Machines, Plants, and Striking Sounds With Polytunnel

Polytunnel
Author : Chelsi Sherrell
October 24, 2022

Machines, Plants, and Striking Sounds With Polytunnel

Hailing from Kilkenny, Ireland, and now based in Glasgow, Scotland, Polytunnel (aka Peter Lawlor) is a DJ/Producer who has gained acclaim from the likes of Mixmag, DJ Mag, Inverted Audio, XLR8R, as well as gaining support from the great Andrew Weatherall on his show NTS. From creating genre-free experimental sounds to running his labels Moot Tapes and Made Magnetic, Polytunnel has definitely earned his stripes by being recognized and supported by fellow icons Laurent Garnier, Dan Curtin, Vladimir Ivkovic, nd_Baumecker, Ryan Elliot, Marcel Dettmann, Âme, Truncate, Chris Ssg, and James Zabiela.

As of late, Polytunnel has been keeping his 2022 busy with his releases — one of which was released in May of 2022 titled Gold Seal by Solkatt; an experimental Irish electronic duo that he takes part in alongside Leo Pearson. Recently in October, Polytunnel individually released his Bioacoustics EP — an EP that was focused on the concept of plants and horticulture. Once again in October, Polytunnel is wasting no time releasing his next EP Outer Earth on his imprint Made Magnetic. Outer Earth will be releasing October 19th and 26th, 2022 — the 19th with a remix from Denham Audio, and the 26th with remixes from fellow DJs Lighght and Jellypelt.

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Now sharing with 6AM, Polytunnel gets candid about his journey as a DJ/Producer running his imprints Moot Tapes and Made Magnetic, the workflow of his recent/upcoming EPs, as well as being within the experimental Irish electronic duo Solkatt alongside Leo Pearson. He also shares his perspective on maneuvering his sound of melodic electro, and breakbeat-influenced acid throughout Ireland and Scotland.

Buy ‘Outer Earth’ EP  / Buy ‘Bioacoustics’ EP

Listen: Polytunnel “Outer Earth” – Made Magnetic

Welcome to 6AM Polytunnel, we’re excited to deep dive into your projects and know what you have planned on the horizon. Tell us about your journey into electronic music — where and when did the inspiration strike?

I’ve been making electronic music for the past decade. I began when I moved to Toronto for the summer and have been making and releasing music ever since. My music as Polytunnel started about 4 years ago when I released my debut 12’’ on the London-based label, Childsplay. Inspiration usually strikes when I sit down with my machines and start messing around with them; It can also strike me when I’m listening to music and hearing some element of someone else’s music that you would find particularly interesting.

“When I sit down with my machines and start messing around with them, inspiration usually strikes. It can also strike me when I’m listening to music and hearing some element of someone else’s music that would you find particularly interesting.”

Experimenting with your art is the best way to find what you’re looking.

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Polytunnel

Photo by: @polytunnelmusic

Speaking of inspiration, you’re from Ireland but also live in Glasgow. Both locations have a rich and inspiring history with music. What is it about the electronic music scene in both places that you’re most proud of? Walk us through your experience of being a resident DJ at the Dublin venue: The Bernard Shaw. 

Both cities are definitely party cities when it comes to electronic music — both have produced some amazing DJs, producers, and labels over the years. Dublin’s legendary D1 recordings and Glasgow’s Seventh Sign are two of my favorite labels from each city.

There’s plenty more though, but I’d need a lot of time to go through how special both places are for music. I was a resident there for 4/5 years. I ran a monthly party called “Moot” that led me to my Moot Tapes label; it was a really special place to play and meet people from the scene in Dublin.

“I ran a monthly party called “Moot” that led me to my Moot Tapes label; it was a really special place to play and meet people from the scene in Dublin.”

Creating his own space led Polytunnel to the right people.

Read Next: Dublin City Guide with Hybrasil

As for fearless music, your EP Bioacoustics was just recently released on October 6th, 2022. This four-tracker covers a lot of electro synths, funky breakbeats, ethereal textures, and overall atmospheric tones. What was the workflow like going into this project? Can you share the meaning behind the track titles? 

That record was recorded soon after my debut on Childsplay; it got signed by Seventh Sign soon after moving to Glasgow — then Covid hit and was delayed until this year. It was originally released back in May, but I recently put up the Bandcamp release.

I love pad sounds along acid-influenced basslines, so that’s how the whole EP came together. As far as the name “Bioacoustics”, I like playing with the whole plants/horticulture angle and wanted something to represent sound and plant life, and came across the word “Bioacoustics” — it’s a cross-disciplinary science that combines biology and acoustics.

“I like playing with the whole plants/horticulture angle and wanted something to represent sound and plant life, and came across the word “Bioacoustics”. As far as the name, I love pad sounds along acid-influenced basslines, so that’s how the whole EP came together.”

The word “Bioacoustics” is a cross-disciplinary science that combines biology and acoustics.

Looking for inspiration doesn’t have to be difficult — look at your surroundings and you’ll be amazed at what you find.
Polytunnel

Photo by: @polytunnelmusic

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Staying on the topic of workflow, you and Leo Pearson have a history of working together as the electronic duo Solkatt, and in May of 2022, you two released your Gold Seal EP. Merging friendships with business can be a stumbling block for many, but for you two, Solkatt takes on a dance-worthy form of its own. As a team, how do you two find the best workflow that fits for you both? What advice would you give to a DJ that would like to form a duo, but isn’t sure where to look and who to ask? 

All of our music is made in the studio together. We get a few sequences going on the synths and just build from there. It’s important not to be too precious over particular things and to let go of ideas when they’re not working in the context of the track.

“My main advice would be to look for friends/people you know who have similar interests to you musically, but not identical. You need to be open to another person’s approach to music and vice versa.”

Look for like-minded artists that have an appreciation for feedback and authentic growth.

My main advice would be to look for friends/people you know who have similar interests to you musically, but not identical. The whole point of myself and Leo making music together is that we wouldn’t make the same type of music if we were working on our own. You need to be open to another person’s approach to music and vice versa. In my opinion, it would be completely pointless if we ended up making a tune that sounded like a Polytunnel track or his solo work.

“In my opinion, it would be completely pointless if we ended up making a tune that sounded like a Polytunnel track or his solo work. The whole point of myself and Leo making music together is that we wouldn’t make the same type of music if we were working on our own.”

Even as duo or group, artists should still maintain their artistic autonomy.

Very soon, your upcoming EP Outer Earth is set for October 19th and 26th, 2022 — both will feature remixes from the likes of Denham Audio, Lighght, and Jellypelt. What kind of tone and mood will the EP bring? 

I wanted this release to just be a fun dancefloor-focused release, moreso than any of my previous releases — I think we’ve delivered on that. I love all the remixes. The main thing I like about the whole release is that no two mixes are the same, you can really hear the producer’s own original take on the track.

“I wanted this release to just be a fun dancefloor-focused release. The main thing I like about the whole release is that no two mixes are the same.”

Polytunnel loves his projects to be upbeat, worthwhile, and different each time.

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Polytunnel

Photo by: @polytunnelmusic

From running your labels Moot Tapes and Made Magnetic to being supported by many artists such as Laurent Garnier, Dan Curtin, Vladimir Ivkovic, nd_Baumecker, Ryan Elliot, Marcel Dettmann, Âme, Truncate, Chris Ssg, and James Zabiela, how do you continue to stay level-headed and humble throughout all your endeavors? 

It’s very easy to stay humble when there’s nothing to get big-headed about. We’re all just making and releasing music because it’s fun and we enjoy it. If people enjoy it, even better, but we’re not curing the incurable. It’s all just a bit of fun, and if it ever stops being fun, that’s when I’ll stop doing it.

I’ll stop doing it if it ever stops being fun — we’re all just making and releasing music because it’s fun and we enjoy it, so it’s very easy to stay humble when there’s nothing to get big-headed about.”

Never let work turn into ego and overtake your joy.

What else can we expect from you for the rest of 2022? 

Over the coming months, I will have a lot of music coming out on some labels I really love and playing some live sets and DJ sets before the end of the year. My debut album will be released next year via Alien Communications, and I really can’t wait to get all that music out there.

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