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ZOiD - electronic musician

How I Came To Release A Record On Metamorphic

I wanted to write this out because I can’t fit it in a tweet… or even a whole pile of tweets like sometimes people do. Long-form tweets, no thanks.

This Metamorphic release has got me reminiscing about how it all started, so I’ll go right back to the beginning…

I’m 16 years old, the year is 1995. One night me and my friend Donal are knockin around Deansgrange where I live, we’re kind of bored so we decide to call into my next-door neighbour’s house where Derek lives. Derek is a couple of years old than me but ut we didn’t hang out together for whatever reason. Probably because I was a skateboarder and he was not. I’d never been into his house before that night.

Cowabunga doods

So we head in the driveway and knock on the door. He’s there with a couple of other guys from the neighbourhood who I know but also don’t hang around with (other non-skaters, boo). Derek invites us in and we enter a new world. There is strange music coming from the stereo… bleeps and bloops and repetitive rhythms… we partake of a smoke together and from that night forth, we start hanging out all the time, a bunch of guys from Deansgrange whose names all begin with D: Daniel, Donal, Derek, Delaney, Dobbyn, Djamel!

Before that night I’d been listening to guitar music exclusively, pretty much only Jimi Hendrix for a few years and then branching into jazz, Django and George Benson and Wes Montgomery. I had never heard techno music before.

(Dobbyn was Alan Dobbyn, the best techno DJ I ever heard, I wrote more about him here-> https://www.zoid.ie/2019/11/30/reminiscenses/)

me in my UR hoodie talking to some lad on a bus circa 1997

After I started hanging out with Derek, I started buying records and we started going out to clubs in Dublin to listen to techno music. Afterwards we’d go back to Derek’s house, and listen to deep, post-club, incredible electronic music; very often Dan Curtin’s Web of Life album would be on. When I say we’d listen, I mean LISTEN. Sitting around the stereo in silence, deeply listening to the music without saying much… anyone else who would come back to this gathering would invariably get weirded out! I mean we wouldn’t talk for hours, just vibing on the music… occasionally commenting on a percussive element in a track or noticing how much the track has changed over the last few minutes!!

It was quite bizarre but at the same time, completely perfect. I felt like I found my world! By the time I was 17 I was totally hooked on electronic music, and starting to make my first tracks on a Yamaha CS1X and a cracked version of Cubase on my PC. I remember making my very first tape of tracks and playing them to some friends in a car. One of them said “holy shit, this is crazy. You know what you are going to DO now!” Not that the track was any good, just that it sounded like a track… which was enough to point to the direction ahead…

So yeah, I felt like I knew what I was supposed to do… but the path was never straight. In the 2 decades since then I’ve constantly been making music and sending many hundreds of demos to labels, countless emails, self-releasing music, and always looking for some validation that I’m doing something of value, and rarely ever finding any! (One exception was D1’s Eamonn Doyle who was a huge supporter, gave me gigs and time in the D1 studio, which was a big confidence booster for 20-year-old me). Mainly I’ve just gotten used to ploughing ahead with myself as my biggest fan. Go me!

I should also mention a few label-owners who were very encouraging and released ZOiD stuff over the years, including Warren @ Invisible Agent, Meljoann @ Boy Scout Audio (me and Mel have a collaboration out next week!), Jimmy The Hideous Penguin @ Alkalinear. All very under-the-radar but still. Thanks to those persons 🙂

Carl Craig, Dublin 1997, i’m in the front row, grinning with cigarette in hand

And after every unanswered email from a label or DJ, I’d carry on doing the thing I have this constant burning desire to do: get in the studio and MAKE MUSIC.

I never took the rejections personally. Every time I just thought “ok the musics not ready yet. Next time make it better”. I still feel like a beginner in many aspects of the music, and I’m constantly trying to learn more and get better at making it sound like the sounds in my head.

Around 4 years back I put a video on Instagram of a track I thought was a bit Dan-Curtin-like, nervously tagging him in the post! Next day, he liked it and left a comment! Haha, that was nice.

A few months later I made myself send him some tracks, finding the email address of Metamorphic Records from the label website. Geared about for another non-response, definitely not expecting to hear anything back, but always feeling the push towards first making the tracks, and then trying to find a home for them…

So it was a hell of a pleasant surprise to actually hear back from Dan Curtin a few weeks later! He’d checked out the tracks and while they weren’t grabbing him, he was open to hearing more. So I started sending him a new batch of tracks every once in a while…

And one day, he got excited about one of them, a track called SSDX… and he wanted to release it! (it’s the Space Station Dexaphonic track from the record). That email put me into a spin, i was like a 6-year-old kid on christmas day for like a week!

And the very next month my first record came out… NOT!!! That’s not how it works kids. People who are releasing records probably have experienced this – it can take a looooong time to get everything done right, the mixes, remixes, the artwork, the mastering, the distribution, the PR… and the pandemic also royally jammed everything up for everyone in a big way, causing huge delays.

For a minute I was impatient for the record to come out… but then I realised fuck it, it will come out eventually, or maybe it won’t. It might come out and that will be it, the only record I ever release. Or maybe there will be more. Either way I can’t control that. I can only make more music. And I will definitely be doing that nonstop. If I’m not creating new music at least once a week I actually feel mentally unwell. Even if no one else ever wants to release them I’ll be churning them out like bad movies out of Netflix. Except they will be like, er, good movies…

Anyway… Dan Curtin is an absolute legend, a gentleman, a guy who not only has made records which are among the classics in techno music, but who’s label was the first to release music by some of my favourite innovators, producers like Titonton and Morgan Geist. I will always have immense gratitude towards Dan! It means more than anything to join the Metamorphic family; it is a dream come true.

Metamorphic 039 “Dexaphonic EP” is out everywhere soon, 2 x ZOiD tracks, 1 x Dan Curtin Remix + 1 x John Tejada remix.

preorder from All City Records (Dublin): https://www.allcityrecords.com/product/zoid-dexaphonic-ep-incl-john-tejada-dan-curtin-remixes/

preorder from deejay.de (Germany): https://www.deejay.de/ZOiD_Dexaphonic_EP_MET039_Vinyl__997485

Previews here:

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