The universe is making music all the time

Central And Remote: White Collar Boy

with one comment

Interview with White Collar Boy.

“Holding your own work on a wax record is a special feeling and it was more special again knowing that it was one hundred percent our work.”

—Mark Cummins, White Collar Boy

Words: Mark Carry, Illustration: Craig Carry


Hailing from Dublin, White Collar Boy are Gavin White and Mark Cummins, who are responsible for some of the most compelling sounds to come from Irish shores, in recent months. The hugely promising duo masterfully craft sublime dance and electronic explorations, recalling early 90’s house, the Warp label’s roster of talent and electronic luminaries such as Pantha Du Prince and The Field. The band released ‘Kinsale’ last year, which takes you on an epic journey of soaring melodies, lazer-guided synthesizers and hypnotic beats. Like all meaningful dance music, an energy permeates throughout, yet at all times, steeped in an emotional depth that creates utterly evocative soundscapes.

The intricate arrangements of the band’s songs, such as the interstellar sojourn, ‘Look To The Moon’ and the spellbinding ‘Another Way’, engages the listener to a new and hidden dimension, far beyond the dancefloor. White Collar Boy’s wide range of sound is breathtaking. ‘No Secret In The Lie’ is a full-blown garage infused dance anthem with pulsating beats and synths. ‘Phibsboro’ (feat The Mighty Stef) is a moonlight dance ballad. The vocal refrain of “We belong to the night / We belong” epitomizes the music of White Collar Boy, and perhaps could represent the band’s mission statement. The lucid vocals and ambient flourishes draws you into a world of divine late-night feel and sound. A plethora of ideas lies at the heart of Cummins and White’s creative endeavors that is a pure joy for any music-lover to discover.

A new double A-side will be released on July 29th, on the much revered independent label, Bodytonic Music. The tracks are gorgeous new glimpses of White Collar Boy’s journey and what paths the duo venture down next. ‘SUUU’ features vocals by Gemma Dunleavy, whose voice wonderfully graced last year’s ‘Kinsale’ EP. The song in question is ‘Long Walk Home’, which conjures up the trippy soundscapes of Primal Scream’s ‘Screamadelica’. In a word, timeless. Similarly on ‘Suuu’, a magnificent house track is born. The emotive vocals of Dunleavy are restrained, allowing the words to effortlessly melt into the waves of scintillating beats and deep bass groove. The song’s lyric of “I’m ready for you” towards the close sees a glorious rise in the sound clouds, as the stars illuminate the night’s skies.

White Collar Boy recently played Dublin’s Longitude Festival at Marlay Park and supported Steffi & Virginia at Drop Everything’s party on the scenic surrounds of Inis Oírr.

See the band’s upcoming tour dates here.



Interview with Mark Cummins, White Collar Boy.

Congratulations on the stunning ‘Kinsale’ EP. The dance explorations are utterly transcendent. Please discuss the recording and production involved for this collection of songs? Can you shed some light on the sequencing of the EP, and during what space and time were these songs written?

Well thank you very much for the kind words, we’re very much flattered. Kinsale was largely recorded in a small studio space we run on Abbey Street in central Dublin from November 2011 through to April 2012. At the time, we shared the space with a couple of friends who were involved in different musical projects which meant there was always an abundance of equipment and opinions floating around the place to be toyed with and taken on board respectively. This played a big part in the creation of the record as myself and Gav are by no means experts and it was great to have such good people around us to bounce ideas off. Regarding the sequencing of the record, well it all kind of fell into place naturally. The order it’s in was the only one that made sense and thankfully we didn’t really have to think about it too much. To be honest we were way more stressed sorting out everything else, putting out a record independently can take years off your life. I would say we put as much work into the recording and production of the record as we did into everything else, the website, distribution, PR, design…blah blah blah. Some parts of it can be a seriously unpleasant process but it was all worth it the day the DHL man showed up with the boxes. Holding your own work on a wax record is a special feeling and it was more special again knowing that it was one hundred percent our work.


My current favourite is the penultimate ‘Look To The Moon’. An interstellar journey with divine ambient sounds and a haze of beats. Perfect headphone listening. The title perfectly fits the music. I would love to gain an insight into the construction (or de construction) of this song?

I reckon that particular track was influenced by Pantha du Prince in a big way, This Bliss in particular. So many of his tracks seem to push and push and push and then reach this moment of serenity that ties the whole track together and this was something we tried to achieve with Look to the Moon. On a few occasions we have been lucky enough to be joined by a string quartet from the Trinity Orchestra when playing it live and that was really special. Hopefully one day we can convince the whole orchestra to join us.


I was intrigued to read that you both met at Barcelona’s Primavera Sound festival in 2011. I was there at this amazing festival the previous year, in 2010. I would love for you to share your memories of the music you witnessed at the festival?

It was actually Primavera 2010 where we met! Looking back on it now it’s all pretty hazy but I do remember Fuck Buttons being particularly spectacular and crowd surfing at Black Lips was a blast. Highlight of the weekend though was meeting a dude from Cork by the name of Rory who was clad in a suit that looked like it was coloured in with highlighter pens. It was about 8am and we were all on the beach and his mental Cork accent had us in stitches. He has subsequently become a good friend of ours and brought us out to Kinsale the day after our first show in Cork in 2011. That afternoon we found ourselves eating ice creams in Kinsale for the sole reason that we had been playing tunes nearby the night before and so we decided to give the record its title, in the hope we would find ourselves eating ice cream in plenty more lovely spots for that very same reason.


How do your music collections compare and contrast?

I think the residency at Pygmalion has had a big part to play in the influence we have over each other in this regard. We’re always on the lookout for new tunes to play and I guess it’s sort of a mini competition to find the best stuff. It’s very rare that we would totally disagree on something which is good because the DJ booth in Pygmalion is waaay too small to be having a domestic in.


I have yet to see White Collar Boy live, but hope to do so very soon. Discuss for me please the live incarnation of White Collar Boy and how the tracks change from the studio setting?

Well I suppose the main difference is in the studio it’s the little things we spend the most amount of time tinkering with, trying to improve the dynamics of the tracks with subtle additions and subtractions. The live set though is all about making sure the core elements of our tracks sound full and get people up dancing. We like to blend tracks together as much as possible and tend not to take breaks between them to keep the set flowing. We will have to get down to Cork again soon so you can see for yourself.


What is next for you both? Is there a full-length album in the works?

We have a double A side single coming out in July on a label we’re both very fond of and we couldn’t be more excited about it. The tracks are called ‘SUUU’ and ‘TIDE’ and the B side features remixes of ‘SUUU’ from two of our favourite Irish producers, Frank B and Simon Bird. We’re very conscious of the fact that it will be over a year since Kinsale came out by the time this comes out so we’re eager to give people something new to listen to. As for an album that is certainly the dream but it’s something we want to approach in a very certain manner. In our opinion the album format is such a defining article of work that we hold a huge amount of respect for so when we sit down to do it, we intend to do it right. We’re constantly writing and recording drafts so when we feel like we have a strong and broad enough range of tracks to choose from we will sit down and begin compiling and crafting them into an album of (fingers crossed) merit.


What are you currently listening to?

DJ Koze, Young Marco, Coma, A Sunny Day in Glasgow and I’m all about Tim Sweeney’s weekly Beats In Space radio show. Electricitat on Radio na Life is worth a shout too. The whole show is presented in Catalan oddly enough but the tunes are solid, lots of local stuff too.


12″ “SUUU / Tide” EP will be available 29th July on Bodytonic Music, the first release on Bodytonic Music’s eponymous new label and features remixes from Frank B and Simon Bird. “SUUU” will be available digitally on 19th August. “Kinsale” EP is limited to 250 copies and available now. It is also streaming here. 



Written by admin

July 22, 2013 at 11:15 am

One Response

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: