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Conor Ruane, Founder/Creative Director of Cork Sound Fair

Wednesday, 9th January, 2019 4:57pm

Name and position: Conor Ruane, Founder/Creative Director of Cork Sound Fair

Age: 28

Lives: Cork

Family: I come from a big family - four sisters and one brother.

Pets: None, but my girlfriend and I really would like a dog. Sometimes we go to the market near us and admire other people pets and we’d love to have one, but we wouldn’t be home enough and feel it won’t be right to lock a pet up for hours.

Favourite thing about Cork: From living elsewhere, the people. Cork people are friendly when you get to know them and are bit more down to earth than other cities. I suppose it has the right balance of being big enough to have all the good things a city has with a safety net for the village groupthink, which creates a nice environment.

Least favourite thing about Cork: Restrictive venue management policies. An outdated dance licensing law and pressure for venue owners to keep their heads above water has created a problematic and inhibiting environmental for hosting left of field music and art in the city.

One thing you’d change about Cork: Bring in a night-time mayor to look at exploring what the city has to offer. Try and make socialising and participation in cultural activities more accessible. Not to create for the sake of it, but Cork will be left behind if we don’t have an accessible and interesting environment for both the artistic community and patrons. It has been proven that a vibrant night-time economy is key in attracting young skilled people who will bring with them investment and innovation. This of course has to been done correctly, and this does not mean Cork and maybe Ireland need to look at bringing a consistency to artistic programming throughout the year, and not once-off events. I may be a turkey calling for Christmas here, but it is hard for people to go to a festival every weekend, which is what we seem to have at the minute.

When you were small, what did you want to be as a grown-up?

For years I thought the answer to the question was an engineer. I love understanding how things work and breaking things down. However, I recently spoke to my parents and they said I wanted to run my own elephant farm - obviously not understanding the concept of farming at the age of five!

Tell us about your career progression to your role today:

Music is very much a pastime for me, therefore I don’t consider it a career. Looking back on my involvement in music, I am very much a practical learner in that I learn from taking part working with others and using those skills elsewhere. Cork Sound Fair 2018 was a steep learning curve coming from a world of electronic music, where tools of the trade are mostly turntables and mixer, to the all live programme of Cork Sound Fair. I had to quickly learn the technical side of that game.

What is the most enjoyable aspect of what you do?

Seeing people react to something that been in your heart for 9 - 12months is a pretty good buzz; sometimes that reaction is one of enjoyment, excitement, or confusion. I also enjoy new challenges. This year we’re expanding and have taken on three new venues, and have only retained one artist from the previous line up.

What motivates you?

I have always had a necessity to hear new music. No matter what shape or form it may take. I find hearing new music and sharing it with other is good for the head.

What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?

Keep learning the guitar. Shortly before this age I had picked up the guitar and never carried it on to my formative years. Also; buy a set of turn tables and practice - because they were way cheaper back then, and the art of mixing records is something I came to pretty late, just after finishing college when some of my friends were already wizards on the decks.

If you weren’t in the job you have, what would you be doing?

The world of music is very much a pastime for me; day-to-day I work as an ecologist. So I suppose I would be doing that. Most of the time I am in the office but often I get out and about surveying areas for protected species.

What is your greatest life or career achievement to-date?

Cork Sound Fair 2018, working with over 15 artists and in two of Cork’s historic venues, with restricted budget and short set up times. It’s something that I had in my head for a long time and was delighted it went off well last year.

Who has had the biggest influence on you in your life?

In the world of music, it is probably some of my closest college friends who introduced me to the world of electronic music and inspired me to putting on my first gig. I have made some really close friends through this world and often wonder what I would do without it. 

What is the life dream now?

Travel. I have some friends in far flung places I would like to catch up with. I work a 9-5 and spend a lot of my free time either doing CSF stuff or checking out a gig. Some time off somewhere very far away with friends would be nice.

How do you switch off?

I really like to walk, especially in wooded or seaside areas. Cork is great in that you can drive for a short time and get to some amazing places. I work right beside a park, and sometimes I’m found there at lunch time. Also, listening to music is good to tune out. However, I find I get to do this less and less as a pastime. 

What is your favourite Cork memory?

There’s no particular one memory. It would be either the summer of 2017, or last summer. My first summer in Cork was great. I lived with a great bunch of people who introduced me to some sound people and the city itself. Last summer was unforgettable - the weather was so good, ideal for exploring and enjoying the Cork coast.

What is your favourite place in Cork?

Plugd Records upstairs at The Roundy. I’ve have had some great nights in there since I moved to Cork and have been introduced to some amazing music thanks to Mr Jimmy.

Do you have a favourite quote or motto?

To be honest, not really. I’m sure I have come across some great ones like, ‘never do tomorrow what you can do today’. But I usually leave that craic to the Instagram crew.

When are you at your happiest?

Listening to live music or eating good food with friends.

Any regrets?

Not continuing to learn how to play music.

What is your hidden talent?

I can probably name all the plants in your garden!

What might we be surprised to know about you?

I have never been to the US - I’m ok with that for now though.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

Cork Sound Fair will be back from 28-31 March in some of Cork’s most stunning settings. If you have an interest in sound and visual art, or would like to see what we are about, check us out on Facebook or at

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