City Guide: John Daly presents Cork

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Ahead of the second release of a body of work made from a solid three week music-making project, John Daly takes us on a magical journey through his hometown of Cork, Ireland in this mix. We love city guide mixes that surprise us and this one is no exception, filled with tonnes of music that we had no idea came from Cork, from jazz to experimental. Check out his accompanying in-depth city guide of all the great things to do around there.

John’s latest release, March Session 1, is forthcoming on Feel Music. 

Check out the map above and interview below for John’s favourite spots, while you listen to a 100% Cork mix.

Favourite place to buy records?

Plugd RecordsCork’s finest music emporium. I had the pleasure of working there myself for many years. Its owned buy a guy called Jim Horgan. He’s a hero in my book, you know when a lot of stores were struggling a few years back, and things were looking bleak, this guy never gave up. Always booking gigs and staying on top of all the best new shit in all the genres. Nowadays the place is stronger than ever, with an added cafe and events space. Plugd is one of those places that has evolved so well, while still keeping the exact same vibe as when Jim first rolled into town over 15 years ago hawking a bunch of second hand wax.

Favourite live music venue?

Live at St. Lukes This is run by a friend of mine Joe Kelly. Another hero as far as i’m concerned. The amount and sheer variety of music that this guy has brought to Cork over the years is staggering. And what Joe and a few others did in the 90s birthed a whole generation of heads, including myself.

Live at St. Lukes is in an old church in the St. Lukes neighbourhood up the northside. Its a superb venue. While these kind of things usually involve a fancy refurb, in this case they just put in a sound system. Its still very much a dusty old church. Highly atmospheric.

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Best soundsystem / favourite club?

It’s a difficult question. Since the halcyon days of Sir Henry’s many clubs have opened and closed, but nothing has seemed to take hold for too long. (Yeah i said Sir Henry’s, if you have a problem with that you obviously weren’t there.)

I think the City is crying out for a dedicated underground space, but for some reason, despite the best efforts of all involved, nothing has taken hold. There have been excellent efforts of late, like The Pavilion and Minus, and each of those would have been my answer if they had been open still. Its only around the corner though, I can feel it.

Best party in the city?

Sunday Times. I’ve seen this party grow from a couple of music nerds getting together on a sunday evening in a small bar to the sold out phenomenon it is today. Thing is though, its still the same party, just bigger. Go on the lads.

Best view of the city?

It doesn’t get much better than the top of Patrick’s Hill by night. You can see all the churches, the college, the river and parks. Its unreal like.

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Favourite Cafe’s and Restaurants?

I love Alchemy on Barracks St. Great coffee and we can bring our dog, which is rarer than you’d think in Ireland. Lots of books lying around, super comfortable spot. I could stay there all day.

Filter is also excellent, it was the first place to bring modern coffee to Cork, and we love them for it. There’s lots of awesome new restaurants after opening lately too, like Mizayaki which is getting mad love, and Iyers on Pope’s Quay. Neither of which I’ve managed to get to yet!

Old School cork favourites like the Ivory Tower and Cafe Paradiso are still going strong too last time I checked.

Is there somewhere you like going to escape the hustle and bustle and take some time away for yourself?

In the city you could cut down to Fitzgerald’s Park, nice and cool right by the river. But the great thing about any Irish city, is that if you drive 20 mins in any direction you’ll be in the countryside. Like Myrtleville, where I’m from. The closest beach to the city and a hotbed of music. A walk on that beach brings me back to earth every time.

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Best place to experience something unique to Cork?

The English Market, or maybe the Echo Boys outside the GPO. Thats some very old school Cork.

First thing you miss after leaving Cork?

My Youth.

Best place to see another medium of art other than music?

The Crawford Art Gallery in the city centre is beautiful. For a more dedicated modern space you could check out the Glucksman, in UCC, or the Triskel Arts Centre, where you will also find Plugd Records.

Are there any markets in your city worth checking out?

Is there what. The English Market is phenomenal. Its an old indoor food market and the jewel of the city. The variety and quality of produce would blow your mind. It still blows mine every time I walk through the place. Great seafood, stunning meat and veg. Also you can get a coffee there, or lunch in the Farmgate restaurant upstairs. Nothing quite like watching a pig being butchered while you eat your lunch. But that’s Cork like, unfiltered.

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Where will you find the friendliest, most interesting locals to have a chat with?

Definitely the English Market. Cork people love to talk, especially about how great Cork is. So just strike up a conversation with any of those cats and you wont be disappointed. Just don’t go chatting to randomers on the street, especially if they are in Air Max 90s. You might get hopped.

What’s the best and worst thing about living in Cork?

The best thing about being from Cork is it instills in you an absolute intolerance of mediocrity. Its all out or get out kid.

The worst thing is the airport. Its really hard to fly anywhere without going through London. Which is a joke because there is an empty terminal just sitting there, that Ryanair want to develop into a hub. And for some bizarre reason the DAA run Cork airport, and wont allow them, probably over some ego bullshit. So everyone has to go to Dublin airport, or fly through London.

What are some of your favourite up-and-coming DJs/producers/musicians bubbling up in Cork right now?

Doing this article and mix has made me so aware of all the great shit coming out of my home town right now. I don’t live in Cork anymore, so I called a few friends on the scene for some recommendations and so much of the stuff they sent me is unreal. That Shookrah track on the mix is blowing my mind, as is the whole Fixity album. There’s cool rock stuff happening too. It’s just really healthy from what I can see.

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Could you tell us about the mix you’ve made for us? Where and how did you record it, what was the idea behind it and are there? 

I did it here in my Galway studio, It was done on the computer. I wanted to take in as broad a selection of Cork sounds as I could, while staying true to my own taste as well. I’m really pleased with how it turned out actually, it will definitely be in the car rotation.

And finally, what’s on the horizon for you in terms of live dates or releases we should look out for?

Next up is a triple EP drop on my Feel Music label. Its called March Session, and its 3 Eps of super raw techno. Probably the most pleased I’ve been with a release in some time.

Doing a bunch of Irish Dates in April, and my summer starts with Panorama Bar in May. So lots to look forward to.


Rianoir – Watching the Waves
The Smoke Clears – Silent Light
Shookrah – Gerascophobioa
Colm K – Basics (Edit)
Fixity – The Monk in the Moon
Wife – Bodies
John Daly – Solaris
Fish Go Deep – ESL
Glenn Keohane – Higher
Rory Gallagher – I Could’ve Had Religion (Live)



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