In the past year Northern Irish producer Ejeca has firmly established himself as one of the big names in house music across the UK and Europe. Landing his first taste of attention in the summer of 2012 with You, a collaboration with Bicep released on AUS music, the little known producer, real name Garry McCartney, went on to gain wide acclaim for his tracks Horizon and Night Rays both of which became anthems of the 90s house revival that swept the nation.
As other genres take to the dance floor in 2014 people will look back on the 90’s revival and undoubtedly remember Ejeca as a proponent of the sound, but it would be wrong to think that this producer is limited to the genre in which he has garnered his success thus far. Early releases on labels like Tusk Wax and Extended Play, or the recent remixes of Bloc Party’s Montreal and the brilliant ‘Music sounds better with a 303’, suggest an artist who is comfortable varying the style of his productions.
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Having ranked in Resident Advisor’s top 100 artists of 2013 we thought it would be wise to catch up with the man himself to talk tracks, success and plans for 2014.
You’ve had a very successful year, at what point did producing music become a serious option as a career?
I guess the release of You with Bicep on AUS music, and getting two essential new tunes on Radio 1 for Horizon and Night Rays. After this I got a manager and agent, and as the gig requests built up I was able to leave my day job in accountancy.
Why do you think people are responding so well to your tunes here in the UK? Did you get the same reception on your recent US tour?
I have released a lot of original tracks and remixes this year, some of them are older bits that have got a release. I guess I try not to stick to one sound so people don’t get bored. The US tour was great and they are clued up on good electronic music, I’m hoping to go out again in the early part of 2014.
A lot of producers from Belfast say that the scene back home has had a big influence on their style. Why is that? And how has it affected your productions?
I think the Jungle/Rave/Happy hardcore roots that I grew up with, then later house and techno were a big influence. You can hear the happy hardcore style piano’s in some of my tracks, when I was very young 60 min 150bpm+ mixtapes were about and riddled with high pitched vocals and euphoric breakdowns. Calibre is probably my favourite Northern Irish producer, he is a drum & bass institution.
Belfast has a reputation for being a city of house and techno but you can hear other influences in your tracks too. How did you go about developing your sound to begin with?
I’ve produced for over ten years and made all types of music. I guess I started making drum and bass for a while and started experimenting with more melodic music, then brought the tempo down into house and it seemed to work.
The first time I really registered an Ejeca track was Pushed, released on Tusk Wax in early 2012. Since then you’ve been prolific in the studio, how would you say your style has progressed over the past 18 months?
A great deal, I guess that release could have been seen as disco or italo, and then I made a lot of house after that, now I’m on a techno tip. I guess I would get bored if I stuck on the same style for a while.
You meet producers and DJs nowadays who only listen to dance 24/7. You have often said that two of your favourite acts are Bloc Party and The Smiths, how do these other influences affect the way you look at dance music?
I would like to mix it up more in sets and play indie music, when I grew up Erol Alkan and Soulwax were the DJs to see and they were always cutting up rock tracks and looping them. I don’t know if the crowd now are prepared for that but I’ve a feeling music from bands will be once again at the forefront and DJs will start looking outside of electronic music.
You recently joined a growing number of Belfast producers who have made the move over to London. Why did you decide to head for the mainland capital?
Travelling from Belfast was quite limited, I think I have taken around 150 flights this year and most were just to get to the mainland. Also a lot of childhood friends have moved over and I have met a lot of people in London too so it just seemed like the right time.
Boiler Room Presents. Ejeca @ The Warehouse Project, Manchester.
We hear you are starting your own label. Can you tell us about what you have planned?
We are still getting the first release together for Exploris, I want to take time and get the quality and style right before we get it out there. It’s basically going to showcase my productions and other artists I rate, some familiar names and some undiscovered.
What was your favourite release of 2013?
Ten Walls – Gotham really blew me away.
Who should we be looking out for in 2014?
With the move to London, a new label to set up, and a debut album in the works, Ejeca has a busy few months ahead of him in 2014 as he continues to build on the success of last year. If you want to keep up to date with his shows or to find out more about the artist go to www.ejeca.co.uk
Written & Edited by Tim Lewis.