If you don’t know the name DJ Deece, then you certainly know one of his myriad of projects. A resident DJ at Somewhere in the Workman’s Club since its opening in 2010, a Hidden Agenda resident DJ and a key figure in the Irish electronic music scene, it’s more likely than not that you’ve danced to one of his sets in recent memory. These days, you can find him spinning at some of the country’s most respected venues and festivals and supporting some of the biggest acts on the electronic scene. I caught up with him for a chat with The University Times about his experience in the Irish music scene and his ongoing project the “Deece Series”.
Otherwise known as Niall D’arcy, Deece grew up and began DJing in Newbridge, Co. Kildare. He moved to Dublin in 2009 to pursue a career as a disc jockey where he began playing sets at Trashed, a weekly night in Andrew’s Lane Theatre. After the venue was sold, the night was moved to the Workman’s Club and renamed Somewhere. Here, Deece began his first club residency. He and others saw potential in Somewhere to provide club-goers with a strong mix of indie and dance music. Seven years on, the night is as strong as ever, a weekly haunt for most twenty-somethings around Dublin. Deece is still surprised by how consistently popular the night is: “It’s mad the amount of people I see there that go every week.”
While his Workman’s residency allowed Deece to play a wide range of music, eventually he wanted to move towards playing more exclusively house-based sets. Around this time, the production collective Hidden Agenda were emerging in Dublin. Having done “the odd support slot” with Hidden Agenda over the years, Deece eventually became one of their resident DJs – “I just annoyed them until they let me do it”. Here, he was able to play sets comprised of “good house music” while his reputation grew in Ireland. Off the back of his success, he became the go to support act for some of the biggest names in the industry, playing alongside the likes of Cyril Hahn and many others.
Deece respects those he plays alongside and understands how to play a successful support slot. Deece says: “My main idea of a warm up set would be to play what I want to play but make sure the dance floor is full by the time the main act comes on – and don’t really bite into what they do too much.” Deece knows that in order to be a successful DJ, you need to be conscious of your audience. Now a headliner, Deece understands that “as a DJ your responsibility is to keep the dancefloor dancing… your number-one thing is that you’re a DJ. You shouldn’t restrict yourself [to playing solely what you want to play]”. He puts himself into the shoes of those in the crowd: “My whole philosophy with DJing is if I was on the dancefloor, what would I want to hear next?”
Deece recently released his first EP, Disco Delights #001. He made the tracks available for free online. The EP consists of three disco edits: “I Can’t Be You”, “Runnin’” and “Love Doin’”. He notes “they’re just three tunes that I love. They’re good dance tunes but they didn’t really have the energy that I wanted them to have”. Deece has yet to make a release through a label, although he did say he has some projects in the pipeline. Releasing new material would be an exciting avenue for him to pursue, if he chooses to do so. I’m certain that whatever he releases will be received well.
In the absence of label releases, Deece is promoting and developing himself as a brand with the “Deece Series”. Billed as “a Deece gig with a special guest”, Deece says the concept came about from him wanting Hidden Agenda to book “niche and small” acts that “wouldn’t normally be getting booked in Ireland”. It is as much about developing himself as it is about giving other artists a platform.
Discussing the Irish music scene, Deece’s outlook is positive. He says: “It’s great to see so much independent Irish music being put out.” Deece mentions Softboy Records and Vision Collector as being great examples of groups consistently promoting Irish talent. Considering that he’s been going from strength to strength in recent times, it seems that for the foreseeable future, Deece will continue representing the Irish music scene.