Introducing Nyt Bloomer
DJ, producer and founder of You Can't Break It Records, Conor McNamee, on being inspired by LA Beat Music and his plans for 2014
Conor McNamee may hail from a small town in Donegal, but his beats under the Nyt Bloomer moniker bring to mind contemporaries from much further afield – his grainy, hip hop-orientated beats owing much to the likes of LA-based artists Flying Lotus and Teebs.
Now the label boss of Belfast-based You Can't Break It Records, McNamee is targeting 2014 as a breakthrough year for himself as an artist and his label, with debut vinyl releases from Nyt Bloomer and others in the pipeline, and touring and label parties planned for the near future.
How would you describe Nyt Bloomer to the uninitiated?
I find it hard to describe my music because there is such a wide range of influences being channelled into it, but I guess lo-fi, wonky beat music with an emphasis on the low end sums it up.
Is making music something you've always wanted to do?
I think I discovered music kind of late. I never really had the opportunity to explore music until I was 13, when I begged my parents for a guitar and it just progressed from there. As a kid, bands and musicians seemed untouchable, on a pedestal, but as I grew up I learned that music is a gift for anyone to explore.
When I finished secondary school at 17, I didn't have any other interests, so it was natural to go on and study music. I only realised in college that it was possible to make a career out of music.
As an electronic artist, how do you go about creating music?
My sound basically comes from staying up late sampling records, twisting them into brand new melodies and beats. It comes from a special place – it doesn't feel like a normal state of consciousness when you're in the zone creating something.
Your Facebook page lists your hometown as Buncrana. How have you found the music scene there and around Derry~Londonderry for upcoming artists?
I have yet to be a part of any music scene around there. I tried to start a club night in Buncrana last year but there just isn't the interest for something new, though it's a great place to live, scenic and peaceful.
There are some good people doing good things in Derry and it's nice having events like Celtronic, but I think it's good to do your own thing, run your own nights and bring something new to the table instead of just fitting into a local scene. [Instrumental rockers] And So I Watch You From Afar set the bar high when they were coming up, and that was pretty inspiring for me. I learned a lot from those guys.
Your sound appears to be influenced LA electronic style, and names like Lapalux and the Brainfeeder label come to mind. Are these the sorts of artists and outfits you look to for inspiration?
It's cool that you hear that. I'm definitely influenced by Brainfeeder and Flying Lotus, Baths, Teebs and more of those LA guys. I love that gritty, wonky, hazy stoned sound that comes with LA Beat Music, but I'm also influenced a lot by music from Northern Ireland.
Barry Lynn (Boxcutter/The Host) has been a huge influence. He's really expanded my horizons musically and continues to do so every time I meet him. The stuff he's been doing over the last few years is just incredible and he's only getting better.
London Dubstep, Mala, Loefah, DMZ and Deep Medi Musik have all had an influence on how I want the low end to sound too, and stuff like Fela Kuti and more recently Funkadelic have influenced me groove wise.
Belfast is pretty lucky these days actually, with Kaidi Tatham playing in the Menagerie every weekend. That's always inspiring to see. J Dilla and Madlib are big influences too. Those guys are at the root of the LA sound, although Dilla's from Detroit.
Electronic music seems to be enjoying a renaissance at the moment, where once indie-rock bands used to be ten-a-penny. Why do you think that is?
It's probably because it's so accessible. Whereas not everyone has access to instruments, other like-minded musicians and a practice room, everyone has a laptop these days and so anyone can download a DAW and start manipulating sound or putting a beat together in minutes. I'd say the vast amount of good labels popping up seemingly every week has something to do with it too.
You released your EP, Old Toys, on cassette for Record Store Day 2014. Do you think formats like cassette and vinyl are still relevant to the modern consumer?
Vinyl is definitely relevant, it's the best way to listen to music, for sure. I don't know if cassettes are still relevant because so few people have cassette players and so few artists are releasing on cassette, but personally I love the sound of tape. I love what it did to my music by bouncing it on tape, and I think for my style of music it's a good format. It fits the lo-fi grittiness.
Tell us more about You Can't Break It Records.
YCBI is a label I started in 2013. I had some friends who were making amazing music and didn't know how to put it out, I thought I had a pretty good idea of the industry stuff from college, so I wanted to help. I wanted to create a collective of like-minded people who would all help each other out, but it ended up being more of a one-man label.
We put out a release last year, Soul Plateau's debut album, Concrete Ghosts. I still love it. Scott Walker is an incredible songwriter and producer. I can't wait to see what he does next.
Is there a particular ethos behind the label?
The idea is to just release innovative and affordable music and have it available around Ireland, online and eventually in record stores internationally – and to throw good parties.
I'd like to build it to an international level and have a vinyl release every two months, and have all the artists involved touring and making a living from their art. It's everybody's dream, I guess, but it will take a few years to get there.
What do you think separates YCBI from other Belfast-based record labels at the moment?
Our sound. I don't know any other labels with a similar sound. Having said that, it's constantly progressing and changing, and it isn't quite at the point I want it to be yet.
What does the remainder of 2014 hold for Nyt Bloomer and YCBI?
I'll be putting out my own music, and I've worked long and hard on it. The response has been great so far, so I think there is going to be a lot of gigs and exposure this year, along with multiple releases from the label.
I plan on putting on some big nights around the country for our vinyl release in June, so I'm excited about playing with certain people on good sound systems. It's going to be an exciting year, for sure.