Interview: The Drifter
Fewer selectors have a sensibility as refined as The Drifter. With a penchant for building an atmosphere through rhythmic and melodic progressions he is able to elicit a distinctively emotive response from crowds, making him one of the more unique DJ’s on the global circuit.
In addition to his career in the booth, he has built a reputation as a curator, both through his own radio programme on Dublin Digital Radio, ‘Cast Adrift’ and his label ‘Maeve’ which he co-runs with close friends and collaborators Mano Le Tough and Baikal.
Ahead of his slot this Friday at Glamorama we exchanged some words with The Drifter about style, reading a crowd and formative years spent in Berlin.
The Drifters Beats in Space episode, a late entry for our favourite mix of 2018.
You have quite a defined sensibility as a DJ. Did you spend a long time developing this 'sound' or is it something natural to you?
Thanks. I think it's natural. It's an important thing for a DJ, to be able to read a situation and respond accordingly. Of course over time you learn and develop but I think something natural is important.
Have you found it beneficial to have a defined DJ'ing personality, or can crowd expectations be a hinderance?
Some people might expect something but it all depends on the situation.
I think different situations demand different reactions. You need to adapt and be versatile to get the best out of it, for both the crowd and for the DJ. Like when you play a certain country or place for the first time you might need to play a certain way, harder, deeper, more straight up. It depends. It makes it exciting too.
Like a lot of DJ's and producers you've had a formative period in Berlin. Why did you make the move and what is it about the city that fosters such a large output of high quality artists?
Yeah I thoroughly enjoyed my Berlin years. I made the move to focus more on djing. There was so much more opportunity to play out there and to be close to a big scene. Also there was less financial pressures in Berlin, cheap living costs, so it gave me time to focus on producing.
You've had quite a varied musical journey, how did you end up as a DJ and producer?
Going out to clubs in University. That was a big eye opener and got me into it. I was always into music and that inspired me to get into djing.
Your process as a DJ seems to be quite progressive and hypnotic - how valuable are longer set times for engaging with the crowd?
I think longer sets are vital to get across fully what you want to say. Sometimes it really takes a few hours for the magic to happen. For the party to kick off and really lock people into the vibe. That's the best!