FEATURE INTERVIEW: AL KELLY
I met Al Kelly a long time ago, we lived together with some friends for a period of time, where he took a great interest in playing on my decks! Alan took it all in and came out one of the top mixers of Funky and Deep House I know today in Ireland. Al was involved with Zone Magazine back, way back, in 1995, and it’s been a plesure knowing and partying with him over the years, we have had some interesting and fun times! Although he has not hung up his phones just yet, he still plays about, and has had a great innigs, so I think its about time we had a chat.
Who was Al Kelly before dance music?
Al Kelly was a kid from Castlerea in Roscommon and like most other kids – theres nothing much to report from the early years. Went to school and learned to smoke cigarettes (now clean). Was shit at sport but thankfully fairly smart so it was easy enough for me to get by in some sort of acceptable fashion – enough to get me a place in college. Take us back to 1993 when you first got into the electronic scene. What where your first impressions of the music, and how did you realize the passion for the decks? I started to get into dance around ’91-’92 so as I left school I was already well down the road. When I went to college in Dublin in ’93 I found out what dance music was really like and what the whole club scene was about. There were no clubs down home and in fact having never heard of ecstacy, and remember it’s well before the internet, my mates and I had listened to “Ebeneezer Goode” by the Shaman and concluded it was about taking acid.
We were literally clueless that there was even a thing called the ‘club scene’, or what the concept of a rave was. Dublin blew my mind – I made a great friend in first year who introduced me to clubbing and as luck would have it, to you too Mr. Newhouse. The scene blew my mind – it seemed like I had finally found something that belonged to me in a sense that I had discovered it by myself rather than being led to it by someone. More importantly it was somewhere I felt that I belonged – something I had’nt experienced to anything like that extent growing up. Something just really cliicked with me in those early days. The DJ, the mix, the love, the vicks, the hugs, the buzz, everybody smiling – all peace and doves.
” I failed first year in college and was out for a year. At the time that was the biggest problem in the world for me, but as it turned out I moved in with Paul Newhouse that year and learned how to DJ. I can safely say that that is the single biggest and best thing that ever happend to me apart from meeting my wife. “
It did’nt do any harm that we were listening to seminal track after seminal track in those days, literally and in the truest sense of the words – this thing called dance music was having life breathed into it and every track was pretty much a new sound. A generation and a genre were exploding out of nothing – out of the dank dark depressing dearth of a music scene (for me anyway) that ws the 80’s – I still hate some of that shit with a passion. The best of it was kind of depressing, Joy Division and The Cure come to mind, and the worst of it was even more fucking depressing – in all of its mimed, soulless and useless glory. Dance changed all that for me and I never looked back. I failed first year in college and was out for a year.
At the time that was the biggest problem in the world for me, but as it turned out I moved in with Paul Newhouse that year and learned how to DJ. I can safely say that that is the single biggest and best thing that ever happend to me apart from meeting my wife. Learning to DJ during that year out has brougt me to places and people I would have never experienced, and that only happened because I failed my exams. It’s something I only really recognised a good few years later, but since then it’s a pattern that seems to repeat when I look for it. Somtimes the opportunities for the best things in life come from the ashes of the what seems to be the worst things – and I know theres some deep message in there so maybe Ill term it simply and as the local saying goes – if its for you it wont pass you.