The luck of the Irish: Requiem preview with Pierce Rooney
Reported by K8-e
Submitted 14-05-08 18:52
One of the true hard house "anthems" of recent years surely has to be the The Captain, Pierce Rooney & Robert Dalton - Rampage. Snapped up by Karim for Do Not Bend this monster always gets the crowd rocking. With his own label Unity Recordings and recently being signed to Precision Artist Management, Pierce Rooney is making waves in the hard house scene.
And indeed he's even riding over them - on 24th May we welcome him to our fine shores as he plays for the first time in the UK for Flashpoint & Tripoli Trax present Requiem @ the 414. Ahead of his debut UK gig I chatted to Pierce.
Your MySpace biog gives quite a good history of how you got into dance music but for those who haven’t had a peek or maybe don’t know who you are fill us in on how your love affair with music started?
Well I suppose there were a few things that got me interested in music. It started when I was a young kid, I used to get dropped off to my Nanny's after school most days, she had this big long Radiogram that she would use while I was there, she would play her Perry Como Records. I used to sit there and watch her, kind of fascinated, watching her change the record and me watching like a spectator as the record would spin round. Funnily enough I was given the Radiogram after she passed away and I used it for my deck stand for the first few years.
Also my eldest sister Christine was a Record collector of 80’s music from bands such as Duran Duran, Human League, Thompson Twins, Coldcut, New Order, Bomb The Base, Visage, Bronski Beat, Talk Talk, Softcell, Technotronic, M.A.R.R.S etc. Her Now That's What I Call Music / Hits 80s albums collection was very educational to me growing up around that time too.
But it wasn’t until I took up a paperboy round in my local town that I got introduced to a programme on Granada TV around 1988/9 in the early hours of Sunday morning, called 'The Hit Man & Her' hosted by Pete Waterman from PWL Records & Michaela Strachan. I’d have to be up in the early hours of Sunday mornings, so I never really slept on Sat nights. Seeing the likes of N-Joi, Altern 8, Bizzare Inc, Black Box, Snap, 808 State, Shades Of Rhythm, Utah Saints, Last Rhythm, Terrorize, Adamski and Inner City, and DJs such as Carl Cox and Phantasy was the stepping stone for what was to come.
MTV Chill Out Zone & Party Zone where also two wicked shows on around the same time for anybody old enough to remember when MTV played good music!
So it was in 1990 you got introduced to a pair of decks and you saved up your money from your paper round to buy yourself a pair. How long did that actually take and what did you buy?
Yes, my love affair with electronic music was growing from my experience of seeing the acts that I mentioned above. At around the same time my mate's brother had some decks and he invited me up for a session. It was the first time I ever saw a set of Technics, seeing him swapping from tune to tune with the cross-fader was amazing and from then on I wanted my own set. I ended up buying a crap cheap pair of belt drives in 1993 with my brother in law before selling them a few years later, I added a few pounds from my job the and money from the crap decks that we sold and upgraded to a set of Technics for myself. The belt drives were the worse decks ever to mix on, although I learnt how to beat match on them , even if it meant having to keep my finger on the record every few seconds to keep the beats in, haha! Thank God for Technics Direct Drives!
Soon you were playing at house parties, illegal raves and the like, spinning old skool hardcore, house and early hard house (hardbag as it was known back then). What can fans expect from a typical Pierce Rooney set these days, how would you define you style in 2008?
I started to do house parties, 18th & 21st birthday party's and also illegal raves on the beach, pretty much anywhere you could get a party on, it never mattered where it was as long as we could play music. I started out buying all sorts of styles of music as you do when you first start buying records, finding my way as they say!
My sets were usually a mixture of Old Skool Italian/UK piano house / hardcore / German & Belgian hard trance from Labels such as Discomagic Records/UK, DFC, Edge, ZYX, FFRR, Italian Style, Positiva, Production House, Flying Records, Vinyl Solution, Shoop, Union City, XL, Network, Deconstruction, Faze 2, Evolution, Rabbit City, Time Unlimited, Frankfurt Beat, React, Noom and Bonzai.
To Labels such as Tripoli Trax, Tidy, Sharp, Ugly Bug, Ouch! Records, Effective, Trade, Labello, TDV, Jinx, Hooj, Tinrib, Blue, Jumpwax, MD Records, Max Music, True Love Collective, Shock, Moving Melodies, Slate, Multiply , Feverpitch, Top Banana, 99North, Chug N Bump, Shift, VC, Boom, Crosstrax, Southeast, It's Fabulous and many more, haha!
How would I define my sound today – chunky, funky, groovy, uplifting, fierce, solid hard-ass hard house!
What clubs nights and promoters have you played for over the years and what DJs and acts have you supported?
Well my first professional gig was at the Tivoli in Dublin around the 2000 era, playing along side hard house legends of the time Mark Kavanagh and Alan Pullen. More gigs would follow from clubs such as the legendary Temple Theatre, The Crypt, Devotion, Revolution, Letrik, The Vaults, Baby Doll and UK Tour events such as Trade UK/Eire.
I’ve supported DJs and acts such as Steve Thomas, Ian M, Ben Stevens, Karim, Dom Sweeten, Andy Farley, BK, Paul King, Tinrib, Altern 8 and so on.
What’s your “if all else fails” tune to get the dancefloor moving?
Hard house wise there's a good few!
Tony De Vit - Are U All Ready
RR Fierce - Banging Monica
Miss Shiva - Dreams (Paul Glazby Remix)
Legend B - Lost In Love (Paul Janes Remix)
In 2003 you ventured into the world of production as many DJs do. What spurred you into this, do you think it’s a necessity today for DJs to get noticed?
From DJing over the years and seeing first hand what tracks did to people on a dance floor I thought to myself wouldn’t it be great if that was my tune been played out and the clubbing public going crazy to it! So I booked myself a couple of studio sessions with Raff from Crash Test Records, Ireland and made a track called Digital Expression with other tracks following after that. It was such a good experience to see first hand how it was all laid out and the little tips you pick up in a studio from an engineer are priceless. I recommend to any young aspiring DJs out there to check out these other avenues of the music scene as it helps you lots more with getting noticed and that. It’s a must these days if you ask me.
Of course the Vicious Circle signing came after meeting the good old Captain Tinrib and making The Captain & The Leprechauns release. Subsequent acclaim came with the anthem “Rampage” on Do Not Bend Records which was also snapped up by Paul Glazby for his Tidy Weekender 9 Live CD mix. Were you pleased with the success of both records, Rampage is somewhat of an anthem now!
To be honest the day I got the phone call from Tidy and Paul about signing Rampage for Tidy Weekender 9 CD me and my ma (mum) jumped around my bedroom like two little kids. She has been instrumental in helping me over the years, always encouraging me to do better (thanks Betty ye legend!). Then the Vicious Circle signing of The Whole Shit House / The Scream was like a dream come true as it has been one of my favourite labels for many years. And then as if it couldn’t get any better Karim took Rampage for release on his legendary Do Not Bend Records. I’ve had other recent signings to Flashpoint and Oktane which are due for release soon.
You started your own label - Unity Recordings and have had releases from Karim, Dave Owens, Omega 3, Marc Johnson, Frank Farrell, Gary Cooke, Ben Townsend, and of course yourself. What prompted you to start the label and any story behind the name?
I had releases on Vicious Circle, Do Not Bend, Crash Test and there are more due on other labels but I decided it was time to start my own label as it is a great promotional tool for any DJs these days to have. So I hooked up with my friend Paul Shiels and we got Unity up and running. It has taken off a lot better then I expected to be honest I’m very happy with the releases we have had and also the support from the people that count (the clubbers and the DJs) who have been giving the thumbs up for each release, which can only be a good thing. Unity 4 is on the way, and features Marc Johnson on the A-side, a track he did with Nick Sentience and I must say is a stormer of a track with a touch of old skool paradise and the vocal just tops it off! On the B-side shall be young gun and good friend Ben Townsend with Best Laid Plans. Savage track mate! It's all about that key change. Immense!
What’s your plan in 2008 for Unity? Do you see yourself continuing to press vinyl for the foreseeable future and what’s your take on the increase in mp3 downloads?
My plan for Unity in 2008 is to provide more quality hard house in all its forms from producers such as Tinrib, Dave Owens, Marc Johnson, Ben Townsend, James Devlin, Ben Stevens, Equinox, Dynamic Intervention, Wayne Reid, Defective Audio etc for Unity Black. Also Unity White shall be taking off soon and shall be concentrating more on the slower more groovy, chunky, funky hard house featuring tracks from myself, Amp Attack, James Devlin, David Roche, Dan Elliott.
I don’t want to get into the mp3 vs Vinyl debate as it's a bit old now. To me good music is good music no matter what format it comes on, be it CD or vinyl. Although Unity will be staying vinyl for the foreseeable future and I have no plans to go mp3 at this moment in time.
Who are your favourite hard house producers and why?
Tinrib, Dom Sweeten, Karim, Equinox, Marc Johnson, Maddox, Mik Cree, Dave Owens, Weirdo, Farley, Glazby, Frank Farrell, DNG, James Nardi. I love everyone that I have mentioned as they all bring their own individual style and sound to our scene and the quality of their productions sets the standards for all of us to follow. Class A, I must say!
When I came to Dublin for Lucy Fur’s hen weekend we couldn’t find any hard house that weekend (most disappointed!). Is there hard house in Dublin to be found and what’s the scene like across Ireland generally?
There is a night called Devotion which is held in the sea-side town of Bray Co. Wicklow, Ireland's only dedicated hard house night in all its forms, think the sound of Trade and you have it somewhat right. I played as resident for them, it’s such a buzz, the people and the atmosphere are off the hook - you must experience it sometime. It's nowhere near the size of a club and attendance wise that you would find in the UK, but there's just something special about it. Jon (Tinrib) and Dave 'Fierce' Owens and many more have said in the past that it's their favourite place to play in Ireland as the atmosphere is something special and the people are so into the music.
I’m kind of surprised that you could not find a hard house night as there is usually something on most weeks, Ireland is awash with nights these days, it's great to see. 90% of them are small but still host quality DJs and music from Old Skool beats to hard House. Look out for nights such as HardGroove, Friskee, Revolution, Energize, Adrenalin, Devotion.
You’ve recently been signed to the newest management agency on the block, Precision Artist Management – tell me how that came about and a bit about the agency?
The soundest man in London, MJ aka Marc Johnson (Tripoli & Flashpoint Records Manager) got in touch with me and ask me would I like to join up to Precision Artists, managed by Dave Curtis aka Reppie and the lovely Sarah Crampton aka Crampo which I gladly accepted as I have had dealings with these people in the past and I have to say they are three of the most genuine and trusted people you could ever meet. I thank you for having me part of such a great team of DJs and producers.
You are playing at Requiem – the new night from Flashpoint & Tripoli on May 24th at the 414 in Brixton. Is this the first time you’ve played in the UK and what can the good people of Brixton expect from you on the night?
Yes, this is my first time to grace the shores of England to play, although I used to work in London for BT and have been clubbing in the UK since 1999/2000 travelling over and back most months for nights such as Superfish, Tasty, Trade, Frantic, Sundissential, Insekt and Storm, so it was always a dream to come play in the UK and now it's going to happen! So watch out Irish man about, haha. What will I play I hear you say? Hmm, I suppose it all depends on what time my set is at. If I’m on early I shall take it much easier with some groovy and uplifting music, but if I play late I’m sure I’ll let it rip (fierce)!
In keeping with the Flashpoint and Tripoli themes what are you top 3 favourite tunes from either label?
Can I break the rules for this question as it's impossible for me to pick 3 tracks from a label such as Tripoli Trax?!
1 - Cocktail Twins - Remember Remember Remember
2 - Rizzo - Housework - Tony De Vit Mix
3 - The Experts - Take You There
4 - Fruitloop - Shake It Up (Party Right)
5 - Mark NRG - Brain Is The Weapon - Floorshow Remix
6 - Joe Inferno - Tribal Church - Ian M Remix
7 - OD404 - Beat Dis
8 - 99th Floor Elevators - Hooked - Pete Wardman Mix
9 - DJ Misjah & DJ Tim - Access - KY Jelly Babies Remix
10 - Commander Tom - Eye Bee M - Captain Tinrib Remix
I could go on and on and on, and my selection will change every five minutes.
Flashpoint Top 3 are:
1 - Marc Johson vs George E - Great Responsibilty - (Justin Bourne and Dynamic Intervention Remix)
2 - Ben Stevens - Gangster Beat
3 - James Nardi & Julian Dwyer - Mad Dogs
Finally whilst doing some research for this interview I thought I’d have a look at some Irish sayings… I found this little gem: “As you slide down the banister of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction”. Teehee! Do you have any other thoughts to share with us before you go?
Live every day like it's your last, you never know when it might end!
Anything else to add?
Yes some links below for myself and the Unity Recordings Web site and groups that I have on various Web sites for anybody interested in joining up.
Pierce Facebook // Unity Recordings Facebook // Unity MySpace // Pierce MySpace
Unity Recordings Web site
Thanks Pierce – looking forward to seeing you play in May!
Thank's K8-e, much appreciated, hope to see you on the dance floor losing the plot as we say here in the Emerald Isle!
All photos copyright Pierce Rooney, not to be reproduced without permission.
FlashPoint & Tripoli Trax pres: Requiem
Saturday 24th May 2008
CLUB 414 [map]
22.00 - 06.00
£5 before 11/£10
The Dancefloor has barely had a chance to draw breath after the last Requiem, what a night it turned out to be! The club was packed and everyone carried on stomping right up until the music was ordered off, disappointingly just before the breakdown of Candyman haha. But all is not lost, as the next one is already booked, the DJs are lined up and we’re ready for round two – the Precision Artists Launch Party!!!
Sadly ‘Marathon Man’ and Precision Artist Chris Comben will be off on some sort of slackers jolly, and therefore cannot be with us – he will be there in spirit though and maybe even in cardboard cut-out form. But residents and Precision Artists Marc Johnson and Dave Curtis will be on hand once again to provide the freshest FlashPoint, Tripoli Trax and Combat material to keep the fans more than happy – we both have studio dates between now and then so you can be sure we’ll have a whole load of fresh material to play from ourselves and from the future of our labels.
Joining us are four excellent prospects for the future of Hard House across the world. Firstly, we have none other than Carbon Records boss and Precision Artist, Butcher Boy – one third of the immense kiwi outfit Omega 3!!! This will be his first date in the UK after his return from NZ and will be rocking the 414 with Omega 3’s new productions as well as his own superb work. He has already featured on Carbon, Tidy, Vicious Circle, Oktane, Unity and Mad Cow - this will really be a set to see so you can’t afford to miss!
Another Precision Artist, international DJ, label owner and producer will also be playing at this night – the leprechaun Pierce Rooney of Unity Records. Pierce has come a long way since he smashed the UK with his collaboration ‘Rampage’, and has signings to FlashPoint, Unity, Vicious Circle, and Do Not Bend with more to come! His label is going from strength to strength with some awesome signings, and you can be sure Pierce will smash it, Dublin stylee.
Completing the line-up are two DJs we feel will do a superb job behind the decks both musically and technically, and who deserve more recognition. Firstly, Twist resident Steve Maynard, a superb DJ who has had many releases on FlashPoint, Deprivation, Fireball and Feersum, and who many hold as one of the best DJs in the country. And finally, Tim Stokes – a much newer producer on the scene but already signed to Combat and the legendary Toolbox, and with many more signings from his new productions just round the corner – truly one to watch!!
So there you have it – 6 of the world’s best producers and DJs, 6 sets of the best new music, 8 hours in the legendary 414. You’d best not miss this one!
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