Isolation can do strange things to the mind. You can become a hermit, locked away from the world, not speaking to or seeing anyone, alone with nothing but your own thoughts for company. Isolation can make you go mad. Or, if you are Jack Colleran, aka Mmoths, it can result in a record deal from an L.A. label. Hailing from Newbridge, Ireland, Mmoths was signed to SQE music at the tender age of 17, all as a result of a few tracks on Soundcloud that he developed in his bedroom on Ableton Live. In the following years whilst further crafting his sound, he has opened for Aphex Twin, supported The XX, played homegrown festivals Body & Soul & Electric Picnic and had the undeniable pleasure and honour of performimg at SXSW in the USA. He creates soulful, intimate, ethereal electronic music where the listener becomes enveloped in Jack’s ever unfolding dream-scape. With just two EP’s to his name, (Mmoths & Diaries) an album on the way and now collaborating with a band for the live shows, Mmoths popularity shows no sign of abating anytime soon. I guess isolation wasn’t such a bad thing for Mr. Colleran.
You grew up in Newbridge, a small town in Ireland. Was making music just a way of escaping the every day boredom of small town living?
I guess so. Living in a small town means everyone knows everyone and in turn everyone knows what everyone else is doing. Being able to write alone without others knowing was definitely a means of escape.
Your name Mmoths is derived from that fact that some people in Ireland call women moths. Were you really that flippant about your name?
When I wrote the first track, I wasn’t really thinking that the name was going to someday be printed on things or people were going to search it on Google or that. My friend was giving out about the girl he was seeing at the time and said “I hate moths”. That’s where it came about. Looking back now I probably should have put a bit more thought into it.
You’ve played piano since you were young. Why did you not continue that and did it help you with your electronic music?
When I was younger I wanted to play in bands and playing a guitar seemed somewhat cooler than playing a keyboard. It’s not really something I regret doing, I guess it lead to me wanting to try other instruments and learn more.
Yeah it felt very weird at the time. I didn’t really have any idea what I was doing. I was just experimenting with these ideas and then someone comes along and says they want to press them to vinyl. That was definitely the first time when I realised I could make something of this.
You have decided very early on in your career to use a live band. It’s an interesting move, but was it simply that you feel electronic artists do not put on enough of a show for an audience?
Not at all. I still enjoy going to see solo shows. I just felt myself, with this project, that I needed instruments there to create something bigger with the live show, something more real.
Playing SXSW must have been surreal. How did it go?
SXSW was an interesting experience. I loved the fact that I could walk around and discover new music on each corner. What didn’t work for me was being told what I needed to see, like ” these guys are the new cool thing.” I’m not the person that goes over a festival timetable with a highlighter. I like coming across those little gems by mistake. I guess SXSW is perfect for that. I’m looking forward to going back at some stage in the future with the full band.
Equally, opening for people like Aphex Twin and The XX must have been special?
Definitely. I was only 17 when I opened for Aphex Twin and looking back now I should have taken in a lot more things. But touring last year with The XX was definitely an eye opener. We all learned a lot in those few weeks.
I’ve been working on the album the past few weeks, it’s still early days. It’s going to be a lengthy process and I really have no idea when it’s going to be done but it’s definitely something I’m looking forward to sharing with people.
The video to ‘All These Things’ seems to play on the feeling of isolation, a sense of being lost and then finding yourself. Would you agree and is this representative of what music means to you?
I guess it’s more concerned with the place I was in whilst writing the Diaries EP. I was touring a lot by myself and it was very lonely at times. But looking back I grew a lot in that period of time. I wouldn’t like to do it all again but I wouldn’t have done it any different.
You take a lot of photos. What camera do you use and do you have an interest in photography aside from documenting the incredible journey you are on?
I use some old 35mm point and shoots and a Pentax SLR. I haven’t taken any new photos in a while. It’s something I enjoy doing. I’m a big fan of leaving used rolls for ages and then getting them developed months down the line and remembering things you might have forgotten about.
What does the future hold for Mmoths?
At the minute I’m writing and focusing a lot on the live band and developing the live show further. There are no plans set in stone yet so we’re taking things as they come.