Ahead of his appearance with Gareth Emery and Luke Bond this Friday for Gareth's Drive Album Launch Party, Craig Connelly sat down with The Gallery's Nish Palawan to talk about his upcoming set and his new single.
Nish: Hi Craig, hope this day finds you well?
Craig Connelly: Very well thank you! Very busy day at the office, but looking forward to clocking off shortly.
Your previous visit to Ministry was for the Garuda showcase in Nov 2012. How was that night?
That night was incredible and was a firm reminder of why I do what I do. I’d spent many evenings in my youth listening to Ministry of Sound’s Trance Nation CDs. I never would I have thought I would one day play there – although I’d often dreamt of it. Playing at Ministry of Sound and for The Gallery is a very special thing for UK DJs. Both parties are somewhat of an institution and benchmarks for clubbing experiences. The crowd on the night was incredible and they were so familiar with my music, which made me smile as I’d not played in London before. I was probably one of my best ever gigs to date.
And there have been some major developments since then?
I released my debut vocal single “Black Hole” with a music video which did some serious damage in 2013. Also I’ve completed remixes for John O’Callaghan and Aly & Fila, plus played across the globe so it’s been a pretty busy 18 months.
This Friday sees the launch of Gareth Emery’s Drive album. Did your A&R role for the label, lead to any creative input?
I wasn’t involved in the creative production of the album, but as I work for the label, I played a big part in the distribution/planning/promotion. It’s been a huge project for the whole team over the last 12 months which I’m proud to say I’ve been involved in. I think the album hit No.1 on 21 iTunes Dance stores across the globe, which is a great achievement for Gareth and Garuda.
We’re loving new release “Lioness”, what was the inspiration behind the track?
This track took somewhat of a beating before I finally got it into a finished version and in the end some simple but effective feedback from my girlfriend helped me pull it into its final form. I wouldn’t say there was a particular inspiration as the sound of the track changed so much, but I knew I couldn’t give up on it as I loved the riff –it’s just simple and works well on a dance floor. After spending months trying various different ways of executing it, I sat down with my girlfriend one day and she basically told me how it should be arranged. And it worked, simple but effective. I owe it to her so I named it “Lioness”!
What software do you use for production, any special tools or plug-ins?
I use Avid Pro Tools 10 which is a bit of an odd choice for dance music production - most producers work on Logic, Ableton and Cubase. I wouldn’t say it’s superior to those other programs in any way, if anything it pisses me off a lot when it crashes and randomly turns my computer off. But as I used it years ago in college, I’ve become very quick at using it. I’d say one day I might change to one of the other programs but the amount of time and effort it would take me to master one of them , it probably wouldn’t be worth changing at all. The plug-in I cannot live without is Native Instruments Massive. 90% of my sounds are made using that!
Do you do much tweaking before reaching the final version?
It really depends, some tracks just fly out without needing much changing, and some need a good old beating before they work. “Decibels” for example was written and produced in a week from scratch. Lioness took about 4 months of hashing out different arrangements and seeing what works. The instrumental on “Black Hole” took me no more than 3 days from writing to a playable arrangement, but then it took a while to get the vocals recorded for it. So I guess it depends on what I have as a starting block and what the vision is for the record, the simpler the better seems to work best, but only when the melody is spot on.
One tune you will definitely be playing on Friday is?
David Gravell – “Melbourne” It just destroys a dance floor!
Why should The Gallery look forward to Luke Bond in the house?
He performs in nothing but his underpants…
Finally in good old Gallery tradition, use 3 words to describe your forthcoming set?
Dance with me.
See Craig perform at The Gallery this Friday alongside Gareth Emery and Luke Bond for the Drive Album Launch Party.
13 May 2014