Fac Focus: Dirty 17


One of the fastest rising standouts of their generation, Dirty 17 are the “postcode proud, culture institution” helmed by Animator & Graphic Designer Shaun Gannon and DJ & Record Producer, Andrew Thompson

The pair are known for their high energy, never not fun “good time get-down” Dj sets. In the first 2 years of their DJ career, the pair have racked up a consistently sold out merch line, 2 international bookings including Ministry of Sound London as well as supported the likes of Eli Escobar, COEO & Late Nite Tuff Guy along the way. 2017 was a year of consistent show stealing for the duo who describe their live sound as “Paradise Garage meets CBGB’s”, but with all this said, the duo have little intentions of sticking around the DJ world for very long. We sat down to ask them a few questions

What is Dirty17?

North Dublin’s finest street kids. We do whatever amuses us & we do it well. Thats the goal, make a living doing what makes us happy and moving on whenever we want, no matter how well things are doing or how much our audience is into it. We’ve been doing this our whole lives, just because people started paying attention in the last 2 years won’t change a thing, we just do what we like and everything is done to please no one but ourselves. Its evident in pretty much everything we do and we’re guessing the people like that!

How do you know each other?

Growing up in Coolock in the late 90’s / early 00’s everyone knew everyone, hung out with each other and shit & it didn’t take long after meeting each other to discover we both had a crazy love for Hip-Hop & more importantly the old four elements of it (Breaking, Writing, MC’ing, & DJ’n)...that led us to begin working side by side, not together. At the end of the day we’re two separate artists with different end goals & that works extremely well for us. We both come from very musical families & we were raised on everything from Jazz to Metal from infancy, which i'm almost certain contributes to our non existing attention span & our constant need to evolve. From the point of view from both of us, we felt we were the only people around this place that had zero interest in what everyone else was doing or what everyone else was into. It has always been about going against the grain & making that work. It’s that mentality of “fuck everything else, let’s do what we want & do it our way!” that made us realise from a very young age “ok… we have to stick together”. It’s still how we operate!

What got you guys interested in DJ’ing?

Andrew - I can’t remember a time in my life that i wasn’t obsessed with DJing! As a kid I didn’t have any friends that were into playing in bands, but i had a GANG of records I inherited as well as a mountain of CD’s & tapes, so that pretty much set it in stone for me right there & i’m just as in love with it today as i was then.

Shaun - I’ve always been into different types of music. Each evening I’d go up to my brother’s room listen and watch him sample all these crazy jazz records and chop them up into Hip Hop instrumentals, this is where my love of mixing music came from for sure. But I only began to play on CDJ’s a couple of years ago. I lived in Holland for a while and took a weekend trip to Dublin to see Andrew play at a residency he just solidified and from there on we started fucking shit up back to back!

What are your views on The Dublin Night Scene? (Music, Culture, The Fashion, The People)?

To be honest we don't care about it too much right now. It feels like a bad parody of itself. We’re always shiting on about “real nightclubs” or some shit like “turn all the lights off, it’s too bright in here", “organise a party, not a collective driven club night” but what are we expecting in Dublin? To walk into a club and suddenly I’m in a scene from Paris Is Burning? Ron Hardy smoking gear & playing Frankie Goes To Hollywood way too fast? or to magically be in Mancuso’s LOFT in ’71? With the inspiration we got from studying New York and Chicago etc for what’s been our whole lives, we gave ourselves the wrong expectations of what to expect when we it was time for us to go to the nightclubs but that’s ok, we both know its not for us as such and that’s fine. Once those who are enjoying it are actually enjoying it for the right reasons, that’s great. We really do love the people though and it’s unbelievable to walk around and see people loving what’s going on, no matter the genre. We’ll always stick around to talk to whomever. We’ve made a lot of great friends and connections just from letting them chew the ear off of us while they’re mashed.

We’ve made a lot of great friends and connections just from letting them chew the ear off of us while they’re mashed.
— Dirty 17

Why did you decide to set up a clothing brand?

Andrew - I can’t remember that last time I walked into a clothing store and seen something i just had to buy on the spot… well mabie the Snoopy/Levi’s shirt I’m wearing right now, but that’s the first piece of clothing I’ve bought for myself in 2018 and it’s April.

Shaun - I’d be the same as Andrew within reason. Id much rather wear an XL plain white tee and rallied Converse over Gucci this or that or whatever, I couldn’t tell you what the fuck is going on! I always used to draw characters and each one would be wearing a fucked up design by me. So between that and watching skate videos over and over and absorbing their ‘Don’t Give A Rats’ style, I think is what influenced me.

So like everything else, we make the clothes for ourselves to amuse no one but us & after a while people just took notice and wanted in on it, even tho they're littered with stuff only those in D17 would cop on to… like the taxi tee is both a play on our life long obsession of New York City in the 70s as well as “ACAB" 'yeknow… "Dirty 17 CAB CO” ( Cops Are Bastards, Corrupt Organisation ) “Fuck ‘outta here” is something that comes out of my mouth about every 20 seconds & Shaun’s always turning to me while we’re out somewhere say “This is a raw buzz, Im outta’ here!”.. things just for us, know what I mean?

Can you notice a change in Fashion over the last 3 years, the same way the 'Session Scene' has changed over the last 3 years?

To be completely honest with you man, we couldn’t give a fuck about “Fashion”, never have,never will. It always has been & always will be all about “Style”. Anyone who knows us knows we’re always changing but at the same time maintaining that same style. That takes years of trial, error, bravery, & independence! I guess we get it from the obscene amount of music we obsess over, no matter the genre.

As they say, “It’s not what you wear, It’s how you wear it.”

What are your plans for the future ? Are you’s going to keep doing what your doing now, with the Merch & Nights, or are you planning on expanding your fashion brand Dirty 17?

That’s the money question. We play every show like its our last because we constantly romanticize the idea of just vanishing one day, acting like we’ve never touched a record in our lives and none of this ever happened...thats fucking hilarious to us. But the audience keeps on growing with every show & the people who stick around to talk to us or those who are in the crowd wearing our stuff dancing with their eyes closed looking like they’ve never been happier always pulls us back by the heart. The Desire is that Dirty17 is a faceless brand, with DJing that just doesn’t work. We did talk about playing in balaclavas so we can interchange the DJ’s without people knowing & never having to attach a face to it but since moved on. To us, Dirty17 is a vehicle for the forward thinking street kids of Coolock, Dublin 17 to push to their new & odd concepts onto the world. Most of our friends are amazing artists and it’s actually really weird how we all link in someway,so making people think Dirty17 is two lads doing a bit of Dj’ing and nothing more just hurts us.

Andrew - I will be DJ’n for life with or without Dirty17, thats a fact, but thats just 1% of output from the kids who can’t sit still. We’re in the beginning stages of producing a skate video as well as pressing our own decks. We constantly design clothes we’re never 100% happy with to put into production. Producing music, gathering a concept or resources for a record label. And recently we’ve played with the idea of a D17 boutique stocking everything we like.


Author: Shane McLoughlin, courtesy of SkateboardNarcoticTechno

Edited: Adam Nolan-Horan

24/04/18


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