In 2012 AUS records paired the emerging House duo, Bicep with Ejeca and propelled two careers from a single track, “You”. Although the former had already released EPs previously, the record established Garry McCartney’s career as Ejeca who released a string of EPs that very same year and hasn’t stopped since. “You” is a slow moving track with euphoric peaks as it paces through a half time break beat. A ghostly vocal sample rides a tide of synths like a lonesome echo in the fog.
Ejeca, the Belfast artist and DJ had been making music since his teens and started DJing shortly after, playing Techno for the discerning tastes of close family according to a sixatthegarage interview. From his first solo release, Krunk he went on to release 12 inches and EPs for the likes of Waze & Odyssey’s W&O street tracks, 20:20 Vision and Unknown to the Unknown.
Ejeca’s music is built on the foundations of House with elements of trance, breakbeat and acid, pulsing through punchy dance floor arrangements on his releases. There’s always a melodic line or harmonic synth ascending to ephemeral heights in his works while sub-bass lines rumble at the depths below ground.
McCartney has established the label Exploris in this singular pursuit with releases from the artist and others like Dema and Chris Hanna filling out the catalogue. In recent years he’s split his musical narrative in two with his trance edit project Trance Wax, lieteraly taking its cues from the likes of Sasha and Moby’s music and pitching it down to the more palatable House tempo where McCartney’s music lives and breathes.
As Ejeca he’s hung up the headphones for a moment and taken to the stage in a new live show that has been taking him all over the world. After a recent sojourn to Australia and New Zealand, he’s back in the studio. We caught up with McCartney and Ejeca for a quick exchange to ask about his musical origins, his workflow and the Belfast scene before he jets off again to Oslo and Jæger.
Hello Garry and thanks for taking the time to talk to us. I believe you’re in the studio right now. What are you working on at the moment?
I’ve just got back from an Australia and New Zealand tour which was great. Production wise I’ve finished of Trance Wax 5 and two Ejeca EPs have also just been sent off for cutting, all three will be out in the first half of next year.
Do you usually have an idea for a record framed in your head before you even start recording or composing something?
I try and mix it up during the wake and make a different ‘genre’ each day. For instance I’ve been making a lot of jungle and drum and bass lately, it’s good but not good enough to get released yet. I find varying what you make really helps your sound gain originality.
What are the key ingredients to a piece of music that makes a record an Ejeca record for you?
It’s hard to answer but I think I keep things simple. There is always a nod to the 90s in my tracks, whether it be house techno or trance. I think nostalgia is a key thing to me.
I believe when you started DJing you started with Techno. What drew you to House and how did your surroundings and Belfast play a role in your development as an artist?
I used to buy and mix a lot of hard techno. Old Liebing and Beyer stuff, as well as DJ Rush, Viper XXL etc. I just liked the groove and tempo. At the same time I was in to French house, Crydamoure and Roule were great labels. All of this stuff was played in different rooms in Shine in Belfast 15 years ago. Sadly Shine has recently closed, and end of a 23 year era.
How did you go from being Djing to producing, and what effect has producing had on the way you DJ?
At first I produced, I would have been about 12 using the early version of FL Studio (Fruity Loops). I can remember making techno tracks with samples of Cartman from South Park :-/
I would always see myself as a producer first, I like djing but I feel most at home in the studio.
In an interview with you there’s a reference to an Irish scene. Is there a scene in Belfast and who and what are the key players there?
We have people like Calibre, Boxcutter, Phil Kieran, who have defined genres in the past. I know now for a small city there’s a huge amount of underrated producers who are making great stuff so the underground production scene is very vibrant.
I’ll let you get back to your work then, Garry. Is there anything you’d like to add before we see you next week?
I’m really looking to visiting Norway for the first time, I’ve heard great things about Jaeger! See you on the dance floor.