The Taste of this Fellow

One of Dublin’s most exciting electronic producers Wastefellow sits down with Luke Sharkey to discuss artistic development, South-East Asian slang terms and the golden age of Irish music. IT’S the wettest day of the summer. Most of the people huddled around the Dwarf Jar coffee house seem delighted to just be in out of the rain momentarily. Diolmhain Ingram Roche, also known as Wastefellow, and I are sitting down comfortably over two steaming coffees.Roche has quickly become one of the city’s top musical talents. The release of Wastefellow’s second EP Amazed, A-maze! and an excellent video for lead-single ‘Wonder’ has captured the attention of scores of fans.As too has the excellent work which he has done over the last year with Bobby Basil and Chris Montana, the two members of Irish rap group Dah Jevu. Their recent single ‘Incubus’, as well as their own solo releases, all produced by Roche, have gained praise from the Irish rap community. Roche also co-runs Phases, one of Dublin’s most exciting and acclaimed DJ nights, alongside Cian McLoughlin.We begin by discussing how Roche feels about 2016 thus far. He reflects: “it’s been five months since we put out the video, me and Conor [Donoghue, the visual artist responsible for ‘Wonder’], and it’s been pretty exciting since. I’ve been doing this stuff for about two years now, but up until that point I was just completely in my room”.It might seem surprising to first time listeners that Roche has developed such a defined sound in the space of only two releases. “Well this is the second one,” he explains, “I almost want to call it the first one, though. The first one was more just messing around than anything, the first time I’d tried my hand at making something electronic-based.”Roche seems positive when asked about his own evolution as an artist, admitting that: “the first one EP I kind of think of as if I was literally just throwing stuff in and playing around and seeing what happened. I had absolutely no purpose but the idea of ‘this sounds kinda cool’. Going into this, there was a lot more purpose. There were set things that I wanted to do. It actually probably took a lot longer than it should have done. Hopefully the next one won’t take as long.”Listening to Amazed A-maze, it is easy to hear where all that time was spent during its creation. The EP not only contains two or three excellent standalone singles, it also functions as a cohesive body of work with a strong introspective message woven throughout. It is a release with a purpose. Roche helps shed light on how he channelled that sense of purpose in the EP’s creation, by explaining that: “one of the things going in that I wanted to do was for it to be sort of conceptual. I really like the idea of a record or release that has a theme, even if it’s not lyrical but runs throughout. Even the track selection could reflect it. In my head if you’re making an EP or an album it should be identifiable under a theme and I hope some of that comes through on this record.”
Does he think it did come through? The answer is a modest yes — “I think that’s an art that takes a while to get right and I don’t claim that it’s fully right yet, this time around, but there is a bit of it there.”
The rain begins to clear off and the conversation is turning toward live performances. Firstly, though, there is the small issue of what’s really in a name. “I guess [the name, Wastefellow] is not super significant. It’s part London Slang: ‘oi, you wasteman” (he delivers this with an impressive South London accent). Continuing, he jokes: “I looked it up actually and it’s a slang name from South East Asia which refers to someone who has no job, women or social skills. I thought it was kinda funny.”The name, despite its slang connotations, does fit the music which Roche produces. In the work of Wastefellow, chopped samples and broken drum beats find a happy home. What may appear to some as musical leftovers are transformed into golden hooks and beats which resonate to the core.There have been many, mighty fine reports circulating about his concerts. With the soon-to-be addition of a live drummer to the set up it’s easy to imagine things are only going upwards from this point. Nonetheless, for Roche the idea of performing is not always a natural one. He reveals that: “at the moment I think I'm more of a reluctant performer who is getting back in to the swing of things.” That doesn’t mean he doesn’t get his kicks from playing live though — quite the opposite.“Thankfully I'm starting to get into a flow as I keep doing gigs. They're starting to go a lot better, I'm starting to enjoy them a lot more”, he admits. It’s all good news coming from Camp Wastefellow at the moment. Long may it last.
“Thankfully I'm starting to get into a flow as I keep doing gigs. They're starting to go a lot better, I'm starting to enjoy them a lot more”
Wastefellow plays Hard Working Class Heroes on October 8th, upstairs at Tengu. Amazed A-maze! is available for download on Bandcamp.