The globetrotting Jay Ahern (a.k.a. Add Noise, Cheap and Deep, Hauntologists) has spent the past two decades floating under the surface as a quintessential producer’s producer. While in Dublin, Ireland, the techno artist started the Aquarhythms and Hydroelectric labels, releasing mixes by Carl Craig, Morgan Geist, and Deep Dish as well as works under his own monikers to keep the deep beats rolling. By the late ‘90s, a number of those early singles became cult classics and were reissued on the Astralwerks and Phono labels. In 2003 Ahern launched the Earsugar label, which saw releases by Stefan Schneider, Gudrun Gut, Thomas Fehlmann, Brendon Moeller, Hauschka, Dirk Dresselhaus and many others. Also in 2003, Ahern's Add Noise production moniker came into existence. By 2006, he had relocated to Berlin, Germany and began releasing on the Hard Wax-distributed Handwerk label, thus furthering his reputation as Add Noise. His Cheap and Deep incarnation was born in 2009, while Ahern worked at Hard Wax.
Berlin proved to be fertile ground for collaborations with Ahern embarking on both live and studio projects with Stefan Schneider (Mapstation, To Rococo Rot) as Hauntologists, Robert Henke (Monolake) as Termulator X, Henrik Jonsson (Gunnar Jonsson, Jonsson/Alter) as Kvadratklang and Adam Marshall (New Kanada) as Étapes. In 2010, Ahern relocated to the US with his family to care for his father and, after settling in Colorado, the following year saw studio sessions and new live collaborations with US-based artists including Jonah Sharp (Spacetime Continuum, Reagenz) and Morgan Packard (Anticipate Recordings, Thicket). Ahern also has ten years of music industry experience, outside of his own labels/projects, with past and present professional positions in marketing, distribution and label management at Beatport, Hard Wax, Domino Records, PIAS, and V2.
Modular Cowboy, the US-based electronic music label started by Jay Ahern in 2012, focuses on deep club tracks, live improvisational works and music apps that share the label’s creative vision of performance-based sound design and strong visual aesthetics with the end-user. Modular Cowboy also maintains strong ties to the electronic music scene in Berlin, as Ahern is a transplant from that city. The label is an exclusive outlet for Ahern to release his collaborations with artists such as Morgan Packard and commission remixes from inspirational producers such as Berghain resident DJ Norman Nodge and exciting new talent such as Jonsson/Alter. In addition to traditional releases, Modular Cowboy will also release sample packs and other tools for DJs and producers. The label’s strong visual aesthetic is courtesy of designer Maike Verloh. Berlin-based Hard Wax is the official distributor for Modular Cowboy releases. This is dance music that reverberates with the past, the present AND future while celebrating collaboration, performance and a physical relationship with sound.
"My goal with the new Modular Cowboy label is to look to the future without losing the sensory experiences of the past," says Ahern, "To provide opportunities for both pure enjoyment as well as active performance of music."
- Official Modular Cowboy Site - www.modularcowboy.com - Facebook - www.facebook.com/modularcowboy - Twitter - twitter.com/modularcowboy - SoundCloud - soundcloud.com/modularcowboy - Hard Wax - hardwax.com
Jay Ahern was also an Irish radio presenter with RTÉ 2fm. He left the station in 2003 and was replaced by Dan Hegarty. He was amongst the industry professionals who were outspoken about the loss of the music television programme, No Disco, just before his own departure from the radio in 2003.
- "Three times lucky?". Hot Press. 9 July 2003. Retrieved 17 October 2008.
- "We want "No Disco", say Irish public and Irish music industry". thumped dot com. 13 April 2003. Retrieved 19 November 2008.