He’s the teenage producer who divided his time last summer between pesky Leaving Cert exams and playing some of the country’s hottest festivals. But MMOTHS, aka Jack Colleran, is taking it all in his stride.
For most 18-year-olds, the end of the Leaving Cert is marked by several drunken nights on the tiles, followed possibly by a package trip to Lanzarote, if any of the Saturday job wages have been successfully saved. Not the case for Jack Colleran, the Kildare teenager who pretty much went straight from the stuffy exam halls of Newbridge to the equally stuffy (but in a good way) Big Top Tent at Castlepalooza, where he played his first ever festival set.
Up until then, the producer – who works under the alias MMOTHS – had been attracting lots of attention on the back of a selection of dreamy electro tracks he’d uploaded to his Soundcloud page. His ambient, chillwave sound came about in fact through lots of experimentation; “I didn’t have a clue how to produce!”, he explains. “I just sat down and messed around, and that sound kinda created itself – it was really natural. I realised then that I wanted to make electronic music, and was really drawn to a specifically organic sound. I was trying to get electronic sounds on my computer to sound like they were recorded in a huge church or something!”
Though the blogosphere was suitably impressed with Colleran’s initial body of work (which included an excellent remix of Interpol’s ‘The Undoing’), nowt could have prepared him for what followed. “I got this email out of the blue from Seb at [LA label] Street Quality Entertainment records,” Colleran recalls. “I nearly died!” Continuing with the ‘you couldn’t write this shit’ nature of the MMOTHS story, the young beatmaker signed on the dotted line with SQA the same day he got the dreaded Leaving Cert results – a none-too-shabby 365 points by-the-by (“which was good, as I was expecting to get fuck-all!”)
Since then, the US label has released MMOTHS’ self-titled EP (currently getting rave reviews) and has booked in a shedload of gigs for the summer. Over the next couple of months, Colleran will take in Holland, the UK and the USA, as well as returning home for another Castlepalooza set, as well as heading to Kilmainham for Forbidden Fruit. Did he make it along to last year’s inaugural event?
“No”, he laughs, “I couldn’t go ‘cos it was on during my exams! Plus, I was never old enough to go to festivals.”
The 19-year-old is certainly making up for lost time now. Have the events of the past year sunk in, or is it all still a bit surreal? “We just released the first EP and I’m already touring off the back of that – which is pretty crazy when you think about it”, he muses. “I have to step back from it every now and then, and think how lucky I am. I just turned 19 last week, and I’m doing all this amazing stuff, while my mates are studying for exams!” Life on the road must be a shock to the system though? “It’s interesting, touring on your own”, he begins. “You get a lot of time to think. It has its positives and negatives. Sometimes I feel like I’m missing out on this whole part of my life that everyone is supposed to do. When I’m on tour and I’m by myself, I’ll wonder what my friends are doing.. and they’re probably in The Palace getting locked and they’ve an exam tomorrow! But no”, he smiles, “I’m the luckiest dude in the world, it’s good.”
In fact, college was never really on Colleran’s to-do list. “I never wanted to go really, I felt it was something I had to do because it’s ‘normal’. I thought, ‘I’ll look at college next year’, but my mam was like, ‘Come on now, you have to put something down!’ Fate stepped in though, and it looks like music will be the order of the day for the foreseeable future. What’s the plan going forward? “I’m trying to work on writing some new stuff now while I’ve a little bit of time off, and then I’ll go tour and play loads of shows”, Colleran explains. “We’re working on another EP, I’m not ready for an album just yet.” Will he need to relocate to sunny LA to put it together? “No, I want to base myself here”, he says. “It’s such a common thing – people think if you want to take that further step, it’s time to move to London or New York – which is kinda sad I think. I don’t believe it’s necessary in this day and age. When you’ve got hook-ups and connections, you can do it over the internet.”
Speaking of which, what’s the MMOTHS process like when he sits down to put together a track? “I like that idea of throwing something on and seeing what it sounds like”, he says. “It’s more fun. Technically, I never want to know what everything does! There’s no fun in that – you get stuck into that routine of doing the same thing. I’m still learning and experimenting. I produce lots of different stuff, but right now it’s mainly for the MMOTHS project. I don’t want to always be known as MMOTHS though, I want to be known as the producer Jack Colleran. I want to produce for bands when I’m older, sit in studios.” He pauses. “It’s good at the minute though. I’m happy.”
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