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I’ve been following Irish producer Peter ‘Replete‘ Lawlor for a while now and I’m delighted to premiere his debut, self-titled EP. The first two tracks were premiered on Earmilk and No Fear of Pop in recent weeks, and there are three more dense tracks to delve into here. You can listen to the five-track EP via Soundcloud below, and download it over at Replete’s Bandcamp page for €3. I asked Peter a few questions prior to the release. You can read the answers after the jump, as we delve into how he went from a hardcore band into making electronica music, his influences, whether location matters in making music, who he thinks are the best producers in Ireland and if our electronica scene is as great as some people think.

1. You did a masters in music and technology in CIT. Were you creating music before then? What made you want to study it? Would you be making music like you are now if you hadn’t done the course?

I was making music with other people. I played in bands for years. All of my friends are extremely talented musicians so I was playing in their bands, playing their music. It wasn’t until I started a band called Ex Drummer with a friend that I got the confidence to write and show my friends my music. That was very different music to Replete though. I’m a massive Refused fan, so that band mainly played two-minute hardcore punk songs. I had just finished my BA in music in Maynooth and wanted to stay in college essentially. Between finishing my BA and starting my MA, which was a summer, is when I started recording what I would consider the first tunes that I put under Replete. I can definitely say that I would not be making the music I’m making now if I hadn’t done that course. I made some great friends that were just so creative and being surrounded by that on a daily basis, in and out of class, would make anyone better. Or maybe better is the wrong word, given some sort of drive to improve. My tunes now are so different in comparison to the my first few. I cringe listening back to the first songs I put up on Soundcloud. That’s why they’re not up anymore.

2. How did the EP come about? Did you have a lot of ideas before you sat down to make it?

I didn’t really have any specific ideas. I just set myself a timeline of three months. I knew I was going to be recording non-stop for that period so I just said to myself that I would pick the four or five best tunes that come from that period of recording. I probably had close to 20 tunes recorded, maybe more actually, but some of them I just gave up on, or they just weren’t working. Or in a lot of cases they were just shit. I definitely had certain artists in mind at a certain time when I was recording a certain song. I just wanted a period to focus just on recording, as before that I was doing the masters and didn’t have any time to seriously set aside for the project.

3. The two biggest influences that jumped out at me listening to the EP were Burial and James Blake. Anybody else?

That’s funny that you say Burial and James Blake. As I don’t hear them in this EP, but they are definitely the single two most potent influences on me over the years. I would pretty much credit James Blake’s CMYK and Sparing the Horses EPs as being the reason I make electronic music. There’s definitely a few artists that influenced me on this EP. Nicolas Jaar, Andy Stott, Holy Other, Jamie XX, Four Tet etc. All of those artists definitely influenced the EP in different little ways.

4. The first track ‘Easy Love’ sounds very retro. Is it a case of paying homage to the past?

A few people have said that to me. I didn’t really see it as that when I started recording it. When it first started out, it was just that weird bloopy intro and then the rest came about by chance. I wanted to make a really weird house track when I was recording that. My two favourite bits were added right at the end, the vocal and sax samples. I definitely didn’t have any retro ideas in mind when I was recording it. I think it’s probably the fact I used a mini-moog synth on that track that makes it come across quite retro sounding.

5. Did you get bored trying to come up with song titles that you named one track ‘I Feel Like I’m On Dope’? (Another track Replete had sent me prior to the release was just called ‘dddddddddd’, since renamed ‘Deesect’.)

I hate having to come up with song titles, it bores the crap out of me. I’d call them all untitled but I think I’d come across as a Sigur Ros wannabe. Usually what happens is, I’ll sample a vocal part, chop it up and rearrange it and whatever it sounds like the sample is saying is what I call the song. The sample says ‘I feel Like Im On Dope’ so that’s what why that’s called that. The same with ‘Be Nobody’ and ‘Wait for You’. There’s no vocal sample on ‘Deesect’ so, as you can imagine, it was nigh on impossible to come up with a name. But yes, I have no time for coming up with titles, it’s definitely the least important thing to me.

6. Does location come into the creation of a song? You’re living in Dublin now – would this EP have sounded the same if it were recorded while you were still in Cork or at home in Kilkenny?

I’ve never really thought about location as an influence but I would definitely see Replete as project of locations. The first few songs were recorded in Toronto, then it really grew as a project in Cork and then I recorded the EP living in Dublin. I don’t think it would have sounded the same if it was recorded in either Cork or Kilkenny. I would have had more distractions in Cork as a lot of my friends are down there, and I would have had all of the home comforts in Kilkenny. I think location definitely has some sort of influence but I’m not sure what shape that influence takes. Be it content or just productivity level. I’m half way through the next EP, and that has been recorded in Kilkenny, so it should be interesting to see how it turns out.

7. The EP sounds likes it’s made for headphones, particularly on the third track, ‘I Feel Like I’m On Dope’, which is quite dense (hence the name Replete, right?). Do you adapt the songs for playing live? Is playing live something you enjoy or are you happier making music?

The EP was definitely made for headphones. I do adapt some songs insofar as editing them to suit the gig and also certain parts of the songs might not work well on a big system. For instance I’ve never played ‘Deesect’ live, and not sure if I ever will as I don’t think it would translate well on a big system. If I want people to keep dancing I change the set and individual parts of songs to make sure they will always have a beat to follow as when I produce I have a leaning towards putting in weird little bits that you just can’t dance to. I do enjoy playing live, it’s definitely something that I have to get better at, as it’s a bit more difficult for electronic artists to not come across completely bored and it’s often harder to connect. But if the crowd are great there’s no better feeling. It’s a give and take situation, if you give enough, the crowd will respond and give you something back.

8. Do you buy into the idea that Irish electronica music is experiencing a boom? Or is it a case of quantity of quality?

I buy into the idea that there are more Irish people making electronic music and because of the internet getting noticed for it. And some are definitely more deserving than others. I don’t think we’re that much more different than anywhere else. Some of it is really good and some of it is really boring. Some of it was really good and some of it was really boring 10 years ago as well. It’s just a case of the people that are making the really boring stuff have better ways of getting their music noticed because of the growth of the internet towards self promotion via social media. I think seeing a lot of people make electronic music is new to so many people here so they’re like “oh that’s cool”, I see it like sweetcorn, might come across as tasty but at the end of the day it has no nutritional value and is just gonna end up in one place. I’ll leave it at that.

9 Is there a sense of camaraderie and helping each other out among the Irish producers? Or is there competition among everybody?

There’s definitely a sense of camaraderie. There’s certain producers that I send my music around to for their opinion’s and vice versa. I definitely don’t see it as competition. When I see people like Blawan and Aphex Twin playing Lakker tunes, or Ben UFO dropping Lumigraph on Rinse FM, it makes me happy. Because these are the producers that should be getting noticed.

10. Who are the producers, Irish or otherwise, that you find really exciting at the moment?

This could be a very long list. In Ireland you have people like Eomac/Lakker who have been making amazing music for the last few years, then you have Lemonada and Lumigraph who are making waves and definitely have their own sound. Sunken Foal, his album last year was amazing. There’s a few others as well, really looking forward to hearing Richie !K’s new stuff, Roam, Frank B, The Cyclist… There is a lot of really great talent on the island. Some of the foreign producers I really love are people like Nicolas Jaar, I’m always excited to hear new tunes from him, Shlohmo, Burial, DJ Rashad, Machinedrum, Blawan, South London Ordnance, labels like Audio Culture and LIES are doing really great things at the moment. There’s so much great music being made.