Garuda is an electric music record label based in the UK. The label is creatively controlled by Gareth Emery and is loaded with talent featuring names like Ben Gold, Tritonal, Blake Jarrell and M.I.K.E. Another name on that list just released a new track titled “Like Whatever” and is making a lot of noise in the scene. He’s young, extremely talented, and also hails from Manchester. Besides producing, he also serves as A&R for Garuda. Needless to say, he is staying busy. The new track is getting a lot of attention, and to help promote the release I requested an interview. It is my pleasure to be sitting with Craig Connelly.
You just released “Connected”, a track by John B and Kirsty Hawkshaw. Really digging the remix. Tell me a little bit more about the process. Did they contact you or did you reach out to them?
I met John through a mutual friend and he was looking for some alternative remixes to some of his album tracks. I’ve always been a fan of Kirsty’s voice and “Connected” had some big chords in the breakdown, so I thought this would be perfect for me to remix. I’ve not produced something this uplifting/euphoric before so it was good for me to push myself out of my comfort zone.
Tell me about your relationship with Garuda.
I work in the Garuda office as A&R/Manager of the record label. I basically find new music and look after the process of the releasing the records.
How did you first get into electronic dance music? Do you remember what it was like before you were a DJ?
I got into electronic music through an under 18 event that was held in my local town which played mainly electronic dance, a lot of hard house/hardcore tracks too. I then wanted to start a record collection and got into industry that way. I do remember. I’ve always been a music fan whether I was performing or not.
I am always curious… what headphones are you using up there?
You are a DJ and a producer. Can you be one without the other? Do you prefer one to the other?
I do think you can either, or both. Depends really on what your aspirations are, if you want to be “the biggest” of DJs in the world then you do have to produce music to raise your profile. But if you just want to enjoy mixing music and perform as a DJ then you could DJ in your local clubs and bars pretty much every night without having produced any music, that’s a different path altogether…
It’s hard to say really as they couldn’t be more different. DJing is me plus thousands of people in a party environment. And producing is just me locked in a studio on my own for hours. I really enjoy both, and even if this wasn’t my career choice I’d still do both just purely for my own entertainment. (Laughs.)
What is ADE?
ADE is the Amsterdam Dance Event. It’s a week long electronic music conference in Holland.
You did a remix of “Concrete Angel”. Gareth is incredible. Big fan. Being connected with Garuda, are you two becoming close? Have you ever toured with him?
I met Gareth many years ago, around 2009 I think, so we’ve known each other a long time. Generally most shows I play at the moment he is the headliner as these are Garuda shows. I’m looking forward to playing with him more in the future too, the Garuda shows are always a blast!!!
There are a lot of clubs out there. Do you have a favorite?
So far my favorite is Ministry of Sound in London.
Tell me more about The Warehouse Project.
The Warehouse Project is a three/four month long event that has two/three parties a week. It’s held in an old warehouse in Manchester and has an awesome underground vibe to each night. We did a Garuda party there just last week.
“Like Whatever” is your latest original track. Tell me more about the release. Why did you call it “Like Whatever”?
The track is an electro infused trance record. I’ve really no idea how it ended up the way it did… It has a big chunky triplet section in the middle which took me awhile to get it right, as you have to change the timing of the sequencer in the middle of the track. I called it “Like Whatever” because I want people to make of it “whatever” they “like”… and also because it’s a bit of fun.
How did you get connected with Promoter Friendly Agency? Do you like working with PFA?
I’ve known Promoter Friendly Agency for many years as they also do incredible parties in around where I’ve lived. I got talking to one of the guys at a Garuda party back in March and we met up several times after that and made some plans about how to launch me as an artist. And yes, I love working with them. I think they are a perfect match for me as an artist and we definitely share the same vision. Plus they’re very personal people and I like to think of them as friends I can reach out to and not just my “managers”.
The DJ Mag Top 100 is out. I am glad to see Armin at the top. Are you happy with the list this year? Do you, as a DJ, take that list serious? Do you think it helps a DJ land gigs around the world being on that list?
To be honest, the list is what it is. I’m glad to see some acts making their way up the poll this year and getting some more recognition they deserve. I think it is a “roughly” accurate representation of who the biggest acts are at the moment. Good to see Armin back at #1 but I was also happy to see David land at #1 last year as it showed change and growth in dance music. I think it does have an impact on a DJ’s career but should never be used as the only thing that makes a DJ who they are. Making tracks and your impact on a party is far more important than a number in a magazine popularity poll.
Being from Manchester, I bet you like football. Do you have a favorite team?
Yes, I love football, and I’m a big Manchester United fan.
You do a lot of remixes. When you do a remix, do you need permission from the original artist? Do they come to you or do you go to them for the remix?
I’ve done a lot this year it seems. (Laughs.) I generally get asked to do remixes; depends on the situation. I’ve been very lucky so far to work the level of artist on remixes.
You only have a couple more live performances this year. Do you have anything big planned for 2013?
I have a lot of big things planned for next year including my first vocal single and maybe an extended EP. Also we have some big shows lined up already. Watch this space!
What’s next for Craig Connelly?
I’ll not be changing the formula too much, just keep working on original music, keep pushing my abilities and make the best tracks possible.
Thank you for doing this, Craig. I know you are busy. In all of the interviews I do, I always give the artist the last word. Go.
One of my favorite
words is HUZZAH!