‘Best Breakthrough Producers’, ‘Best House DJs’ and ‘Best Live Performance’ were all accolades The Japanese Popstars received during their time as guiding lights in Ireland’s electronic music scene. Now Gary Curran is going at it alone.
He speaks to us about his time with The Japanese Popstars and his new musical project, Confute.
Can you give us a background to Confute and how it came about?
I’ve always written all forms of electronic music and just so happened that I found myself writing a lot more Techno orientated material that was different in sound to the music I wrote for The Japanese Popstars.
I became curious to see where this new found motivation would take me and thus Confute was born.
Is it difficult doing something outside The Japanese Popstars when that project had such a large fan base?
It can be difficult as its like starting again, but in a way its refreshing as you have more time to focus and don’t have other people involved or having influence over your music.
Both composing environments have their strengths and weaknesses but it is good to have something that is mine and mine alone.
Confute is a new and exciting challenge and I am able to draw from my previous experiences and gradually build, hopefully keeping some old fans and picking up some new.
How have JapPop fans reacted?
Any fans I have had the pleasure of communicating with are very supportive. After our last album ‘Disconnect/Reconnect’ (Bedrock) myself and Galo did explain that it was time to take a step away from The Japanese Popstars for now and explore other avenues and interests.
We were constant for the guts of 9 years and in today’s society that is a solid testament to the support and interest of the fans.
My Confute releases have been extremely well received, garnering support from heavyweights like Maceo Plex, John Digweed and James Zabiela and when speaking to Jappop fans they were already aware of Confute but did not know that it was myself behind the project, it’s a nice surprise to have in the locker and to see their positive reaction.
Do you feel you can reach those same heights as Confute, or is that your aim, because there seems to be an ever so slightly more underground feel to this endeavour?
My aim is to compose and release music and hopefully have it well received, that hasn’t and won’t ever change. I am pretty confident though that Confute will never be picked up by a major label or have day time radio, in fact I’ll take bets on it if any one is game!
Confute in a sense reflects where I am at musically at present and I am focused on building my sound and a solid foundation. I have taken time to make sure I have all bases covered and to do the things I feel I could have improved on in the past.
I just want to make sure that I push this forward at a steady pace and see what happens. I love DJing and performing so obviously playing to as many people possible and sharing this is always a goal, if it takes me to some nice underground venues, some festivals and people enjoy what I am doing then I shall keep doing it.
In your opinion, how has electronic music in Ireland changed since you first broke through in the mid-2000s?
Electronic music has changed immensely. There are a lot more world class producers based in Ireland that are pushing their sound forward and being recognised by all the main players. Matador, Phil Kieran, Ian O Donovan, Bicep, Ejeca, Space Dimension Controller and I could name a hell of a lot more.
There are more festivals around to play and although some of the major clubs have closed, smaller intimate venues have contributed to keeping all electronic music scenes alive. It’s still a strong scene and I think it will get stronger.
By the looks of things your not giving up on The Japanese Popstars just yet, what’s the next thing for the group?
Not giving up, just taking a step away at present. I do have more Jappop sounding material and I am sure Galo might have a few stashed away, so we will maybe reconvene in the new year and take it from there.
I for one would like to do another album. I don’t feel that The Japanese Popstars story has ended. As cliche as it sounds – and I apologise in advance – watch this space.
Will it affect Confute, or are you pretty good at multi-tasking with two big ideas like these?
I like to think I am pretty good at multi tasking, but then again I am a man. With anything though its about setting aside some time and finding the right balance to focus.
I have a number of other projects that I am involved in and hope to share these in 2016. I am constantly active and always generating ideas and such, so we shall see what happens. The main thing though is to not spread yourself too thin as that way the quality of the music can be affected.
I’m hopefully going to get to the Adam Beyer gig because I saw him at Forbidden Fruit and it was a great show. In an ideal world, who else would you like to perform alongside?
I have had the pleasure of meeting and playing alongside most of my musical inspirations over the years and still can’t believe I had those opportunities, so I am very grateful to continue this trend. I am honestly happy to play alongside any one but if I had to name a few off the top of my head, Adam Beyer, Richie Hawtin, Maceo Plex, Sven Vath, Loco Dice and Dubfire.
You can listen to Gary Curran’s latest EP ‘We Pray’ here.