In his work as a producer, live artist, and film composer, Kormac is known for turning his organic recordings into widescreen electronica.
On this record, Kormac, for the first time, writes a set of orchestral music, often aimed at the dance floor, featuring the Irish Chamber Orchestra, rapper Jafaris, vocalists Loah, MayKay and Jack O'Rourke along with the Persian/Irish multi-instrumentalists Shahab & Shayan Coohe.
The album's lead single 'Carry Weight', released on 14 October, is the first offering from the album and features Irish/Sierra Leonese singer Loah.
Carry Weight's twisted and transformed harp samples combine with orchestra and drums to provide the foundation for Loah's impressive harmonies.
We have had the pleasure of interviewing him and this has been the result.
Can you tell us a little about your early musical experiences?
I started off playing guitar, drums and making 4-track recordings and demos when I was in my early teens.
I then discovered, and fell in love with, music made using more electronic means - predominantly drum n’ bass and hip hop - and got heavy into DJing, turntablism and writing music using an early Akai sampler.
After school I went to university and did a masters degree in Trinity College - both heavily focused on music technology and composition. While I was studying I made some records with a band I was a member of (mostly as the producer) and I released my first solo record, as Kormac, in 2010.
I spent the next decade releasing my own type of electronic music, largely based on manipulating my own recordings of acoustic sources and was lucky enough to tour the world either with my DJ and AV solo sets or with a large ensemble (drums, bass, brass, rappers, vocalists etc.)
How do you hope that your music influences or impacts your listeners?
I love the idea that my music might soundtrack events in peoples’ lives. I’ve been told stories, over the years, where my music was playing when people met their future husband/wife or they met at one of my shows etc. I love hearing things like this.
Do you feel that your sound has evolved over the years?
For sure. I think a flick through my Spotify really shows this. That said, I think there’s a sonic identity there.
My first releases were more sample-based whereas now I record/make my own ‘samples’ and twist and morph those instead. I find this a much more liberating and rewarding way of working.
How do you think your sound has evolved on the new album?
I think the most obvious evolution in the sound is the use of the orchestra - while I have always used live instruments in my music, writing for and recording an orchestra was another ‘step up’ for me.
I wrote this collection of music, initially, as a live show. I was commissioned to write the closing show of the St. Patrick’s Festival and this gave me the opportunity to work with the Irish Chamber Orchestra. Because I had this new palette at my disposal, I wanted to connect a little more emotionally with the audience than my previous work might have - a lot of which was aimed at the dance floor.
It’s also the first album I’ve made that had a real sonic concept from the start, in terms of how the music is produced, mixed and mastered.
I want the listener to feel like they’re experiencing the show right in front of them in a concert hall and this informed a lot of my decision making. To further this idea I mixed the whole album in Dolby Atmos/Spatial Audio for the first time.
If you stream the album on Apple Music or Amazon you’ll get the full 360 degree, concert hall experience.
Do you feel consistency is important in creating music? Or is it ok to experiment with different styles and sounds?
I think it’s really important to be consistently trying new things. As much as you can. I’ve made conscious decisions to keep experimenting with different styles throughout my career. If you do this, your own voice will still come to the fore and it will still be recognisable as you.
How do you see the next few years or your career panning out, in an ideal world?
I feel fortunate to say I’ve quite a few interesting projects lined up.
Overall, I would like a nice balance of releasing my solo music, working on film scores and some live performances every year. I spent almost 2 years working solely on film music and I think balancing scoring with the other things that I do is important.
What's the most important piece of advice anyone's given to you so far?
Make the music you would want to listen to!
It’s a gorgeous vinyl version of the album with his amazing design. These will move quickly so I’d love you to grab one at kormacmusic.com or anywhere you buy records.
As mentioned above, I’ve just finished the score for a 6-part drama series called The Diplomat that stars Sophie Rundle (Peaky Blinders) and is produced by World Productions (Line of Duty) that will be airing in February.
We’ll definitely be doing the full Equivalent Exchange show at some festivals this summer.
I’m also currently working on a documentary film soundtrack for the New Yorker magazine and about to start another project for a big streamer and more music for my Always The Sound label - all very exciting!