My name is Damien Connolly and welcome to my website, Hello! Now that the formalities are out of the way I would like to thank you for taking the time to visit my site and give you some details about myself and what the goals for this blog are. Dance Music has always been a massive part of my life. I have been hooked from the first moment I heard it and liked nothing better when I was younger than skipping to the end of my parents Now That’s What I Call Music ## CD and listening to the couple of dance tracks included. Artists including Utah Saints / The Prodigy / 2 Unlimited would be the order of the day.
About midway through secondary school, DJ’s became the new Rock Stars. It was all about (in no particular order) Paul Oakenfold / Seb Fontaine / Sasha / Pete Tong / Judge Jules / Lisa Lashes / Tidy Boys. Nightclubs like Cream, Godskitchen and Ministry of Sound flooded onto our TV screens. As a young impressionable teenager, I never stood a chance! I became obsessed with the music and the art of Djing.
While the majority of my friends wanted to head out to events and nightclubs for a good time I was more interested in listening to what tracks where being played, the atmosphere, the staging, what equipment was being used, trying to work out when the next mix was coming. I was a massive Seb Fontaine fan, and he was the first big-name DJ I got to see in the Temple Theatre. Mostly the style of music I listened to was led by my friends and was more of a Trance / Hard House variety at this stage.
It was a short while later that I was introduced to the legend Mr.John Digweed. Through a fortuitous series of events I ended up at the Redbox for a gig by the aforementioned legend, and I had never experienced anything like it. The tempo starting off was not what I was used to hearing but as the night continued the atmosphere turned electric as the set built towards a climax. I had never experienced a night like it before. A master in complete control of his audience. From then on while Seb stayed a favourite my dance music taste had changed.
I had started to DJ in my bedroom thanks to a birthday present of some Stanton Belt Drive turntables and a mixer. Loved them to bits but if you had used for more than an hour or so it became difficult to beat match as the rubber belts driving the deck would expand with the heat! Thanks to a Credit Union loan these were upgraded to a set of Vestax PDX-2000 with a new Kam mixer. Working part-time at this stage most of my free Saturdays were spent hoping on the bus into town to visit Abbey Discs and the basement in HMV on Grafton Street looking for new tracks. Outside of the odd house party though I was confined to making mix-tapes in my room. Honestly, I was not great and was not the best mixer by any stretch of the imagination.
As I mentioned, I was working part-time in the Spawell Complex and one evening got chatting to a DJ who was playing a 21st Birthday party in the Loft while giving him a hand to get his gear upstairs. He invited me to call back up after my shift, and we hit it off. Over the coming months if he was playing, I would call up for a chat after work and look after the decks while he hit the toilet or took a break. Out of the blue one Thursday I got a call asking if I could DJ a 21st the following night in the Spawell as there had been a double booking and the company was short of DJ's. Needless to say, I said YES! and then set about panicking massively for the next 24 hrs. The gear was setup when I arrived (Thank God!) and thanks to the collection of music I had put together and a few panic buy CD's on Friday afternoon I somehow managed to stumble my way through the set. Loving every minute of it! The guy who collected the gear turned out to be the owner of the company, and I was added to the roster of Pat West DJ's.
Over the coming months I got to DJ 21st's in local GAA clubs and even got to play a few bars including The Yellow House and The Big Tree among others. I memorably got caught out with a mixed up booking one night and turned up to what I thought was a 21st but turned out to be a 60th Birthday Party. Darude, Sandstorm was not a given crowd pleaser that night! I was really enjoying it however as the Leaving Cert was approaching I had to concentrate on school etc. etc. and I took what I thought at the time was a break. As these things have a way of happening outside of the odd family event DJing took a bit of a back seat, and while I still listened non-stop to music, I had no real interest in DJing at 21st parties anymore. I stuck to messing around at home on my decks and picking up the odd record.
(FAIR PLAY IF YOU HAVE READ THIS FAR -
PROMISE I'M GETTING THERE!)
Fast forward to 2015, and I'm 33 years old with a fantastic other half and two brilliant kids. I had not even been to a nightclub in a couple of years when again out of nowhere I was floored by a John Digweed mix. I noticed that he was due to play the Button Factory shortly and without thinking booked two tickets straight away. I'm sure the Mrs was a bit taken aback to find out she was going to a Digweed night out of the blue, but I'm sure she would agree now it was a brilliant, brilliant night in The Button Factory. Honestly, I was seriously nervous about going to the gig. Would I be the oldest person there? Would I stick out like a sore thumb and look like some weirdo? The answer to all the above is very much no.
Curious about what had changed on the DJ scene I started looking into what DJ's were now using, Traktor / Serato etc. was entirely new to me. I was blown away by what could be done now and the options open to performers. Once I started messing around, I was hooked again, big time. That brings me right up to date. I have decided to give it a good go again as a DJ and have decided to keep track of my journey to see where it takes me. I have the utmost respect for mobile DJ's playing weddings and birthday parties as it is a thankless job but is not what I am interested in doing again. This time I will be sticking to the music that inspires me and that I want to share with others. The page is aimed to share info on my mixes, equipment I’m using, events, other great mixes and hopefully some gigs down the line!
I hope you check back in to follow my progress and please drop me a message through FB Messenger, by email at email@example.com, or through any of my social media channels.