Artist of the Week: John O’CallaghanOctober 2nd, 2008
Joint Operations Centre, J.O.C., Siberian Sun, Inertia. ‘Mercury’, ‘Stormy Clouds’, ‘The Chamber’, ‘Exactly’ and eventually ‘Big Sky’. To Irishman John O’Callaghan, music industry truly is a big sky. One in which the sky isn’t even the limit. With loads of banging trance remixes and techy-edged productions as his jetpack, John O’Callaghan has skyrocketed into the scene.
‘This is a sense of things to come…’
In his teenage years, John spend most of his time listening to rock and hiphop, but eventually at the age of 18, discovered dance music. Thing went pretty fast from that point. John shortly after bought his first set of decks and practiced every day, month after month. He completely fell in love with trance, and after learning some stuff about software began experimenting with producing music in 1999. By 2001 John was immersed into the scene, with guest mixes on National Irish Radio Station 2FM and some of his original tracks and remixes being playlisted by several trance DJ’s.
‘I know this silence – been here before…’
Homeland Ireland formed a steady foundation to build up John’s career. On NYE 2003, John was invited to dj at the 2FM Sessions Tour Irish super club Enigma, so he could showcase his productions on a national stage. It turned out to be a grand success, cause shortly after, he was invited to co-host his own radio show along with DJ Neal Scarborough every Saturday night. John perfected his DJ skills and had a wider exposure with his music. John and Neal teamed up and formed the now legendary Inertia guise, which resulted in ‘The Emerald’ and, more recently, ‘The Chamber’. Both top quality tracks, who nowadays are even considered to be classics and were played by the big dj’s out there, Paul van Dyk, Armin van Buuren and Tiësto being just a short selection of supporters.
John’s picked up the most diverse tracks and gave them the J.O.C. treatment. A few of his most loved remixes were the ones he did for the rocky ‘Ronski speed – The Space We Are’, sweetest trancer ‘Sophie Sugar – Call of Tomorrow’, dance anthem ‘Dogzilla – Without You’ and eternal love-it-or-hate-it-track ‘Filo & Peri ft Eric Lumiere – Anthem’. A broad selection of styles, but that’s exactly what John likes about it so much. John: ‘I don’t find it a challenge to make 20 tracks that sound the exact same so that’s why I really push myself to try new styles when the situation allows it.’ One of the biggest trance tracks in 2006, was ‘Exactly’, the massive result of John’s team up with Brian Kearney. The song ruled the trance scene for months and got hammered at almost every party. Same thing for ‘John O’Callaghan pres. Mannix – Mercury’, which was signed to our A State of Trance imprint at Armada.
‘Further and faster through your soul…’
As the trance community was more and more impressed by the magical sound John put onto his records and remixes, he decided it was time to bundle his best productions and release his first artist album, ‘Something To Live For’ in 2007. John: ‘ Most people know I don’t just produce trance all the time, and if you check out my album you will certainly hear that. I didn’t intend to ‘write an album’ at all. It started as a selection of tracks and then later I made the decision to expand on it to try to bring an album together. I think it turned out well!’ Well, it certainly did. But the biggest success was yet to come.
‘Open your eyes and breathe some more…’
2007 was more than just another successful year in the life of this Irishman. John was ready for a new chapter in his productions: a vocal track. Up until then, John had only worked on instrumental tracks or remixes, so producing ‘Big Sky’ was a big challenge. John: ‘It was totally enjoyable from start to finish. Making vocal tunes is way more fulfilling than instrumentals, as you feel you’re really creating a song, rather than a track. It took six months but it was worth every day in the studio. And I learned a hell of a lot in the process.’ ‘Big Sky’, with the haunting vocals of Audrey Gallagher, didn’t only turn out to be working for John, but was also causing major damage to the dance floors, plus a lot of off-key singing by the fans, as they catapulted it back towards the DJ every time it was played. ‘Big Sky’ was released on Armada’s Armind imprint and on top of that, voted by the A State of Trance radio show listeners as the number one track of 2007. But some more surprises were on their way to hit John with some very well deserved victories. At the 2008 Irish Dance Music Award, John was awarded ‘Best Producer’ and ‘Best DJ’. John was invited to play at the biggest Irish dance festival ‘Planet Love’, besides playing at several other big events all around the globe, also being the first Irish DJ to ever play at the Dutch Trance Energy event in Utrecht. His radioshow ‘Subculture’ on DI.FM has been rapidly growing and he is probably about to hit the DJ Mag Top 100.
‘Release yourself – it’s a big sky…’
John was asked by no one less than Armin van Buuren – to move to Armada as an artist, a request which John proudly accepted. He has recently mixed and compiled the fourth edition of Armada’s ‘Trance World’ series and had his ‘New Jersey / Jetleg Dancer / Puzzle’ pack, produced under his Joint Operations Centre, released at the Captivating Sounds imprint on the 29th of September.
A lot more is to come. To this young Irishman, the sky is definitely not the limit.
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