Where and what the was the moment that you (both or individually) decided you needed to get behind the decks?
Ciaran: It’s hard to say, I started when I was 16 when I began listening to electro and some techno. My mate’s brother was a DJ at the time and showed me the ropes and brought us to our first proper gigs in Kennedy’s. I kind of fell out of DJing once I got into college because I was too busy with studying and going to shit student club nights… then when I got to about third year, I got a lot less busy with studying and back into going to good club nights like Twisted Pepper etc. Naturally, I felt the urge to get back into DJing again and I haven’t stopped since!
Jack: As a teen, I was always inclined towards more electronic based music, despite being referred to a ‘mosh bag’ on a bus one time, but it wasn’t until I when I first started going to clubs, heading to places like Strangeways, that I really got a bit obsessed.
I was instantly fascinated about the role the DJs played there and it wasn’t long until I invested in my first decks. From then, I would just try set up my decks at any session I could, even when it probably wasn’t even wanted but I couldn’t help myself.
Who is Boots and who is Kats?
We get that one quite a lot actually and the truth is that we never actually decided when we choose the name, so we like to ask people who they think is who. 99% of people say without hesitation say that Ciaran is the Boots and Jack is Kats, we’re still trying to get the bottom off that.
2017 has been a remarkable year for a number of Irish up & coming artists such as yourselves, Deece and Versatile managing to headline and sell out (in advance) venues as a big as District 8. This is something previous unheard of in Dublin clubbing (certainly it's not something that's happened in years). What do you think is behind this exciting wave?
We think a lot of it is to do with social media and how quickly word can get out about an artist. Videos get posted of artists playing on groups like Tune Drop and they’re getting thousands and thousands of views. If it looks like people are having a good time at that set, then they’re gonna notice that name a lot more the next time they see it on an event or festival lineup. It’s so class to see it happening and we think it’s only the beginning. There’s a massive amount of talent coming out of the woodwork in the past year or so who are gaining recognition for their productions nationally and internationally and we think groups and forums like Four Four have a lot to do with that. They create a platform where it’s encouraged to share your work.
It's genuinely recognised that to make it as a DJ internationally, you need to have a string of solid productions under your belt or be signed to a respected label. Certain artists like Jackmaster or DJ EZ have managed to break this convention. Do you guys feel you'll need to drive the production side of Boots & Kats and get signed to take it to the next level?
Absolutely. Even the few productions we do online have helped a lot in spreading the name and from those, we’ve been offered releases on a couple of labels. The only problem is finding the time to finish tracks. Gigging at night and working during the day doesn't leave a whole lot of time to make tunes so it’s just slow getting things done. Although, luckily, this is a great time of year for making tunes because there’s not much daytime work to do.
What's the boldest risk you've ever taken in a set with dropping a curve ball track (we all know these risks can help separate amazing DJs from the average), and how did it go down?
We try to always drop a few curve balls during sets, or at the end, at least, but some are definitely more risky than the others. We think people have come to expect some unexpected tunes by now so they’re more open to them. One was recently at EP when we dropped ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ by Whitney Houston in the middle of it. We had heard it in the campsite and thought ‘that’d be gas to drop in the set’. It went down great though. The sun came out as soon as we brought it in and everything.
Another one, which is probably one of the curvier balls, was ‘Incredible’ by M-Beat at the end of our set at Boxed Off 2015. We had already played our last tune when the crowd were asking for more. The sound engineer just said go for it so the next thing heard was “WICKED, WICKED, JUNGLE IS MASSIVE”. People lost it.
What’s your plan for 2018?
First things first, 32 counties… just sayin’.
Other than that we’re gonna just keep doing what we’re doing and hope we can keep this going. We’ve been working on production a good bit so hopefully a release will come out of that soon enough. We also ran a ‘secret’ charity gig last week which was just open to a mailing list we started which went very well, so we’d like to expand on that and hit up a few random unused venues around the country. We already have some amazing gigs booked outside Ireland as well which was a major goal for us for this year.