The Infomatics

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In the habitually underestimated world of Irish hip-hop reside a number of acts determined to shun mainstream rap clichés and instead foster a sound that, if not wholly Irish, is at least distinctive…
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In the habitually underestimated world of Irish hip-hop reside a number of acts determined to shun mainstream rap clichés and instead foster a sound that, if not wholly Irish, is at least distinctive to that part of the world. The Infomatics are one such act, a five-piece collective from Dublin centering on MCs Mr Dero and Konchus Lingo and producer Boc. Taking inspiration from Celtic hip-hop progenitors Marxman, the Infomatics blend alternative rap influences, from Ultramagnetic MC's to the Roots, and hooky Northern soul with a solid grounding in electronic dance and traditional Irish music, the latter influence coming to bear via Boc's peculiar talent as a flute player.

The Infomatics' path began in earnest in the Dublin suburb of Ballymun, where 14-year-olds Barry O'Conaill, aka Boc, and Graham Birney, aka Bugs, began jamming together on piano, bass, and whatever other instruments they could find, and performing at house parties or any other event that would have them. A younger Birney brother, Aidan, later to become Mr Dero, helped nurture the pair's musical development by introducing them to the likes of Mos Def and the Roots. Several years later, in 2003, the three would wind up together once again as part of a formative rap group with Stephen Gunn, aka Konchus Lingo, a fellow university student of Boc's who had fallen in love with hip-hop at age 12 upon a formative visit to New York.

O'Conaill and Gunn met at Dublin's Coláiste Dhúlaigh University, and were grafting in an insurance telesales center when they happened upon Dero, who was also working in the building for a little spare cash. The three made a plan to jam together the following week, with Dero and Konchus Lingo as MCs, Boc on keys, and Dero's brother Bugs on bass. Bugs was at the time a member of Dublin dub and ska collective Kingsativa, appearing on two albums before the group disbanded in early 2005. Initial sessions proved fruitful, and the group set about imposing itself as a live act, as well as laying the foundation for future recordings. In 2005, under the guidance of manager Nick Fitzsimons, they began recording what was to become their debut album, and recruited drummer Jorge Laguna to enhance their live performances.

While the Infomatics' 2006 demos made a strong impression on the local rap scene, and support slots with Nas and ?uestlove exposed them to larger audiences, they took their time in the studio rather than rushing a release to capitalize on their popularity. Kill or Create was granted its long-awaited release on April 4, 2008, via the Infomatics' own Q-NISS Records and was accompanied by their debut commercial single, "Wake Up," in February. While working on their debut album, the various members moonlighted on other projects. Konchus Lingo established himself as a noted producer and beatmaker in the U.K. drum'n'bass scene under his nom de plume, Jeeves Blackfield, collaborating on albums by Zero Tolerance and A.I. Bugs continued his work as a sound engineer, working on albums by Republic of Loose and Neville Staples, while all four core members began work on solo projects.