazing.
Cheers Liam – will see you down front on the 11th!
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Friday 11th December
Club 414, Brixton London
Phil Lankester AKA Libra 9
Zany B2B Macloud