New DJ duo from Derry bringing back big beats
Quaake are an Irish DJ duo who grew up with the same musical tastes.
They have a love and passion for electronic and dance music.It was assured that both would delve into the music scene after years of attending many club nights which broadened their musical understanding and knowledge.
From honing their skills as bedroom DJs, they managed to make their way onto the local music scene - a scene like Derry, which prides itself on it’s culture of unearthing and developing young, raw talent.
After a few years of music college, both lads learned the ropes of electronic music production, shaping a high quality sound ranging from deep, groovy techno to harsh acid basslines with a darker techno edge.
Quaake self-released their first track ‘Gamma’ in December 2020. They have since released tracks on labels such as Reload, Phobiq, IAMT and Numen.
This is ony beginning, more things are to come from the Irish duo
Q. Could you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
We are Conor and Gerald, and we are Techno DJs/producers from Derry. We DJ and produce music in our spare time, as often as possible. With a few years of previous experience DJing, we decided to try our hand as a duo, under the name of Quaake.
Q. How did you both meet? Conor: Well it started initially with myself being mates with Gerald’s brother, whom I went to secondary school with. I used to stay in my cousin’s home every weekend more or less, and we all hung around with each other as they lived on the same street. Still friends after 20+ years. I’m more or less an extended member of Gerald’s family and with him being the youngest of the siblings, we would always look out for him, and as he got older he fell into our circle of friends.
Q. How was Quaake born? Gerald: We always had the idea of working together in some form, whether as DJs or making music. We never had the “know how” of making it become a reality. We gained experience within recent years. Playing at gigs back-to-back, and as individuals, we knew that we had the drive and desire to make a go for it in this industry.
Just before the pandemic we always brought the idea up to each other during some drunken nights. I knew Conor had the talent and skill from his years studying Music Production at the NWRC. We contemplated a name that would be simplistic, yet have some weight behind it. Thinking of artists such as Slam, we managed to come up with the name Quaake and decided to stick with it.
Q. Who are your influences and why?
Conor: Obviously, I would have different influences as opposed to Gerald considering the eight year gap in age. Regarding mainstream music, I would say growing up I was majorly influenced by 80s music.
In terms of electronic and dance music, I have an uncle who frequently attended Lush at Kelly’s Nightclub in Portrush so was hugely influenced by the dance scene at an early age listening to his tape cassettes in the kitchen, hearing the likes of Paul van Dyk, Carl Cox and Robert Miles to name a few. House music was also a huge influence, with the likes of Crystal Waters, Paul Johnston and Everything But The Girl playing on TV. Gerald being younger, he was always interested in the music we would listen to in his home. Playing Tiesto albums and Eddie Halliwell live sets in his kitchen must have been a major part in his musical upbringing, as well as his parents’ 80s influences playing their part.
Q. How would you best describe your music?
Gerald: I would describe our music as energetic. We have a lot of variety to our tracks from fast, driving and uplifting acid techno to heavy, warehouse, industrial techno.
We mainly stick with the same structure when producing, but our sound is always evolving. We are still tweaking our sound to find our niche, but it’s starting to show in our productions. In regards to what we would play at gigs, we try to keep things interesting and keep a solid flow in our mixes but not afraid to throw in a classic track also to hit the crowd with a bit of nostalgia.
Q. If you could play a gig anywhere in Derry, where would it be?
Conor: I personally prefer the club scene to festivals, although both would be very welcoming. The Nerve Centre has always been a place I would’ve gone throughout my teens, and into my twenties. It was this experience that made me take an interest in being a DJ and dreaming about being up on that stage headlining at Celtronic festival. So if I could choose where to play a gig it would probably be there. However we would be willing to play anywhere as each venue brings its own experiences.
Q. What got you through lockdown?
Gerald: The main thing I would say that we focused on was having the time to actually start working on music consistently and finally putting our plan into action. We managed to get three tracks finished that we started before the pandemic, and managed to get them signed to our first record label Reload Records; owned by The Yellowheads.
Looking back in hindsight, we have surprisingly achieved more than we could have ever imagined this year. Most importantly, we want to thank everyone that has supported us the past year. It is great to put out new content, and to help people get through this pandemic. It’s our way of saying thank you, and hopefully we inspire others to do the same.
Q. Have you got anything planned for the future?
Conor: All we can do at the moment is keep releasing as many tracks as we can and surely the gigs and offers will come. We have already exceeded expectations for our first year as a duo. Our music has been released on some top Techno labels, and we’ve been featured three times on BBC Radio 1’s Introducing Dance show, hosted by Jaguar.
Our next release is out November on Prospect Records, as part of a VA compilation. We’ve also been approached by French legend Joachim Garraud to release on his label. We’re looking forward to seeing how that pans out. We have loads of EPs lined up for 2022 so stay tuned...