Jack Colleran doesn’t sleep, and it shows. The 18-year-old producer, who goes by the name MMOTHS, has embraced endless nights and bags beneath his eyes in exchange for something more; a uniquely ethereal sound that’s entirely his own. Disregarding genre conventions, the Ireland-based artist and producer mesmerizes with sparse synths dripping in reverb, transforming digital soundscapes into organic songs, equally fit for both a night on the town and one spent indoors in the company of candlelight. He showcases this on his 2012 self-titled debut EP for SQE Music, where no sound, vibe, or texture is off limits.
Growing up in Newbridge, Kildare, Colleran never had any illusions about what he wanted to be. Armed with his first keyboard at four-years-old, he insisted upon professional piano lessons. In high school, Colleran continued to immerse himself in music by playing in a slew of local bands, while also delving into the burgeoning experimental electronic music that the Internet afforded him access to. The moment he downloaded a demo version of Ableton Live during his final year of high school, he began obsessively creating his own tracks from scratch. There was one tiny problem though.
“The save function was disabled in my demo version of Ableton,” Colleran laughs. “I never saw the progress I was making in production because I couldn’t save anything and listen back to it. Once I got the full version, I made my first official track.”
That track was “Blisters.” In the song, a bright keyboard melody shimmers over a precise beat as skittering sounds taper in and out. International tastemaker blog Nialler9 immediately embraced “Blisters” touting MMOTHS as an “Artist to Watch”. Quickly, the song spread virally across the blogosphere. As MMOTHS’ popularity continued to grow online, SQE Music got in touch in mid-2011 becoming his official home.
“I actually signed the deal the day I got my final high school grades,” he goes on. “It took me a while to tell my mom but I eventually did.” Colleran had gotten used to recording all night, so he fervently began crafting the tracks that would become his debut EP under the moonlight. The subtle effects of this nocturnal writing process can be seen and heard throughout the five tracks.
He adds, “The music doesn’t sound like it’s coming from another planet though. It sounds natural and organic. There’s no manual for writing tracks.” Songs like “Heart” break the mold. A dreamy synth line mounts as Sarah P from Keep Shelly in Athens gorgeously croons the refrain, resulting in a truly 21st century love song.
Colleran explains, “I never have a set plan. Music just happens. I’ll find a cool sound and write around that. I’m not a singer-songwriter who writes about a certain event, person, or experience. I just try to write music that makes people feel something. If they feel a bit uplifted, I’ve done my job.”
That’s exactly how you’ll feel after listening to the melodic warmth of “Summer” featuring Los Angeles’ Superhumanoids. About the song, he adds, “I wrote that song because the winter was coming and it can get pretty horrible over here. Summer was ending, and I wanted to keep it alive forever. This was my way to do that.”
The name came about just as organically as the music for Colleran. He reveals, “Guys call girls ‘Motts’ over here. I was uploading my songs to Soundcloud and I didn’t have an artist name. I was talking to my friend on Facebook, and he was having girl problems. He wrote, ‘I hate Motts’ because he just broke up with some girl. I needed a name at that moment so I called the project ‘MMOTHS’.”
Ultimately, MMOTHS is going to kindle a new flame for electronic music, pushing it into lush new territory with the honesty of the young and impassioned. “This is the best job in the world,” Colleran concludes. “Even if it all fails, I’m going to make music regardless.”