The bedroom producer incites images of creative freedom. An alternative world, existing between four walls, where the clutches of label restriction and the blinding light of the mainstream can’t reach.
Some of the most forward thinking sound has been created right next to where an artist lays their head. In a world dominated by the star name overlords it’s quite easy to let the lesser known names slip under your radar. Though, on the other hand, if your curiosity is piqued enough, an entire ecosystem of diverse and undiscovered music exists, waiting to be explored though online music groups and Bandcamp.
The experimental nature of the underground producer results in original and innovative noise that draws inspiration from the past whilst keeping one eye on the future. You may have not yet stumbled upon these artists throughout the UK and Ireland, but they’re sure to delight with their diverse and creative work.
Chris Hanna is a Belfast based producer who previously made up the collaborative moniker of Unknown/UNKNWN, but has since gone on to release a string of house and techno under his own name. Recently, the artist’s Oneknown alias has been revived, much to the delight of local music fans.
Hanna maintains a close relationship with Belfast’s Extended Play label and Ejeca’s Exploris, with a series of releases being clocked up on both. Recently the artist has perfected the art of the live performance, debuting the project at Twitch, a beloved underground music night that invites renowned names to perform alongside local talent.
Pitchfork, BBC Radio 1 and London’s invite only Gibson Guitar Studio have all expressed some serious vibes when it comes to Hanna’s work, such is the diverse and engaging aura that surrounds it. A new Oneknown project, titled The Blue Galaxy EP, is set to land in the New Year, keep your eyes peeled.
Celestian is the creative alias of Bangor bred artist and promoter Ryan Macfarlane. His Collate concept has its crosshairs fixed on expanding the musical landscape and dance community that exists within Ireland through a series of broad perspective events featuring the sounds of IDM, ambient, electronica, techno and trance, illustrating the eradication of genre restriction.
The open space and otherworldly feel that comes with journey music is what interests Macfarlane, and this is evident in his own productions. Nostalgic connections interact with an oxymoron of uplifting and melancholic sound resulting in peak emotionality.
A belief is maintained that a creative process is initiated in a lost state, resulting in the lost and immersive atmosphere that washes over the listener.
Hailing from South East London, but now located in Leeds, is Ross Murray, the man behind Loyal Hardware. The past year has seen the artist add strings to his creative bow through DJ’ing at events and house parties and the crafting of an electronic live set with analogue hardware.
At the age of sixteen Murray had already attended warehouse raves throughout London; a passion for electronic music ignited and evolved.
“We used to head into central and wait for the partyline. You would find out the location and jump on a night bus to a warehouse or an abandoned school or fire station or whatever. I remember being so impressed with the scale of these parties. It still fascinates me how these parties had more decor, more projection mapping and bigger and better sound systems than you see in clubs! The squat party scene in London was vast and I was only just finding out.”
Matthew McGeown began producing at the age of nineteen, channelling inspiration from the forgotten R&B jams of the late 90s and early 00s to create thoughtful outsider house tracks rich in warmth and sentiment.
Outsider/lo-fi house is going through quite a purple patch at the moment thanks to abstractly named producers such as DJ Playstation and others rising stars such as Ross From Friends. There’s a vulnerability to the genre, leaving blemishes and flaws on show to create a raw appeal.
“The main VST I use is reason subtractor, as it was the first subtractive synth that I learnt synthesis on. Massive from time to time and lovely bass and sub. Korg m1 is my new found love, and filter range of the Jupiter 8v is great for when I mix my tunes before I make them sound weathered again with the help of isotype vinyl and Legowelt’s free tape station, which is amazing.”
Brién is the creative alias of Belfast based electronic musician Peter Brien. His work refuses to be pigeonholed as it radiates the vibes of jazz, hip hop, gospel, soul, fusion and funk. Influence is gathered from the greats; J Dilla, Pete Rock and Robert Glasper all forming a fountain of inspiration.
The producer has developed a reputation as one of the finest producers in Ireland through his playful and positive sound. A healthy relationship with the Extended Play family has grown, providing another platform for this emerging artist to build upon.
“When making a track I tend to start with a rough idea of what I want to end up with, but it almost always takes a different turn at some point. I usually start with a sample and play around with it, then maybe program some drums, and then I tweak them until I get the groove I like. Then I’ll start to write chords or a bassline and add some ambiences to the track. To finish things up before a mix down, I sometimes add a solo on the keys over the top, implement an intro and sprinkle some bits of spoken word, or something like that.”
Fourth Mind is the alias of Conor Miley, a young creative talent hailing from Greyabbey in County Down. Miley stumbled upon his chosen moniker completely by accident, but it fits in perfectly with the otherworldly, outer space feel that his work possesses.
When it comes to inspiration, genre restriction is non-existent. Main influences are Burial, Akkord, Fingers in the Noise and the artistic maestro that is Djrum. Miley has been hesitant to put his work out there, choosing instead to wait until every layer of his creation is tweaked to perfection.
“My methodology behind making tracks is pretty simple. I use a lot of sampled breaks, and from time to time bring in the use of my Korg Electribe sampler from 98 depending on what I’m going for at the time. The track ‘Time Is Only A Convention ‘came about just over 6 months ago, it’s been sitting unheard for some time now so thought I’d finally share it.”