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John O'Callaghan Interview

Author: Mark Burton
Monday, December 5, 2005
John O'Callaghan is the hottest new Trance talent to break through in the last couple of years. The 23 year old Irishman's latest release, Vendetta, a brooding tech-trancer, is rated so highly by new DJmag poll champion, Paul Van Dyk that he's selected it for his celebratory cover CD. John also releases under the Stenna and Siberian Sun guises and is one half of the Inertia and Exertion projects, alongside Neal Scarborough.

2005 has seen the prodigy's DJ sets take clubland by storm, playing at the likes of Serious, The Gallery and Passion as well as headlining Ireland's Global Gathering festival. Music has always been a part of his life. "I was always into music. I was in a silver band in my early teens; I played the cornet and had a brief stint on the drums. I then got into bands like Pulp, The Verve and Blur. I then slowly progressed into dance music like the Chemical Brothers and from then on I went clubbing and got more into Djing and dance music".

A trip to the studio was the logical progression. "My uncle is a full time studio engineer and producer and I always found the equipment and process very interesting. The more I got into dance music I found myself analysing the tracks more and studying the breakdown and structure. I started experimenting with chopping up full tracks into my own edits, very basic stuff. From there it grew into writing original tracks."

He cites the current people's favourite, PVD as his inspiration. "His tracks and DJ sets are something I aspire to. I love all his productions and every time he releases a track its pure quality. I have a lot of respect for his professionalism and contribution to the industry."

So what does he reckon are the pick of his own productions to date- "There's a few tracks I really like. The most successful so far has been Inertia - The Chamber, which I'm really proud of and always goes down well in a club. Production wise, I'm really happy with my remix of Agnelli & Nelson - Shiver. But one I will always listen to and still love is O'Callaghan & Kearney - Restricted Motion". How does each of the different projects compare- "Sound wise they all have a different feel. Inertia is really driving trance focused around a big break and riff, whereas the Stenna tracks are more melodic and chilled-but also have club appeal. I'm working on follow up tracks for both aliases at the moment and both are sounding very promising. Also watch out for the O'Callaghan & Kearney track!"

The prolific O'Callaghan's also got some new material ready for release. "Vendetta on Discover Dark alongside John Askew - Nailgun. That's a great EP which has been getting big hype over the last few weeks. PVD is playing Vendetta which is fantastic news. Also John O'Callaghan & Greg Downey - One Way Ticket will be out early 2006. I'm currently working on some tracks for Armada."

He's really at home with John Askew's Discover label. "It's great! John's the best label boss you could hope for. He gives huge input to the tracks and always helps you to take it to the next level. The Discover team is really great and the man in the office Chris Hampshire is one of the hardest working guys in the business. It's the best label around right now in my opinion. Also the 2006 release schedule is looking awesome already."

The highlight of his DJ career so far was during the recent summer. "Global Gathering Ireland" he recalls with pride. "Playing to 4000 Irish clubbers was a dream come true. I never thought it would happen but to be up on that stage playing to a crowd which I would have normally been a part of in previous years, was simply unreal." What has Kryal got to look forward to- "Lots of really good trance music and plenty of tracks to get you moving! I always play the tracks I would most like to hear if I was out in the crowd myself. The most important thing is for people to have a good time!"

John O'Callaghan plays Advent