Interview: The Honorary Phil Kieran

You might confuse Phil Kieran for an Australian, but the honorary techno legend is not from around here. He’s been visiting us annually since 2007, not just because of his love for the country, but also due to demand for his niche and individualistic style of techno and house that resonates with punters.

Having been around since the start of the millennium, you could call him a scene veteran. In that time, he has worked with some impressive acts. Whether remixing Depeche Mode or collaborating with Green Velvet, the Irishman constantly delivers.

His upcoming single on Optimo records is a collab with legendary NitzerEbb singer, Douglas J McCarthy, a tense EBM-inspired workout complete with some banging remixes.

Ahead of his show at XE54 this weekend and an extra gig at Thick as Thieves’ 10-year anniversary at Revolver Upstairs, we were lucky enough to catch up with the great man himself.


You are a regular visitor to Australia, is there anything you still would like to do Down Under that you haven’t done as yet?

I have been coming here once a year since 2007. Melbourne has become a second home to me, and I feel so relaxed and happy while I’m here. I really do love it. Over the years I have become good friends with a few people and it just makes the trip so fulfilling and enjoyable. I like to put music aside for a moment and love walking about and finding new interesting places to eat.

Some of your music are featured on the hit show Killing Eve which is currently the favourite show of many people I know. Have you seen the show?

Of course! I loved all of the first series and was such a pleasure to have three tracks of mine on episode three. One track was a collab with Speedy J and was used in the club scene in Berlin.

On his recent NTS radio show, Andrew Weatherall premiered your new collaboration with Nitzer Ebb’s Douglas J McCarthy called ‘Fall Rise’. You absolutely nailed that track and it actually sounds like a Nitzer Ebb original! When is that being released? Were they a band you looked up to in tour formative years? Which album would you recommend for anyone looking to dip their toes into the EBM genre?

I remixed Nitzer Ebb’s ‘Murderous’ back around 2003. Their music was very influential for me, and I went on to start a band called Alloy Mental that definitely pulled influences from the so-called EBM genre.
Last summer I saw something on FACT Mag that Nitzer Ebb were touring again and it reminded me to try and get in contact with singer Douglas J McCarthy for a possible collaboration. I didn’t hear anything back for a while, but once Douglas saw the message he had flights booked to Belfast within a couple of days. We made a few tracks in my studio and the new single was the result. It will be released on Optimo Records on the 14th June.

All their music was produced by Flood who produced so many great acts, including Depeche Mode and all the other big acts on Mute Records. I recommend just getting stuck in and finding what you like.

On your FB account you’ve been re-visiting many of your older tracks which we’ve been loving! Especially the post about your Preacher Man remix brought back some memories! We were wondering which one of your past tracks holds a special place in your heart?

I released an album under the name Le Carousel around 2013, not many people really know about it but I still feel proud of it. I am still really proud to have remixed Nitzer Ebb in 2003 on Mute records too, it felt like a real achievement.

Ireland is just killing at the moment with dance music talent. Who is your current favourite Irish DJ/producer and why?

Oh my goodness there is just so many now and I’m afraid to name even one because I know I will piss off other friends and producers if I don’t mention them. Honestly, there are so many that are great DJ’s and great producers.

Back in the 90’s David Holmes felt like the only international DJ/producer who was known outside Northern Ireland making music I was into. Now you could name easily twenty that are traveling to other countries and releasing music on great record labels. It’s really positive and feel very happy to name Belfast as my home.

Any interesting upcoming projects you can tell us about?

Yes! Something I have been working on for the last couple of years will be announced very soon. Also, I just finished writing a lots of new material at Celtronic Studios in Derry Northern Ireland and we will be performing it live with the Ulster Orchestra and the end of June.


Saturday 15th June: Phil Kieran @ Xe54, Melbourne

Sunday 16th June: 10 Years of Thick as Thieves Proudly Supporting the Fred Hollows Foundations at Revolver