System & Set One Twenty
In Discussion: Bobby O’Donnell
Words by Sophie Roberts
Part of the musical furniture in Leeds and one of the Mint Club family, it’s equally exciting and comforting when Bobby O’Donnell is on duty opening clubs with his varied sets.
As charismatic as he is unique with his spacious sounds, he conveys his style and personality perfectly every time he plays.
Boundless knowledge and passion have ensured his residency at system for 8 years now, pushing Bobby to the front of well-respected resident DJs and enabling him to embark on a range of creative endeavours.
His refined and sombre style has piqued interest in labels such as Fred P’s ‘Boards’ and ‘One Records’, whilst also producing several arguable masterpieces like the beautiful ‘Epsilon’ for his own record label, ‘Strobewax’.
Recently boasting a breathtaking ambient mix for ‘Snare’ mix series, to promote his release at the other end of the spectrum, his talent straddles a broad musical appeal and leaves no stone unturned in terms of ability.
With an array of releases and gigs around Europe this summer, at a number of festivals including his
stomping ground ‘Cocoon in the Park’, we caught up with him for a chat ahead of our first terrace party with System this year…
Bobby! Firstly, tell us about your time at system, how does it feel to be opening the summer parties once again next week?
Well I’ve played at System since it started, which was a very hazy 8 years ago. It’s literally taught me what it means to be a warm up DJ. I really take pride in doing a good job and, as much as DJing is steeped in loads of fun, I take it seriously. I’m quite meticulous in getting music together and try and play a lot of unreleased stuff. Also I’ve had chance to play before loads of DJs that I really admire. It’s been as much schooling as anything else.
The terrace parties have been going as long as Mint Warehouse has been open (in 2011) and as much as I love the Mint Club, outside on the terrace has such a unique vibe to it. I’m proper itching to get back there.
You’ve had quite a year, since being selected for Fred P’s Boards compilation, how have you been moving in the studio? Has the release influenced your style at all?
I think the release validated what I was doing, as I seldom send music out. I make so much of it and he was one of the only people I sent it to. When he wanted to use my tune for his compilation it made me more confident in my music making. It’s definitely gone on to influence me, as you become more sure of your decisions in the music room/studio. My approach in there rapidly changed if I’m totally blunt about it. Currently I’m embracing more noises over notes, while hopefully retaining a sense of soul and getting my ideas down fast.
You’ve been gaining recognition globally for a fairly wide range of genres, who or what has been keeping you inspired?
It’s probably the clichéd answer but my family, friends and new experiences. I have to keep things fresh. I’m not one to study other people’s tracks for dead long and then make something either. Sure there’s ideas you hear that get you going but I’m not one for imitation. Also, I play instruments so I don’t really just embrace 4/4 music. I’ve made a lot of ambient music recently. One style for too long makes for dullness really. Maybe it’s a lack of concentration!
Any exciting releases or dates for us coming up this summer?
Yeah, in terms of music I have tune on Mosaic, Snare Tapes, One Records and gigs wise there’s Cocoon in The Park, Bestival and I’ve just confirmed to play Elrow, Ibiza. There’s also some exciting stuff, both releasing and playing, that I can’t say too much about for now.
Turn up the mix below, provided especially for us. See you on the Terrace.