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.
Hi Kormac, thanks for talking to us. Where can we find you right now? How did you start your day?
Hi! My pleasure – thanks for having me.
Right now I’m in my studio in the centre of Dublin City. I got up at about 7am. It’s my wife’s birthday today so I had cake for breakfast, dropped my young son to his creche and drove into the studio. So far I’ve had a call with a music supervisor, my manager and gone through video stuff with my production assistant and had three coffees 😉 I’ll be making some music after this!
When did the idea of starting a musical project start to take shape? Has it always been something you wanted to do?
Always. I’ve been making music, in one form or another, since I was 12 and never really saw myself doing anything else. I began by making 4-track demos in my parents house – playing drums and guitar and any other instruments I could get my hands on – and progressed to using samplers, computers etc as I got older. I also began DJing in my late teens which informed the music I was making at the time and still influences what I make today.
I had made records with bands and collaborators but My ‘Kormac’ project didn’t begin properly until 2010, when I released my first solo EP.
How much time do you get in the studio with your collaborators? Or is it mostly remote working these days?
It actually depends who I’m working with and what the project is. For the Equivalent Exchange album, I invited the vocalists into my studio to record. I had a very clear idea of what I wanted this album to sound like and having someone in the room made the sound I wanted easier to realise. I prefer it. I can use the equipment I want and over the years I’ve had to become good at getting good performances from people. (For these reasons none of the instruments were recorded remotely either.) Because I’m lucky enough to have a space where people can record, we could take all the time we needed.
That said, I’ve just written a score for a 6-part thriller, The Diplomat. As part of the soundtrack, my amazing singer pal, MayKay (who is also on Equivalent Exchange) and I had to write a song for each episode. There was very little time to do this and MayKay found it easier to write from home when working to really tight deadlines. So, for that project, we did it remotely.
Tell us about your new album. Was it tough coming back to collaborating after working solo for a lot of the preceding years?
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 given the opportunity to work with an 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.
I rented a small house in the Irish countryside and just started writing and orchestrating and seeing what I could come up with. When I had some demos, I approached some vocalists and musicians that I either knew and/or was a huge fan of and started bouncing ideas back and forth from there.
When I had structures that I felt were ready we performed the suite of music live. Then, a while after COVID hit, I set about recording everything: drums, chamber orchestra, brass, vocals – the lot! This left me with a massive, but really satisfying, mix job.
To tell you the truth, it was lovely collaborating with real live musicians again! I’d been working on film scores for the previous two years and, while that involved collaboration with directors and producers, it didn’t require me to record that many ‘featured artists’ so it was lovely to be back doing that.
What other artists are you interested in these days?
So, so many but right now, I’m listening to new records by GoGo Penguin (always), The Comet Is Coming and Vieux Farka Toure & Khruangbin.
I’d encourage you to keep an eye out for an artist about to drop a wealth of new music called Day_S.
Can you tell us anything about your projects for 2023?
I’m really excited to have my collaboration with my amazing artist friend, Maser out now.