R.A.P. Interview: Eamon Duffy

Eamon Duffy Voiceovers, Castlebellingham, Ireland

Eamon-DuffyBy Jerry Vigil

This month’s R.A.P. Interview journeys over to the lush, green land of the Irish to visit with one of the country’s busiest VO pros, who does work for most of the stations in the country and then some, while keeping a busy schedule as a club jock, and holding down an air shift as well. Eamon Duffy got his start in the days of pirate radio stations in Ireland and has managed to stay afloat through changing radio laws and changing economies. We get a glimpse at Eamon’s interesting background and a look at VO in Ireland in this month’s interview. Be sure to check out the R.A.P. CD for audio from Eamon!

JV: Tell us how you got started on your path to voiceover. Did you get into radio first?
Eamon: No, I got into DJ’ing at nightclubs first. There was a nightclub that a couple of my brothers had worked in before -- and it’s not that it was a family tradition, but it kind of was a family tradition. It wasn’t that kind of thing where they said, we have to get the younger brother now, he’s the newest creation. It was just that they knew my older brother. Then he moved on somewhere else and they got my second older brother. Then he moved on somewhere else and so on and so forth. So I kind of slid into place.

And the guy that owned that nightclub also owned a pirate radio station. I was lucky enough at the age of 12 that my voice kind of went bang and just dropped, so I didn’t sound 12. I sounded about 17 or 18. There was a couple of fill-in slots on the weekends that my mom and dad were gracious enough to allow me to do, and that’s how it came about that I got radio.

JV: You were 12 when you got into radio?
Eamon: I was 14. I was 12 when I started getting into DJ’ing and messing around with turntables, as they were back then. And then of course I was too young to actually work in venues. Even at 14, I was too young to work in venues. But because the laws weren’t as stringent back then as they are now -- I’m 43 now so you are talking 30 years ago -- you could kind of get away with stuff.

JV: So you were a little underage when you started in the nightclubs!
Eamon: I was a lot underage.

JV: And you were 14 when you did your first shift on the pirate station. That must have been exciting.
Eamon: I did my first on-air shift at 14, just after my 14th birthday. It was the same old story that you hear time and time again. Somebody didn’t show up. I don’t know what you call it in the States but we call it spinning over here, where you just spin out the hits or spin out the songs but you don’t actually speak on air. So it’s like an engineer or whatever, I was doing that. I was very good at that kind of stuff.

So the guy didn’t turn in for his show, and the station owner rang me and said, do you want to do it? Of course! I can do it in my sleep because I was well used to playing the songs. But linking from one song into the next and getting timings and stuff right, I had never done that. So I made a complete hash of it, but I tried and obviously did something right because I was back on again the following week.

About a month later, the guy that hadn’t showed up for his gig that I originally filled in for left, so a slot opened up and I got it. That was literally right place, right time.

JV: And that was a full-time position?
Eamon: No, it was a weekend thing. I remember I was still at school. I was in, as we call it, secondary school, or what you call high school, I believe. I was still at school. I hadn’t gone to college or anything at that stage, so I was still very young. I wasn’t eligible to drive a car or take alcohol, but I was on the radio, which is what I wanted.

JV: How long did this last?
Eamon: In 1988, all the pirate radio stations in Ireland were shut down by the government, and all the legal stations came about then from 1989 onwards. But between 1977 and 1988, there were so many pirates that the good ones became known as the super pirates, and that was one of the ones that I was on. It lasted I suppose for… I hit it at about 1984 until ’88, so four years. Then there was a year off because nobody was working pirate radio because it was all legal radio. Then it took me about five years to get back into actual legal radio because the legal stations didn’t want to touch ex-pirate people because they were tainted or tarnished, if you like.

JV: Were you full-time on the pirate station eventually?
Eamon: Yes, I was full-time on the pirate station eventually. I did the chart show. I was a Casey Kasem if you like. I did the Top 20 countdown on a Sunday afternoon, and during the week I was on drive time. When school holidays were around, I was on more. You have to remember this was a station with a listenership of about 20,000 people, so it was quite small by comparison to some markets. But at the time, because radio is very small in Ireland, it was huge. Like you’re on the radio? Oh, you’re a megastar! Now, anybody is on the radio, so it doesn’t make a difference.

JV: Tell us about your time in “legal radio”.
Eamon: Again, when I tell you about my life story, it seems to be right place right time a lot of the time. I was working in a nightclub about 100 miles down south of where I was from, so I was staying in a hotel. My career as a DJ took off more so than a radio guy, so I was working five or six nights a week around Ireland. Ireland is 377 miles from top to bottom and 200 and something from left to right. I was literally popping up and down the country doing about 1000 miles a week and staying at different hotels. So I had already gone from this nightclub down south, then I was home for three days doing the local gigs, and then it was off down the country again.

I was working in a nightclub in a place called Tipperary. There’s a song named after it: It’s a Long Way to Tipperary -- and believe me, at 4:00 AM, it is a long way to Tipperary. I was working down there, and the nightclub owner said, you did a bit of radio. Go do the ads for the nightclub. And that’s how I got into voiceover stuff. I had done little bits and pieces before but nothing like this. I was just playing other characters on ads where I wouldn’t have been the main announcer, VO guy. I would have been the guy in the background going, “I think we need a new kitchen, dad” -- one of those guys.

So my first gig was actually for a nightclub where I was the announcer guy, and I progressed from there to not only being the announcer guy but also being the guy that worked in the nightclub saying, join me, Eamon Duffy this week in blah, blah, blah at whatever nightclub. And it kind of spiraled from there.

Once I’d done those commercials, the production guy at the radio station at the time said, you have a nice voice. Do you want to do some other stuff? So I was going down and doing my gig on a Thursday night, and all day Friday I would stay in the radio studio and voice commercials for them. Then I would go back up to the country on Friday afternoon, do some other gigs, and wouldn’t see anything more down there for another week. But they would keep all the stuff for me. The kind of boy-next-door voice that I had at the time, that’s what they wanted. They would keep all that stuff for me for the following week because back then there was no ISDN and I didn’t have a home studio.

JV: You are about how old at this point? In your 20s?
Eamon: I was born in 1969, so I would have been 24 or 25.

JV: So you’re doing this, and obviously voiceovers started picking up for you.
Eamon: Yeah, voiceovers started picking up because once you do five or six, you get your demo together. Back in those days, this is ’94, the Internet and MP3s and Wi-Fi delivery by email hadn’t really taken off. It was still very much in its infancy. So you were dependent on burning a CD and sending it out. And when you don’t get the replies back as quick as you would like, you kind of get disheartened with it.

So it didn’t happen in 1994. It happened more so in 1996. I spent about two years firing off demos to this guy and that guy and finding out who is at this and that radio station. The local stations didn’t want to talk because I was an ex-pirate. “Oh, we don’t want your sort around here.” I don’t want to say that we were tarnished -- all the pirates -- we weren’t all tarnished, but they just didn’t want that sound. They wanted the kind of more legalized, very formatted radio sound, and I didn’t fit that at the time. I do now, but I didn’t fit it at the time.

So I got the demo together from about 20 commercials that I had done down at that station and I sent it out. The work began to come in slowly, very slowly. But bear in mind as well, I live in the sticks. I live in the countryside in the northeast of the country, and all the studios and main places for doing stuff were in Dublin, which is 55 miles away. I wasn’t particularly accessible. You get the call on the cell phone, and you are still an hour and a half away before you can get near a studio. And as you well know, being in the game, they don’t want it in an hour and a half; they want it now. So I wasn’t top of the list; I was well down the list. Whereas other guys living in Dublin had more access to studios, some of them worked in radio stations and could use the radio station studio and fire it across via AdSat or whatever. Those were the guys who were getting the big work.

But moving onwards to 1996 or 1997 when the net started coming out, I got my hands on a program called Cool Edit, which I’m sure you well know. It came on a 1.4 meg floppy disk. The whole program came on this one disk. It was a two track recorder. That’s when I decided there could be a future in this. So I started doing commercials and firing them off via email, big files. MP3s hadn’t been discovered really at that stage for compression, so I started sending big files and it was taking ages to download because it was a 56K modem. There was no broadband or DSL or whatever.

But that took off, and slowly but surely it built up. It was a long, tedious process to get to the point where you are actually doing it for a living. That kind of came in 1999 to 2000, when I actually started to make a nice little living out of it while still DJ’ing in clubs, which I still do.

JV: What came next?
Eamon: I moved houses in 2000 and moved into a five bedroom house. I converted one of the bedrooms to a home studio. At the time, having bought a house, of course money wasn’t particularly flush, so I put in the best at the time that I could and added to it over the years. But more so than adding gear, I was adding clients because now you had ISDN and you had instant accessibility. Somebody could lift a phone and have you on the end of the microphone in two minutes. So that’s kind of where I cut the niche in Ireland for me because at that stage, there are probably about 70 VO guys in Ireland in total. And even still in 2013, there are probably only about 15 of those guys who have home studios. The rest of them are still using the old methods where they are going to a studio and voicing it from there with a client sitting with them. That is something that I never do. I never go to a studio because it’s all done for my home. My commute to work is like 15 feet. Great. Rush-hour traffic for me is like, oh look, there is a cue for the bathroom. That’s my rush-hour traffic.

But that brings us up to current day where I work for probably 80% of the radio stations in the country doing different VOs, probably 10 or 15 VOs a day in the off-peak times, a little bit more coming into peak times. Christmas and St. Patrick’s Day and such, it just goes mental. You could have maybe 35 or 40 commercials in a day. Now, that’s for about a week. Like Christmas week, I did something in the region of about 400 commercials in the month of December. That’s a lot of ads. That’s a lot of spots, a lot of videos. That’s probably why my voice sounds a little bit harsh today and a bit gravelly.

JV: Sounds like you might be the busiest voiceover guy in Ireland.
Eamon: No, I’m not actually. Absolutely not. I don’t generally do standard rip and read commercials because I can act. Because I can act, I tend to get those kinds of commercials as opposed to just the straight reads. Now, I do get the straight reads, but for the other stuff, a lot of the engineers and the production guys around the country and radio stations will go, Eamon Duffy can do that. I also do mimics of Irish celebrities and some international people as well. I do sound-alikes, so I get those commercials too.

I seem to be very busy for the nonstandard reads. Like Marge Simpson, I do Marge Simpson, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama. Morgan Freeman I can do. Any time there are those commercials where they require that kind of thing, I’m one of the go-to guys. You have the X Factor in the States. Well, the X Factor voiceover guy in the UK is huge. His name is Peter Dixon. He is absolutely huge. He’s earned a quarter of a million dollars retainer -- or maybe slightly more when you convert from sterling -- just for the X Factor. And that’s alleged. Whether it is true or not is a different story. But he has earned massive money for doing that, and his voice is very distinctive. His voice and my voice live in the same spectrum, so I can do a very, very, decent mimic of him. I get a lot of work from doing that. Most of the stuff that I did over Christmas was X Factor style because the X Factor had just finished and everybody wanted a commercial with the X Factor voice. It’s very big and booming and quite annoying, but fortunately for me, I can do it.

JV: It doesn’t sound like you have a lot of time for much more than voiceover and the nightclub stuff. You’re not doing any production are you?
Eamon: No. I did that though. That’s kind of why I decided to get into VOs. In 1995 to 1997, somewhere around then, I started doing commercials, and I was doing commercials for local people for local businesses where I lived. But I was doing the full thing. I was doing the VO and doing the production. I thought to myself, wait a minute. There could be a niche market here, a one-stop shop if you like. Then clients would come to me and they would say, well look, we want this girl to do it or that guy to do it. These guys and girls were getting paid like $100 for a VO, and I was getting paid $30 -- or the equivalent in Euros -- to do the production. I sat back and went, there something wrong with this picture. This guy walks in, gets a glass of water, reads the script and leaves and gets three times the money I do. And I’m doing all the button pushing and tweaking and playing with it. This isn’t right. So I decided that I would do the far side of the microphone thing for a while, and I stopped doing the production. I still love doing it and I still do a little bit, more so for fun.

I did production for maybe three or four years and got offered a couple jobs in radio stations. But I wouldn’t be interested in a job in a radio station because you could be doing 20 commercials a day, with timelines and sales reps and managers coming in and giving hell to you because it’s not ready. I couldn’t handle that. I couldn’t hack that kind of pressure. I much prefer the pressure from somebody who says, we need it in an hour, can we have then? Certainly.

JV: I take it you’ve been out on your own for quite a long time. How many years were you actually full-time employed, grabbing a paycheck?
Eamon: I have never been full-time employed. I’m part-time now on a radio station in Dublin, which is 55 miles away, and a local radio station as well. And that’s purely just for the fun of it. I like it because I still have the radio bug. But I have never actually ever received a full-time paycheck, ever. I’ve never received social welfare or social benefit or government funding ever. I have always, if you pardon the pun, paddled my own canoe. I don’t have any kids at the moment, but if I do have kids, that’s one thing I will try to instill into them, that if you don’t do it, nobody is going to do it for you. Nobody hands you the stuff, you’ve got to go out there and knock on the doors. And you will get knocked back, but eventually you will keep on knocking and something will give and you get something out of it that will lead to something else. But no, I have never been one to take the easy route.

JV: That’s a good thing to say about oneself, to like paddling your own canoe and having never taken a welfare check from the government.
Eamon: I’ve never had a welfare check. We call it the dole here. I have never in my life had any payouts from the government for social funding or anything. And that’s not necessarily a good thing either because at the moment, because I’m self-employed, if I fall on hard times, I don’t get social welfare payments. I’m not eligible for at least six months. I have to be out of work completely for six months. And if you are in this game and you don’t do VOs and you don’t work, you don’t get paid and you don’t eat. That’s where savings is helpful. But it’s not a pride thing; it’s nice to say that I’ve never taken a welfare check, but at the same time, it’s a very lonely existence if something did happen. If I was to lose my voice in the morning from a car accident or something, I don’t get paid. I could resort back to production or resort back to recording sound for TV or whatever. But I just don’t get paid because the government doesn’t pay out if you haven’t been paying into them.

JV: Not for six months anyway.
Eamon: About six months, yeah. And then you only get it for a year and a half.

JV: How do you market yourself? Do you have an agent?
Eamon: No, that doesn’t work over here. Because this country is such a small country, it’s very much word-of-mouth. All the production guys and the producers around the country know each other. It is a very small, little community group if you like, and John will ring David at another radio station and say, I’m looking for a guy that can do the guy next door or whatever. Yeah, yeah, Eamon Duffy will do that. Or so and so can do that. That’s kind of the way it works.

Now I do from time to time drop little reminder emails to say I’m still here, and I update the demo maybe every 4 to 6 months. But the problem is there are no new markets coming on stream for radio. I think there are 37 radio stations in Ireland, and I work for probably 85% of them. The ones that I don’t work for are working off a thing called Ad Swap, which is where if you do an ad for us, we will do an ad for you. So our voice is on your station and your voice is on our station. So the ads on the station aren’t being voiced by the jocks on air at the same time, or the presenters on air. That has kind of taken a lot of business from people doing VO stuff because now you can get a female VO for free.

JV: Yes, they have something similar to that here in the US, and it just doesn’t strike me as a good deal for the voiceover people because the only people making the money are the stations in that they don’t have to pay the talent. They are getting this free talent from outside at the expense of the talent within.
Eamon: And what it also does is it drives the price down for VO people. If somebody rings me and says, we are looking for you to do X commercial, what do you charge? I tell them what I charge and they are kind of, oh, okay, thank you anyway. And the reason for that is because they haven’t been paying for it. Now all of a sudden, if they have to pay $100 for a VO for 30 seconds when they have been getting them for free for the past two years, they don’t like it.

My response to that is well look, if you go out and buy a car today and you go out and buy yourself a Mini or a small sedan, you will get it for very cheap, but it will break down and it won’t be right and it will always cost. In other words, you get what you pay for. If you go out and you buy a proper car, you get what you pay for. And that’s very much the way that I market myself with respect to people coming in and looking for price deals, which is happening all the time now. They ring up and the first question they ask is, how much, and it never used to be like that.

JV: It’s pretty easy to find somebody to do a commercial for $25 here in the US. But there are still people that are hanging on to good rates, $100, $200, $300, but their clients are good clients. They are not the little mom and pop shop down the street.
Eamon: That happens here, too -- the kind of stuff I’m talking about where they are looking for deals or they are looking for you to do it cheaper, they are the mom and pop shops down the street. And the TV commercials - which I do but not as many as I would like to do – they are incredibly difficult to get into because the top 7 to 10 guys in the country doing VOs for 35 years plus have got that sewn up completely. They do all of that stuff. Slowly but surely I am chip, chip, chipping away to get into it, but it’s very difficult unless you can offer them something that the other guys can’t.

JV: Is all of your work in Ireland?
Eamon: No, no, no. I have done stuff with Barter Bank in the states, which is exactly what we spoke about a few minutes ago, about you do one for me for free and we will do one for you for free. It’s a bunch of VO people in the States that swap VO’s between each other. I got affiliated with that maybe 15 or 16 years ago with a guy in Florida. It’s been great because I brought two other Irish VO guys in there with me, and when it comes around to Patty’s weekend or an Irish bar that’s doing some sort of giveaway or whatever, they seem to use us. But then by the same token, we use the stateside guys a lot of the time. I would do maybe four or five commercials a week. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s a lot for a couple of radio stations that I work with. They will come and say, can you get an American movie trailer guy for an ad for a car company? Yeah, sure, no problem. And the guys in the states are very gracious that they would actually do that for me for free. I think they kind of do it on the ego thing as well because now their voice is going out on a commercial in Ireland, and it is nice to think that. I know that when I do stuff for them, they send the commercial back to me and I’m thinking, wow, I’m going out in Newfoundland or I’m going out in Florida on a station. We didn’t get paid for it, but that’s okay. I wouldn’t like to do it all the time, but it’s good for that kind of thing.

JV: So with Barter Bank, there’s no money.
Eamon: Well, there is money with some of them. I can obviously go back and say Vince, can you do this one commercial for me? That’s fine. Then if the client happens to like Vince and they come back with 30 commercials in the year, I can’t expect Vince to do 30 commercials for me for free. So we come to some arrangement. So some of the guys get paid, some of the guys don’t, depending. But they do it all for free until you tell them look, we’re doing 15 or 20 commercials at Christmastime. There will be money in this for you. But the budgets are quite small in comparison to what they would be in the States because the markets in Ireland are so small. For example, some of the radio station markets could be talking to a target audience of maybe 15,000 people. You would have that listening to a commercial break in the States, but you wouldn’t have 15,000 listeners for the breakfast show in some radio stations around Ireland. It depends on the market. For smaller markets, for smaller radio stations, like more community or local radio stations, the quarter hour listeners could be as low as 1000, but for the bigger stations like the stations based in Dublin or the national stations, you could have about 75,000 or 80,000 listeners for a quarter hour.

I work for a radio station in Dublin called FM 104, and our breakfast show will have the biggest listenership in the entire country, bigger than the actual national radio station.

JV: Is it syndicated?
Eamon: No, we don’t do syndication in Ireland. Well, I take that back. There is syndication in Ireland, but it comes from the States. Ryan Seacrest has gone out on a radio station in Dublin, On Air with Ryan Seacrest, and it is completely wrong, because you’ve got Ryan Seacrest in LA talking to some guy in LA about something that’s happening in LA. And it’s going out in Dublin, and people are actually looking at the radios going, what are you talking about? Who are you talking to? I don’t know this chap.

JV: How many people in Dublin?
Eamon: 1.2 million. There are only 4.5 million people living in Ireland, on the total island.

JV: How many radio stations are there in Dublin?
Eamon: There’s about seven. And that’s not including national radio stations.

JV: So a lot of US voice talent makes its way into Europe, into Ireland maybe. But it’s not the other way around. Do you have any idea why that is?
Eamon: I don’t have any idea. I’ve been to the States a number of times. I have been to New York, LA, Florida, and I have been to Alabama. And sometimes people would say, “I’m sorry, what did you say”, because they don’t understand my accent, because they are used to whatever drawl or whatever dialect that they listen to. I think that’s because the Irish voice doesn’t play a part in their everyday life as much as the American voice plays a part in Irish people’s lives every single day. You switch on any TV channel, it’s Friends or it’s Breaking Bad or it’s Homeland. The American accent in Ireland is totally acceptable because we are used to listening to it seven days a week. Every single minute of the day there is an American accent on TV, as with the English accent. But I don’t think it crosses over the pond back towards you guys.

I think a lot of what happens in Ireland is that Irish actors -- like Colin Farrell at the moment, and a guy called Jason O’Mara who was doing a show called Las Vegas -- they go to the States and adopt the American accent. They are an Irish actor playing an American part with an American accent. Then you’ve got the horrible thing that most Irish people would kill for, and not in a good way, and that’s where you get American actors trying to do in Irish accent. It always sounds like [changes accent] “top of the morning to you” because that’s the way American people think we speak. “Oh, top of the morning to you. Take your hands off me Lucky Charms.”  [back to normal accent] And that’s not at all how it is. About .0001% of the entire population of Ireland speaks like that. But that’s the Hollywood Irish spelled O-I-R-I-S-H, Oirish [pronounced oy-rish] that they have kind of made us to sound like. When American people come to Ireland on vacation or on holiday we would say they are fixated with where these accents come from. “My God, you don’t speak like you sound on TV!” No, we don’t all sound like that. “It’s so awesome, you’ve got different accents, guy.” Yeah, I’m sure we do. I think they are just expecting to be met at the airport by a guy with a sheep and a shillelagh and a leprechaun or something like that. It’s not like that at all. We do have electricity and running water.

JV: [Changes accent] It’s like when people come down to Texas, they think we all talk like this.
Eamon: Yep, absolutely. Larry Hagman and friends did that for you.

JV: Tell us a little about your studio.
Eamon: My studio consists of so many different microphones that I can’t even count. I have an Audio Technica 4033A, which was my first condenser mic that I bought. I it and still use it. Then I went out and I bought myself a Neumann U87, and I paid stupid money for that, like really stupid money for that. I paid £1000 sterling for it which is stupid money for a microphone to be honest with you because if you put it beside the Audio Technica, it’s slightly warmer, ever so slightly. But it’s not £1000 sterling worth of warmer.

Then I was watching, I think it’s called Million Dollar Voices, it’s one of the things on YouTube at the moment. Patrick Johnson was on it and Don LaFontaine was on it, and they were all using the Sennheiser 416. So on Christmas 2011, I decided I would buy one of these off eBay. I bought it for about $200, really, really cheap, and that has become my microphone of choice now. That’s what I use all the time. I think I will have a U87 for sale very shortly.

JV: Are you a PC man or a Mac man?
Eamon: Other than an iPhone, there’s no Mac in my house. I am an old dog. I learned on a PC and I really don’t want to retrain myself to start talking Mac language.

JV: What about processing. Are you running that 416 through anything? A lot of people don’t feel like they need any kind of processing on that mike.
Eamon: It’s heavily processed. I have an Orban 787, which is a mike processor.

JV: That is an oldie but goodie.
Eamon: Oh, it’s the best piece of kit. The guys in the radio stations around the country are always on to me. How do you get it to sound so warm? It’s not that I get it to sound so warm, that’s the piece of kit that I put in the first day because of this national radio station in Ireland called 2FM. It’s one of the national broadcasters. I have always aspired to get on that radio station. It’s not my aspiration anymore, but at that stage of the game, I wanted to be on 2FM. When I got the tour of the studio one day, they had this Orban. I was taking photographs all day. What’s this? And what’s this? I eventually found one. The guy obviously didn’t know what he had. I think I paid £200 pounds at the time, about $300 for it. What was wrong with it was the main battery inside for the memory was done. I gave it to a service guy, he replaced that, cleaned it up, and it’s been my best friend since 1998. And because there are 99 different presets on it, I can have the Sennheiser sounding really sweet or click click click down three notches and take a load of bass off it without having to go in and tweak it and play with it. So I’ve got all these presets set on it. If I ever lost them, I would lose my life. Actually, I do have them written down on a piece of paper, Sellotaped to the back of the Orban unit.

I have an Allen and Heath GLS 2 desk which is an oldie but goodie again. There’s an insert lead that goes from that into the Orban. Out of the Orban it goes into an Alesis 3630, and the only thing I use that for is the gate, so when I stop speaking it shuts it down so there’s no extraneous noise. Not that there is, my studio is completely silent. I spent a lot of money five years ago on a PC and it’s completely fanless, so there’s no noise.

JV: Is it water-cooled?
Eamon: No. There are fans in it but they are rated at a certain level, so once the temperature gets to an extreme level, the fan kicks in. But it never hits that level because I’m not doing anything. If you are doing accelerated computer graphics or video editing, it would hit that. But because what I am doing is very easy on the machine, it never reaches the threshold. It’s very easy on the machine. It never reaches the threshold where the fans would kick in.

And then there’s a company called Zalmann and they do the Zalmann Flower, which is the CPU processor cooler. It’s about the size of an outstretched hand, and it’s made of copper and something else. It basically dissipates the heat throughout the PC, and there’s no fan on that. The video card also has no fan on it. The power supply has the fan, but again, it only kicks in at a certain temperature which the PC never hits.

JV: It sounds like a pretty good set up.
Eamon: It all came from a company called QuietPC.com. They are a brilliant bunch of guys over there. If you ring them and tell them what you are looking for, they will recommend what you need. They will ask you your requirements and what are you using it for or whatever. A lot of the stuff that they do is for gaming. It’s not necessarily for recording studios or whatever, but gamers apparently like their computer stuff quiet.

JV: What advice would you offer guys in radio that are wanting to get out on their own?
Eamon: I wouldn’t suggest it. If you go back to the start of the interview, I started doing this in 1993 or ‘94. It’s only now that I can kind of say, yes, I can make a living at this. Even if I wasn’t DJ’ing in nightclubs, I could make a decent living; not a particularly good one but I could make a decent living. But for somebody who’s got a paycheck at the end of the week, I would like that. I would like to have a paycheck and know that on a Friday I am getting $500 in my hand. I don’t know that today. I depend on the phone to ring or the email to go bing. So I wouldn’t recommend giving up a steady job to do what I do because you are only as good as your last gig. I would like to have something whereby I would go in and could depend on that. But at the same time, I love having days off. I love sending an email on a Monday and saying I won’t be around tomorrow because I’m going shopping or whatever.

But the advice that I would give them if I was pushed to give advice, is if you can have what I have as well as your steady gig, it’s a great life. You could pull your steady gig back to three days a week maybe, and do this for two or three days as well. It’s great because it gives you the flexibility to move around. But it’s a big investment and it’s also a very tedious kind of thing to try and build up because you will get knocked back from radio stations saying we don’t need any more VOs, or we are using Ad Swap, or we are using Free VO or whatever. There’s so much of that around at the moment that it’s not a good time.

Plus advertising budgets -- I don’t know about the States but across Europe, advertising budgets have been slashed massively. People just aren’t advertising anymore because they can’t afford to. Businesses are closing down left, right and center. So at the moment, I would be screaming at people thinking about doing what I’m doing not to do it. In a couple years’ time it will come back around again. Now is the time to maybe try and start doing it, but I wouldn’t be giving up a steady gig to go for the easier gig because what I do and what the people in my game over here do, we’re just so few and far between that it is just wouldn’t be worth it.

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