Modeā (Cristian McDaid) is a name few have heard but are sure to be aware of in the very near future, as the Irish producer at only 18 years of age is making waves within the electronic scene, having signed with Alan Fitzpatrick’s ‘We Are The Brave’ (WATB) label in 2020 after years of producing under other alias as a teenager. His latest release ‘Strength and Power’ is part of the new We Are The Brave ‘Different Minds’ V.A. I managed to catch up with Cristian to pick his brain about what’s happening with him and his future goals he has in mind.
How did you get into DJing and producing?
When I was about 7, I walked into my sitting room and Tiësto’s ‘Adagio for Strings’ was on the TV. I remember watching it and my dad asking me “Is that something you’d like to do?” and my answer straight away was “Yes!” That following Christmas, I got my first set of decks. They weren’t anything special, I think you had to use an iPod or iPhone to power them.
I was always the type of kid who wanted build their knowledge on something, so I spent most of my time on YouTube researching everything I could about DJing, even cringe-worthy videos like ‘How To Be A Superstar DJ’ or something like that, which is how I found out about producing; I started producing when I was about 12 by downloading FL Studio on my laptop as well as using old speakers, and started making ‘really really bad music’. I eventually moved over to a Mac and started using Logic when I was 13, which is still the main platform I use to make music to this day.
Until now, I was just really experimenting and trying to figure out my sound, but now I’m happy to all starting to come together and take form. I feel that I’m lucky I figured out what I love to do so young and could latch on to it. It’s the only thing I really know and I’m happy with how far I’ve come.
Have you always gone under the name ‘Modeā’?
No, Modeā is a project I started in late 2019. I have gone under loads of different synonyms; I started using the name ‘Crizify’ when I was about 8 until I was about 15. I produced absolutely everything under that name, from EDM, to Gabber and Pop. I feel it was a really big point in my life, as I still take the knowledge from those different genres I made back then and apply it to the music I make today.
Right before I started the Modeā project, I was using the name ‘Moda’. The reason why I stopped using the alias was a couple of things; I didn’t realise that the moniker was already in use, so I had to call myself ‘Moda (IRE)’. I had also released a tech-house song under that name and felt I was trying to be someone that I wasn’t, so I felt a new start was the best thing for me. I wanted to release music that I wanted to make instead of trying to be a copy-cat. From the start of the Modeā project, I’ve been making music that I want to make and release; When I make a song, it expresses how I’m feeling. Before that, I made music for clubs or festivals. I wanted to change all that under Modeā, as music is really the only way I know how to show a palette of emotion. I still make different music every single day without fail to increase my knowledge all the time and I’m delighted with how it’s all come along. It was the best decision I ever made.
How did you get involved with We Are The Brave?
I was actually the support act for Alan Fitzpatrick about 2 years ago, when he played in Letterkenny (Ireland). I only a quick picture with him because I had to catch a bus home, so there wasn’t much chit chat, so the first email I sent to him I attached the photo we got together on the night as a personal touch. He did reply to my emails but it was about 6 months before he took a serious interest in my music. I remember when I was doing school exams, I got the email during a break where he replied to me about ‘Silence’; At that point, I wasn’t very confident in my music. I felt a had a long way to go, so naturally I had this feeling of overwhelming excitement that was over the Richtar Scale. I respect Alan so much because no matter how busy he is, he always responds to me when I send him new music and tells me his honest thoughts. You can’t really ask for more that.
Eventually, it got to the point where Alan said “I think we’re nearly ready for a Brave release with you”, and picked ‘I Want to Fly’ to appear on the ‘Electric Soul Music Vol. 2’ V.A.; The story behind ‘I Want To Fly’ is kind of funny; I went to my studio and I was determined make a club track for my sets, like a wave of pure banging energy. That is what the song to me, more of a DJ tool to be played for an audience. I didn’t expect Alan to pick that one up at all. The song contrasts to ‘Silence’, where I delved a bit deeper into how I wanted to express myself and it shows a lot more of me than ‘I Want To Fly’ and once that released, Alan agreed to sign the ‘Silence’ E.P.
I’ve met some great artists through W.A.T.B. and I do feel a strong sense of family with this label compared to others in the past. I feel they show great professionalism along with being warm and welcoming. It’s opened up a window of opportunity in terms of the excellent roster of artists the label holds, and I’m usually in regular contact with most of them, bouncing ideas of each other.
How did your latest release ‘Strength and Power’ come about and what can we expect in the future?
That track came from some experimentation with my own vocals, which I’ve been doing a lot lately for new projects. One day, I just recorded a few words on to my computer, spent a few hours tweaking them and I eventually made a track out of it. Alan liked it and agreed to sign it to the new ‘Different Minds’ V.A.
As for the future, Alan trusts me enough to know what he expects for releases and we already have an E.P. confirmed for this year, where I’ve developed myself style further; I’m not sure when exactly, but I would imagine around the later part of 2021. It’s a bit hard to predict with everything going on now.
What’s a typical day in the studio for you and how has lockdown affected your workload?
I don’t go into the studio with a track in mind, I like just experiment a lot. It varies from playing on my piano to make a melody, to recording my own vocals and see where the process takes me. I do make certain times for studio hours so I can try to separate my work and personal life as best I can.
At the beginning of lockdown, I was getting loads of ideas because I had more time for my projects with the idea that it would only be a few months. As time went on, there were very low lows and very high highs. It hasn’t affected me too much and 2020 was a good year for me in terms of reaching goals for me as a producer.
By Cristian McDaid
What does your studio set up include?
I use Logic primarily but I also own a Novation MiniNova and a Behringer TD3, which give me sounds that I want to use. I like using the pre-sets they offer, but I love processing and distorting them to give me a more unique sound that I like.
Would you ever release your own sample pack?
I don’t have any plans at the minute as I’m just trying to focus on myself, but it’s something I feel that could on the cards in the future.
What would be your influences when it comes to making music?
My main inspirations come from films and random sounds, but If I had to mention that an artist that’s influenced me majorly it would be Enrico Sangiuliano; ‘Hidden T’ was the first song by him when I went to see Carl Cox in 2018. I was mind-blown, and when I returned home that weekend, I decided to switch it up and said to myself “I’d love to make some techno”. Enrico’s sound is so innovative and the BioMorph album is just something else in my eyes. ANNA, Tale of Us and Wehbba also come to mind, they’re all creative artists too.
What artists would you like to collaborate with if you had the chance?
That’s a tough one. There’s so many great artists out there, but I’d love to work with Enrico or Alan in the studio if the opportunity arose.
Do you have any dream labels you’d love to sign with?
For me, W.A.T.B. is the number one label I wanted to sign with, and I’m lucky enough to have achieved that now. I would love the chance to sign with Drumcode, as I love their style and their overall message. I’d also love to sign with After Life, KNTXT and Filth on Acid, as I feel I can express myself to those labels while keeping true to my own style.
If you had to pick your dream venue or festivals to perform at?
Straight off the top of my head, Awakenings or Timewarp are festivals I feel every techno artist aspires to play at one day. As regards venues, I’d just love to hold a residency somewhere in Ibiza one day. I played there a couple years back on the strip in a place called Joe Spoons. It’s like a little Irish bar, which isn’t exactly everyone’s first thought of the island. I’ve been going there every summer since I was about 13 and it’s like a second home to me.
What advice would you give to producers? If I had to give advice to my younger self, I’d say “You’re doing it right. Just stop worrying about what other people think and trying be something you’re not. Just produce what you feel, trust me.” Once I discovered that and I started to express myself through the music I was putting out, things started happening. People started to notice and respect me for it. It’s not doable to try and do what others are doing, it has to come from the heart. There’s so much music that sounds the same these days and you need to stand out by being yourself, that’s the only way forward.