Mental Effector: Songs In The Key Of Life

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Micky Maguire

Mental Effector, AKA Mikey Maguire, is an electronic music producer originally from Ardfert, but now based in Limerick. Here, he tells of the music which has soundtracked his life…

Santo & Johnny – Sleepwalk

My first music memory is of listening to my parent’s vinyl record of the soundtrack to the film “La Bamba”. Obviously I didn’t understand the lyrics to the title track, but it’s energy and fun had buckets of appeal to my siblings and I.

Similarly with The Big Boppers “Chantilly Lace”, and La Vern Baker’s “Tweedlee Dee”. But “Sleepwalk” by Johnny & Santos that stood out as something different.

It was otherworldly.

The Beatles – I Saw Her Standing There

My parents also had a compilation of hits from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, which included such tracks as Manfred Mann’s “Duwadiddy” and Scott McKenzie’s “San Francisco”.

There must have been some Carpenters on there too, who I still love. And the Beatles, of course. Always the Beatles.

The Righteous Brothers – You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling

What do the movies Top Gun and Memphis Belle have in common?

Yes, they are both movies about military airplanes, but the correct answer is that both films provided musical inspiration to the five Maguire children. Memphis Belle taught us “Danny Boy” and “Amazing Grace”, courtesy of tail gunner-cum-crooner, Harry Connick Jr.

I distinctly remember family car journeys, where this cute quintet belted out The Righteous Brothers “You’ve Lost That Loving’ Feeling”. Thanks Mav and Goose.

Rory Gallagher – Dan O’Hara

I also remember my uncle Liam Maguire used to sing to us the ballad “Dan O’Hara”. As he sang it unaccompanied, the lyrics became the focal point.

I remember that it was such a sad song, probably the first time that music made me feel like that. I don’t think I ever heard that song sung by anyone else besides Liam, until recently, where I heard it on the radio being sung by Finbar Furey.

Christy Moore – The Reel In The Flickering Light

Saturday mornings, Mam doing housework, Christy Moore on the stereo.

U2 – Springhill Mining Disaster 

My introduction to Luke Kelly came in the form of a VHS videotape of a Late Late Show tribute to the man himself. This featured a live recording of Luke singing “Scorn Not His Simplicity”, and U2 performing a cover version of “The Springhill Mining Disaster”, complete with Edge’s scratchy-delay-guitar-thing.

Snow – Informer

I have vivid memories of Atlantic 252 Radio, and those incessant British Army ads. I can recall so many songs from this formative era, up until the mid 90’s, including: “Mr Wendal” – Arrested Development, “Baby I love Your Way” – Big Mountain, “Would I Lie to You” – Charles & Eddie, “Two Can Play That Game” – Bobby Brown, “Return To Innocence” – Enigma and “Informer” – Snow.

Whitetown – I Could Never Be Your Women

From about ’97, when I turned 11, my interest in music had taken root. I still love this musical era and continue to go back to find the music that I missed at the time.

My older siblings were listening to The Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, Massive Attack, Fatboy Slim, Oasis, Finley Quaye and The Stereophonics, and so I did too.

But the big thing about Whitetown’s “I Could Never be Your Woman” at the time, was that this guy had produced this song in his bedroom on a computer. I couldn’t get my head around it. My curiosity in music production and technology had been stirred.

Thin Lizzy – Still In Love With You

My parents bought me my first guitar for my 15th birthday. I had moved exclusively to rock music by now. It was all Guns N Roses, Thin Lizzy, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Alice in Chains, Led Zeppelin. I used to be in band at this time called Vena Cava and we played in most of the bars around Tralee that had live rock music. Then The Strokes came along, so I mellowed out a bit and moved to The Smiths, The Cure and New Order.

The Boris Gardiner Happening – Melting Pot

By 2004 I was 18 and had started working in Frontier clothes shop in Tralee. Darragh, John, Pat and the other staff used to play an insanely eclectic mix of music in there. Dub, hip-hop, electronica, house, funk, soul, and everything in between. There were some great tunes played on a Saturday afternoon. It was enlightening. “Take Five” – Dave Brubeck, “Melting Pot” – Boris Gardner, “Don’t You Want My Love?” – Moodyman, “F*** Hip-hop” – RJD2, “Tell The King” – The Libertines.

Fionn Regan – The Underwood Typewriter

I enrolled on a Music Production and Technology course in FAS. Since then my musical interests have exploded in terms of variety. I took a little detour into folk via Neil Young and Fionn Regan. Then loads of reggae/dub/ska and all that Trojan Records stuff.

Bononbo – Sleepy Seven

For the last few years I have been to a lot of slower tempo electronica. Bonobo, Nujabes, Freddie Joachim, Bibio and Fourtet. In these artists I found a music that resembled the kind of music that I would like to produce.

The music I make is an eclectic mix of electronic music, and I am currently studying for an M.A. in Music Technology at University of Limerick. At present, I make all my music available to download for free from

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