I was born in London in 1974, but before I could remember anything, we moved back to Dublin where my father became a promoter. In 1977, he organised Ireland's first outdoor stadium concert featuring Thin Lizzy and the Boomtown Rats. He ran gigs for Tom Waits, the Ramones, Ian Dury, Dr Feelgood, The Specials, the Clash and many others. He also managed arguably the most important ever traditional Irish group, the Bothy Band. Meanwhile, my mother had a vintage clothing stall at the Dandelion Market (where U2 played their very first gigs.)
We lived down a dark, ivy-covered lane in a suburb called Shankill, which back then, was still mostly countryside. As a result, my sister and I didn't have many friends until we were teenagers. Our big old house was beside a crumbling mill and converted barn where my grandparents lived. We climbed trees in the surrounding fields, rode bikes through the long grass. We saw plenty of concerts, famous musicians, and ran around our mum's market. The little school we attended, St Ursuline's, was run by nuns.
I always remember being into music. At the age of four, my first big discoveries were Electric Light Orchestra, War of the Worlds and other big-sound records. From the New Wave acts my dad was promoting, I got into 80s pop, then my first records, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, U2. Watching Live Aid in the summer of 1985, Dad got an idea for a stage and roof system that would enable faster tour scheduling. He presented his model to U2 who had just started recording what would become the Joshua Tree. They invested in a company which built three of these rigs. Within a year, we were standing in stadiums around Europe looking up at a real-life version of dad's matchstick model - now one thousand times bigger - as Bono sang "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" to 60,000 people.
That windfall bought us an art deco house in the beautiful seaside village of Dalkey. Meanwhile on tour, my father's relations with the U2 manager soured. A long legal battle was settled on the steps of the Dublin High Court in 1990.
Being a teenager isn't easy at the best of times, and those years were tense at home. It wasn't all bad, however. I was writing songs, studying the albums of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, the Velvet Underground, the Doors. Friends, girlfriends, hanging out in record stores and cafés on Saturday afternoons, even busking on Grafton street... Dublin was a great place to grow up. I rarely watched TV and spent most of my evenings looking out to sea from our big bay window, playing guitar, listening to music or reading poetry: Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Garcia Lorca. Aged 15 and 16, I started writing experimental prose for my bemused English teacher.
Aged 20, I graduated from University College Dublin with a degree in History and Philosophy. The night we all got our exam results, I had somehow drunk myself sober.On that windy walk home, I vowed to travel the world and yes, live for art! I travelled all over India twice: my second trip was five months long. Through a series of accidents, I ended up in the French city of Lyon, where I joined an indie fashion brand, MU:E, part of an emerging niche of young, dance-culture designers. Having grown up around my mother's vintage clothes store, I found I could design and create business. These were colourful times: watching the streets of Europe, zany trade fairs. I got an inside view of the electronic music scene bursting out of London, Paris, Vienna, Copenhagen, Berlin.
In 2001, I moved to Paris to work for the Buddha Bar, a nightclub, record company, and world famous compilation series. Negotiating contracts and track hunting, I learned the mechanics of the music business, eventually learning how to produce. Here, I began exploring the similarities between traditional Irish and Moroccan music - how I met my wife. Once again, music brought had me to my next destination; fatherhood, quickly followed by my first book, Cowboys & Indies.