Introducing Interview: Louise DaCosta

Raised in Derry, Northern Irish DJ and producer Louise DaCosta has written and released music with multiple labels and toured internationally, and achieved commercial chart successes over the last few years. In 2019 she decided to start up her own label and has been continuing to fly high ever since.

Now, teaming up with collaborative dance project Camden Place, Louise has released a shimmering remix of ‘A Life In Photos‘.

We spoke to Louise to find out more!

Hi Louise, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I started DJ-ing and running events over ten years ago when I was still in my teens, and learned my craft in my amazing hometown venue – RedRooms Derry, supporting the likes of Calvin Harris, Claude Von Stroke & Benny Benassi whilst still finishing my A levels! I then went on to Queens University and took up residency in Kelly’s/Lush Portrush, Envy Derry (the North West’s only LGBTQ nightclub) and other venues across the country for a few years. I then began touring nationally – playing all the major clubs, student nights and venues all across Ireland including headlining the Wright Venue! I then began to write and release music working with a variety of labels and began touring internationally across Europe, Asia UK & UAE. To date I’ve had three consecutive Number ones on Beatport, tens of top tens and top 20 commercial chart success also. After working with many labels and studios I decided I wanted to be in control of my own music. I launched my own label DaCosta Records in 2019 for dance electronic releases and then sister label DaCosta Rocks to release indie/alternative/rock with a major push on homegrown talent! We’ve now over 250 releases across both labels with huge radio play and critical acclaim for our artists. I launched the label with my debut album ‘Vim Vitae’ with accompanying art and featured it at various virtual exhibitions last year.

How did first start making music?
Initially I was a DJ, and I took my inspiration from the dance floor, then I got my first copy of Ableton and started crafting mash-ups for my sets, then remixes, then my own tracks!

Your new remix of Camden Place’s ‘A Life In Photos’ is out now – can you tell us about the production process?
As with any remix I’ll listen to the track and see what direction it’s possible to take it in! How the song made me feel, what were the core elements and themes etc. Then I’d listen to the vocals in isolation and try to build a narrative or a picture from there that’s still consistent with the original theme. I choose which parts of the track I think will work in the remix and use those. Then, like a sort of colour palette, I try to create elements or colours that complement that vibe. As someone with synthesia I see music in colour, so the track will be one or two major colours, then I’ll build around that some complimentary shades/sounds to create what I think is a full audio representation of how I visualise the track.

You’ve been compared to the likes of  Kaskade and Kudu Blue, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
Wow, what lovely comparisons, thank you very much! I think you’re influenced by anything you hear really, but these are some of my faves: David Bowie, Kate Bush, Talking Heads, Blondie, Lady Gaga, Prodigy, Hot Chocolate, Daft Punk, TJR, Nirvana, Lykke Li, Franz Ferdinand, Xinobi, MSTRKRFT, Justice. I could go on and on… Too many to mention!

In ‘normal times’, how is your local music scene?
Unfortunately things are very quiet at the moment due to restrictions, but usually yes! Just before lockdown started we threw DaCosta Records 2nd Birthday in our home town Derry, which was amazing! So hopefully we can get back to this again soon.

And what can fans expect from your live shows?
Massive energy, best night of your life! Great craic! You should come and find out… Until then check my Insta videos for a wee idea!

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any new/upcoming artists or DJs you’d recommend we check out?
We’ve signed lots of new amazing talent over at DaCosta Records (Dance/Electronic) and DaCosta Rocks (Indie/Alt/Rock). It would be hard to single out just a few, so please do check them out on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube etc. We are also currently accepting demos and always happy to feature new music on our radio show too, so if any of your readers would like to hit us up, please do at dacostademos@gmail.com

And how do you feel the music industry is for new artists and DJs at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
The lack of live shows is making it very difficult for everyone at the moment. However technology/social media is helping bridge some gaps, but you do need to connect with your audience. So, at the moment, music is the answer as you can keep releasing and relating to your fans with your music, but hopefully we can all do it live again soon! 

Finally, what does the rest of 2021 have in store for Louise DaCosta?
A lot! Some of the exciting things include: A new album, DreamBoats & DiscoBots to be released later this year; a weekly radio show every Friday on Global Radio Cork; an exclusive mix for BBC Introducing next month; I’m currently working on a film soundtrack project; DaCosta records are running some DJing classes; writing and & releasing lots more fun happy music… And, if things return to normal, I will resume touring and hopefully be playing my new music everywhere!

Massive thanks to Louise for answering our questions!

‘A Life In Photos’ (Louise DaCosta Remix) is out now via DaCosta Records.

LISTEN: New Pagans – ‘Christian Boys’

A riotous, refreshing call for accountability and a take down of sexist double standards, Belfast band New Pagans have shared their latest single ‘Christian Boys’. It’s the first track to be lifted from their upcoming debut album The Seed, The Vessel, The Roots and All, which is set for release on 19th March via Big Scary Monsters.

Named in our Get In Her Ears ‘Ones To Watch in 2021‘ feature which we shared earlier this year, New Pagans create urgent, considered, catchy sounds that challenge the norms surrounding relationships, history and gender roles. The band take the best elements of post-punk, grunge and pop and transform them into beautifully melodic noise, and this is epitomised on new single ‘Christian Boys’.

Based on the experiences of vocalist Lyndsey McDougall’s friend – who had been having an affair with a Christian leader in Northern Ireland before his marriage to a virgin bride – ‘Christian Boys’ seethes with a righteous fury against the unfair judgement of women who are involved with hypocritical men. “This is shocking but what is more disturbing is that it hadn’t been the first-time similar stories had emerged,” the band explain about the context of the track. “When these men were confronted, they all stated that the women were to blame, it had been their fault, they were the sinners and had led the Christian men astray.”

The urgency in the repeated lyric “Christian boys are the worst I know / Christian girls should take it slow” exposes the hypocrisy underscoring the track’s narrative, calling out those who blame others for their own mistakes. “Lyndsey knows that some of the lyrics in the song could be considered controversial,” the band continue, “but she has grown up around Christian men and believes that this conversation needs to happen, it shouldn’t be off limits.”

Watch the accompanying lyric video for ‘Christian Boys’ below.

Pre-order New Pagans’ debut album The Seed, The Vessel, The Roots and All here.

Follow New Pagans on bandcamp, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook & Spotify for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

INTERVIEW: Rising Damp

A creator of brutal yet captivating soundscapes, Dublin based artist Rising Damp describes her recent EP, Petrol Factory, as “the quaking barrier between the end of the end of time and the end of the world.” Her dystopian visions are fleshed out with hypnotic electronics, dense drum beats and deadpan vocal delivery, and her live performances are a blend of improvised sounds and intriguing visuals.

We caught up with Rising Damp (aka Michelle Doyle) to talk about her recent EP, what she’s been creating during lockdown, and her upcoming contribution to A Litany Of Failures: Vol. III, an eclectic compilation album of music from grassroots Irish artists which is set for release on 2nd October…

 

Hello Michelle! Your EP Petrol Factory was recently featured in The Quietus’ 2020 ‘Albums Of The Year So Far‘ chart. What are you most proud of about this record?

I’m most proud about the journey of the album. Most songs were made in response to live gigs, and were never cast in stone, always improvised. Playing to bigger audiences forced me to have to professionalise my practice. It has made me think more visually about the stage show, creating of the band and a how video links this all.

Do you have a favourite track? If so, why?

My favourite song is ‘The Bank’. It was composed as part of an exhibition exploring subculture in Ireland. In Dublin, all the punks, skins and goths used to hangout at Central Bank, in the city centre. I was a late stage central banker and started hanging out as hoardings and gates went up to stop young people sitting on the steps. The Bank is a landmark of Irish modernism, but also where protests would start or finish and where Occupy was. The place is a site of both financial institution and protest. Everything that is done to Central Bank is to further the hostile architecture around it and create a fortress. The song is about building this space and the tension of holding onto it.

 

During lockdown you were recording shows for Dublin Digital Radio, playing tracks by Throbbing Gristle, Gazelle Twin & Nyx Drone Choir (all GIHE faves). Talk us through how you curated these shows and what you enjoyed most about recording them.

Often I curate a show by taking one theme and building a repository around it. For example, I did a vocal special about people using voice as an instrument without singing. Sometimes I approach the show as research for songwriting. Other times I just want to play some high energy music. I’m using Mixxx as I can’t access the DDR studio at the moment. I miss the cdjs and the tactile way they can make you create tunes on the fly.

How have you been coping during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic generally? Any advice for similar bands or artists who may be struggling right now?

My own feeling has been to reassess what your output should be. I was working on a live band towards playing festivals, and arranging with them and practising twice a week. When lockdown came, we had to stop and only got back in in May. Now we are taking a break during phase 3 again. As we can’t play live gigs, we are going to get back in to the studio and re-record songs from Petrol Factory as a live band and put them out. We’re also aiming to create videos to accompany. My most prized possession as a teenager was music video VHS and DVDs. I especially liked Sonic Youth’s for a DIY video art aesthetic. So trying to use the time now as a time for writing, editing and creating visual art.

Something positive during this time is your contribution to A Litany Of Failures: Vol. III. Your single ‘Cannibal’ features on the record. Talk us through what the track’s about and why you chose it for the compilation.

‘Cannibal’ came from playing in clubs between DJs who were DJing “hard drum” music. Originally it began as a jam and the lyrics came from a time I had just been in the dentist for an emergency tooth pull. A wisdom tooth was tearing flesh in my mouth, and gave me a serious infection. I’d written part of the song and finished it during the first lockdown. It seemed to change and become about feeding off past experiences and thoughts while isolated. Vocals recorded at home during lockdown were always pulled back as I live in a large group house.

Besides your own track, do you have a favourite track or a favourite band that also features on the compilation?

I love the Grave Goods and Extravision songs. It’s a great release, I’m super excited to be on vinyl.

What else is on the horizon for Rising Damp during these “unprecedented” times?

I’m putting together applications for exhibition/gigs in galleries where I can design a set, lighting and objects. Working on videos and new songs always.

Finally, are there any bands or artists you’d like to give a shout out too?

One artist who has a huge output and amazing energy is God Knows. I’m so impressed by his ability to keep exploring sound and switch things up. I love that he’s super attentive to his scene, is the opposite to a gatekeeper and is constantly bringing people in from all around Ireland. He’s a total supporter and great musician.

I also urge everyone to checkout Fulacht Fiadh, Salac, Dylan Kerr, Lastminuteman and Maria Somerville. Right now I’m buzzing off listening to the labels Chicago Research and Detriti Records.

Thanks to Michelle for answering our questions.
Follow Rising Damp on bandcampFacebook and Instagram for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

PLAYLIST: St. Patrick’s Day 2020

We began drafting this St. Patrick’s Day Playlist before we were fully aware of the extent of the coronavirus pandemic in Ireland and before the Irish government called for the mass closure of pubs and clubs, thus removing any chance to publicly celebrate on the 17th. We debated whether it was appropriate to mention St. Patrick’s Day at all – especially after the numerous gig & parade cancellations both in Ireland and here in London – but seeing the resilience of our Irish friends and musicians on social media motivated us into completing it.

We all need a distraction during these uncertain times, so dive into our St. Patrick’s Day playlist – you’re going to find a new favourite artist among our choices! We’ve included links to each artist’s social media, Spotify and/or Bandcamp accounts and we urge you to stream or purchase their music if you have the funds to do so. Make sure you scroll all the way down for the playlist link…

Æ MAK – ‘Dancing Bug’ (Spotify)
A solid fan of Æ MAK otherwise known as Aoife McCann, I’ve followed her since the beginning of 2019, fresh off her recent support of both tUnE-yArDs and Warpaint. ‘Dancing Bug’ is her latest offering which speaks to her chaotic electronic beats and primitive vocal rhythms. (Tash Walker)

Cosha – ‘Do You Wanna Dance’ (Spotify)
A previous favourite of mine known as Bonzai, who released an old favourite of mine Where Are U Now, came back in 2018 under the name Cosha, teaming up with producer Rostam for this single. I’ve been keeping my ears and eyes peeled for their new music ever since. (TW)

New Pagans – ‘Admire’ (Spotify & bandcamp)
Filled with urgent, intensely catchy songs that challenge the norms surrounding relationships, history and gender, New Pagans’ debut EP Glacial Erratic is a powerful blend of alternative sounds. The Belfast band take the best elements of post-punk, grunge and indie rock and transform them in to abrasive, melodic noise. ‘Admire’ is my favourite track from the EP. (Kate Crudgington)

HAVVK – ’52’ (Spotify)
HAVVK have been long term favourites here at GIHE; a band who continually combine activism with their unique musical prowess, their exquisite, spine-tingling splendour resonates now more than ever. Although written about the extreme political dynamics in the run up to the Brexit vote in 2017, their track ‘52’ remains a poignant soundscape with all that’s happening in the world right now. Oozing a stark, stirring emotion, alongside the soaring, celestial splendour and gritty raw emotion of front woman Julie’s vocals, it’s filled with a glistening musicality juxtaposed with a frenzied, angst-driven climax. (Mari Lane)

The Cranberries – ‘Ode To My Family’
I couldn’t really not include The Cranberries on an Irish playlist. With the heartbreaking crystalline vocals of the late Dolores O’Riordan alongside a delicate twinkling musicality, each of their offerings sends shivers down my spine every time. I’ve chosen this particular track as, during these extremely troubling and anxiety-inducing times, I’d like to give an ode to MY family, and all loved ones – we need each other now more than ever, even if for some us it means not being able to physically see one another right now. Solidarity and good vibes to you all; we can get through this together. (ML)

REWS – ‘Monsters’ (Spotify)
I never fail to be impressed by the power of Shauna Tohill’s vocals and they’re out in full force again on this new REWS track. ‘Monsters’ is an aural challenge to self-doubt and a bit of fiery pop-rock encouragement to persevere in the face of anxiety. (KC)

Vulpynes – ‘2 Cents’ (Spotify)
Propelled by the gritty, impassioned vocals of guitarist Molly, ‘2 Cents’ rages with a seething energy and sublime raw power as scuzzy punk-fuelled riffs are blasted out alongside intense pummelling beats. Reminiscent of the riotous force of the likes of L7 or The Distillers, it’s a storming, empowering offering from my favourite Irish duo. We’re sad that we’re no longer able to host Vulpynes at The Finsbury on 3rd April, but we do hope to reschedule the gig for as soon as possible! (ML)

Bitch Falcon – ‘Prime Number’ (Spotify & bandcamp)
Mari booked Dubliners Bitch Falcon as the penultimate act for one of our GIHE gigs at The Finsbury a few years ago, and I was totally blown away by their live set. Such a raw, powerful sound. ‘Prime Number’ is a personal favourite, but I’d recommend listening to their latest single ‘Damp Breath’ too. (KC)

Party Fears – ‘Money’ (Spotify & bandcamp)
Party Fears are based in Berlin, but Maggie Devlin is originally from Northern Ireland. The band have been consistent favourites at GIHE since Mari first gave them a spin on our Hoxton Radio show and this track ‘Money’ is one of my favourites. Keep your eyes peeled for their new single ‘All Is Good’, set for release on 27th March. (KC)

PowPig – ‘Pretty Woman’ (Spotify & bandcamp)
PowPig are Irish DIY at its best, I was totally blown away when I found out that they were still at school. ‘Pretty Woman’ and ‘Mayday’ are their most recent releases jam packed with indie harmonies and grizzly guitars. Loving it. Here’s to hearing more from them in the future. (TW)

Hilary Woods – ‘Orange Tree’ (Spotify & bandcamp)
Dublin-based Hilary Woods creates abrasive, primal, charged soundscapes that blur industrial and orchestral elements. She uses sound and image to navigate emotional territories and I feel intensely comforted when I listen to her music (I also cry to it sometimes, but that’s okay too). “My body knows I can’t make it out” sings Woods on ‘Orange Tree’, tentatively trying to make peace with her physicality and her surroundings. This need to face her inner fears underscores her latest record, Birthmarks, which is an unsettling, but genuinely liberating listen. (KC)

Fears – ‘Blood’ (Spotify)
Fears is the moniker of London-based, Irish musician Constance Keane. I first heard her music while listening to The Irish Jam, and I’ve been keeping tabs on her ever since. I love her dark, minimal electronic sounds. Definitely a bit of me. (KC)

SOAK – ‘Bloodbuzz Ohio’ (Spotify)
I came across SOAK last year when she released her sophmore album Grim Town, which is most definitely worth a listen. This however is SOAK’s cover of The National’s ‘Bloodbuzz Ohio’, tender and gentle and a pleasingly fresh rendition. (TW)

Aoife Nessa Frances – ‘Here In The Dark’ (Spotify & bandcamp)
‘Here in the Dark’ is taken from the very enjoyable debut Land of No Junction by Aoife Nessa Frances. Her voice evokes so much emotion, you’ll soon find yourself falling into the songs reflective melodic musings. (TW)

Maria Kelly – ‘july’ (Spotify)
Alt-folk artist Maria Kelly’s ‘july’ looks inward, exploring the idea that we are ultimately in control of how we feel, and must take responsibility for what we choose to dwell on. Another truly beautiful offering from the Irish songwriter, it flows with her silky smooth, emotion strewn vocals and a stirring, bewitching musicality. Oozing a heartbreaking sense of vulnerability, it sparkles with a mystical grandeur, creating something truly mesmerising. (ML)

Rosie Carney – ‘Bud (Rose)’ (Spotify)
This is the last track to close Rosie Carney’s album Bare. ‘Bud (Rose)’ is a beautiful instrumental which mixes birdsong with piano. The piano is one of my favourite instruments to hear on record especially when it is played with such tenderness, as it is here. (TW)

B*witched – ‘C’est La Vie’
One of the first cassette singles I bought, when I was about twelve, I just wanted to include this one from the Irish girl group to put a smile on our faces – so, turn up it up, sing along and try to forget about everything for three sweet minutes! (ML)

 

We’d also like to give a shout out to GIHE allies and Irish born London-based musicians Niall Jackson and Matthew Sutton. Niall co-hosts The Irish Jam (along with Mel, Kealan & Rob) on Riverside Radio, which celebrates Irish music. Kate often contributes to their ‘New Music Sunday’ section.

Matthew fronts his own outfit called TAYNE, and is currently creating new music with his tattoo machine equipment. They both play together in Sweat Threats too. Both are trying to stay creative in a time of uncertainty, so if you can stream/purchase their music or merch, it would be greatly appreciated. (TAYNE bandcamp here. Niall ‘Swimmers’ Jackson bandcamp here).