Track By Track: The Smoke Clears – The Smoke Clears
Irish producer John Daly moved away from Heavy metal in his teens and embraced the crossover culture of early Nineties rave and baggy indie. Inspired to get into music production, he soon became deep in technology and synths 'n' samplers and spent most of a decade learning his house & techno craft. In order to get his productions out there, he set up Feel Music in 2006 and in the years since then has seen dozens of singles and several albums released on labels including Secretsundaze, Drumpoet Community and International Records Recordings. He also launched a further imprint in One Track Records, and created a more ambient alias as The Smoke Clears. Returning to that project, this month sees the release of another eponymous album on All City. John leads us through that album, with some insight into each of the cuts.
I suppose this one is a kind of deep grey purplish blue. It was made in the thick of winter. That seemingly never-ending, dark, relentless west of Ireland winter. I actually remember cycling home in heavy rain with the tune in my head after making it. I had a dump of a studio in an old appartment above a pub here in Galway. A lot of this record was made there. Some old guy had lived there forever..i think he died maybe. I love the beat drop on this track.
Where You Go I Go
This was the first track I did that made me think about doing a new TSC record. It was also the track that made me realise i could be a lot more ambitious melodically with this project. The first TSC record “Listen” is very spacious and loopy, which I love doing, but i saw that I could go for more focused melodies too and still keep the TSC vibe. Anyway I think a sound has to evolve in order to remain interesting, for both listener and maker.
The Goose and The Moon
The Goose and The Moon are two great friends of mine. I was DJing in Panorama Bar and they came along, so we decided to make a weekend of it. I remember sitting in a cafe, about 5 o clock on day three, after two hard nights on the session, thinking to myself “I need to get away from these motherfuckers.” So i went back to the appartment and made this track. Its kinda post-rave, exactly how i was feeling at the time.
You know all us artists are just conduits really. Sometimes you are more in tune with the source than others. I had a direct line that night for sure. I must have been possessed, because I cant even remember how I made it, what instruments I used or anything. The drums are all one mono track, so that must be the MPC, because thats how i was recording it at the time. The rest is anybody's guess…
I had these quarter inch tapes of these dub experiments I had been doing. Recording things at high speed, then playing it back at half speed for the sludge. They were mostly shit, but one stood out, it had that lovely thudding bassline, so I whipped it into my computer and played some chords over it. At this point I knew I was working on a new TSC record, so it was definitely made to be part of that. Not a whole lot more to say about this track, dub pressure for the sheer joy of it. Its kinda orange to me for some reason.
Oh My Days feat Cian Finn
I've known Cian for a long time. We studied horticulture together back in the day in Cork. He's done great for himself in the reggae world. I'd always wanted to do some stuff together, and he was around while I had that studio space. We made three tracks around that time. This one was really special, I knew it would be perfect for the record. Also I knew it was time to bring some vocals into the TSC world, again to make this record a progression from the last. PS he also played that amazing bassline, and keys too. Cian Finn is a force of nature.
I'll have a stage in the process of putting a record together where I'll get a playlist going of all the candidate tracks. I'll be whittling that down and moving things around while also jamming on new material. It's a good way of coming up with fresh material to compliment things that might have been lying around for longer. This one came out of one of those sessions. I like to use long bassline loops more and more these days, you can get so much of the melodic content of a track into the bassline.
I knew from the very start that this album had to have a 130 bpm four to the floor number as the last track. These chords actually started off life in a banging techno track from another project. That in itself was being whittled down when I spotted the TSC potential in them, so they were in the folder waiting to be used. So I was in Lahinch in Co. Clare. My wife was in surfing and I was hanging around. I had my laptop in the car so I started messing with the chords, sitting in the car watching the surfers. Its pretty easy to get a good vibe going in a situation like that.
The Smoke Clears – The Smoke Clears is released on All City and is out NOW.