ROC chats to Andy Leathem of Wasabi

Wasabi is a new monthly night in Dublin’s Underground Venue on Dame Street. Andy plays lots of soul and filthy funk and if you’ve been lucky enough to get one of the Wasabi CDs from Rebirth of Cool you’ll certainly wanna shake your arse off at the next night. The next Wasabi takes place tomorrow so have a read and see what we can expect…



Andy Leathem

What’s currently on your turntable?

My turntable is pretty busy at the moment prepping for December’s Wasabi, but a current fave of mine is Meri Aakhon Mein by Sapan Jagmohan and has been for quite a while.

What are some of your favourite spots in Dublin for tunes?

Favourite spots in Dublin for tunes would have to be The Thomas House, The Garage, Drop Dead Twice Tapp Room and of course The Underground Venue at Peadar Kearneys. I always like to hear stuff I’ve never heard before and these places tick that box.

Tell us a bit about Wasabi and what can we expect on Dec 1st?

Wasabi is basically an all vinyl Soul and Funk night with a bit of Latin, 60s Beats, Hammond Groove, Exotica and Porno Beats thrown in for good measure. As Northern Soul is well catered for on the Dublin Soul scene I don’t play much at Wasabi, just enough for my own wee fix! As well as what it sounds like, the night has to look a certain way so I put up wall hangings and play Cult and Blaxploitation movies to create that unique Wasabi vibe. Movies range from Rollerball, Easy Rider and Barbarella, to Superfly, Cleopatra Jones, Blacula and Dolemite. Like all Wasabi nights, on December 1st you can expect to dance a lot. All the tunes are honest, upfront, in your face, irresistible Soul Funk gems. If you don’t feel like moving to them, I seriously suggest you check your

What records will you defo be packing?

In addition to the above mentioned Meri Aakhon Mein I’ll be packing far too many records as usual.
Defo in the bag will be The Devil Made Me Do It by Gene Anderson, Black Skinned Blue Eyed Boys by The Equals, Somebody Stole My Thunder by Georgie Fame, Le Responsible by Jacques Dutronc, Funky Mule by Ike Turner, The Yamasuki Album (Japanese opera by a Belgian dude I think), Gimme Shelter by Merry Clayton, Buzz Saw by The Steps, Shake by Shadows Of Knight, Macumba by Titanic, Oh That’s Nice by Pete Rodriguez, The Word by Ray Barretto, John Coltrane and Lady Day by Gil Scott-Heron, Big Chief by Professor Longhair, Apache by Michael Viner’s Incredible Bongo Band, Harvest For The World by The Isley Brothers, Silly Savage by The Golden Toadstools, It’s Just Begun by The Jimmy Castor Bunch, What’s Wrong by Lynn Varnado, You Gotta Move A Little Closer by The
Soul Brothers Six and Streets of Calcutta by Anandar Shankar. Whether I’ll get around to playing all of them is a different matter as things tend to get a bit hectic with me and Mr Smirnoff behind the decks.

How long have you been DJing?

I’ve been forcing my musical taste on unsuspecting civilians for more years than I care to recall. My first gig was at my Scooter Club’s (We Can’t Decide On a Name SC) do in about 1992. It wasn’t until the late 90s that I began DJing for real at a proper Belfast Club, the famous/infamous Vico’s where I held an every weekend residency for 4 years. After here I set up my own weekly all vinyl Soul and Funk night, Knee Deep. Many many cracking nights in the club and many fun filled nights running around Belfast bill posting for the night avoiding the Police and the Council. Knee Deep was basically what Wasabi is. During a hiatus the name was contaminated when a commercial student night used
it for a chart and commercial dance night and so KD was reborn as Wasabi. I currently am a resident DJ in the Back Bar of Laverys Belfast and commute the 170 miles from Tinahely 3 weekends a month on my motorbike.

Here’s a lovely Spotify playlist from Andy to get you ready for the weekend:


Saturday December 1st
Underground Venue, Dame Street, Dublin 2 (under Peadar Kearney’s)
€5 admission

ROC chats to D8 Soul Club

Barney from D8 Soul Club took some time to tell us about the club that so very quickly became on of Ireland’s most loved soul events. Taking place monthly in the quirky Dublin Conservative Club with it’s many guest DJs and loyal attendees, it’s definitely worth the visit. Read on to find out more…

When did you start D8 Soul Club?

Four friends were at a party one night and drunkenly thought it would be a good idea to start a local soul club. Little did we realise where we would end up. We had our first night on June 1st 2016 upstairs at MVP and despite the usual fear of no one turning up 75 people came along. Many of those hardy souls who braved our first night are now an integral part of the D8 family and come to every night.

Dublin Conservative Club

Following a chance encounter with an obscure post on an out-of-date web page we discovered Dublin Conservative Club and that has become our new home. Situated on Camden Row, Dublin Conservative Club is a wonderfully atmospheric old basement nightclub that wouldn’t look out of place in Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets.


We have a great mix of people who come along, ranging from faces who have been on the Dublin soul scene for years to people new to the music. Everyone is really friendly and there is a lovely sense of community. It is the people that come along that make the nights so special and we feel really lucky to have made so many new friends in the last two years. We have a very active Facebook group where people regularly post tunes, podcasts and upcoming events. You can also find us on Twitter @D8SoulClub.


Soul is such a beautifully big word that we aim to be as broad as possible music-wise. As along as it is original vinyl, we encourage anyone who plays for us to play what they feel like playing. We have been really lucky to have some of the finest DJs around play for us and records recently heard at D8 would include:

The Hamilton Movement, She’s Gone (Look Out Records, 1976)

The Harlem Gospel Travelers, He’s On Time (Colemine, 2018)

Winfield Parker, I Wanna Be With You (P & L Records, 1979)

Rance Allen Group, I Know a Man Who (Gospel Truth, 1973)

David Ruffin, Rode By The Place (Where We Used To Stay) (Motown, 1977)

Martha Bass, Since I’ve Been Born Again (Checker, 1968)

Curtis Harding, Keep on Shining (Burger Records, 2014)

Future Events

We have some exciting events coming up in the next few months.

On April 27th Lisa Wolverson and Carrie Ann Moran are playing.


The Facebook event link is here

On May 25th Dave Barry of Shuffle fame is coming up from Galway for the night.

Shuffle image

On June 29th we are really excited to be hosting the Dublin leg of DJ Greg Belson’s European tour. Known for his Divine Disco compilation and 45 Live shows, amongst many other things, Greg is one of the world’s leading crate-diggers and we are really looking forward to him playing at D8.



ROC gets inside the mind of Mark Winkelmann

Mark is a connoisseur of psychedelia, the host of Dublin’s very own psychedelic club night, MindFuzz, and an incredible DJ with slick dress sense. It was only right to get him on board for one of our blog posts ahead of the MindFuzz Third Anniversary Party on November 18th at the Thomas House…

How did you get into sixties psychedelic music?

Three particular tipping points were, as a kid, when I got a budget Rolling Stones tape that didn’t have the hits but had all the good tracks from Their Satanic Majesties Request.  Then a punk kid at school had a tape of sixties punk and garage. Thirdly there was a Dublin fanzine called Green Dream that was all about Pebbles/Nuggets bands. Years later I ran into Monty who used to put it together, and now he’s due to DJ at our Third Anniversary!

DS 15 1

Tell us a bit about MindFuzz

I was working in London for a while and I started going to New Untouchables dos in 2005. I really liked the mix of different sixties styles. Back in Dublin there was a lot of Soul dos, so when I was in London I’d end up in the psych & beat room as I wasn’t hearing those sounds in Dublin. The nearest psychedelic do was Dr Crippens Waiting Room in Belfast. I never miss it but it is only on once a year. It is great being able to go to a psychedelic party right here. I wasn’t sure how it’d go but various Dubliners emerged who said it was just the thing they were after. It’s a varied and friendly crowd every time.  And so I am delighted to put on our Third Anniversary party on 18th November in the Thomas House.

I described it from the start as a ‘sixties vinyl dance party’ as those are all important elements. We play a range of sounds from sixties mod, freakbeat and garage into some more out there psychedelic and funky seventies  hippie gear but it is all aimed squarely at the dancefloor.  I was into Acid Jazz so the idea of retro music that works for the dancefloor is second nature to me. I love the dedicated focus of a club like Pow City, where the DJs only play original vinyl, it keeps it fresh and it means DJs have their individual style. I’ve DJ’d at some nights where everyone is playing the same reissues and comps, which is fine if it’s a broad mix of styles, but for something specialist this means everyone plays the same well known tracks – I avoid that.

But, it isn’t about just playing obscure stuff. When I’m out dancing I always like to hear something fresh but you need to have a balance. There are well known tracks on the scene that always get a good response, then I’ll always have one or two things that are under the radar, and also a few 1966-69 era tracks from the Beatles, Floyd, Stones or Dutronc. When an obscure 45 release by a well know band turns up, that’s good: people may know it but aren’t used to hearing it out. I’ve been working on an Anniversary Mix CD to give away on the night which will have a good range of tunes. Including one I just got in a Berlin flea market about a drummer from Munich. I had to include it as HP, who is DJing on November 18th, is a drummer from Munich.

PG shirt

What DJ’s have you had at MindFuzz?

When we started I was mainly thinking about Irish DJs in particular Sarge, Paddy and Steve from Dr Crippens in Belfast, Phil Hope from Cork and various Dublin DJs. But some heads came over from the UK for the first one and then Pete Feely from the Perfumed Garden came and DJ’d. Since then we’ve had some great DJs from Scotland and Germany in particular. In November we have Katja and HP from Berlin who’ve run a night called Liquid Visions. Sadly they can’t bring their amazing vintage slide and light show but they’ll lay down a great funky early seventies groove that will be hard not to dance to!

For 2018 there’ll be four MindFuzz parties (February, May, September and November). There’ll definitely be local DJs like Paddy Dreadful and Pete Toomey and some amazing DJs from Glasgow like Jamo Kidd who mixes some classic mod psych bangers with some groovy indie type Belle & Sebastian type gear- guaranteed floor fillers.


What three records will you defo be packing?

Paul Nicholas – Run Shaker Life

Rupert’s People – Dreams On My Mind

David Bowie – Can’t Help Thinking About Me

Describe your style.

It’s a mid to late sixties look, but put together with care. If you’ve something psychedelic you want to show it off with plain items not detract with clashing patterns. Lee Hazelwood or The Byrds had a great look, a bit post-Beatnik, smart but relaxed. Also the Small Faces when they went beyond the mod look into something more pop art and colourful.

Dressing well for me is about what suits the situation.  For day to day, a button down shirt and Crombie is a great look that is perfect for work. For going out of course I take it up a notch and psychedelic patterned shirts and Chelsea boots would be my standard.

As a young kid there was a bit of a mod thing going on in school but it was playground stuff, not clubbing. After a while everyone moved on to something new. For me it was the Velvet Underground, Byrds and early Primal Scream, all polo necks, paisley shirts and black leather or brown suede jackets. I was never a Goth, it was always the sixties thing: Chelsea boots, not Docs. And no leather keks either, nothing says idiot like pretending to be Jim Morrison.

What’s your go to piece in your wardrobe?

Finding sixties or early seventies vintage gear for guys is always harder than for girls. Shirts and trousers especially were worn till they fell apart… I’ve a few really nice checked car coats that I really like and they’re really versatile. But shirts with unusual patterns are my main weakness.

My all time favourite shirt was a gold and green star pattern Liberty print beagle collared shirt of my dad’s which I wore till it fell apart. My current favourite is a Perfumed Garden beagle collar shirt, produced in limited runs of four. Sadly they only operated for a year or two. It is pretty loud so I can’t wear it all the time so plain coloured vintage shirts with a combination of interesting ties and jackets works well.


What other nights do you enjoy going to in Dublin?

I’d be regular at Pow City, For Dancers Only and going back further at Sleepless Nights. While I prefer dance-focussed nights I really enjoy Retro Revival to see good bands and I always like the Garage, though… it always seems to involve a hangover! Sunday Social and Rip It Up are great mix of sounds and people too.

What are your favourite mod/psych festivals in Europe? What ones have you been to so far this year?

The Perfumed Garden of Musical Delights in Derby was a particular inspiration, it’s a great club in a small city. Also the Double Sight Weekender in Glasgow in October is always an amazing party. Those two really made me think we could do something similar in Dublin.

Le Beat Bespoke in London at Easter is always great as there’s so many people from the mod and sixties scene there from all over the world. Liverpool Psych fest is great but very much about the live bands. Berlin Beat Explosion is a good mix of bands and DJs and goes all night, cheap booze too. There are others I’d like to go to but cash and time off only go so far. Some of them are in really nice places and often very cheap once you’re there. Lavarone in Northern Italy is amazing but it’s up the mountains so a bit of a trek to get there. It is an out of season ski village so when a few hundred mods and sixties heads descend on it it’s like The Prisoner. And being Italy the food and drink is amazing. I really hope to get back there next year.

Mindfuzz Nov 17

Click here for more info on the MindFuzz Third Anniversary Party on November 18th at the Thomas House, Dublin 8.


ROC chats to Fuxy

Fuxy runs Dance Craze Ska Club at the Garage Bar, his dress sense is slick and his record collection even slicker. A long time friend of Rebirth of Cool, we’ve asked him to tell us a little bit more about himself and his DJing…


My name’s Gabor Fuksz AKA Fuxy. A skinhead in between a punk and a mod, but neither of them really.


Describe your style and what’s your go to piece in your wardrobe?

I love dressing smart. Mikkel Rude, or Brutus shirt, sta prest trousers, brogues, braces and a Crombie coat or suit jacket, but a Baracuta harrington is a must in my wardrobe too.

Tell us a bit about Dance Craze at the Garage Bar

After a few other ska nights in Dublin I started DJing in the Garage Bar in 2013. It’s a weekly event every Sunday night. I love the vibe of the pub, small and cosy. We have our regulars that are there as much as they can to give their support, and many walk in people that have nothing to do with ska or reggae, but they still decide to stay. We have skinheads/ska lovers coming over from abroad to visit Dublin that already heard about our little ska club and they come to check it out themselves. 🙂

Kike joined me a couple of years ago, and became my DJ partner in crime for the mad Sunday night sessions, plus we have other DJ friends from all over Ireland and the word to fill our guest DJ spots.


What three records will you defo be packing?

The hardest of all the questions. How to pick three tunes out of so many?

Lloyd Robinson- Cuss Cuss
Tommy McCook- Last Flight To Reggae City
R. Dean Taylor- There’s a Ghost In My House

What is the Skinhead scene like in Dublin?

The skinhead scene is welcoming, friendly, politic free as much as it’s possible. Skinheads in Ireland are apparently more into ska and soul than punk or Oi!
If we’re only talking about so called active skinheads the scene is small, just like a family. We look out for each other, drink and skank together. It’s a healthy scene with it’s own minor defects. 😉


What are your favourite nights to go to when you have a night off from spinning?

I love some soul and reggae nights in Dublin. I’m trying to go and visit Reggae Got Soul nights as much as possible and planning to go to the next Pow City in October for the first time. 🙂 I can recommend all the other nights in the Garage Bar or the Sunday nights in the Foggy Dew with the Bionic Rats.


Getting Fuzzed Up with Andy Marke

You’ve probably seen the cool artwork being shared on Facebook and the many stickers around Dublin’s fair city and wondered what is Fuzzed Up?! Andy has an amazing, eclectic taste in music and has decided to share it with us all (with a little help from his friends). His new venture Good Vibrations is a collaboration of some of the best DJs in Dublin and is heaven for all us 60s nuts…

Andy Marke
So you’re the guy behind Fuzzed Up in Swords, can you tell us a bit about it?
I always felt that Swords was lacking alternative night life. As someone who lives for music it seemed to me there was nowhere in the town to go and find out about new bands and new styles of music. With the help of a few good friends I put a set of decks in a local bar one night and just got all my friends to come down and play the music we wanted to hear that no other bar in Swords would play. It was a pretty good night so we did it again and again and more people got involved and it’s grown into something that people recognize as a good night out now! (please god!) We have had some established Dublin DJs in to play and some people who have never had a chance to DJ before which is a good mix. Quite a few people have told me that they have discovered a lot of great music from it and that they often spend time putting together little playlists that they think would work well on a night which is something I’m quite proud of!
What’s Good Vibrations all about and how did the first night go?
Good Vibrations is really just a celebration of the 60’s!! I get a little obsessive about things and 60’s culture is definitely one of them!! There is a lot of Mod and Soul nights happening in Dublin right now, it’s an amazing time for those scenes. I guess I wanted to do an anything goes 60’s night. I went to some seasoned DJs / Promoters for a few tips. John Dunne (What? Is Northern Soul), Stephen Donnelly & Liam Pepper (All Or Nothing show on Near FM) and Paul Davis (Bubbles Mod nights). Between us all we put on the Good Vibrations night, in The Lord Mayors pub in Swords, and it turned out to be a great night. I’m always nervous about things I do that people won’t turn up or won’t enjoy it but it felt like this was a really great night and all the feedback has been really positive!!
I love being part of the Facebook group where there’s a featured artist and we can all share songs from them. Is that the kind of music we can expect from the next one?
I’d love to take the credit for the Facebook page but that was John’s work!! He’s picking a different artist every day and people are posting their favourite tracks. The page is three weeks old and there is already over 350 members all posting!! It helps us through our days in work! I think it is a fair reflection of how the night will sound. John has a soul background but he has been quite varied with artists he’s picked daily. Everything from the Kinks and Stones to The Supremes and Dave Clarke 5. We even had Phil Spector day which was cool!!
What DJs have you got lined up?
DJs on the night are the myself, John, Paul, Liam, Stephen and Jennifer Healy who I have never had the good fortune to see before so I’m really looking forward to that. We are also really hoping to get Rebirth Of Cool’s Michelle Farley to spin a few tunes sometime in the near future
(Brownie points for mentioning me! – Michelle)
What three tunes will you defo be spinning?
I have been so busy since the last one and not had a chance to think about it but I think it’s safe to say I’ll probably play The Kinks – She’s Got Everything, Spencer Davis Group – Gimme Some Lovin’ and maybe the Castaways – Liar Liar (because I forgot to play it last time!)
What other nights do you enjoy going to in Dublin when you have a night off?
I just love going to see live music as much as I can and I feel blessed to live in Dublin at this point in time where there are gigs happening 7 nights a week and new venues opening up quite regularly too. I’m a big fan of the Retro Revival nights and I’ve seen some amazing bands play at this club over the years and I’ve been lucky enough to get to spin a few tunes on their decks too which is always a great buzz!! Psychotic Reaction is another great night to catch a live band and The New Love and Terror Cult is starting to grow into something to take note of. Jump into any venue in Dublin where a local band is on and good times are usually a guarantee!!
Check out Good Vibrations this Friday night!
Thanks Andy!


Here Come The Girls: Arlene Murray

So many cool gals on the scene that it’s time to start featuring them! Arlene is one half of Cork’s Alliance Promotions putting on some of the best gigs in Cork and she DJs at various nights and venues around Ireland. I’ve asked Arlene some questions so we can get to know her a bit better…
Name:​​ ​​
Arlene​ ​Murray
Describe​ ​your​ ​style?
Largely​ ​60’s​ ​influenced.​ ​I’m​ ​not​ ​one​ ​for​ ​heels,​ ​I​ ​usually​ ​stick​ ​to​ ​flats​ ​or​ ​chelsea​ ​boots​ ​and​ ​I’m quite​ ​proud​ ​of​ ​my​ ​shirt​ ​collection​ ​-​ ​patterned​ ​with​ ​big​ ​collars.​ ​I​ ​adore​ ​the​ ​mod​ ​look​ ​but​ ​I​ ​would​ ​find it​ ​challenging​ ​to​ ​dress​ ​like​ ​that​ ​every​ ​day.
Go​ ​to​ ​piece​ ​in​ ​your​ ​wardrobe?
Black​ ​sleeveless​ ​dress​ ​with​ ​large​ ​white​ ​collar​ ​-​ ​works​ ​for​ ​summer​ ​and​ ​winter!
What’s​ ​currently​ ​on​ ​your​ ​turntable?
I​ ​just​ ​bulk​ ​ordered​ ​jazz​ ​records​ ​so​ ​I​ ​can’t​ ​wait​ ​to​ ​receive​ ​those​ ​-​ ​Lee​ ​Morgan,​ ​Horace​ ​Silver​ ​and Duke​ ​Ellington.​ ​I​ ​also​ ​ordered​ ​Harvey​ ​Scales’​ ​“Love​ ​itis”,​ ​which​ ​is​ ​a​ ​belter​ ​so​ ​I’m​ ​very​ ​excited​ ​for those​ ​to​ ​arrive.
If​ ​you​ ​had​ ​to​ ​go​ ​on​ ​the​ ​run​ ​and​ ​could​ ​only​ ​take​ ​3​ ​records​ ​with​ ​you,​ ​which​ ​ones​ ​would​ ​you grab?
“Forever​ ​Changes”​ ​from​ ​Love,​ ​“Whats​ ​Going​ ​On”​ ​from​ ​Marvin​ ​Gaye​ ​and​ ​“Margin​ ​Walker”​ ​from Fugazi​ ​(dramatic​ ​change,​ ​I​ ​know!)
What​ ​are​ ​your​ ​favourite​ ​spots​ ​in​ ​Ireland​ ​for​ ​listening​ ​to​ ​good​ ​tunes?​ ​And​ ​where​ ​would​ ​you go​ ​if​ ​you​ ​were​ ​in​ ​need​ ​of​ ​a​ ​serious​ ​dance?
For​ ​the​ ​past​ ​6​ ​years​ ​I’ve​ ​been​ ​going​ ​to​ ​Under​ ​a​ ​Plastic​ ​Cloud,​ ​a​ ​60’s​ ​night​ ​in​ ​Cork​ ​city​ ​with​ ​all original​ ​vinyl.​ ​It​ ​was​ ​unlike​ ​anything​ ​else​ ​Cork​ ​had,​ ​until​ ​unfortunately​ ​the​ ​venue​ ​closed​ ​down recently​ ​so​ ​I​ ​hope​ ​it​ ​finds​ ​a​ ​new​ ​home,​ ​Cork​ ​really​ ​needs​ ​to​ ​have​ ​that​ ​kind​ ​of​ ​dynamic.​ ​It​ ​was​ ​the type​ ​of​ ​night​ ​where​ ​I​ ​felt​ ​really​ ​comfortable​ ​and​ ​I’m​ ​sure​ ​many​ ​of​ ​the​ ​regulars​ ​did​ ​too.​ ​I​ ​used​ ​to live​ ​in​ ​Dublin​ ​and​ ​the​ ​Garage​ ​Bar​ ​in​ ​Temple​ ​Bar​ ​was​ ​my​ ​haunt​ ​for​ ​a​ ​time,​ ​always​ ​guaranteed good​ ​tunes​ ​and​ ​good​ ​people​ ​in​ ​there​ ​also.
How​ ​long​ ​have​ ​you​ ​been​ ​DJing​ ​for?
Hard​ ​to​ ​say​ ​but​ ​at​ ​a​ ​guess​ ​I​ ​reckon​ ​it’s​ ​been​ ​about​ ​6/7​ ​years.​ ​I​ ​wouldn’t​ ​have​ ​done​ ​it​ ​very​ ​often​ ​at the​ ​start​ ​though,​ ​just​ ​here​ ​and​ ​there​ ​for​ ​occasions.​ ​Nowadays​ ​it’s​ ​become​ ​more​ ​frequent,​ ​I​ ​tend to​ ​stick​ ​to​ ​a​ ​particular​ ​set​ ​which​ ​can​ ​be​ ​hard​ ​to​ ​digest​ ​for​ ​many​ ​punters​ ​around​ ​Cork​ ​but thankfully​ ​I’m​ ​kept​ ​going​ ​with​ ​that​ ​and​ ​with​ ​Alliance​ ​Promotions​ ​gigs​ ​as​ ​well.
How​ ​were​ ​your​ ​DJ​ ​slots​ ​at​ ​this​ ​year’​s ​Electric​ ​Picnic?
It​ ​was​ ​unreal.​ ​Despite​ ​the​ ​weather​ ​people​ ​were​ ​out​ ​dancing​ ​and​ ​enjoying​ ​themselves​ ​and​ ​it​ ​was great​ ​to​ ​be​ ​there​ ​and​ ​have​ ​that​ ​experience.​ ​It’s​ ​also​ ​great​ ​when​ ​you​ ​know​ ​you​ ​can​ ​just​ ​about play​ ​anything​ ​and​ ​have​ ​a​ ​dance​ ​yourself​ ​to​ ​what’s​ ​playing.

Where​ ​can​ ​we​ ​see​ ​you​ ​spinning​ ​records​ ​next?
You​ ​can​ ​see​ ​me​ ​spin​ ​a​ ​few​ ​records​ ​on​ ​Oct.​ ​6th​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Roundy​ ​bar​ ​in​ ​Cork​ ​city​ ​for​ ​Any​ ​Joy’s​ ​LP launch​ ​and​ ​you​ ​can​ ​see​ ​myself​ ​and​ ​Phil​ ​Hope​ ​(Under​ ​a​ ​Plastic​ ​Cloud)​ ​DJ​ ​in​ ​Bar​ ​Pigalle​ ​on Barrack​ ​St​ ​on​ ​Sat.​ ​Oct​ ​28th​ ​for​ ​Cork​ ​Jazz​ ​Weekend.


ROC chats to Darren McDonnell

In the first of our series of interviews, we asked Darren McDonnell to answer a few questions about style and music. You may know Darren as founder and resident DJ of Pow City Soul Club in Dublin but read on to get to know him a little better…


Darren McDonnell

Describe your style?

A melting pot of mod, skinhead and 80’s casual

What’s your go-to piece in your wardrobe?

‘Big E’ Selvedge Levis, Mikell Rude button down shirt.


How did you get into soul music?

As a child I spent Sundays in my Granny’s house, hearing Motown on the radio – not knowing what it was, but enjoying it’s infectious rhythm and catchy lyrics. When I began buying my own music, it was a natural progression to seek out those sounds. It wasn’t until moving to Brighton at 18 that I got into the Mod Scene and I remember going to 60’s mod nights where they would play R&B, Garage and Northern Soul. I’d never heard of the phrase ‘Northern Soul’ before so once I began scratching the surface I became hooked. I moved back to Dublin at 21 and found the Soul Scene here was alive and well – the rest is history.

How often do you play abroad & what are your favorite clubs and why?

I usually DJ abroad a few times a year but when I’m not DJing I still try to travel to various clubs in the UK as much as possible. My favourite club night would have to be Different Strokes in Manchester and my favourite all-nighter would be Burnley. Each one carries it’s own unique sound and always remains fresh.

Photo: Geraldine Fahey


When did you start Pow City?

Pow City was started in February 2014 by myself and Paul Grant, and is on the second Saturday of every month in the basement of The Thomas House. When starting out, we wanted to create a soul club which emphasised a party atmosphere while playing a mix of rare and classic soul records geared towards the dance floor. Every month we have 4 guest DJs from Ireland or abroad who bring their own style to the night – which means you’re always hearing new tunes being played out. We’ve always said our club is ‘inclusive rather than exclusive’ and want it to be as enjoyable for the seasoned soulies as it is for any newcomers on the scene. Getting that mix of quality tunes and quality people together is what makes Pow City.


Photo: Geraldine Fahey

Tell us a bit about the Galway Bay Soul Weekender?

The Weekender came about like most good ideas do – talking shite with friends. Myself, Paul Mulholland and Paul Grant had been talking about all the good (and some bad) memories of weekenders we’d attended over the years and how we’ve all flirted with the idea of doing something in Galway. Paul Mulholland, being from Galway, came up with the idea of a boat cruise and the light bulb went off for all of us. Myself and Paul Grant had been on a soul cruise at the Hamburg Soul Weekender before and that experience stuck with us. The atmosphere of being on board a boat, with records spinning and the scenery out the window floating by, is unlike any club night or all-nighter so couple that with the picturesque surroundings of Galway and it’s beginning to sound like a plan! Out of the initial thought of a boat cruise with an after party, grew the Weekender. Things kick off on September 1st in the basement of The Cellar Bar, which is a great introduction to the weekend, and we’ll be playing some gritty soul grooves in there all night long. A Saturday afternoon session in The Blue Note the next day will be a great hang out, somewhere for everyone to catch up, and will include record sales. The soul cruise takes place along Lough Corrib that evening, and then the main event happens on Saturday night in The Seven Bridges’ Loft Venue. Plus, to wind down, we’ve organised a Soul Food BBQ on the Sunday in The Blue Note with DJs spinning tunes from 1pm – a great way to wrap up the weekend. We’ve been amazed at the feedback and support we’ve had from everyone since announcing the event in January, with DJs coming from London, Wales, Canada and all over Ireland to play at the Weekender. The tickets for the boat cruise sold out in the first 4 hours, but there’s still plenty of people making the journey for the rest of the events – we’re hoping this will be the first of many! Tickets are on sale at and the events in The Blue Note are free.


Thanks to Darren for taking some time out and having a chat with us. If you’re in Dublin this weekend, check out Pow City at The Thomas House, Thomas St, Dublin 8, on Saturday 12th August.