Solkatt are Leo Pearson and Peter Lawlor, a hardware synth loving duo with a penchant for danceable grooves and subtle string arrangements.
Lawlor has previously released house inflected dance music under his Replete alias on labels such as Ele Records, Paper Recordings and Always Human Tapes. Pearson meanwhile has released music on Howie B’s Pussyfoot Records as part of Inevidence in the 90s, and over the years has worked on music for the likes of David Holmes and Shit Robot, and more recently has been part of Future Bones.
They first collaborated as Soklatt on a project that originated when they were asked to create 90 minutes of original music for a 46 speaker geodesic dome, which was premiered at Electric Picnic 2017 as part of the RedBull Soundome Stage.
Gold Seal EP is their first release of 2022, a release that brings together their myriad influences across three idiosyncratic original tracks and two fantastic remixes from Pearson and Lawlor themselves. With the full EP out 06 May, we caught up with Peter to discuss its creation.
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Thanks for talking to us Peter – has it been a productive year for you so far?
Yes, it’s been a very busy year so far and hopefully getting even busier. My label Moot Tapes has been releasing records for our Signs of Life series, my first solo EP in two years is about to be released on Seventh Sign Recordings, and both myself and Leo have been busy running our Made Magnetic label together. We’ve been releasing solo music from Leo and now we have our upcoming Solkatt EP, Gold Seal, on the way.
Where does your passion for club and electronic music come from? And when did you first start trying to make that passion into a career?
I started dabbling with electronic music in my late teens but I wouldn’t describe what I was making or listening to at the time as club music. It would have been very difficult to dance to any of it in a club. From my introduction to electronic music at the time I became a lot more interested in the clubbing side of things. I remember around that time I saw a documentary called Speaking in Code back then and seeing how welcoming and DIY that scene could be really got me interested from there. After studying for my masters in music technology I started to take music-making seriously.
What is personally exciting you about the music scene in Ireland at the moment?
I’m living in Glasgow for the past few years, so in a way feel a little detached from the scene in Ireland. But from afar, I really like what’s happening at the moment in Ireland. You have great community radio like Dublin Digital Radi, and interesting festivals like Open Ear and Another Love Story. And slowly but surely there seem to be new venues opening post-pandemic.
The main thing that is exciting me about the scene in Ireland is the work that the Give Us The Night campaign has been doing to extend opening hours and bring Ireland in line with the rest of Europe. If this happens it will be a massive shift and a huge benefit for the arts in Ireland. Sunil Sharpe and Robbie Kitt have been doing amazing work with this campaign.
As a solo artist, you released on Paper Recordings, which has been a hugely influential label over the years. Do you have any particular favourites from their catalogue?
Yes. Lots of favourites from over the years. They have been around for so long it’s difficult to pick one but I am a big fan of Lindstrøm – Closing Shot as well as all those early releases from Salt City Orchestra. They have a huge back catalogue of quality releases.
What individual influences and skills do you and Leo bring to the table when you work together as Solkatt?
Leo has been doing soundtrack work for the last few years, whereas most of my focus comes from the dance music side of things. So we try and combine the two in a way that works both as a live act, but also in a way that DJs can play the tunes out. It can be tricky to do this, but we always arrive at a place where we’re both happy. Which is the main thing
Your latest release Gold Seal – did you go into the studio with any specific goals in mind when you were making this one?
The main objective of this EP was to hark back to rave of the 90s but with our own modern take. We have certain things that we like to do with our music that doesn’t usually sit with straight-up functional dance music. So, I think for this one we wanted to find a balance between our own tendencies to go off on tangents and music that would work on the dancefloor.
There’s a huge amount of different styles on the EP, sometimes within a single track. What do you find attractive about this way of combining genres?
These are just things that happen naturally when we make music together. We both have quite broad tastes that reach beyond electronic music so they seem to seep their way into our process without really thinking about it. All of this keeps us interested as opposed to just making the same thing over and over.
What can we expect from you over the rest of 2022?
For the rest of 2022, it would be great to start gigging again and also to get started on album #2.
Finally, what’s the best dance record you’ve heard this year that we should all know about?
Lars Bartkuhn – Transcend. One of those rare tracks that could work equally well as a set-ender as it could be a starter, in the right context.