Connor Dougan has been producing incredibly emotive music for a while now, under a range of pseudonyms.
Timmy Stewart caught up with Connor for a quick chat about his various projects and what inspires him to be creative.
Please introduce yourself to the Dig With It readers in a few sentences, who are you and what do you do?
I’m Connor, I produce variously as A.i. Messiah, Deathbed Convert and Defcon. I try not to make the same track twice. I’ve no particular focus on genre. I’m not a purist about anything. I’m sick of 90s dance music being rehashed endlessly. I like hearing new shit…
I know you produce music as Defcon & A.i. Messiah. What are the differences between those projects?
Defcon was the first alias I performed under and became a nickname, of sorts. Musically, it grew out of a love of hip-hop and beat-making, but there’s always been a bit of an oddball, sci-fi sheen to the stuff.
A.i. Messiah is a project loosely themed around technology, transhumanism, eschatology. I find having a concept to disappear behind very liberating. It really opens everything up. The first A.i. Messiah album, Sentience & Sapience was inspired by a lot of early new age and ambient music, but the next album is like a big blender mangling together all the stuff that’s influenced me over the years. Dubstep, jungle, grime, IDM are all swirling about in there somewhere.
When you hit writer’s block, where do you turn for inspiration?
I use everything – meditation, prayer, magick, stimulants/intoxicants, ‘oblique strategies’ cards… I’ll stick a film on, turn the sound off and try to score it. Sometimes doing something else is the best thing you can do. I’ve solved many creative blocks by leaving the gaff and going for a run. By the time I get back, my subconscious has it figured out.
Please give me a stand-out moment from performing live over the years.
When I was just starting out a well-known drinks company booked me to perform a Defcon set at a nightclub in Sligo. I rock up with guitars, amps, decks. The lot. The owner struts up, looks like Peter Stringfellow. He’s absolutely mystified, tells me they haven’t had a live act perform there in 30 years. No stage, no sound man. Nothing. I should have called it right there, but I was pretty green at the time, so I set up on this wee landing bit and plug into the PA. A compère with a transatlantic accent appears. He gives it the big wind-up and introduces me as DJ Connor Dougan. No one has a fucking clue who I am or why I’m there. Least of all, me. Two songs in, I look round and there’s a professional breakdance crew busting out routines to my set. They’d booked it in without telling me… was a rough one! Sligo’s lovely though.
Finally, you have five seconds to tell us about something you have created recently.
New Defcon EP ‘Change’ is out now on Rudimentary records. It’s essentially a delicious traybake made of hip-hop, footwork and dub, finished with a sprinkling of premium life advice. Check it out. Cheers!