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Interview: Josh Coakley On How Viral Success Linked Him With Eats Everything, Advice From A DJ Dad & More

Josh Coakley is ready to shine
Josh Coakley

Irish newcomer, Josh Coakley, is not a stranger to this DJ thing. His father was a DJ in Dublin in the 1990s and has imparted a lot of that wisdom on his son who is trying to make his way in the ruthless and crowded dance music industry. Coakley got his start at the age of 14 DJing and started producing just two years later at 16. He has since gone on to play gigs in cities around the UK, Ibiza and Amsterdam.

His future is looking bright having just signed a new song to Marshall Jefferson's Label Freakin909. He is heading to university in the fall, but if the productions keep on getting signed and international gigs continue to get booked, he may not be there for long.

We recently hosted one of his mixes on Facebook (go and check it out here), and also had a chance to catch up with Coakley to learn a little more about how he got into the business, how one simple question and viral success landed him a collab with Eats Everything and what his dad has told him.

What drew you to DJing over other forms of music?

My dad was a DJ back in the 90's, so I grew up around music. It was everywhere, in the house, in the car and in the garden etc. He used to tell me wild stories of the days he used to play. You can see the happiness in him when he talks about it. He really has a passion for music and I think anyone that knows him would say the same thing. Music is an unbelievable way of expressing yourself. So that's why I got into it! I have been DJing since I was 14 and producing music since I was 16. I just love performing and the overwhelming feeling it gives me to see people dancing without a care in the world to my tracks is amazing. I have recently just had some tracks pressed to vinyl to play on turntables, which I will be introducing into my sets real soon!

Have your parents been supportive of your DJ career?

Yes, they both have. I have been performing at clubs since I was 16 and they have had to be there for me to perform due to regulations of me being so young. My first international performance was in London, England at just 16. They have traveled to many of my club appearances around Ireland and in other countries. The love and support they give me has been such an inspiration. They know that this is what truly makes me happy. I think it’s very important to me to have their blessings and to have their support to be honest, they are my 2 biggest fans and of course my little brother Zack too.

How have you balanced gigs and schooling?

It has not been easy I’m not going to lie. Once my studies were out of the way, I spent all my time creating music and perfecting my craft. I will be attending college in September, but if I end up breaking then I will be definitely putting college on hold to proceed with my dream. I’ve seen DJ careers end in a blink of an eye and you need to have a plan B. These kinds of opportunities don’t come around very often. I do realize it is a very saturated market out there, but I really do hope that from all my hard work and determination that it does pay off for me eventually. I just want people to see my skills and give me the opportunity to shine. I do this for me and for no other reason as it makes me happy and that's all that counts at the end of the day, right?

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What was the most important lesson your dad taught you about the industry?

Mmmmm, well he has taught me many lessons to be honest. I'm so glad I have him there for guidance as he knows so much about the music industry and the positives and the negatives of the business. Personally, I think you do need to have someone to guide you in the right direction. I think the most important things really, that he has told me is to not be afraid to be different and unique and follow your own path but always be humble. I see so many people doing the same thing and producing the same sound. Sometimes people warm to you being different, but other times people don’t like that you’re not following the crowd and what everyone else is doing. Why be the same? Why not be different? The path I have decided to take has been a difficult one, but I think I chose wisely. To me it just takes a lot of patience, hard work, support, a certain amount of luck and being in the right place at the right time.

How did you and Eats Everything link up?

I reached out to Eats Everything through Facebook nearly a year back asking if I got 20k likes, 10k comments and 5k share on a Facebook post would he collaborated with me on a production? You can imagine to my surprise, that he responded and told me "Yeah sure go for it” The post went viral in minutes and within 15 hours it was done, well more than done. I received over 30k, 23k comments and 6k shares. It was unbelievable and I honestly couldn't believe it. I showed Dan Pearce (Eats Everything) that it was completed and I think he was in shock (he explains here) to be fair, as he thought it could never be achieved.

Anyway, with Dan's extremely hectic touring schedule as he performs all over the world, it has taken longer than expected to be completed. I have sent him a few tracks for his consideration and to put his stamp on them. In March, he flew me over all expenses paid to party with him at the world-renowned party elrow at Tobacco Docks in London in the UK. What an amazing gesture from him to do this! It was a day that I will never forget that's for sure. 

Since then I have hooked up with Dan when he was performing at Life festival in Ireland and Boxed Off and I will be meeting up with him again and his tour manager Gary Crossan when he performs at the Samhain event in Dublin Ireland with Annie Mac in September, which believe or not is to be held in an airplane hangar! Mind blowing. He has promised it will happen so I just have to be patient I suppose. Dan is such an amazing, kind and funny person and an extremely talented DJ and Producer. The time that he does have when he is not performing he spends with his family and his son Ralph, but believe me when it is completed it will be something very special.

What is something people might not know about you?

I used to play for a premier soccer team here in Ireland, but I gave it up to focus on school and my music. I really loved playing soccer and if I kept at it up, it could have taken me places but instead I opted for music to do this. These days when I have the time I play with friends at are local astro soccer park just for fun.

What do you have coming up?

Well as far as performances are concerned, I have performed in 5 different countries so far, this year which is unreal, but I will be back in the UK in September performing for Let There Be House as I am a resident for the UK record label and in Liverpool performing too. In October, I will be traveling to the Amsterdam Dance Event as the youngest Irish official artist and will be performing for 2 brands. I'm back in the UK again with LTBH in November at McQueen in London. There are also some other performances within Ireland to be announced too. Next year I will be hopefully traveling to places like the US, Gibraltar, Germany, Croatia, Canada and back to Ibiza and the UK to perform at clubs and festivals.

As far as productions go, I have just had a track signed to the world-famous brand Pacha in Ibiza, which I’m absolutely delighted about. I remember when I was younger listening to their compilation CD's and use to get my parents to buy them for me and now to have a track signed to the brand is crazy. 

I also have some new tracks coming out on Let There Be House Records, XYLO Music, Somn'thing Records along with new tracks coming on Simma Red, Let There Be House and Armada Subjekt and there are 3 official remixes coming on Universal Music Group, Warner Music and RCA (Sony Music) which are the top 3 major record labels in the world, but I cannot give out much information on those I’m afraid. I think I will be the only and youngest person in Ireland to be featured on all 3 majors, but don’t quote me on that lol. There are also some more announcements, but I have been sworn to secrecy on those, but all will be revealed in the coming months. So very busy, but I wouldn't have it any other way!

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