Introducing DJ Billy to the world is a fun game to play, so much to say about this real music lover whom I first met on the marché de la Palud in Lausanne, thirteen years ago, on a sunny Saturday morning. Billy was selling music related t-shirts of his own making with his stand squeezed between a flowers merchant and an organic veggie dealer. Billy is a Swiss DJ from Ireland, a music reviewer, a funny man to have a chat with and a pint “emptier” at every good beergarden near you. To describe Brendan Flynn (his real name), I would say that he always chased the good bands that make him happy in Dublin, London, Zurich or Lausanne for a professional reason or just for the sake of it. We share a passion for New Order, Ride and The Smiths, three names ringing the bell for every Anglo-Irish indie kids who grew up at the end of last century. Pure music love, no need to make money out of it, his passion does not pay the bills! For the music signature, Brendan chose the familiar Billy (say “Belly” to sound more Irish). Billy for the DJ’s name on the bill sounds more efficient and the man is now a well-known Lausanne turntablist – among a group of expats I belong to – that is giving on a regular basis great sensations to the people in different regional pubs, private parties and Bar-Mitzvahs. Billy will also soon be a new contributor with The Swiss Music Show. Welcome to the Swiss Music Show! But before you get to know the man’s music reviews in Switzerland (his article on deck is a gig review + an interview with the French electro duo Scratch Massive, patience, it is coming up in a few days), let’s discover Brendan’s universe. The writer and Swiss resident for more that fifteen years is married to a Swiss woman and is also a swiss music lover, with a lot of good jokes and anecdotes about the indie pop music scene in Albion, let’s find out about the man and his good words. Beware, explicit lyrics have not been censored in the interview, keep the kids away.
The Swiss Music Show: What is your style like when you spin records?
Brendan Flynn: I have a strange style when I’m playing. I like to go along the vibe with the music and I have an eclectic taste in music. I tend to go with how myself and the crowd feel and I love to play obscure music as my Guinness count goes up.
Who are the people you play music too?
I love to play to people who truly hear the hooks and drops and understand the lyrics’ place within the music! Oh and drunk or stoned funny people who enjoy themselves!
Where are you from and why did you choose Lausanne to live?
I’m actually from a very rough housing estate in Dublin and grew up with punks, skinheads, metal heads and lads in tracksuits. My area was filled up with burnt stolen cars driven by junkies for the buzz. But music was the one thing that glued all these people together. That and actual glue in a bag! I came to Lausanne via London where I met my Swiss Jura wife in a goth/industrial nightclub in Camden Town on a Friday night. She couldn’t speak much English and me much French but 24 years later she speaks better English than me.
Can a DJ can survive with his earnings outside of a quarantine situation?
Not really but earnings are just a way to buy a few pints and a bit of bread and cheese. I just love playing music and if others get a blast from it that’s what really gives me the bumps.
What’s your relationship to Swiss music, what are your favourite Swiss
It took me a while here to really appreciate Swiss music. It’s a different scene from the UK or Ireland as Swiss German bands tend to sound more Germanic and edgy, whereas Swiss French usually tend to be like what goes on in France and be more rap or old French crooner style. But more and more new Swiss bands are taking the zoned mentality off and going for it. I worked at les Docks a few years ago for 10 months doing free Wednesday night bands on a 500 CHF budget that helped me get a good look at some Swiss bands out there. There are some really quirky bands around which I booked and I loved the experience. It was different from the bands I had promoted before in Ireland and the UK. I loved the Peacocks, Favez and The Young Gods which I met in London in the early 90’s. I got to chat with them before the gig and ended up fairly drunk and allowed on stage to fling my long dreads around on stage alongside a girl wearing a cat suit with a tail. Embarrassingly it was all caught on tape.
Do you play a lot of Swiss music in your mix?
I try to if I really like the tune. I tend to probably play more French or German stuff. I love to also play quirky Japanese garage music and general quirky stuff like Tijuana Taxi etc.
What is your opinion over the music nights in clubs in Romandie and
elsewhere in Switzerland?
I think sometimes in Romandie they can be a bit restrictive in musical styles allowed to play and the 100 decibel law is a bit Boo! Spoilsport. It really boils down to the Canton, as some are more open-minded and some old school boring farts.
What is the first song you will play after the confinement?
Has to be Always look on the bright side of life by Monty Python!
Would you be ok to play for a mobster or in a Donald Trump’s hotel?
Yeah. Why not? Even mobsters need a little Marvin Gaye to chill.
Interview by David Glaser