Interview with Pagan

Kevin Murtagh


So, I wanted to start by going back to the earlier days of your performing career in and around Dublin. Being from Dublin myself I know that the clubbing scene has sadly declined over the years despite the unlimited amount of talent available, is there anything that you miss about the scene that we don’t have any more in the city?

Yes definitely! The obvious one for me is The Hangar, from the first time going I realized that it was a perfect environment and space for techno to be enjoyed in. It always had great DJs playing midweek and on the weekends, and the atmosphere was amazing. I never saw any trouble, people were there to dance, have a good time and enjoy the music that was being played. In terms of my own performances, The South William venue and the Toast club brand was huge for me and a lot of the people who came up at the same time as me, I owe a lot to Charlie, Johnny and Brian of the Toast brand, without the opportunity from them, things would have been so much harder in relation to performing regularly, I can't thank them enough. 

What is your favorite club to play in Dublin past or present and why?

For me, performance wise, I only started around late 2018 so I think I've had the best experience playing in Dublin in The Wah Wah Club, I liked the way there was no stage and that you were on the same level as the crowd, the intimacy made the atmosphere so great. The one that I enjoy most at the moment is the 39/40 main room. I think it is the closest space left that we have that has a Hangar type vibe. It feels like a completely different space almost similar to Berlin where it’s a really nice atmosphere with everyone there for a good time, to have a good buzz and for the music. 

Playing at life festival is always going to be a dream of any DJ coming up within Ireland as the pinnacle of festival season for electronic music, if so, how did it change your career after being booked to play?

It's hard to pinpoint a direct result but I think that people take you more seriously when you start to play festivals over clubs. It's also great to be able to meet other acts at these big events.  You get to become more acquainted and become friends with other artists by seeing them regularly at these gigs so I think this part would be how it changed my career most. 

2019 was a big year for you, also playing at huge festivals in Ireland such as Higher Vision and Yurt City, but what was it like to headline a space as big as The Academy for Konspiracy?

Yes that was really cool! It was one of the first times I headlined a slot. It was a weird feeling because I didn’t think at the time that my name was enough to justify a headline slot but it was still really fun and a massive thanks to Ryan of Konspiracy who has been a big supporter of mine. I think you learn a lot about yourself as a DJ when you are thrown into headline slots, playing a warm up, mid night vs peak time slots are 3 different beasts in my opinion. You really have to change the energy and vibe up a whole lot. The bigger slots are where you really learn what you need to do to improve as a DJ, it was a great learning curve.

The AVA Emerging Talent Program has shone a light on many up-and-coming artists over the past few years, what was it like to be nominated for the emerging producer award by such a platform?

It was an unbelievable feeling; I remember I found out when I was on the way to a college boat party event that I was running at the time. A friend of mine tagged me on the Instagram post and that is how I found out. It was surreal due to AVA being such a platform and the people who have won it before such as DART and Quinton Campbell. It was the first experience during my time in the music industry that I thought it was a big thing that might progress me further. When I was at Life Festival, people were saying to me that it was the nomination for the award that really put them onto me to play which is great. I had very little music out at the time as well which was crazy but it was a great thing to progress my career.

With gigs drying up over the past year, most artists have made the switch to being fully focused on production for the time being. You released your debut 5 track EP entitled ‘wash away our fears’ in April of this year via the ‘10 pills mate’ label. How has your production game changed during lockdown if so?

Massively, I've been lucky during lockdown being able to stay productive with music, with the confidence in my ability becoming so much better. I think sometimes that simplicity can be a great thing with dance music. Musicians have been forced to provide different content such as educational videos on YouTube and Twitch which I have been an avid viewer of, such as Disclosure's twitch channel. With their channel, it's almost like going to do work experience in a studio with a mixing engineer but from behind the screen. It’s a hugely valuable experience and one that is normally quite expensive and now it is all there for free because of covid. 

How has the support from the likes of Nastia, Jensen Interceptor and Alan Fitzpatrick motivated you for the future?

It has hugely motivating, it’s a great achievement in itself for me and it really pushes me on to make more and more to send them. The music I'm making now particularly my unreleased tracks are so varied in genre and sound nothing like the tracks on my new EP so it's kind of funny getting support from a techno DJ like Alan Fitzpatrick or an electro/break type of DJ like Jenson Interceptor, it makes me think should I be making more similar stuff to send to them. I personally think I'm better of making what I want to make and if its good it will fall into the right hands. In the meantime, I will try to work on as much new music as possible so that when clubs and festivals re open that these people will be asking me for the tracks and playing out what I send them