When the sun shines, it makes everything better.
But as a child, you were told not to look at it, not to glance up as staring into the fiery depths could destroy your eyes for ever. Most of us did it anyway, the pull of curiosity becoming too strong, feeling in the seconds afterwards that your sight would remain just a blurred glare.
It’s like Phil says: “To understand beauty, you’ve got to know ugly. There’s a dark side to everything and I think people are like that too.” This is the basis for Kieran’s new album Blinded By The Sun, his fourth to date but only the second under his own name.
Kieran is one of Ireland’s best-loved club DJs and techno legends who has worked with everyone from Green Velvet to Peter Hook and Gary Numan. He’s even remixed for Depeche Mode and has worked closely with David Holmes on numerous projects. Kieran previously released an album on Cocoon Records and two under the monikers Le Carousel and Alloy Mental.
Blinded By The Sun is another departure for the producer and electronic master in which he set about to capture the undercurrent that runs through all that beauty and joy. There’s the picture perfect world we all pretend we are living on Facebook and Instagram, coupled with how things really are when you go home at night and close your door on the world. Those times in the wee, small hours when you’re up too late and you can feel the darkness creeping in. For Kieran that darkness has many forms - hanging with the club kids who are on the day three rollover, the hypocrisy in society thanks to obsession with social media, self-doubt, fear of failure. But for Kieran, it’s important to feel that fear and do it anyway.
Kieran explains: “I could do a lot more but these days there’s so much music out there so these days I think it’s more a case of trying to make sure when you do put something out that it’s good. “I feel it’s more important that when you say something, make sure it matters.”
Blinded By The Sun is a record that will matter - when the tendency in the world of dance music is to make EDM by numbers so the cash comes rolling in, Kieran has taken a step towards something different. It’s a record that crosses genres - all strings and instruments on the record were recorded live, there’s no sampling and trickery so what comes out is fresh and new.
Keiran explains: “I only get excited about making music when I think people are going to go ‘What the fuck are you doing?’ “I could easily make techno records that people would just think were good - there are certain types of dance music that you can make that people will like playing in a club but no-one’s going to be amazed by it.”
As a DJ Kieran has travelled the world, witnessing some of the best nights ever held and the worst post party comedowns when the glass cracks and the real stories come out of the dark. “You don’t know that something’s really beautiful unless you’ve seen what ugly is.“I think people are a bit like that. There’s ugly stuff and beautiful stuff at the same time “We’re all a bit of both.
“For example you constantly get fed all this stuff about Ibiza and people having a good time,.
“But we’ve all seen the seedy side, what can happen when you’ve been up for three days and how the tables can turn in an instant.” “It’s that part of life you really want to try and hide away from but also it’s the place where people can sometimes open up and share things with each other, reveal the truth about who they really are.”
The haunting vocals on most of the tracks come from Jess Brien, a 22-year-old singer who approached Kieran when he was DJing one night in his home town of Belfast. He says:”She came up to me one night and told me she was a singer. I asked her to send me a demo thinking I wouldn’t hear from her. “Next day she sent me something and straight away I asked her to come into the studio. “Jess has a voice with such depth and tone and she captures the spirit of what I was aiming for perfectly.”
Kieran also enlisted the help of Zimbabwean musician Wilson Magwere who escaped the Mugabe regime and ended up in Belfast. David Holmes, Laurent Garnier, Andrew Weatherall and Annie Mac are fans of the record, Weatherall so much so that he has already featured tracks on his radio show. And with the ying and yang, Kieran is feeling nervously optimistic.
“There has to be some hope, and that’s how I wanted the record to end.”
After all, joy always comes at a price but following darkness there’s always another dawn.