Bass, breaks and dreamlike soundscapes.
Orlagh Dooley's 2016 debut, UK Lonely, turned heads because it was a Hotflush record that sounded like an old Hotflush record. It had the hallmarks of post-dubstep—a garage shuffle, catchy vocals, a hint of dub—wrapped in the gleaming aesthetics of modern techno and electro, an irresistible combination that would become a cornerstone of Dooley's style. She first learned these sounds after moving from Northern Ireland to Liverpool in 2012. There, she discovered a small but dedicated scene that helped nurture the adventurous artist she is today.
After her first record came out, Dooley quickly set up a label (Deep Sea Frequency) to go with the party (Meine Nacht) that she ran with Breakwave. At Meine Nacht, she fleshed out the style of music she plays now: bass-heavy, electro-flavored, with a technicolour sheen. Her newer label, Céad, has featured hybrid sounds from Lewski and Blu Terra. Her mix for RA shows how deep her tastes can go, folding in Florida breaks, vintage UK garage and modern deep house for a set that feels tantalizingly fresh.
What have you been up to lately?
Right now I'm on a flight to Hong Kong for my first China tour. I will play at Shi Fu Miz festival, Zhao Dai in Beijing and Elevator in Shanghai. Aside from touring I've been spending a lot of time in the studio, working on a remix which will come out on my label and also on my next EP.
How and where was the mix recorded?
I finally bought myself some CDJs to record this, up until now I had never owned a set. It was recorded on an Allen & Heath Xone:96 mixer, two CDJ-2000NXS2, a Pioneer XDJ, Neumann KH120A monitors and a TC Hall Of Fame reverb pedal. I recorded it at my place in Berlin at the end of the summer, with the help of lots of tea and Haribo sweets.
Can you tell us about the idea behind the mix?
I wanted to shed some light on tracks that might get overlooked in a festival setting or during a headline slot, and at the same time provide an example of how I build upon energy and in turn, break energy in my sets. There's a lot of stuff from around '93-'96, a couple of bits from a compilation CD I found in Japan, some Florida breaks and a few of my own live edits/tweaks. I decided to bookend the narrative with a dreamlike, nonsensical soundscape with the aim to try and transport the listener's mind back to those hazy, nonsensical moments that sometimes surround a night out.
You recently started a new label, called Céad. How does it differ from your last label, Deep Sea Frequency?
With the previous label I was experimenting and finding my feet within the releasing music world. With Céad I have more of a clear vision, from the concept behind the art direction to the kind of music and artists I want to push. I'm enjoying working alongside Patrick Savile on the artwork, which features coded messages unique to each release on the back of the physical EPs.
You spent your formative musical years in Liverpool, a city whose scene we don't hear much about compared to places like Manchester and London. What makes it special, and how did it shape you?
There's something about the essence of Liverpool which reminds me of home. I was pretty heavily involved in the dance music scene there during my university years through attending events, running parties and holding the odd DJ workshop. I got into the scene and gained some early experience of DJing through joining a dance music society organised by the university, we would meet up a couple of times a month and hold "open deck nights" where members would get a slot by writing their name down on a list, first come first served. A club called 24 Kitchen Street gave me my first proper residency, they really supported me from the beginning and the guys behind it are the hardest working promoters I know.
What are you up to next?
Gig wise, I’m excited to play at De School again near the end of November. I am also going back to the US and Canada around that time. Beyond this and the new year I'm not entirely sure, I’m enjoying not thinking too far into the future.