Artist of the Week: John O’CallaghanMarch 12th, 2009
2009 marks a new, important chapter in John O’Callaghan’s life story. With a victorious 2008 behind him, filled with accolades and accomplishments, John has big plans for the upcoming months. With the right package of past successes backing him up, it’s now time to look into the future. On the 16th of May, during the Armada Night in Amsterdam, John’s new album ‘Never Fade Away’ will see its release. A 12-headed jewel, ranging from the powerful vocal stuff we remember from ‘Big Sky’ to the more loungy and techy side of his producing skills. With the first single coming up this week, ‘Surreal’ with singer Jaren, John is right where he’s supposed to be. On top of the big sky.
More than trance
And it’s a big sky indeed. This number one Irish DJ and Producer, as decided by the Irish Dance Music Awards, and number 60 entry in the DJ Mag Top 100, has found his way up. He developed his skills, switched from bedroom to clubrooms, made a name with his tech-trance productions and top notch remix skills and followed the path that appeared in from of him. The world of John O’Callaghan got shaken and stirred in the same BPM his tracks went, causing a rise in popularity with every track that came out. His assorted taste in music, ability to read the crowd and provide them his typical sound, have made him to what he is today. A successful DJ and producer, and one of a kind.
Even though John’s track were already being hammered by the big ones, and he was asked to remix a huge amount of tracks, trance community really started to embrace John from the moment Audrey Gallagher’s voice shattered the dance floor. ‘Big Sky’ was the icing on the cake. John: ‘My big breakthrough, I suppose would be ‘Big Sky’. That got me known on a bigger scale through more countries. However, in the early days I would say tracks like ‘Inertia – The Chamber’ and ‘Exactly’ got my name around trance circles, even though they were collaborations. But definitely, ‘Big Sky’ was the icing on the cake.’ There’s not much we need to tell you about ‘Big Sky’, the music speaks for itself. The massive big room trance anthem got hammered at almost every trance party for months and months. But there’s more to John than trancy beats. He also produces under a slew of aliases. Mannix and Joint Operations Centre are the aliases he uses to show his ‘other side’. John: ‘It gives you the freedom to make whatever you want. Sometimes people expect John O’Callaghan as just melodic trance. But I really love techno too, so Joint Operations Centre allows me to make ideas I probably wouldn’t put in John O’Callaghan tunes. However, this could change soon as I might just make it all as one name. I don’t know’_Joint Operations Centre could live on!’
Something for the kids
When talking about John O’Callaghan, the subject ‘Awards’ is unavoidable. At the Irish Dance Music Awards, he received awards for ‘Best Producer’ and ‘Best DJ’. A big honour. John: ‘It’s great to have some awards to place on your hallway or table at home and to think ‘I achieved something’. You know? Something to show my kids when I’m 50 years old! The most important thing is that Ireland has a lot of great producers now and I think over the next few years we will see a lot of talent win more awards. ‘
Another big thing, was entering the DJ Mag Top 100 with the 60th position. A more than welcome position to John, but he does point out that there’s more than just this poll. John: ‘The DJ Mag poll is only important in certain ways. It helps you get more events worldwide, and to play in territories you might not have been to before. But overall I think too much importance is placed on it. There are some amazing DJ’s not even in the top 100. It’s nice to be a part of it but each year it seems to become more of a publicity exercise. ‘
Out now on the Captivating Sounds imprint, is John’s team up with one of the most demanded singers in today’s trance scene. Jaren has a pair of vocals to die for, and who better than John knows how to handle them? John: ‘Jaren is really talented. It happened quite quickly. I sent her a couple of music ideas and about a week later we had a working demo. Then a few more emails back and forth with different ideas and slowly we came to a steadier version of the final track. It was great to work with Jaren – I think she has a huge future in music. The original mix is in a slightly different style to my normal stuff but the remix is the clubby style people know me for. It’s out now!’ A heavy-weight of a tune, and therefore a worthy follow up to ‘Big Sky’.
Never Fade Away
John’s highly anticipated new artist album, ‘Never Fade Away’, is coming up on May 16th and will be the official follow-up to ‘Something To Live For’, his previous album. John: ‘It’s different in the respect that it’s all new music. My last album had quite a few tracks that were already released and just a few new ones. And my last album had some fairly underground tracks which were not appealing for radio play. This one I spent 12 months on, just writing new music all for the album. It was a great journey and I think that musically I learned a lot. The albums final 12 tracks were what I felt were the best package for something to listen to at home, as well as ‘on the dance floor’.’ Why John named it ‘Never Fade Away’ is actually a bit of a dedication to John’s sister in law. John: ‘Never Fade Away’ is an ambient track on my album. I wrote a chilled out piece of music a few months ago with just piano and strings, I grew to really like it and then I came to the idea that maybe a nice soft vocal could make it more beautiful. My fiancè is really good with words and poetry, and she tried her hand at writing some lyrics for my album. ‘Never Fade Away’ is a song written for her sister who is very ill in hospital right now. So that song I thought was very special to both of us, and that’s why I chose it for the name of my album. ‘
Another special thing about it, is the variety of styles to be found on there. John: ‘Each track is quite different from each other. It’s not just 12 trance tracks, I am happy with the various styles and ideas that it offers. As most people know I usually experiment with my tracks in some way now and again, so I hope that is reflected when people listen to it. There is a new collaboration with Giuseppe Ottaviani on there, and maybe the biggest track on the album is my song with Sarah Howells. That’s one of my favourites anyway .’
One thing’s for sure, ‘Never Fade Away’ is not there yet, but it’ll surely receive a more than warm welcome when it comes out. If you want to celebrate the release of the album, be sure to visit the Armada Night on May 16th in the Westerunie venue in Amsterdam, which will be the official album release party. It’s a long wait, but until that time, you can enjoy the lovely ‘Surreal’, available on all major download portals.
John O’Callaghan feat. Jaren
1. Surreal (Original Mix)
2. Surreal (Club Mix)