My Weekend: Playing gigs is one of my favourite things in the world to do

John Ryan, aka Stuck on Repeat, is turning off-the-wall pandemic ideas into creative realities with new music and concept videos on the horizon
My Weekend: Playing gigs is one of my favourite things in the world to do

John Ryan, aka Stuck on Repeat who launches his new single, Take the Ride on February 25.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work:

I’m an electronic music producer from Cork named Stuck on Repeat. I make high-energy, big beat dance music though I take an occasional detour into punk rock. I’ve been making music since I was 14 and have learned to play a few instruments along the way. When the pandemic put an end to gigs, I used the time to figure out the best way for me to write music and produce my own songs.

While music is my passion, I’ve also worked in the tech industry for 11 years in either content/knowledge management or program management. I’ve created chatbots, developed help websites, and managed knowledge products. I’m grateful to the job as it gives me the freedom to make the type of music I want to make.

My latest project has been brewing since the start of the pandemic. 

I’m a big fan of Nicolas Cage and have seen everything from the classics like Con Air to the downright weird like Vampire’s Kiss. 

What I love about him is he gives maximum effort in everything he does; he’s an “all gas, no brakes” kind of a performer.

I had the idea of writing a song that used classic Nicolas Cage movie quotes as the lyrics, a sort of Where’s Wally for people like me who’ve spent years watching bad movies. And for the music video, I spent months re-creating costumes from his movies. It was an off-the-wall idea when I first thought of it but now that the work is done, I think people are going to enjoy it.

While we were making the video, I would see my buddy Rob laughing behind the camera while I was in character as Nicolas Cage from Con Air or Snake Eyes, and the guys on the set would be singing the chorus on their smoke breaks, so I’ve got a feeling My Name is Nicolas Cage is going to be a catchy single. The song and video are now recorded, and it should be ready for release at the end of March.

What are you most excited about at the moment?

I’m looking forward to releasing my next single, which is a dance track called Take the Ride. It will be on all streaming platforms on February 25. The music is in the spirit of The Prodigy with big drums, razor sharp synths, and more hooks than a butcher shop.

The lyrics are based on my favourite book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which was written by journalist Hunter S Thompson who would take on straight forward article assignments, run up massive expense bills, and turn in book-length rambling narratives about American society, usually late and very rarely about the intended topic. The title Take the Ride is a reference to one of his famous phrases “Buy the ticket, take the ride”, which is about being steadfast in your actions: decide your direction in life and give it maximum effort. The song Take the Ride embodies that intensity; it’s a catchy track designed for late night raves and dancefloors.

What is your ideal way to spend a Friday night?

Friday nights are spent either making music or heading out to the wilderness for the weekend. Now that we’re on the other side of the pandemic, it’s been great getting back to socialising. 

A cabin near the forest, sea, or the mountains is my ideal place at the weekend; being away from screens is important.

And with the return of gigs, I’ll be heading back to Cyprus Avenue and Dolan’s in the coming months.

If money was no object where would you head to on a weekend city break? And who would you bring with you?

I’d fly to Iceland for the weekend and see the northern lights. I saw them briefly once and it took two trips to get that experience. Natural phenomena like that add legitimate magic to everyday life. You could imagine Vikings seeing those effervescent lights in the sky and thinking the Norse gods were talking to them. 

In the summer, I’d go to Bergen in Norway and go kayaking around the fjords. I’d bring my mates who are over in Canada as we’re long overdue a catch-up.

Closer to home, is there some place you like to head to recharge the batteries?

I started swimming in the sea during the pandemic and I found it to be tremendous for maintaining my wellbeing. There is something powerful about being in the Atlantic Ocean and overcoming the sheer iciness of it. There’s nothing like the possibility of hypothermia to make you feel alive. I love heading down to Inch Beach, Robert’s Cove, and Nohoval Cove to get a swim in. I also regularly go mountain biking in the Ballyhouras as there are miles of trails in the area and they’re relatively quiet; I’ve often been up there and not met another soul. Just hanging out, chatting with the red squirrels and foxes.

Do you like to catch up with family/friends at the weekend?

Sundays are for catching up with family. We’re a tight-knit group and I’m very grateful to have that in my life. Fridays and Saturdays are for friends now that the pandemic has eased up a bit.

Do you get to indulge any hobbies? Even as a spectator?

Making music takes up a significant portion of my free time. Outside of writing music, my hobbies are swimming in the sea, forest walks, mountain biking, and scaling climbing walls.

John Ryan, aka Stuck on Repeat who launches his new single, Take the Ride on February 25.
John Ryan, aka Stuck on Repeat who launches his new single, Take the Ride on February 25.

Entertain or be entertained? If it’s the latter do you have a signature dish?

Playing gigs is one of my favourite things in the world to do and I’m excited to get back at it. 

I also can’t wait to go to a gig again. I recently had a look online for gig listings for the first time in two years and it made me very excited. 

I picked up a ticket to see Tangerine Dream in Amsterdam after finding out their Dublin show is sold out. I think that’s the best re-introduction to live music I could hope for. If my social life was exclusively playing gigs and going to shows, I’d count myself very fortunate.

We have so many places to eat out in Cork — where are your go to spots for coffee/ lunch/ special meal?

I’d happily eat sushi until I burst, like Mr Cresote in Monty Python, so I’m regularly at Wabi Sabi and Sakura.

Lie ins or up with the lark.. which is it for you?

I’m a night owl with a lark schedule, so I have two devices and about 10 alarms set to get me up every morning. 

My best mate jokingly said he’d buy me this remote-control car alarm clock that would race around the room blaring a foghorn alarm until you catch it and turn it off, but I told him honestly that thing would be kicked out the window in the first week.

I envy the early birds, getting up earlier is on the to do list.

Does work creep into your weekend at all?

I go hard at the day job on the weekdays and dedicate time over the weekend to music and socialising. 

Striking the balance between career and passion projects is important to me. 

When I look back in a few decades, I’ll be happiest if I put as much of my free time as I could into making music and getting songs out there.

Sunday night comes around too fast. How do you normally spend it?

I like to get the laptop out and work on songs. The pandemic gave me time to build up a backlog of tracks to work on, so I regularly go back to songs I’ve made a year ago and update them. Sunday nights are usually laid back, I might give myself a few hours and see if I can make a song in that time.

What time does your alarm clock go off on Monday morning?

The alarm goes off at 8am but I’d like to get up consistently at 7am this year. It’s on the To Do list.

John Ryan, aka Stuck on Repeat.
John Ryan, aka Stuck on Repeat.

Stuck on Repeat releases his new single Take the Ride on all streaming platforms on February 25.

Check out his music on Spotify:

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