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This is the good, the bad and the ugly. I'm the boss of that, no, I'm boss. That sounds weird. If I were going around, call myself the boss.
Anyway, look, this podcast is filled with uncensored interviews with experts in particular fields or real life stories from people who have inspiring personal tales to tell. It covers various topics and life stories that I've really dug, you know what I mean? And I think you'll dig them to just say, you know, this podcast is for grownups as it may contain adult themes, sexual references and strong language. Fuck, yeah, I just wanted it, she said.
Ladies and gentlemen, the story you are about to hear. Oh, now wait. I know you're going to dig this. I think the best thing for me to do is to introduce what? What's his name. But why me?
It's not a schwa. Me, it's a Shmulik.
Welcome to The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Episode five. Look at me licking my paws. Right now I'm feeling pretty good about things. I never thought we'd get it this far. You know, I'm that kid on a bike. Mommy, look at me. Are you watching Mommy? You know, like no hands. I am salen. I'm going around giving people advice on podcasts now. I got episode five. We're flying and I'm delighted.
I'm delighted. And Episode five is obviously is called A Coffee in one hand, confidence in the other.
Because this episode, I don't usually do this. This episode is dedicated to my Gqiba Magic man in our family. We have six. Six, yes, six got six kids in our family and Jaquie is the one he's leaving school this year. Jun is leaving stressful times, exciting times, exciting, very, very, very exciting. And Jaquie is has decided he wants to pursue something in the arts. And the knee jerk reaction is I'm not going to make any money doing nothing on my God.
It's very hard to, you know, penetrate that industry in the you know, it's all luck and no doubt that I want Jaquie, not just Jaquie.
Anyone out there who wants to pursue anything that the masses see is dreaming. You know, what's Jaquie to hear? An inspiring story. And I've always believed to a certain level with success in anything, you've got to have the coffee and whatnot. It's hard work no matter what you want to do. It's really hard work. You have done really good work ethic. And on the other hand, you need to have confidence. You need to have self belief, you know, and I just wanted them here to hear the tale of someone like that.
And that's someone that someone is crystal clear. Crystal clear is an amazing right. Just he's stuck my phone. The shaky ringing now, Jake. Yeah, I'm in I'm doing a podcast. I'm going to hang up.
And there was Gigi. OK, listen, Crystal-Clear is a legend. I discovered him during lockdown. Right. Love his music, love, loved, brilliant. And then I discovered that crystal clear is Declan Declan, an Irish guy, a Dublin guy, no less. And I got very excited like Crystal crystal clear as part to be like a celebrated DJ and producer, started way back in 2010 with the single Tried for Your Love, which was picked up by BBC Radio One's Begbie.
And then boom, boom, exploded. Exploded, right. It gained immediate attention from all city records. Who signed the tune, sold out immediately. How you fixed sold it. Nice Happy Days is right. Dick has shown time after time that is technical precision. His production skills and his ability to connect with a crowd flawless. Declan is based in New York, but he's also in Dublin as well. Right. And he is flying around the world globally, everywhere from Miami to New York to the huge super clubs in Germany and Holland.
Everywhere he's playing the biggest clubs in the world, the elite of the elite right now. He wouldn't say it himself. He's he's blown it up. He's had numerous hits. He's remixed with the likes of Groove Armada, Mark Ronson, Ellie Golding, and even worked with Shiek Legend Nile Rodgers. What more do I need to say? This episode is about self belief. I don't care if you're young guy and you know you're a student, want to become a musician or you're a middle aged woman and you want to write a screenplay, it doesn't matter.
This is just about self belief. This is my Chatwood Crystal-Clear.
So, look, I won't even call you doctor because I just think of crystal clear when I think of it. And then when you walked in the door, first thing I thought was, shit, he's big.
You're tall guy, right? What are you six for?
Yes, it's for well, on a good day because people at home might know big, big, handsome, big, handsome man.
I would not say I would send my money over there is that man.
He's nodding furiously, furiously. Sorry to objectify you by the Muslim girl in the garden, but a big, handsome guy, very successful. Jauron, Lockton. A set of 15 CGY dumbbells and your Monday moods kind of sets that you were pointing out, I think just got me through locked in, honestly. They were like I grew up with an Egyptian dad and lots of boogie music. Right, because he was from the 70s and then all these trucks came out that you were playing.
And I was like, this shit is awesome.
That and the fact that I have a son who wants to what's the what's the college? And then he wants to get bin and he wants to he's doing his leaving cert this year. Next year, he wants to go to BIM under this kind of mixture of feelings around because he's a very academic kid. Right. And I listen to a lot of people telling them not to do it for those reasons. I while I'm always a believer in, you know, he's a very assertive young guy.
It's a very difficult area to get into when you're a creative boss.
You know, his self belief is good and that's a good start.
And, you know, slowly as applications go.
So sometimes, you know, shipmen like like if that's what he wants, if that's what his passion is, then I'm like, listen, you just you just do it.
You know, don't don't let money be the motivation for you to pursue something you want to do.
That's what you want to do, knowing how difficult it is to get into things like to get to the level of of status that you've got to as a D.J. must take so much self belief. Right? I can. And this is coming from a TV presenter. Right. But it must be up there with a professional footballer because just so few people that they get to that level.
And I'm just when I when I first came across as really cool and I kind of hadn't heard of you. Right. And then I was like, oh, I like this music he's playing.
And then I started looking into it and then I was like, shit, this guy's different level, but really like a real own song, kind of Irish hero.
Like it's not really like you hear, but like the script and you hear about these other people who get to to get to where you are. I have not heard of this dude before.
Yeah. And then I was just in then I was just like, I'm fascinated. So I don't even know where to begin with you.
I suppose. Just just go way, way back.
Just go back to say school. Yeah, right.
It was this, it was this. The plan was I'm going to be a world class deejay or producer.
No, I think like beginning a school now, like obviously 12 or 13. It was just all about getting a mooch at Wesley or something. But then as I kind of grew up and started taking a fund or interest into the things that you basically do when you're 12, 13 to piss your parents off, which for me was listening to music. Thus I knew they didn't like or, you know, smoking so far behind the bike, just stuff.
Yeah. And I think I always heard like a pretty strong level of like OCD, like not like to the extent of like John Nash, a beautiful mind, but like I would be obsessive about stuff like if I was interested in something, I'd want to know a lot about us. And this is pre Internet kind of when age. So for me, music and learning about it and the subculture of us just became what I lived and breathed. So like, it's weird.
I do say I like to in a place like the interest in things that piss your parents off.
But for the same token, like my dad had a background in pirate radio, my cousin was a huge influence on me. So if I like kind of put all of that into a cocktail between, say, my dad listening to stuff in the car that I was fond of, that eventually later down the line, I discovered was maybe principal foundations of house music and stuff like that. And then what my cousin was putting me on to, which was, you know, Chemical Brothers and D.J. Shadow and stuff like that, it all kind of created this cocktail.
And then you just add on top of this, whatever you were, the five trucks you actually liked at Wesley, because you say, where's the I'm forty five and just you're not in that ballpark. What age are you. I'm thirty two. OK, ok. OK. But like I think Wesley was even going back as far as my mother's age you know. No the thing is is that like yeah. It was a mixture of all those things and I think I, I, I'm a pretty wild imagination and I think I just knew that when I was about fifteen and started really like learning to make music, like with drum machines and samplers.
And the people that I had idolized were producers and DJs and guys and bonds.
And I just was like, oh, this is like this is it for me. Like there really is nothing that makes me feel this way when I'm just walking around listening to music, there's nothing else. And I was like, I wasn't really drinking and stuff.
And I was younger, like were mates were so my teenage kicks, they were definitely in that realm, the creative realm I wasn't really getting it from. Boozing in a park or I didn't, I gave up sport in school because I hated authority, so it didn't really do the ROOPI thing, which was difficult for me because all my mates were ROOPI heads, but now couldn't be more beneficial. Obviously, both at the time. Yeah. So my focus was just on what I loved and I kind of figured early on, like everyone else seems to be doing all this stuff that they're stressing about it, that they don't even know if they're going to like or want to do commerce.
I want to do best. I want to do all these things. And I was like, oh, no, I like this. Like, absolutely no, I like this. There's no mystery around us, so I'm going to do it.
Or people trying to push you into something because you go into a creative zone like music or acting or the arts or anything like that. A lot of people will push you away from that where people are encouraging you or would they do the opposite?
My dad liked that. I was creative and my mom was a worrier. You put those two things together. Yeah, of course.
Yeah. Declan's doing the music and it's great. But will it get a mortgage with the bank laugh when he walks in?
And I think for me and school, forget about it.
Like you want to do what you what you want to make. You want to make music get a grip, you know what I mean. So I just I think a mixture of my ignorance, naivete and rebellion at that point was what like pushed me further and further to kind of say now, now, like, fuck you don't I mean, I don't want to do medicine.
I don't sometimes I if I could bottle that naivete because there's just an overwhelming confidence that comes with being that age. I think seeing the world through PRISM where all possibilities are there, like like it took me say I just want to die. That's all I wanted to do. Yeah. And it took me years to realize my mother had always told me I'm great and I can do anything. It took me years to realize that you lied to me. But she was at the same time filling me with this, you know, Atik, of whatever you going to have to do going off to work out it.
Yeah. Like were you working at music?
I totally I think for me inside I knew thus I just knew that a part of me as I've grown up, knew that it became my foundation.
It wasn't initially that you have to work hard to get what you want.
And I'm a huge believer in the ten thousand hours theory like M.S. And I just think for anyone that doesn't know the ten thousand hours, it's just very simple. You've got to do what they say to be a master of a craft. You need to put 10000 hours into side craft and that can obviously be anything. And so for me, I was just like, right, but I got started. I wasn't a particularly good looking guy when I was growing up.
I was extremely overweight, so I had a lot of time on my hands.
It's very hard to watch, honestly, because people can't see you're an annoyingly handsome looking guy.
But really I find.
Yeah. Oh, yeah. Like, I was really overweight, had pretty bad acne and spoiled all my other mates were kind of aumann cinema mooching girls. I was in my bedroom learning how to use a microscopic Cynth or something like I wasn't a nurse. That has to be said. And I had a great amount of confidence props for somebody physically that should have been like that. He shouldn't really helped us.
But I think I just kind of felt like my older cousin was the epitome of cool. He was really giving me a lot. So the people hung out with were relevant, like they were all wearing Abercrombie Fitch watching The O.C. I was like losers.
Like I was listening to deejay shot over the Deftones hoodie. I was like, fuck these guys. They have no clue. Yeah. So for me, I was always on that principle of like, oh, I'm getting direct from the source, the best shit about the things that I'm interested. Yeah. And then I'm OKd.
So it's that where you were getting your validation then as well. Like because I wasn't getting any validation. And in fact when I was trying to do what I was doing in my teen years, I was getting the opposite because I came from good background. You know, subcultures kind of rely on people that don't have a pot to piss in. And I did have one. So when I was going to Temple Bar and mixing it up with other graffiti writers or skaters or stuff, you kind of get slapped with a posh boy thing and you kind of have to work your way into that network of people.
And I found that I'm not going to be able to necessarily change my background or my accent. So for me, I was like, I may as well know everything about the shit that I'm interested. So if anyone questions me on it, their fault and that's still how I kind of live.
Are you are you kind of biblically nerdy when it comes to music? Is it not? Because you said you're Ossy. So are you.
I'm a spoofer. I still don't know how I'm in the room. Oh, yeah. Honest to God, sometimes I sit there like I'm in rooms with people and I'm like, oh, if they knew.
I remember there was a graffiti crew when I was growing up. Self-taught. I just felt that resonated with me because I often find with something like creative worlds, there's two kind of there's kind of two types of people. There's like PE teachers to those who can tell you lots about the sport but don't really know how to play it. And then the school is that can really do the sport. And then if you can kind of do somewhere in between, that's when you're really good at it.
When I when I started acting originally, I wasn't classically trained and other people were. So they had craft that I didn't I hadn't learned.
But their natural ability, like you can train to be an accountant totally and be a shit accountant, someone else just naturally it's just sees numbers and can just dissect a spell, as you were saying at the beginning, like if you could bottle that naivety, like I was smeared in that naivete, your ignorance or your naivete when you're in a studio or with your paintbrush or whatever it is that you apply it to, can lead to a result that the overthinking person will never reach.
It's like that famous school art school ruin my art. Anyone I've met that went to art school all said it was beaten out of them. They walked in with wide eyes, open minds, and it was all narrowed because, well, that was done before you.
So where did you where did you had to straight after school, like what did you did you go study music? Is that all you did? Like, I got into a course and body firm that was pretty hard to get into. Again, naivety and ignorance is bliss. I had no idea how difficult it was. You might they might be like a thousand applicants and 30 get in. So it was quite a tough thing. I took it extremely for granted.
But when I left school, I was kind of really preoccupied because I decided to cut off. I was playing high stakes poker at a very professional level.
What type of stakes am anywhere between like ten and 50 grand on a Friday?
Holy shit. Holy shit. That's a lot for someone who's just coming out of school. You say that, but then, like, I had like friends of mine who are now it is something that is that's a lot of dough.
Like I said before we started, like you disregard of money, but yeah, it was. Yeah. And if my mother and father knew the legs, but at the time they would have had like there was an article in the paper and they spoke about Mianus. And that's when I got discovered by my parents that this was a thing because it's a very alpha trait.
It's up there with with, you know, driving fast cars. It's an Aphrodite's older man. Look at and go, I wish I was that guy, that James Bond desk.
I was far from like what you said.
Were you still a big guy that only got worse on eighteen years old and I'm about twenty odd stone. Still a Bocchini, still only wearing predominantly like allergy mekka Carl Kani because they only made triple axel. Wow. And forty four waist and you know, it didn't give a fuck.
Look, I really didn't. I mean, I wasn't getting laid and I knew all of that and but at the end of the day, I was like I still thought I knew what was cool and I was like I could buy a brand new pair of Air Force ones every week. I had money coming up. My arse was doing Grauwe. I was in college with doing kind of music. I was cool. And at this time, like my OCD or whatever, I was like reading books and books and books on the human psyche and like tails.
And I was getting really good at mathematics was never my thing. It's not bullshit. I don't care for it. But like looking at somebody and immediately looking at the way their hands, their posture, their pose, the way they moved chips, the little intricate details, that would be what my skill set was.
I just can't picture you at a poker table at that age even. Well, just dressed like Eminem at the end of the table.
Jeremy would just throw other people, the gamers, right?
Yeah, a little bit. Yeah. I think they they used to just laugh at me more than throw it off really. I just was fascinated by the sport of I was good at us and it's cool to make money doing something like that at that age. So I was really popular at the time.
And you were drinking. No, no, no.
But then I moved to New York when I first summer or whatever, and I it's like 20 and I had no responsibilities and I wasn't with my mom or anything. Joe, to me it seems like focus on always. I'll get this booze and things like crack and Sherlock listen like the rest is history like that in my like between American food and booze.
Yeah, it was pretty wild. Yeah.
You ended up in New York. Were you based there or are you just went for a summer. I went for a summer, yeah. I knew I was going to go to Manchester for I got into a really like pretty prestigious course in Manchester and Salford and that like Johnny Marr from the Smiths curated and all this shows and music and stuff.
And my parents were still like battling a lot of what the focus was on doing. And I kept telling them like that I'm like working this thing out, like it's going to it's all going to be it's all going to work out. But my mum being a worrier on my dad's, wanting a son that has a degree, they were like, would you just fucking go and get the backup plan? And to be fair to them, like, I believe in a backup plan.
Yeah. So it's like I'll go my cousin once he had a great time. And so I decided to go to New York for a summer before.
So when did music like a your producer and a deejay. Right. Which you which you are famous for?
I'm not famous, but I would be known, I guess, universally amongst the five people that follow me as a deejay. Yeah.
You're very modest, right. Because I know I know words like Groove Armada and Ellie Goulding and Mark Ronson and yeah.
Pet Shop Boys. So certain certain people think that you're very, very good at what you do to. When did that start to elevate?
When did was there a big bang, which was that that moment was it was definitely like I spent a good few years post school while doing the car thing, still heavily invested music, working with labels and working and record shops and stuff. I say work and I just mean like hanging out at record shops.
And I wanted to reach Benghazi at the time and still is, of course, like a very like principal curator on BBC. And now he's gone on to work with Virgil Blow and all that stuff. But he was the guy. If he could go play by Benji or Giles Peterson, it was kind of one of those to and I just sent him a track I made in Manchester in my bedroom, and he played us for 13 weeks or something.
13 weeks. Yeah.
It was something crazy like that. I don't want to go fuck. No, no, no, no. But he must have the lobsters. No, but he must have loved it.
Yeah. He, he ran I like pretty like a really important, really integral club nights in the London scene called Deviation. And it's it's as he would say, it was a deviation classic. So for me that was the beginning. One hundred percent, like from that point on, everything kind of changed. And I was starting to get to taste to things that I had already aspired to do, like hanging with Piers that were actually playing your music and getting us to play gigs that were on the gig list.
You know, you wanted to play at that point plastic people or Plan B in London or like in Dublin, you'd you'd have always wanted to play A tripods. And that started to happen because there'd be a lot of people.
Right. And and I hear it all the time sometimes when it is a creative person who's successful. Right. They a lot of things that they were very lucky. Right. I know there's a certain element to look, but what were you doing?
Were you doing stuff differently? Other people, were you were you more determined, were you work and did you have a strategy or were you just kind of consistent and relentless?
Definitely relentless. Relentless, though, in general, like look doesn't make music good to look.
It's not like you're going to listen to something go, oh, for God, it's a song. So look here like it's not that it's good music either. Like we don't. I'm not saying I'm making good music, but Benji seemed to like us. And I guess that's the part in that story. I kind of always look at that Quincy Jones quote of like, if your ambitions are always higher, you'll never think you've gotten there. So for me, I was just always like the Benji thing was amazing, but I hadn't gotten there yet.
And even today I'm not there yet. Like, I haven't even I'm not even close to my finish line. So that's why I'm constantly working and doing it.
There's a million people who are better off doing what I do, because what happens to a lot of people is a lot of people struggle. So you say that goal is to be played in certain clubs around the world and and get that recognition.
Once they hit that goal, they don't have another goal. Yeah. So they plateau or maybe ego or arrogance gets the better and complacent and complacent, which is a very oira's trait.
And I think it was something I used to always like here.
Old man, old man in the boozer when watching over sports and they're ahead. No. So they're going to lose. And I used to always think about that like every time.
And it was true. And I think I was always like, that's fuken. And sometimes, like, it used to really piss me off. And I think when I was in my early teens, it might be like 18, 19, whatever, sorry. My mates were all obsessing about it. It was very cool at the time. They're all playing in clubs. I kept to myself because I was like, you know, what, if I aim for it?
And that's all I'm going to focus guess on. I don't want to reach that point where I'm cool around town, but nobody knows what I'm doing outside of it. What use is that?
That's very mature. That's very mature, or it's very ambitious to think like that, because what happens with a lot of people is they think certain things are unreachable. Yeah, you get me what helped you see that far ahead, you know, to have that ambition or was not just something it might seem like I'm not at the risk of sounding like a prick, but like who are the people?
You look up to them where they. Like that is should me like they're not. Planetwide partner freude, Jeremy, they're there, so that's where you want to go. So let's get there. Like, why wouldn't you?
If they can do it, Chirchir, the Yukon, you can accept a loss.
If you've given it a go, there's nothing worse than what if. Oh, yeah, it's the worst.
Because there's a feeling of sometimes especially when you're trying to break into something like that, of being ready. Yeah. Ready for your break. Were you ready when it came?
No, but like, you don't know your break on, like, again, like I still don't think I've had my. Yeah, yeah. Like, you know, say like were you you must have known when like if you get played for 13 weeks consecutively like that, that's, that's a big moment. Yeah.
For sure. I always laugh because my therapist would always say you never really enjoy the fruits of your labor. And I'm like, yeah, but I don't feel like I've got the very own Irish thing to say.
But your therapist, when did you start? Is that a recent thing, therapy or what I tell you about two, three years.
But I mean, I think it's great if people are very Irish attitude to be so stupid. The way people look at therapy. You go to a personal trainer for your body when you go to a personal trainer for your money, absolutely the exact same thing. It's literally you go to a trainer so we can show you to use weights. You go to a therapist to show you how to use your most. Absolutely.
So, I mean, like, yeah, I couldn't encourage, you know, when that when that Manchester thing happened right here in Manchester and you start getting played all over the place, you still are not obsessing about this. I just I mean, or the fact that you were never anything other than what you look in front to be right.
Were you you still because you look like a bloody DJ to if I went to beat and I looked up, I just don't want to look like the car. Of course, he fucking looks like, you know what I'd be thinking.
I don't look like a stock Joe.
Joe Burwood was was that at any stage playing on your mind? Not really.
Like I mean, I, I went to uni in the UK for anyone that doesn't know, it is exactly like you see on TV, on Hollyoaks or whatever, like it's just one quick shots, birds and lots of work on mental drink drugs all. But it's brilliant.
And I think like at that age I was Irish in Manchester, which is like golden tickets, so my weight didn't bother me.
It was, you know, obviously hooking up with girls in uni because of my accent and perhaps the fact that I was doing some things a little bit. Cool. Cool. Yeah, yeah. Whatever.
Like maybe I don't know, like there was a lot cooler people than me, but I found one and then I guess I, yeah, I, I reached a point where it was my last year at uni, my weight was still horrendous, but like I had like a cool haircut, my acne had gone.
So it was like a little bit there, you know what I mean? I still wear an allergy. And then I was living with a girl at the time who I really liked and I knew she didn't like me, you know, when you just know. But, you know, when you haven't said it's hard, isn't it?
Yeah, it was crap. It was terrible. Yeah. But I mean, it was the best thing that ever happened to me, like much more than Benji. And like, listen, if Benji is listening like that was amazing. Don't get me wrong. I appreciate it. I owe you. But like there's no question about it. Like that girl was the spark that changed a lot of things. Why? Because I really liked her first, like, big crush situation.
And I knew she didn't like me. And she left, went back to the states on a mate of mine, disclosed. And you say didn't like you. She obviously liked you, but but you been in your nights.
It was the only best friend I was the exact thing you don't want to be as a guy when you're hanging out with a girl. You're like, I was the the GBIF, you know, it was the guy that she tell me about guys that she fancied. You just can't fuck with the crowd.
Just eat me. You know what I mean? The worst. Yeah. Yeah. And eat her too.
So we'll both be stuck together under the ground board like.
Yeah I think she, she felt off back to the states and my best mate at the time was like, listen, harsh.
I don't mean to hurt your feelings here bro, but she had told me like straight up if she said I believe the phrase was she was heimer's was like if he wasn't so fast, he's quite good looking. If he wasn't so far to probably give him a shot.
I was like, what's hold on my waist is the reason why I'm not getting things that I really want because I'm like massive, hopeless romantic. You know, a woman in my life means ten times more than any money or success. Really. A hundred percent. You can't take that shit.
You're never going to get the answers to the theories that you really want to know. Money's going to come and go if you're lucky, or how to do good. If it isn't, it is what it is. But like find someone you love more than yourself and then you'll survive. You'll get through a lot of us, you know, I think. The real self actualization, the other stuff is nonsense, and it's I think as well, it's the fact that someone someone can get to know you.
I always say to my missus, I'm still fucking like me, but you get me too exhausted to go through all of that, show all your flaws and let someone completely know you and still think you're all right.
But like, for me, it's like, how much better is music when you're listening to it with somebody else? And, you know, me being like, I learned this so the hard way put the last three or four years of my life, I spent virtually on my own deejay. And unlike my mates like mine, that's mental.
You are here and there. And we kind of canvas that when we myself. There's moments that I don't think memories are the same unless you've shared them with somebody else. And that's what I believe, like nothing better than to share it with the person you love and care about. Yeah, but yeah, she said that to my friend and I realized that that was like a big. Restriction on my happiness and I was like fucked us and it was like, watch this, now I'm going to not only lose all the weight on to make her regret the day that she said this about me kind of thing.
And I kind of cracked on that.
Was that really? So she went off to America. You decided or I'm going to make some life changes.
You hired a trainer and went down that route for about six months on tanks to thanks to her like I owe her massively because I needed that.
I can imagine I can kind of picture your personality and your confidence and you had all the wit.
Wait. Right. So where was the unhappiness? You just weren't you didn't feel you were not best version of you.
Is that that just looking in the mirror and just thinking, well, look, propman hate the way I look. And when you lose weight, nobody, nobody prepares you for body dysmorphia, which happens. You lose weight and suddenly now you start to see other things you didn't notice before.
And then you want to get big jacked and then you want to have a six pack or whatever it is that you're into. It's tough.
When did when did your world become when did you start to think to yourself, I know you don't have that prospect of you've reached where you want to get to yet, and that's that's understandable. But when did you kind of stop and pause and go look around the room that you're in and think, oh, I'm I'm I'm doing OK, I'm doing all right here.
This is this me like and wasn't mental at the time, but I remember being at the Emmys and looking over and and Michael Douglas was kind of chatting away to my mom. I remember this is fucking weird. This I could recognize that this is a weird moment for the memory bank. Yeah. Was there a stage where you were looking around and you saw maybe other famous people that you're mixing?
Yeah. All right. Well, there was definitely a three day situation in twenty thirteen that was pretty mental. This is cold in Germany. It's pretty, pretty renowned. It's called Bourgoyne. And for most Jews, it's like the Champions League final to play there. It's a pretty big deal. I made my debut there, but my mate Scream rang me up about the week before.
I was like I got asked to get on boards where to? Kate Moss is fortieth.
And I was like, Oh, man, I can't play a burgundy goes on. It's on a Tuesday and starts on a Sunday and ends on a Monday so I could actually make this happen. So I flew from Berlin straight to London. Six hours later. I'm still in a room with, like, Kate Moss, like and everything and everything that comes with Kate Moss.
You just private party her private fortieth day with my mate and like back at our hotel room for an after party and car just for like seven in the morning, sat with no golliher drinking beers, just talk shows.
That's what I'm talking about. It's actually not there. It is. It was mentioned at that kind. But that's not like that's nothing to do. Like, that's cool. That's fun. That's a great whatever.
You got to think what this is the difference between the illusion and the reality, right? Exactly right. It is. And I know this first hand that that people see you see someone's life and they think, well, that must be amazing. They see the illusion of it when the reality is much different.
It's very different. Yeah. It's a what is the reality of being a D.J. who's playing the club like that in Germany and then arrives over to the UK and wants this fourth year like what is your what is your day to day life like?
Well, it's not going every weekend.
Kate Moss, I should focus on what's on your right.
Like the illusion thing is true because you might say, look, that's a great example, but it's not because they're not there for me. Nobody, not fucking room really knew what I was doing. I was just a guy at a party like anyone else. I was, in fact, one of the geldoff. I wasn't bloody Harry Styles. I was just there with my Irish ignorance roaming around a hotel.
So we were very modest. But if you walk into a club in Germany, they're coming to see crystal clear, open the decks. Right. So they're comensoli for you.
So in that scenario, like, I suppose it's the only thing you can compare it to is, say, a stand up comedian on a world tour. OK, right. You're playing to venues, maybe big venues, 5000, 8000, 10000 people. Right? Yeah.
And you're in a room every night on your own. Right.
Are you partying along with it? Because that's what the perception would be, that you're you're raving it open your party nonstop is not the lifestyle you're living. There was like this being kind of, in my opinion, two stages of my career. One was when things started to go bananas, I thought like hamos time. Twenty, twelve, twenty third things were like the bananas. Boten got pressed hard and it was deja in two or three countries a week.
It's kind of natural when you're that age and all of this is Hoppner to just develop like a bananas ego on your your.
And still, like I was twenty five on, like sleepless nights were easy. That stuff was fine, but that's really detrimental and you don't know what at the time. It's hindsight that teaches you that lesson.
So to make a comparative between where I'm at now with my career. Yeah, it's weird because it's a lot more intense, ten times more travel and the gigs are a lot better, a lot sweeter. The money's definitely better, but it doesn't really cross.
And I just for for a D.J. playing a huge club are, you know. So you just hire you in for certain gigs. You just get booked like a comedian would and a gig. Yeah. So what type of money is it to to to your economy. Depends.
Like it depends, you know, like some places are you could guess. It really depends upon it's how long's a piece of string like you're not going to get a hundred grand to play a club to 200 people. Yeah. Biju I've never been paid a hundred grand to do a gig either. What's the most.
Now, not not going to look, but that's OK. It's a lot of fucking money, though, right? Is it is it more than you imagined when you were younger and.
Well, yeah, no, it's definitely it's definitely more money than I'd imagined. But for the same token, like as a kind of explains. Right. It's like money doesn't enter my realm in the decision making process. If a massive company is trying to underscore me fucked up. I mean, get what you deserve. I say that to anyone. It's just the principle, compassionate business. Everyone should leave the table. Absolutely.
Do you know what strikes me just from chatting to you is that you didn't fall in love with the illusion of being a world class deejay and producer.
You fell in love with be like really succeeding in that industry and making great music. Yeah. While other people sometimes it's the trappings of that world that they fall in love with rather than that stuff doesn't interest me at all. Your dad wrote like this, for me, the tangible stuff is what I care about, to be able to look at a piece of paper and know that I did those records this year and that they were moderately successful or they sounded the way that I wanted them to sound or vote.
Certain peer group were listening to them and talking about them and they opened doors for me. In other words, that's much more to me than the good time stuff. And it's annoying because I do look back at some moments in my life. I'm like, I really didn't party as hard as I should have. That's important, too.
There's no question like it's just about finding that finite balance between like not letting your ambitions get the better of you and then letting them totally run riot with you, because I imagine a lot of people who would be lucky enough to get themselves in that situation that you were in, you'd burn out pretty fast, wouldn't you, like, always burnt out a few times.
So how do you like you seem to me like someone who'd be quite professional. Maybe I'm just meeting you today and you're coming across like that, but.
But what's your relationship with doing gigs and working now? Are you. You pick and choose which ones you're going to have and enjoy and maybe have an extra day at our party?
Or is it is it just to keep yourself going, like pre Korona like it was very much the last three years.
Like we're we're very much make hay while the sun shines. I had a really big truck three years ago and I'm a good DJ and I think having a big truck and being a good DJ, you're kind of you have an opportunity.
And I was like, fuck that. I'm going to make the most of this. I've just been dumped. I needed to, like, put all this energy into something. So it was pretty mental. And but now post covid everyone everyone's had a chance of reflection or not even post. But I'm kind of thinking like, yeah, now it's time to maybe be a bit more selective because the way we like people were telling me at Christmas, they're like, man, I just saw a soulless vessel walking around a Christmas.
I mean, I did 12 countries in 14 days. And that's back and forth from America twice at the beginning of December. That's like we're talking like finishing a rave in Manchester, straight in a car down to Gatwick, flying to Miami, played in Miami once at 11 p.m., then again at 11 a.m. and a posse of other DJs like myself the whole time.
Now, yes, you get to the gigs and there is peers of yours there, but they're all heading off to different places and you're all doing different gigs.
You're not on the circuit, are you know, there's a bit of circuits involved, but they're like they're all on different energy levels to you and it doesn't always align.
And but that's like when you're doing that stuff on reflection, you're just like, this is ridiculous. Like this is obscene. And I'm thirty two granted, not like old, but I'm not your. So that's the old man sport now. And for me I think it's about trying to find a bigger balance and what I want to do creatively is totally different to that world anyway.
Me this how do you how do you fight off self-doubt. I don't. It comes weakly. Self-doubt is and is cancer. It's in you forever. Straight up. I think there's people in this world who defeat self doubt with just an obscene amount of positivity, an amount that I don't think most people will ever obtain. I think cynicism is just in our blood, and I think that's great. It's an awesome quality. And I think that part of me has got me into the room with people or whatever.
It's a little bit like asking like who's to say it's not good what you're doing really. And truthfully, who's to say it's not good? I mean, tons of shit is rising to the top. So maybe something that you're doing might rise, too. I always you know, I surround myself with people that at least not only will they give me an honest stroke of the brush, they'll also keep me in a good place with what I'm trying to achieve.
You know, they peers in the industry or. Yeah, or friends. Like, I think the people you hang out with are a big factor towards where you're going to go in your life. I try to surround myself with people who will encourage me to want to be the best that I can be.
And if I decide to do something that is a little bit off the beaten track, they're not going to like take the piss out of it or make me feel stupid for doing so. I think for the most part, like. Surround yourself with the right people and then the self can at least be kind of neutralized because sometimes that way I have said this a lot, but sometimes if you. If you hang around with stupid people, they can make you stupid, and if you hang around with with clever people or kind people, they they make you better.
And now, obviously, we all have a friend who's just negative. And you accept that. Yeah, I suppose.
Are you your own person in the sense that do you rely on other people for four parts of your happiness or are used to a loss?
Like I felt that like especially like my career took a massive lull in twenty fifteen and I burnt a lot of bridges leading up to that point because I was an arrogant fuck. It just happens. You become a dickhead. And I burned a few bridges but got back with an ex and I just felt like that's all I needed. And I was getting constantly constant affirmation from my missus and stuff. And and so with when she broke up with me and I kind of was thrown into another deep and as such, it made me realize that co-dependency on anything is quite unhealthy.
You need to have your own belief in what you are as an individual, as hard as that might be. And self-love as a term is thrown around so loosely as if it's as easy as being a Mars bar the last three years. I'm still trying to get to that point. Like I know you say, I'm being modest, but I don't believe that I'm a handsome guy and I don't believe I'm in good shape. I work really hard to maybe hopefully reach that point where I will feel that way.
But I don't believe that.
I think that's a lot to do. And obviously a deep psychological view of yourself.
Yeah, it's my boy syndrome. Yeah.
It seems to be like that at a my pressure and my my my head is way, way fuller figures. But that's only that's only a static. Right. That's yes.
That is I suppose like you can't rely on people, I don't think to make you happy. I just think if you go down that route then you're going to be constantly disappointed. I'll tell you that from experience, I put a lot of faith in others to bring happiness to my table. And then naturally they don't. They've got their own shit to deal with and lives to get on with. I realized then, like, you kind of have to do your own, create your own path and rely on yourself.
And at least then the only person you can give a bollocking about it to is yourself.
Because I remember someone it's funny you said something earlier on and just triggered something with me. I remember someone asking me before, you know, if laughter wasn't the best medicine, what would it be?
And I was like, getting homebuilt of man, getting humbled. Yes. Especially when you've reached that level where you think I'm on the ship. Yeah, I'm the shit right now. Got everything I want. I've done it. I deserved it, you know, and then it's taken or you lose your footing slightly, I think. Humbled slightly. I think I'd be I know more of I thought that I would music at one point. So like just just to give you a brief setting the scene like twenty fifteen teams couldn't seemingly be going better.
You know, I'm getting paid great brads, good gigs, good parties, got a good name in that whole circle, whatever. Twenty seven misses and all the twenty, seventeen, no agent, no manager, nobody really wanted to book me. No label really wanted to release my music and I said joosh fuck this. I've got a message that I love. I'm just going to move to New York and be with her, be happy for this nonsense.
And then she told me and then I'll have to move to New York.
So the lease to put a deposit on a place like what I was on that plane was like on what am I doing?
How is this happened? Like that really, really put things into perspective. How did you come back to that?
Well, I spent and actually I spent the first six months in New York just drinking myself city, you know, in the city that my second ex lived. That was a nightmare. But I reached a point where I borrowed a mate of mine and he just turned me mess.
So careful commerce and God bless him like he he he was like, I'm going to get a sandwich, a couple of books, some stuff to read on. It's on like some spiritual stuff and visualization. And absolutely.
If you visualization is fucking brilliant, try to get massive. But if you told me this a year before, I would have told you, like, you know, fuck off, go buy a ham.
Putih. But when I got to the point when I got to that point, I was rock bottom. And I believe like in terms of the humbling thing. Yeah, rock bottom is where you'll make the change. Nowhere else you have to hit it. And when you do, it's when you start to look at things outside of your ego. And I started to look into like visualization, positivity, just glass more half more than half empty, making the best understanding that everything is happening for a reason.
But read like a bad visualization stuff. So simple principle for anyone who's listening, who doesn't know, it's kind of like you ultimately create a visual mood board or goal spreadsheets, perhaps of what you want to achieve and you live your life like that is going to happen. Like there's. Left or right? That's the way it's going. Yeah, and I put five things on a piece of paper, and I guess the number one thing was top the biggest truck of the year and everyone was going to play it on.
I wrote that down in October of twenty seventeen and then twenty seventeen and boy made twenty eighteen. It was the biggest song and that's unbelievable.
Yeah. My, my mom, I'd come out of being unemployed and I'd lost my job doing radio and TV and I had this idea for a TV show with Nancy and.
My mom only showed me after when we came back from the Emmys, she had visualized it all. She had written down that we would win three awards.
This was before I'd even anything had happened. This was just when I was chatting to Sky and people like that. And ever since then, it's an amazing tool.
It sounds so it sounds so airy fairy dust you can put out into the universe what's going to happen. Yeah.
If you were to give someone ingredients for success.
Right. And I know I haven't achieved yet, so I know. Right in my eyes. You're doing great to to what ingredients or what would you tell them?
What are the things that the folks I think the number one thing I would say is thus. Don't take your eyes off what it is that you love, like there'll be a lot of stuff that you'll notice as like, OK, I can only speak from my own experience.
Yeah, I my experience is in the realm of, say, music or in the creative paradigm. If you start to allow what's happening on your left, on your voice, it will stop you from going straight. Focus on the thing that you love, that you really want, that you want to be that you want to do. Don't let what anyone else around you affect us, whether it's good or bad, just don't because. It's blinkers with the horse and all that kind of stuff, you know, that theory like horses will go faster and straighter if whatever, if you allow what's happening left to right to affect you, it will take you off course and to the point that you may never come back.
I've seen it happen. You know, I think that would be like the number one thing.
There's a certain level of self validation as well, right, where you have to know to a certain percentage because a lot of people go to you like this. Yeah, you like this. And if I ask 10 different people, do you like this podcast? I do with Crystal-Clear. Do you like. Yeah, I'll get ten different answers. Sometimes there has to be an essence of me sitting here.
Now, I really like this, but here's a better way of looking at it. Let's not say I use a podcast example. Let's say, do you think surfing is cool? Yeah. You think surfing is brilliant. Would it bother you to tell people that you like surfing if you were good or bad about it? So if you're at a table with ten people, doesn't fucking matter what surfing you can do, you know, surf, it's cool and you do it.
I surf and I know about surfing and I'm into surfing. So the other nine people at this table, it really doesn't matter how good or bad at it I am. I just know it's cool. No one can argue that with me. So it's a bit like this podcast doing a podcast. It's fucking cool whether my one is interest rates are relevant. You do a podcast that's fucking cool. And I think that's the way I like allowed myself to shelter any notions of what I was doing might be bananas, like my music being good or bad kind of fucking irrelevant.
I'm making dance music. So that's that's the kind of way I.
Yeah, but is this does this take as well. And I always get it and I kind of have to pull myself aside and talk to myself in the mirror. But I do this a lot. Right. I thought to myself, oh yeah but but it's the famous Moore quote, which is be very careful getting paid for something you love because it soon becomes a job. And every now and then what I what I do, I'm not sure what you do to sometimes you must be standing.
Some are going, oh no, this is the job. Oh there's a job. Yeah.
So do you still get the love do you still able to inject love into it. Yeah of course. Like listen like music is an emotive thing so like what I would say like Bono.
You mean like it is like when you're making music there's frequencies proven scientifically that if you hit them at the right spot, they'll make you feel a certain way.
Yeah. And that never goes on again. Like when you're making music, it can often be like completing a crossword puzzle.
There's a level of satisfaction in us, but there's also times when I'm deejaying and maybe playing a gig does. And I say this with no disrespect because I'm very fortunate to be doing this when maybe I'm playing in a room of a student town in England and their chief concern is getting out of it. You do feel a disconnect. I'm thirty two.
I'm not getting married. I get it. I mean, I respect us. I'm all for it or encourages. But you feel a disconnect and sometimes that can kind of feel like a slept. I was in Stockholm last night on a plane here in Cardiff and then tomorrow I'm flying straight away at seven a.m. to Faik in Belarus and I'm already getting three hours kip. This is a bit of a pain in the hole.
When when I first started looking you up, I find a really interesting article I think was in the Irish Times and it was you talking about mental health. And straight away I was like, wow, I was really interesting to hear someone who I suppose a lot of people would dismiss your opinions of people who are highly successful in the music industry and their mental health problems. But but I thought was really interested in what is what's your take on all that?
Yeah. Yeah. The Irish Times article was brilliant on AFTA, for what it's worth, Shadowrun Malali, because at that time there was a lot of. And, you know, obviously, people would argue still like anxiety or mental health is still it's still regarded as a bull's word, not a problem, you know, like it's still to some people regarded as fuck sake with the average just take a chill pill kind of thing.
The thing is, I think what people underestimate I'm not a is a generation Z or X or generation Z 31. You're a millennial.
I'm thirty three or my millennial born in eighty seven. OK, so yeah. OK, so I'm a millennial. I guess the thing is I think you know I had this conversation with my mother recently.
I think people, maybe an older generation are kind of blissfully unaware of those. Your insecurities are being broadcasted to you every hour of the day in the world right now. But you're looking at your phone and you're either seeing a guy, a player that's getting an opportunity to play for daubs that you didn't get. You're either seeing a doctor save a life. And yesterday you didn't. You're either seeing a deejay get the gig that you should have got or they all have a better look, a bird or a bird.
And all these things are making you feel a certain way. Right. So let's let's use that as one part of the equation, then multiply that by the actuality of your circumstances, because as somebody said to me recently, anxiety is your mind telling you a conspiracy theory about yourself.
Brilliant, brilliant. Or I good where you're going.
And so there's the conspiracy theories that are happening. That is the actuality of what's happening. And then you realize, oh, man, look, I'm not getting gigs, though, and I'm not making money from this really. And the music stuff isn't really kind of working out. And you are tasked to these two things, right. And depression will swarm in like a fucking tidal wave. Yeah, and I think then right, so now we've got this plus dash multiplied by the taboo of mental health.
The taboo of it, especially in Ireland's low violent protest, points to be from here. Anyone is really the first sentence comes out of my mouth when somebody wants to know something about me.
Both talking about your feelings, John, I mean, a little bit that's fucked up.
But that's how I was growing up. And the toxic masculinity or whatever, whatever. You put all these things together into a stew and your mind is going around in circles going, why am I on this planet?
You know, as we're talking, I'm thinking to myself that it must be really hard to be a certain generation right now, this especially who would look up to you, who just have walls put up in front of them.
Right. Regarding like the club scene, say, in Dublin, for example, like this is their moment.
And yeah, the problem is bigger than, say, our generation's ambitions. It's the fact that the government doesn't respect their aspirations. So as musicians, you mean as anything as anything remotely creative can take a harmful examples.
And I'm one of them. I left Ireland because this country had nothing, absolutely nothing to help me try and get from A to B, absolutely nothing. There was no there was no funding put in place. There was no project centres. There was nothing to say. You're good at a creative field. Let's harness your your craft and your intent and directed the right way goes a bang.
Cleary wins an Oscar for the best course designers like Salman Rosia. You could say myself, to an extent, we all left this country because nothing was here for us to do what we wanted to do. But when we've made the money and the awards and the bits and bobs and it's all, we're focused, showered and praise and how great and like, fuck you, how would you have made it until you leave or not?
But it's not bullshit because the thing is, is that like it's not about making it in Ireland where I'm coming from, because that would be contradictory to everything else we spoke about. It's not about us. This is about eighteen year old kids who are 19 year olds or even guys who are adapting to it a bit late or twenties or whatever, who have an interest in the creative arts. Rice, you're talking about my joke right now. It's all I'm thinking in my head, right.
Because he's this young guy that leaving school.
Well, Jake is in a good position because he's been raised. Yeah. So, OK, so just to get some clarity, those who are listening when I was doing my thing, Ben wasn't really around. And I know from people like who I'm friends with the Fontaine's DC guys and a couple of guys, Ben is a great it seems to be an incredible place for harnessing young talent. Amazing. But that's not what's it that's a couple of years in a place where there is resources, et cetera, et cetera.
When you finish in college, when you finish doing those things, then what you know, you're twenty one, you've done three years. And Ben, your demos where the studio buildings in Ireland, where the project council stuff, whereas the the tangible things to help people get their way. And then on a bigger spectrum, specifically about what I do, where are the nightclubs in Dublin. Gone, absolutely gone. The government has decimated the the opportunity for homegrown culture to stay within the country and blossom outward as opposed to going somewhere else and then taking credit for it.
If what I mean, like with your with your son, I think now is a great time for him to go about doing something in the arts, despite everything I've said, because there's a lot more awareness in especially in society and respect for the arts like. Ten years ago, Banksy wasn't famous and David Guetta wasn't David Guetta. My mom knows who Banksy is. She knows who David Guerra is. And it made her understanding of like it's more like Macer and my gig.
It gave her an understanding, not that she ever disrespected them, but she understood that there was not only an economy financially, but personally to a world of people.
And I think that understanding in society wasn't there a long time ago. So for your son, whether or not the institution are put in place for him to become a deejay or Trodd singer or a guitarist in the band, there's places like Bembe and stuff, and there's a society of understanding that at least coercer in the right direction.
It's really good to hear you say, you know that, because I'll tell you what it is. I had so many people throughout my life, especially when you want to do some creative Tamme, don't do it and laugh me out of it. So where it ended up, I'm sitting in a stage sitting on a wall on my own.
But I was one of those people that just was like, I'm a fucking do it anyway. Yeah, right. And and sometimes it just takes one person to believe in you, but sometimes you don't even have one person in his world.
I just know the mood of everyone around them kind of going to say this is a risky move for you while I'm like, if you love it, if you love that mosh and you're Dr. Rice as you are, you know what you're doing.
The thing is, is that like whatever your son decides to do now, it's important that he knows what's really inside his heart because there will come a point in time, successful or not, where he'll start to make decisions because of rationale and not because of passion. Sure. And I think harnesses so that he goes entirely with his passion, though, so he doesn't live with regrets. I have more friends of mine. And if they didn't follow their passion, they went down the wrong road, which was the road that they didn't want to go to.
And they went down what they told society to tell them to do. And they became alcoholics or they became Abitur drug users because it's like getting over a girl that never existed.
I just think it's the wrong path is to when you're that age is to make a choice purely based on I think I'll make the most money doing this worst decision right.
Where it can't be the right choice to ever do that.
Ever, ever. Look, the the irony of certain questions in this interview, interview, podcast conversations sorry, is thus I could have made decisions that would have made me a household name. But it doesn't mean that the product I'm selling was good or and it certainly wouldn't have been the product I love. But like I've been given offers and opportunities that were bananas. Ridiculous. But they weren't what I was into. They weren't what I was about. And I wouldn't have been able to suffer the lack of integrity that came with them.
I would have lived my life thinking I've become the monkey with the drum kit. I've become the person I didn't want to be on. That's because I decided that those six figures at the bottom of that page was more important because I go to bed knowing that no matter what happens, I'll always be able to look at myself in the mirror and be like, I'm proud of what I'm doing, like I am proud of what I'm doing and proud of what I've achieved.
I am the person who becomes my wife. I'll always be proud to to share that with her and what have you. And I think that's worth more than any money. One hundred percent.
I think that's the best that I'm ever going to get. Listen to mildly successful and very average looking Texan takes a million man.
It was an absolute pleasure. Sorry. Hug the moon. Oh, listen, I love my love to thank so much. I thank you for having me. It's a pleasure. Yeah.
I could speak to Declan for hours. Look, there's a big difference between dreaming and confidence with confidence. Your feet are very firmly planted on the floor. So work ethic, it's a focus. And then there'll always be doubters. They'll always be people telling you what you can't do. That's just life that that really is. And yeah, you're going to fail. I can guarantee you that. The only thing is I personally in my life have always learnt much more from failing than I ever have from succeeding.
Just do do what your heart wants you to do. And then later on in life, things will happen. And, you know, like Declan said, having a backup plan is a great thing. And if you have a creative in your family, it's important to be a positive mentor for those people to give encouragement. But if you are that person, if you are that person who wants to succeed, find like minded people, have a map, know where you want to go.
It makes a big difference, you know. And to a certain extent, fake it till you make it clear that as someone who works in an industry where sometimes you have to do that, you have to arrive like you're supposed to be there. Do you know what I mean by that? I hope whatever you do, whatever you want to do, just just do it. Just go out there and do it and believe in yourself. Sometimes you just need to prove it to yourself.
That's all it is, you know. And once you've proven something to yourself, however smaller, however big it is, that will give you confidence. And that's the seed to start everything growing inside of you. Nice, nice.
Preach, baby, preach free speech. And as always, if you like a podcast.
Yeah, you could subscribe follow. You can leave a little comment, some little nugget. Or you can send me a note on my social media. You can always get me. We have this argument every week a B Ashmawy upby or marshmallowy because it's based on whatever b m a w y you get me on insta, get me on Facebook, get me on Twitter, whatever you like. Yeah. Send me a message. Love to hear from you, you know.
Love to hear from me. And that's pretty much it for this week. Or am I going to say I don't know about that at all. Good luck in the cup. Around lunchtime, a typical Irish kitchen stressed out, Stephen is carved 60 seconds of his wall-to-wall day for a lifeline cup of coffee. He goes to grab milk from the fridge, but there is no milk back to back soon. Cause in black coffee is Stephen's idea of how.
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