Shane O’Driscoll’s Spotify playlist: ‘Justice is Frenchy, cheesy 1980s synth, and good fun’

The visual artist on designing artwork for Bantum, sample culture and mixtapes

Shane O’Driscoll is a visual artist

Shane O’Driscoll is a visual artist

 

I listen to music all day, every day. Before I knew what I wanted to do as a job, I knew it would have to be something where I could listen to music all day long. It’s just the way I operate. My artwork is named from titles or lyrics of the songs I listen to while working on them, so they act as a chronology of what I was listening to. 

I grew up in the rave and grunge era but I was the guy who was wearing baggy pants and Doc Martens together – I didn’t like just one genre, I valued both equally. Then I got into rock, then hip-hop. From DJ Shadow I discovered sample culture and Beastie Boys, and dug in deeper. 

One of my favourite albums of all time is Psyence Fiction by UNKLE because it’s such a mad mix. There’s a vast array of vocalists in there: Thom Yorke, Mike D from Beastie Boys and Badly Drawn Boy. The well-known graffiti artist Futura created the album artwork for UNKLE. My background is in graphic design, so it was a massive thing for me that James Lavelle put just as much interest into the design of the CD as the audio.

I never tire of Obstacle 1 from Interpol. When it came out, I was working in a surf and skate shop in New York, all the skaters were coming in listening to Interpo

I’ve been doing artwork for Bantum for the last 10 or 12 years. Ruairí Lynch and I both grew up together creatively: I was doing art and design, he was doing music. At this point, we know each other so well it’s not really a challenge, it’s an enjoyable process. It started off that I hand-printed the CD covers, then we did photoshoots, and the most recent thing was digital artwork. Sonically, New Leaf is a funkier style. He’s very similar to myself in that he jumps around in different avenues, so we’re in sync that way. 

I chose 3 Kilos by The Prodigy from their album Music for the Jilted Generation. At that age I had just started going to discos and jumping around. I could have put in Their Law or Out of Space or a well-known track but this one is an instrumental, it hasn’t dated, and it’s an amazing Prodigy track. 

I never tire of Obstacle 1 from Interpol. When it came out, I was working in a surf and skate shop in New York, and it was a song on a skate video that was massive, so all the skaters were coming in listening to Interpol. They’re quintessentially a New York band of that time along with the Strokes, LCD Soundsystem and The Rapture.

Last year, their vocalist Paul Banks formed a new band, Muzz. They’re kind of a mini-supergroup as the drummer is from The Walkmen, who are also on the playlist. That album has been spinning non-stop in last year as well. 

I recently bought Kevin Morby’s album Sundowner on vinyl. It came out last year, but I only buy albums on vinyl that have longevity to stay with me, that I will sit with physically and play and turn. The track Campfire really got its claws into me. There’s a beautiful part in the middle where the song fades out, there’s a crackle of a campfire and then a female vocal fades in. 

The Ben Howard album Collections from the Whiteout blew me away when it came out in March. He constantly changes with each album, and now he’s a million miles away from the start of that folky, poppy surfer vibe he had. Aaron Dessner from The National produced this album with him and there are so many different layers. It totally caught me off-guard, it’s so experimental and interesting. He’s someone I’ve gotten into in the last two or three years.

A recent discovery of mine is Royal Yellow, who’s Irish. Until is a great dancey track. He produced the EP during lockdown. A lot of creatives were totally thrown out of kilter during lockdown, but that meant they were willing to experiment. They pushed themselves into weird places because things were going a bit nuts, and the attitude was what’s the worst that can happen. A lot of interesting stuff came out of that.

Justice, a French electro duo, did an amazing mix for Fabric in London, a few years ago but  Fabric rejected it. It’s  Frenchy, cheesy 1980s synth. I’d say they had a ball making it

Dope Lemon is one of my major recent finds. He’s an Australian musician, Angus Stone, who might be familiar from Angus & Julia Stone. I got tickets to see him last June so I’m waiting for that gig to come around. I love his super-chilled summer sound.

As well as the playlist, I’ve also got three stand-out mix tapes that encapsulate my musical taste. One is Dirtchambers sessions by Liam Howlett, which is around 20 years old. I remember obsessively trawling through the liner notes to see all the sampled tracks. Then there’s DJ Shadow’s Essential Mix that he did with the BBC years ago. That dips into really proggy, weird 1960s, 1970s stuff. 

Finally there’s Justice, a French electro duo, who did an amazing mix for Fabric in London, a few years ago but then Fabric rejected it. It’s very Frenchy, cheesy electro 1980s synth, and it’s good fun. I’d say they had a ball making it and Fabric were like, “um, this isn’t what we were expecting”. So they gave it away for free as their Christmas Special Mix. I think it’s amazing, and I listen to it non-stop.

Shane O’Driscoll appears at the architecture, design and food festival Design POP in Cork, running August 27th-29th, 2021. See designpop.ie

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