Disfreq on Their Mini-album ‘Picture’ for Solomun’s Diynamic Records

Feb 3, 2023

Austin Miller

7 min read

We at Gray Area are fans of anyone keen on producing unique original sounds that push dance music forward. So it’s only natural that we’re fans of Disfreq.

The Irish duo, made up of brothers Joe and Cahir Kely found their footing as powerhouse tech producers honing their craft in the wake of the Covid-19 lockdown. They caught the attention of some of dance music’s leading figures, including the one and only, Solomun. The Diynamic Records founder has become a regular supporter of the Moville, Ireland-based group and recently recruited the up-and-comers for a project on his label.

The project is the latest edition of Diynamic’s renowned Picture series, which allows selected artists to share a snapshot of their sonic identity. We caught up with Disfreq for a conversation about their Picture album below.

Picture comes out via Solomun’s Diynamic label. This isn’t your first time working with Diynamic, they released your track “Essa Mina” last spring, and it’s been a go-to fire starter for many DJs since then. So what does it mean to you to be tapped by Solomun once again, this time for a whole project?

It was actually an honor to be asked to do it on his label. We listen to a lot of the stuff on the record label. So whenever we were asked, we were like, “Woah, that a big deal,” and we just got to work right away.

Was this project already in the works before releasing it on Diynamic, or did it form when the label wanted more material?

We had one track that Solomun really liked, which was “Como,” and then he explained the Picture series and asked if we could make six tracks for the series. At that stage, he asked if we could have it done in four weeks. We made another seven in four weeks, and Solomun picked the best six out of the eight.

Diynamic has a pretty clear-cut sound. Do you aim for a certain sound depending on the label?

We don’t aim for a certain sound as such. Solomun was already playing what we were sending him anyway. Like he was already playing “Como.” When we sent it, he liked it, but it wasn’t like we were aiming for Diynamic. The more you box yourself in, the less creative you are. So in this project, we were like, “Right, we’re just going to make good music. Forget about the sound of anything else and be as original as possible and remember, there’s no rules. If it sounds good, it is good.’”

Let’s get into Picture. What sparked the idea for this mini-album? What is Picture to each of you?

Joe: I think it’s a good way for us to show our musical side [and] what we’re capable of. We don’t want to do the same thing every time. We can expand our sound. I suppose it shows we can evolve as a group.

Cahir: We were doing it without any other artist in mind. We were doing whatever we thought sounded good, and we weren’t thinking about what someone else had done or what someone else had done twenty years ago.

Joe: Yeah, we were looking ahead rather than behind. To use the word “picture,” it’s a picture of what Disfreq is at this moment in time. It’s innovative, big-sounding, catchy vocals, and club-ready.

Each track carries a unique personality while still fitting well into the context of the whole project. Which track stands out to each of you and why?

Cahir: For me, it would be “Innovator.” That’s one of my personal favorites. We sampled Daft Punk’s voice which is ironic because they’re always sampling other people’s voices. We thought it sounded good as well. So we gave the voice a chord for a sound instead of a voice normally. It’s both musical and ready for the dance floor as well.

Joe: I think “Flame,” for me. I like the way that track came together. The vocal, when we got started, was just completely different. It was like people chanting all around the fire and flame, and we just changed it up. And whenever the second drop comes on, I feel like there’s nothing like it. It can’t be compared to any other sound anywhere. I’m not saying it’s the best out there. I’m just saying it’s unique.

“Flame” is just a complete journey. It’s three different drops. The first one is just like the entrance to the club. The second one is real peak time. And third, is like the end of the night. Like we drew up arpeggiated melody, Cahir drew it up, and that carries it off and carries you back down again. So you start off easy, then it climaxes, then it drops you back down again.

Was there a particular track that came together with ease? And was there a track that proved especially tricky to finish out?

Cahir: I think “Como” came together quite easily. It was quick. We had something that sounded good, then we added a big sounding kick [and] then big bass, and it came together quite easily enough. We usually make peak-time techno tracks, so it was almost like we could do this with a wee bit less thinking.

Joe: “Flame” was the only one where we went through the file three times. Normally we stay in one file for one track, and that’s it. “Flame” [has] three different drops, three different ideas, [so] you’re probably gonna’ give up on it at some stage. The difference between having an amazing track and not having one could be two minutes. I might go home, and Cahir will stay another five minutes or visa versa, and we’ll have a great track. Success and failure live next door to each other, ya know.

Disfreq is a product of brotherly collaboration. You guys have been creating music together for years. Does it ever present unique challenges working as siblings? How do you think your relationship benefits your music creation?

I don’t think there’s any downsides at all. I think we fought for like 18 years, so it’s fine. To be honest, it’s a bit like having a gym partner. People have gym partners to motivate them to go to the gym. It’s a bit like us in the studio, “Oh c’mon we need go to the studio now. C’mon let’s go, even if its half an hour, then we can go back down stairs.” It’s very beneficial living under the same roof. We’re constantly thinking about it, thinking about different ideas, different vocals, different sounds. Of course you have the odd argument or fight or something, but if you spend that much time with anyone, you’re bound to fight.

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