Home Interviews Brisboys [Interview]

Brisboys [Interview]

33 min read

John Manning and Ciaran Duffy (RIP) joined forces in late 2008 having been DJs in their own right for over ten years, playing in clubs and radio shows across Northern Ireland. They met by chance in 2007 while they were both in Brisbane, Australia. After talking they discovered they shared a passion for house music and realising they only lived a few miles apart back home in Ireland they made an agreement, that they would keep in contact and start a project when back on home turf and it was then that “Brisboys” was born. After taking a break from "Brisboys" for 4 years and concentrating on "Bemannte & Bruder" John has decided to continue what him and Ciaran started.

Brisboys’ productions have been supported by Pete Tong, Richie Hawtin, Marco Carola, Maceo Plex, Dubfire, Paco Osuno, Stacey Pullen, Dave Piccioni, Slam, Davide Squillace, Miss Nine, Jesse Voorn, Eric Entrena, Threesixty, Felix Baumgartner, Loko, Macromism, Tom Novy and Betoko and many more. Brisboys have shared the stage with Jay Lumen, Fake Blood, Alex Cellar, Clive Henry, Simian Moblie Disco, Alex Arnout and many more. This week finds Brisboys relaunching his Brisbeats imprint with a new single 'Sunset Dreams', alongside remixes from K Loveski, Nicolas Benedetti and Glenn Molloy.

Progressive Astronaut caught up with John to learn more about the release of 'Sunset Dreams', his background, nightlife in Ireland, DJing and much more. Enjoy.

Hi John, thanks for talking to us today. How has your start to the year been so far and please tell us something interesting about your day today?

Its been a productive start to the year, music wise and label wise, well today i was stuck in a traffic jam and it was because an old lady’s mobility scooter had broken down on the road, it took four men to drag it off the road with her still sitting in it and it got me wondering if there's a recovery service for mobility scooters, that's about as interesting as today got haha.

Looking back on 2024 so far, what gigs of yours have stood out and why?

i haven’t really been gigging the past while as I’m trying to get a lot of tracks finished, signed and released, i have only recently resumed brisboys again after a 4 year hiatus, hopefully the gigs will start coming again soon.

Let’s look back on tracks that have been released this year, what do you think have been some of the standouts so far? (not your own music)

i am loving both the original and remix of juan pablo torrez & golan zocher - cosmic resonance, also alan cerra - blackout and  michael a - metallic, they have been the standouts for me this year so far

Take us through a typical day when you’re not travelling, what does a day in your life look like?

I’m still working full time, so i get up early and go to work, after work i will check emails, download promos or spend a bit of time in logic, just depends on my mood.

How did growing up in Ireland influence your music taste and direction? Or did it all?

growing up in ireland never really influenced my taste in music, i love most styles of music,  so i would have loved music no matter where i grew up, i believe theres only good and bad music, and one persons good is another persons bad, so each to their own.

What are some of your best memories from first going to clubs? Were there specific nights or sets that really made you feel you wanted to pursue electronic music?

northern ireland was a clubbers dream in the late 90s, there was space,  the arena, exit 15, lush, clubland, and too many clubs to mention, it was fresh, amazing and everyone was on the same page back then, we used to hire a bus every weekend and go to mainly the arena, but sometimes lush or exit 15, then back to the space all-nighter after,  i set a goal that i wanted to dj in space, and i got to dj in it many times, theres even a live recording of my doing in it floating around the internet from 2001.

If you were a tour-guide for nightlife in Ireland, what would be the clubs you’d take the people to see and what local DJs do they need to hear?

theres not too many proper nightclubs left in belfast, theres only really the telegraph building which hosts shine and thompsons, which is open 7 days a week, so it would have to be to either of those, their residents are all pretty decent and worth hearing, but on a progressive note from belfast you can’t go wrong with chris cargo or richie blacker, although theres not really any progressive nights on to hear them in belfast.

Being a Belfast  resident, how would you say the nightlife differs from there to the other major cities in the Ireland? Or is there a difference at all?

I’m currently living in manchester the past couple of years but i would say a lot of the cities in ireland are pretty similar, the one thing they all have in common though is that the licensing hours in ireland are a joke, nowhere can open later than 3am which in this day and age is a joke, it has went backwards, as in the late 90s you could party until 7am no problem.

When we ask most artists what is responsible for the popularity of progressive music in the UK the overwhelming answer is Sasha and John, would that be your feeling also? And if so please speak on that, also to add to that, who else from the UK inspired you when you first discovered the music? 

its hard to look past sasha, digweed  and nick warren, they flew the flag for progressive before it was even known as progressive.

Brisboys was a duo up until some years ago when your partner Ciaran Duffy passed away, you guys also did the Bemannte & Bruder is that correct? Walk us through the timeline of how these projects came to life and where everything stands today with you operating in solo capacity.

well myself and Ciaran met in Brisbane in 2007 and hit it off and as we were both djs with a similar taste in music, so we started Brisboys, we had an amazing time in the years that followed, with gigs here, there and everywhere, tracks on Azuli Miami compilations and plays from Pete Tong. unfortunately ciaran passed in 2019, i was’nt sure if i wanted to do Brisboys on my own, as everything was so raw, so  i took a break from Brisboys and started Bemannte & Bruder with my brother, we were doing well but it never worked out, so if i was going to be doing this on my own then i was not gonna waste what myself and Ciaran had spent 12 years building, Ciaran will always be a part of Brisboys, hopefully i can do him proud, without Ciaran there would never have been Brisboys or Bemannte & Bruder, so from here on in ill be giving Brisboys my all.

You have a new single ‘Sunset Dreams’ out now via your Brisbeats Records imprint. Tell us a bit about the release and how it showcases your current sound.

its the second track i finished after going back to my Brisboys alias after ‘Dawn Rising’ which was released on Soundteller Records and i thought it was the perfect track to relaunch the label, “Dawn Rising” was darker and ’Sunset Dreams” is more uplifting, perfect for summer and the feel good kind of prog im about at the minute.

There are also three great remixes from K Loveski, Nicolas Benedetti & Glenn Molloy, tell us why this trio was a good fit to re-interpret this particular track?

they are three producers i respect, they each have their own sound, if you hear their tracks you know its them and thats what i wanted.

Let our readers inside your studio for a moment, what is your current setup and what studio tools are featured heavily in your recent productions and more specifically on your ‘Sunset Dreams’ single?

my setup is a iMac 27 inch, 32 gb ram, logic pro, krk rokit monitors, novation keyboard,  i have a few vsts but the one that i can’t live without is pigments, i used it quite a bit on sunset dreams, i also used  u-he zebra, i used loopcloud quite a bit too, i have always been a fan of using sample packs and with loopcloud I’m currently going back over 20 years worth of sample packs that i never thought id ever use again and loading them into loopcloud, its a gamechanger. I like my tracks to be as good as they can be so when I’m 95% happy with a track, i take it to a good friends studio for a second opinion, finishing touches and mastering, i find this doing it this way works best for me.

Let’s talk a bit more about your label ‘Brisbeats Records’ which has been running since 2020 but with a sparse release schedule. What led you to start the label initially? Was this your first foray into running a record label?

The idea for Brisbeats Records came in 2012 and we set it all up and got a logo made and had everything ready to go, but myself and ciaran ended up starting a label called Sonar Bliss Records with our good friend Tony Walls, Tony is still running Sonar Bliss  today with suggsy, myself and Ciaran were going to get Brisbeats up and running, but unfortunately we never got the chance too. Shortly after Ciaran passed a few of us got together and started to release music on Brisbeats, but it fizzled out, so now I’m going to get up and running properly with a steady release schedule, maybe 8-10 releases per year, the first few will be Brisboys tracks as thats what the label was for, hence the name but then i will start releasing other artists music, i plan to focus on music, a lot of labels these days seem to focus more on the likes than the music, I’m also exploring the possibility of releasing limited edition numbered vinyls.

You’ve just brought the label back from a two and a half year hiatus, talk to us about that, why the long delay and what made you want to revive it?

i had always planned to get it going properly but was focusing on Bemannte & Bruder, trying to get it to a decent level then getting Brisbeats going, but as thats not happening no point in wasting any more time,  myself and Ciaran did all the groundwork with Brisboys so now Brisbeats is good to go, with Brisboys at the helm.

Now that you’re a few years into your journey as a label owner, looking back on those years, how has your approach to running a label changed? Or has it at all?

its a hard business, but if you do it for the love then you can’t go wrong, brisbeats going forward will be quality over quantity, no point releasing music if you don’t believe in it.

You’ve released on some long standing record labels such as Bonzai and Rising High, so i’m curious, being a label owner, how do you decide which of your tracks you want to release on Brisbeats as opposed to shopping them to other labels?

i have released on so many labels,  so from here on in I’m going to prioritise releasing on my own label, and curating quality remixers, i will still send some tracks to labels but why not try and get Brisbeats doing well.

What advice do you have for artists hoping to get signed to ‘Brisbeats’?

i will listen to everything, so just do your own thing, just because a track isn’t signed doesn’t mean its not a good track, just means that it doesn’t suit the label, but it may well suit a different label, so if the track is right for the label it will be signed

Now let’s talk about DJing for a moment, you’ve had a long history as a DJ performing alongside legendary acts like Peace Division and Simian Moblie Disco, amongst others. How would you describe your approach to DJing?

read the room, test what tracks work, i would never plan a set, it would be boring and what if it didn’t go down well, you need to be able to adapt, i had my first gig way back in 1999 at an all-nighter called space, it had the best soundsystem i’d ever heard in any club, i think this is what gave me the buzz for djing.

Can you tell me a bit about how your work as a DJ has influenced your view of music, your way of listening to tracks and perhaps also, your work as a producer?

i love basslines, when i hear a track, even on a small radio i can imagine how the bass would sound in a club, also i would hear tracks and think about how they would have made a certain sound, its def changed how i listen to music.

How much prep do you put into the sets you play, or are they spontaneous for the most part?

lots of prep in looking for tracks but always spontaneous, what works one time may not work the next, also it gets boring playing the same sets over and over again, so just go with the flow is my preferred method

Current Top five tracks in your sets?

rokka, maze 28 - mirage (juan ibanez remix) [Clubsonica Records]

kay - d - Early Relections ( Nicolas Benedetti Remix)  [Lups Records]

federico monachesi - via del mare (original mix) [soundteller records]

brisboys - sunset dreams (k loveski remix) [brisbeats records]

andres moris - rust (agustin pietrocola remix) [ah digital]

If you are not DJing, producing or socializing at clubs, where do we find you? And doing what?

i support a football team called everton so i try to get to as many matches as possible, the buzz of watching them live at goodison park is unreal.

If you could set up an event with a line-up of five artists of your choice, who would you book and what set times would you ascribe to the artists?

sasha b2b hernan 0400-0700

sasha - 0200 - 0400

herman cattaneo - 0000 - 0200

kamilo sanclemente - 2200 - 0000

dimity molosh - 2000 - 2200

john cosani - 1800-2000

Looking back on your career thus far, what advice would you offer to your younger self?

don’t take rejection so personal, 95% of this business is rejection, so just move on and  always play what you enjoy, don’t be a jukebox.

If you were not a DJ/Producer what do you think you’d be doing with your life?

no idea, music is life, i will always have music in my life.

What TV series have you been enjoying recently and what are some of your all time favourites?

currently watching a series on netflix called bodies with stephen graham in it, its quality so far but only 2 episodes in, my all time favourites are probably sopranos, breaking bad and i loved lost also.

What can we look forward to from yourself and Brisboys Records for the rest of 2024?

i have an ep almost signed that i can’t talk about just yet, i have 3 releases lined up for brisbeats, i am working on a couple of tracks with the HSWRK lads who are running some amazing parties on bournemouth pier, more info on that soon and i have an ep dropping november on musique de lune, oh i am also supplying the guest mix for july 2024 on jelly for the babies’ deep impact radio show.

'Sunset Dreams' is available now via Brisbeats: https://tinyurl.com/yeyju8f9

Load More Related Articles
Load More By Release Promo
  • Mattisix [Interview]

    Mattisix, is an Italian Musician, Producer and Live DJ based in Brussels. “Six” like the s…
  • Sturge [Interview]

    Hailing from Ireland but now calling the UK home, Sturge has been promoting electronic mus…
  • SIX [Interview]

Load More In Interviews

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *