Introduce yourself? Pronouns? Where do you currently reside? 1 fun fact about yourself?
Hi! My name is Declan (he/him), currently residing in Melbourne/Naarm. I’m trying to learn Hungarian at the moment so I can apply for dual citizenship.
How did you get your DJ name?
I was at a festival a few years ago and while sitting around the campsite talking shit a few friends started coming up with nicknames for me. They eventually went from Declan > Lecdan > Doiflan > Loifdan. Drop the dan and ‘LOIF’ was born.
Who/what currently inspires you music-wise that has nothing to do with music?
I’ve been watching a lot of TV in the last few months while we’ve been in lockdown and often feel super inspired by sound design and dialogue in different shows. I’ve started sampling TV shows in my music and I find it really satisfying pulling from other forms of media that resonate with me and letting them influence and inform my creative process when working on new material.
Favorite sound of the city? Describe how it makes you feel.
I’m not sure to be honest. The last couple years have been rife with lockdowns and I’ve been spending so much time indoors and in the city that it’s hard to draw much inspiration or joy from it. What really gets me going sound-wise is everything outside of the city at the moment. The precious moments I’ve spent in the bush or at the beach in the last couple years have made me truly appreciate how lucky I am to live in the country I was born in. There’s no sound quite like the Australian bush 🙂
In no particular order:
Aphex Twin (LIVE)
Favorite musical memory in deep description?
I have so many but a pivotal one was hearing Avril 14th by Aphex Twin for the first time while on my first proper shroom trip at my friends house. The night began a little rocky as I felt super nauseous while coming up but after a nice healthy vom and support from my mates we all started chucking music on and things were looking good. It was my first experience listening to music while tripping and I couldn’t believe the amount of control the music had over the whole vibe of the room – whatever was put on the speakers would pretty much dictate everyone’s mood. My friend at one point suggested putting some Aphex on and I was pretty unsure as up until that point my only exposure to RDJ’s music were his more abrasive and intense works like Equation and so I assumed we were all about to be in for a bad/weird trip. I was so surprised when Avril 14th started and the beautiful piano melody washed over me that I couldn’t believe the same person made both tracks. That experience opened up a whole world of ambient and minimal music to me and led me to discover life-long passions for artists like Brian Eno, Autechre and of course Aphex himself. I doubt I’d be DJing or making music in the same way if it weren’t for music moments of discovery like that.
Ways to calm your nerves before a set?
I think there’s a perfect sweet spot with drinking where you start to feel waves of confidence but you haven’t drunk so much that you can no longer focus. If I can hit that level right before a set then I feel super calm and confident. Very easy to overdo it though.
Favorite thing to cook currently?
My main go-to at the moment is pearl couscous with roast pumpkin, cauliflower and homemade tzatziki 🥰
Who do you think is the most underrated artist of our time?
Probably the main one that comes to mind for me is Harold who runs the label Steeplejack. I’ve been a huge fan of his for years and his mixing style and song selection has influenced me on a pretty profound level. I first saw him play years and years ago when I started going out regularly and even back then he was way ahead of the game. I really respect the fact that he always seems to play for himself and not the crowd and that he’s not afraid to challenge dancers. I’ve been on dancefloors so many times where he’s just dropped the dirtiest, harshest noise track or something and I can see other people around me start to get confused or annoyed, and then next minute he’ll bring in the craziest, danciest shit you’ve ever heard and suddenly he’s won everyone back in an instant. He’s also probably one of the only DJs to make me literally laugh out loud at the absurdity of how he’s mixing or at the track he just put on (he once closed an all-time party with the most ridiculous remix of Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball). He’s easily one of the best DJs in the country and has been involved with and organised some of the city’s greatest parties such as Pleasure Planet and Club Derange while his label Steeplejack continues to push forward-thinking incredible music year after year. Even though he’s a highly rated pillar amongst our scene in Naarm he’s booked pretty irregularly these days and in my opinion deserves international recognition.
Second pick for your DJ name?
Probably something with the word ‘Tek’ in it.
What is the theme song of your life?
What track would you select to open up the biggest gig of your life?
Let’s play a pipipi game… I give you a situation & you give me a track
Baptism in the woods
500 ft into the ocean in the middle of the world
Grocery store on 1 hour of sleep
If you had to describe yourself as a drink, which one would you be and why?
Probably a gin and tonic. Crisp and refreshing with a bit of a zing.
What was your best moment on the dance floor?
There’s so many to choose from but hearing Drum & Bass for the first time at a festival was a huge moment of discovery for me. I think it was during Lee Gamble’s set at Inner Varnika 2016 and up until that point I don’t think I really ‘understood’ D&B and in what context it worked in. Hearing it on a huge sound system while in nature was incredibly powerful for me and opened up a whole new musical world for me to explore.
What is your favorite time of day?
Advice for being productive with music?
Being productive is something I’ve struggled with and thought about a lot during the pandemic. I feel very lucky that I have a creative output, projects to work on and tangible goals to push towards, but it’s a double edged sword. Music has kind of become this coping mechanism for me when I’m struggling mentally, and it’s great when everything is falling into place and going smoothly. But it means that if I get stuck on something or can’t seem to finish a project on time or I’m unable to find that one missing element in a track I feel way worse than I did going in. It can be a lot of pressure when so much of my identity is wrapped up in my music and nothing seems to stick. I’ve since learnt that when I notice I’m getting frustrated or negative towards producing I have to just walk away from the computer and go do something else.
I’m rambling a bit but what I’m getting at is don’t force it. It’s a good idea to push yourself into at least starting on something, but if things aren’t working after an hour and you feel yourself getting fed up then move on to something else. Read a book, go for a walk, do some exercise. Just don’t try and make it happen when it’s not happening. I also find injecting new gear or techniques or tools into your process can be very helpful when you feel unproductive and your method feels stale. A new piece of hardware or a VST can spark a whole load of new ideas in you. Also having a whole bunch of different projects to work on at once I find is actually super helpful – the moment you’re getting sick of whatever you’re working on just jump into another project and work on that. Rinse and repeat.
What is your most recent favorite DJ mix and why?
Not sure what qualifies as recent but I can’t not mention Mark’s Crack Mix from a few years ago. It seriously changed the way I think about DJing and constructing mixes and I have to attribute a lot of my own mix style and technique to listening to his stuff. I remember hearing it for the first time and being absolutely flawed that I couldn’t hear a single fucking mix in the whole thing. Everything just flowed seamlessly into each other and you could never tell where one song began and the other ended. A real journey. Crazy.
What was your first gig? How did it go?
Really laughably bad haha. I was booked by a friend to play a B2B set with my friend Liam who originally got me into DJing in the first place. We played I think the opening set at some random bar off of Chapel Street (if u know u know), a lot of friends turned up to watch us really clumsily mix house records together for an hour. Immediately after we finished we all jumped on a train to head to Mercat (RIP) for a Club Derange party where I promptly realised how in over my head I was. 😂
Any advice to upcoming producers/djs?
I think probably the hardest part of getting into either practice is the steep learning curve (especially with producing). What I found most helpful was learning from other people. When I first started playing around with mixing and buying records I was lucky that a large chunk of my mates were all getting into it at the same time. I spent sooooo many days just endlessly mixing with friends and we would constantly share music and ideas and concepts, many of which still inform my style today. I doubt I would’ve stuck with it if it wasn’t for such a passionate and supportive group of people I was lucky to learn with. Similar can be said about producing – I have found collaboration to be endlessly helpful. Every single time I’ve worked with other producers/musicians/mixing engineers etc. I’ve picked up at least one or two techniques or ideas that have been essential in the way I make music going forward. Everyone has a different way of doing things and you can only benefit from getting a wide range of perspectives on how people practice their craft.
Also, don’t be too concerned about buying super fancy top-of-the-line gear – if anything learning on a less than ideal set up can be beneficial going forward. I would probably be a much worse DJ if I hadn’t started mixing records on cheap audio-technica turntables. By the same token, having a limited set up when producing (ie. a shitty laptop, 2 VSTs and a handful of samples) is limiting but allows you to learn the basics without being overwhelmed and will make the transition to more complicated gear and techniques much smoother in the future.
Do you have any upcoming releases/gigs?
Unfortunately gigs are still a distant reality for us in Naarm (Melbourne) at the moment. I had a cute Aus tour with Different Shades in the works which was supposed to be happening around now but it’ll just have to wait.
Release-wise I don’t want to give too much away at the moment but I can say that I have a handful of tracks coming out on various compilations from some of my fav labels (and some labels that haven’t been announced yet), which will be released over the next year or so. I’m also currently working on my next EP for one of my favourite labels and there’s a collab in there too that I’m super excited about but can’t say too much at the moment. Should be out next year though 🙂
What would you like to see in the future for the dance community?
There’s a lot that would be good to see but I think more emphasis on safer spaces for dancers, performers and artists are incredibly important. Unfortunately in Naarm unwanted attention, sexual abuse and sometimes violence is a regular occurence in a lot of clubs where promoters and venue owners don’t put the necessary work into making sure this type of behaviour is stamped out. When these safe spaces are created it’s an incredibly powerful feeling knowing you are safe to express yourself and that everyone shares the same level of respect for one another. A new club that just opened in the CBD called Miscellania has done an amazing job in fostering this kind of environment, partly due to the fact that they trained friends to work on the door as security and ensure the right kind of people were coming in. Too bad it was only open for two weeks before we went back into lockdown :’(