Dual Personalities: Ian O’Donovan & Madben



For all the monotonous techno garbage that’s unfortunately pervaded much of the genre in recent times, there are still a host of incredibly talented producers doing their thing. Although you might have to dig a little deeper to find it, the goods are still out there, which is something that instantly sprang to mind after we encountered Ian O’Donovan and Madben’s Dual EP on Electronical Reeds, a label we’ve become particularly fond of over the past year or so. Breaking from their typical house-centric manner, the label left the latest release in the hands of two of techno’s fledgling characters, and the result is an EP that quite literally plays in to the hands of all involved. That, of course, isn’t simply because of its unique nature (O’Donovan and Madben both supply an original and remix the other’s work), but also because of the sheer excellence of the music on offer: cosmic, almost trance-tinged techno that’s won over fans such as Agoria and a one Laurent Garnier. With all this in mind, we recorded a transcript of the guys chatting to one another about the EP, their plans for 2014 and how they first met. It’s far from a conventional interview, but in the context of the EP, it made perfect sense. With them asking as many questions as us here’s what they had to say…

Let’s start by talking about how we first met…

Ian: I think I contacted you when I heard your F… track on Laurent Garnier’s radio show. I always listened to the show and it wasn’t long after he had started to play my tracks as well. When I heard the track, I had to get in touch as I wanted to play it! At the time, we were at a similar starting point in the scene so it was good to touch base as well.

Ben: Yeah, it was through soundcloud, wasn’t it? I remember you sent me a private message after my first play on Laurent Garnier’s radioshow! I quickly became a fan of your work and played a lot of your tracks in my DJ sets.

What was it about my music you liked?

Ian: It was (and still is) techno with melody and soul! Dark and sometimes tough, but with real emotion. It’s the kind of music that I love and not enough people are making it today.

Ben: It’s the same with me. I like the emotions and feelings behind the way you made music. I like the way it goes on a journey of sorts. Moreover, I like the way that it can be deep but can also work on the dancefloor.

Did my remix end up as you imagined it would?

Ian: I try not to think about what people’s remixes of my tracks are going to be like. Usually, they are remixing your track because you like their music anyway, so I try to forget about it until it arrives. I loved your remix, I think it compliments the original nicely. More stripped back and a little deeper.

Ben: I was so excited when Ian sent me his remix of my track for the first time. I knew this was going to be huge on the dancefloor! And it was (and still is now after few months). I particularly love the way his remix turns on after the break…the crowd goes insane when you play it!!! 


Did you enjoy playing together in Brussels and Brest?

Ian: Yes, I really enjoyed both gigs. It was great to play in Brussels for the Electronical Reeds guys and the extended crew who always throw great parties!

Also, Brest was nuts! The people really go for it there! I think with our similar taste in music, playing back-to-back really worked and seemed to be as much fun for the crowd as it was to play.

Ben : I think our b2b DJ set at “Astropolis l’hiver” in Brest is still in my top 5 gigs of 2013…what an awesome time! Damn, words don’t come to me when I try to explain this… I think sometimes you just have to be there and live that kind of moment, and it’s hard to describe it after.

Our first b2b was in Brussels, and it was very nice too. With these two gigs, we had prepared nothing in advance… just what we felt at the time. I hope we will play together again in 2014 Ian! 

What have you coming up in the next few months? 

Ian: Release-wise, I have an EP coming on Christian Smith’s Tronic label in Spring, a track on Connaisseur, a collaboration with the Japanese Popstars under the name Soul Circuits on Sasha’s label, as well as another remix for Satoshi Fumi. I’m also working on a remix for Fabrice Lig featuring Ann Saunderson.

Gig-wise, playing in Dublin, London in the next couple of weeks with more TBA and in Cork with Laurent Garnier a little into the new year. I’m also working on my live set which I hope to have ready for early this year.

Ben: About releases, I just signed an exclusive track to French magazine “Trax”, for their CD sampler. I have a remix to come on the new SSK music label with my mates Fabrice Lig and Oniris who are also remixers for this one. I have just come back from 6 months working on my first LP project too. This is my major project for the beginning of 2014 and I’m working hard to find a decent label for it…for the moment nothing is signed! I have few EP’s to come too… one on Bedrock records in February called “Neighbours” EP, that I wrote with my mate Yann Lean

With regard to gigs, I’ve just come back from “I Love Techno” here in France this last week-end where I opened the Red room. It was the debut of my new live act, damn I was so excited! I have a lot of lovely gigs planned for the beginning of 2014… at the Rex Club (which is definitely my favourite club in France), Astropolis l’hiver, the Ubu in Rennes and many, many others that you can find of my website.

Have you got a little message for people who follow you?

Ben: A thousand thanks, really. Stay as you are, and be careful what you listen to, music is not a business!!! Music is soul!

Ian: Thanks for all the support! Hope to see some of you in 2014. By the way, our EP is out now on vinyl and digital and it makes a lovely present…