QA: Liam O’Mahony

liamomahony2

 

 

 

1. Who are you?

My name is Liam. I turn 20 in a couple months. I Iive in the valley outside of LA and I’ve been told that I’m a sweet boy.

2. What do you do?

I make tracks as hold mc. I also run a record label called slumdiscs. I’m currently on leave from my university and have no idea what I’m going to be doing for the next few months other than making music and releasing some records. If anyone in NY or Seattle wants to rent their couch to me please hit me up on soundcloud.

3. Where do you often create/produce?

Mostly in my bedroom. I’ve had some really good studio sessions with my friends Nick and Alejandro recently in Santa Barbara. Producing music was an extremely personal thing for many years and most of my friends didn’t know I did it. Recently it’s been nice to open up and create things with the input of other people.

4. When?

For a long time I’d make at least a track a day but I’ve slowed down. My favorite time to make music is when I’m really sleepy.

5. Why do you play music?

It’s always something I’ve felt like I had to do. I have things I want to say but can only (try to) do so musically. I think most people that do music have very complex thoughts about their work, like a personal mythology that undergirds everything they make. It’s kind of embarrassing, like I’m making this piece of music that has deep significance to me with all sorts of hidden meanings but at some level is just a club track.

I think performing live brought that point home for me. In a live setting your music is completely stripped of context, no track titles, no album art, no cryptic liner notes or soundcloud track descriptions to give the listener a little hint at your intentions. You’re sharing this thing you poured your heart into and people are either going to dance to it or not. It’s as horrifying as it is liberating.

6. When did you start making music?

I’ve been making music forever but first started working on a computer in 7th grade. I had heard about FL studio through Soulja Boy on youtube and downloaded a trial version. At that time I was super into french electro music, Ed Banger type stuff. The only club music tutorial I found was this awful one made by Basshunter so I ended up doing hip hop beats for a while. When I was in 8th grade the Crystal Castles album came out and changed everything for me. I wanted to replicate those sounds and ended up downloading a bunch of 8 bit synth plugins and even tried emulating this tracker made for the Gameboy called Littlle Sound DJ but never got good enough at it to make anything. I found some tracks I made during that time on a usb drive last year, they were pretty funny but I was also impressed in a weird way.

7. Which track defines you the most?

Like which track of my own? That’s a hard question because I’m always changing. I made a song last year called She Does My Head In, I don’t think it’s anywhere online right now. It’s a pretty simple breakbeat track but it perfectly captures everything I was going for at that time.

I don’t think I’ve made the equivalent track for where I’m at right now. I have a song called Malaga that is like a capstone for the sound I was going for this summer. That’s hopefully getting a release soon.

8. How would you describe your own music?

The extremes of isolation and hyper connectivity that come from spending a lot of time on the internet, finding freedom and relief in a club environment, just generally feeling kinda weird about being alive in 2015. Trying to make sounds that evoke those feelings and then interpreting them through a dance music structure. That’s what I’m trying to do at least. I’m not sure how much of that is getting across. Right now the goal is to pull this off without being too derivative or nostalgic. I used to be really into Derrida’s hauntology and all that but I reached a point where retrospection was beginning to hold me back.

9. Any track of the moment?

Riohv – Veen & Mobb Deep – Give Up The Goods

10.What influences your work?

Girl problems, my friends’ music, the internet. I listen to a lot of R&B, dancehall, and hip hop. Everything I do is highly autobiographical.

11.What’s your academic background? Are you an autodidact?

I was in university studying international relations but I’m taking a break until the fall. In high school I was really into Deleuze but I can’t get into philosophy lately. I guess I’m an autodidact but I mostly just learn useless shit on wikipedia when I’m bored at work. I love learning about fanatical subcultures that are into strange things (not too strange). Finding their online forums, picking up on their lexicon, it’s fun in a weird voyeuristic way.

12.Favorite designer?

Jake Terrell and Lily Clark who have both worked with slumdiscs are amazing and definitely artists to watch. I’m not sure what is meant by designer here but I think Issey Miyake and James Turrell are cool.

13.Favorite book?

Tao Te Ching. More Brilliant Than the Sun by Kodwo Eshun is a recent favorite and if you’re into music you should read it.

14.Favorite classic movie?

Is Do The Right Thing a classic? That’s my favorite movie. I want to make music that transports people to a time and place even half as effectively as that movie does.

15.Favorite music label?

That’s hard. I’ve been listening to a lot of Driftwood Records and Echospace Detroit stuff. As far as newer labels go I think Software, Blankstairs, Lobster Theremin, Where To Now? and Hesperian Sound Division are great. Everything on Clone Royal Oak is solid.

16.Your dream collaboration?

Working with Sade would be earth shattering. I think I’m already doing some dream collaborations. The fact that I have friends online and IRL that have a similar vision for music as I do is pretty unbelievable. I hope to keep working with Nick Tillman and Leja Hazer, every time we link up the vibe is undeniable.

17. Are you analog or digital?

Digital

18.Which soft wares/tools/ instruments do you use/play?

A lot of what I make is sampled from live instruments and me making noises with stuff in my room. I have some midi controllers and use the Waves plugins a lot. There’s a great interview with Dan Lopatin where he talks about youtube being an instrument. That was really validating for me as a kid in high school sampling weird shit from video rips. I’ve been saving up for an octatrack for a while but always end up spending the money on something else. When I do live sets their usually on an Akai APC40. I mostly just DJ when I play out.

19.Describe your creative process?

I try to create what I’m feeling at the time sonically through sample manipulation or synthesis.  I spend a lot of time on sound design and then later on I’ll start arranging. Other than that its pretty different every time.

20.When are you the most prolific (creatively)?

When I’m stressed out about love, nothing too unique.

21. Any favorite record stores? (Real/virtual)

Poo-Bah in Pasadena is awesome. Mount Analog is cool but I feel like the dudes there don’t like me. Wall of Sound and Everyday Music in Seattle are great. I shop at Earcave online (thanks for being super nice to my mom!). Some of the best records I’ve ever found were at Ohmega Salvage in Oakland which is this weird furniture store.

22.What’s your life philosophy? (Optimistic/pessimistic)

I read a lot Taoist literature and that’s the closest thing to a belief system that I have. I’ve been trying very hard lately to spend more time loving the things I love than hating the things I hate.

23.Do you have a healthy lifestyle?

I guess so. I keep a vegetarian diet, try to avoid drugs and drink a lot of green tea. I don’t ever work out though so I’m pretty scrawny. In 2015 I want to start doing yoga. My friend Maddie who is largely responsible for my wellbeing is going to France for 3 months so hopefully my health won’t implode in her absence.

24.How do you manage your time effectively? (Job/hobby)

I don’t really, that’s one of the reasons I’m taking time off school. I’m always thinking about music so I need to find a career in the music field or I’m in trouble. I guess the best way to balance things is to get passionate about whatever you’re doing. When I was working in an office, I’d have to take things seriously and try to make it fun or the hours would just crawl by.

25. Any secret skills?

I write a lot of iphone note poetry, not too skilled but very secret.

26. Any future plans?

I’m hoping to have a full length release as hold mc out this year. I want to keep growing slumdiscs and releasing music that I’m passionate about. The Morkebla/Best Available Technology split we have on the way has got me super excited. Beyond that I don’t really know, still serious about sleeping on someone’s couch, hit me up.

27.What’s your life motto?

I don’t know but a couple months ago I woke up in the morning with the phrase “waking up to realize that what you are experiencing is not the healing of the self but the reconstruction of the fantasy” stuck in my head. I don’t think I’ve fully decoded it yet.

28. Any “mot de la fin”?

Thanks to anyone who has ever showed me love, it’s all for you.

 

 

 

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