Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Fabriclive 43: Get Familiar... Sinden Interview!
I had the pleasure of interviewing Sinden recently for his Fabriclive 43: Get Familiar disc (which is baller I might add). It was one of the most relaxed and enjoyable interviews I've ever done. If he's ever within the tri-state radius you better bet I'm going to go buy the man a drink. We got to cover a lot of topics from preparing a mix, to female rappers, to the future of dubstep... and along the way stumbled across the most daft name for a 'musical genre' I've ever heard... read on...
Sinden: Hey what's good how are you doing?
ISoA: I'm doing pretty well, and yourself?
Sinden: Pretty good man, pretty good.
ISoA: Good to hear, good to hear. Hey I was gonna say, I really enjoyed this new CD because you give a lot of hiphop stuff right off the bat and then a lot of great dance tracks, dubstep, grime, bassline and then you switch it all up again musically without sounding wildly all over the place and fragmented. Did it feel risky at all when you were putting it together?
Sinden: Yeah, it did in a way actually. There's this little bunch of people who still associate me with a certain sound. And so I really want to kinda, with this mix, clear the air with it and just say like 'it's not what you're expecting'. Like some people know I'm all about pushing new sounds from around the world, like it's especially important with bassline stuff, and so it's kind of cool to just set the record straight and say 'this is what I'm about'.
ISoA: Did you find it difficult to catch the vibe of your club night on one single CD?
Sinden: It was kind of difficult because you only have a certain amount of time to play with, and tracks and stuff, so you do feel that you have to chuck a lot of stuff in there. But like you say, you have to really flow, and you can't just put this track next to this track if it doesn't work... so it's all about trying to make it really cohesive and make it flow... like put a bunch of tracks next to each other that compliment each other and then kind of move up tempo wise slightly. But that was the challenge to put this wildly eclectic club night into one CD!
ISoA: Yeah I imagine that wouldn't be easy at all. I was going to ask you, when you play in the U.S. do you play similar stuff to what you play when you're in the U.K.? Or do you cater it more? Because I know that U.S. audiences can be notoriously difficult...
Sinden: Yeah, I've gotta say, I was in the U.S. last week and I found I had to sort of adapt really. Like you can't play... there's definitely things that you can't play over there that you could play over here! And it's not like it is a bit of compromise but I'm not compromising too much. Especially with kind of more U.K.-centric stuff, but even Europe is like that... some of this music hasn't moved or traveled there yet.
ISoA: Yeah I guess dubstep has within pockets of mostly DJ kids and baseline hasn't hit over here at all lol...
Sinden: Bassline has barely reached London let alone America! It's such a Northern sound even over here!
ISoA: Hell, I didn't even know what it was until Simon Reynolds wrote about it! Then I realized I was missing out on something. I was reading something where you said 'now that people are downloading more people are starting to appreciate more genres of music it makes my job as a DJ much easier'... do you feel now, a couple years later, that it's also shortened the shelf life of new tracks to a degree?
Sinden: Yeah, I totally agree. I was saying this recently, I've been thinking about it, it's almost like people get tracks too early and they don't really stick around for that long. Like there's this whole thing about 'it's old because it's been on the blogs for a few months before it's been released'. And like when things are leaked early... I mean I have tracks in my box that I still play and it doesn't matter if they were made 6 months or a year ago, it sounds good to me, it's a good track! And I think kids are getting, they're getting ahead of themselves especially when they're trying to find the new thing or the new track and they sort of forget about these other tracks that are just as important.
ISoA: I think it's sort of unfortunate because while there's some joy in hunting down new tracks, it's unfortunate because people are unwittingly giving away pre-release tracks because some of these peer to peer downloading programs where people don't even realize they're giving them away. It's not just the blogs...
Sinden: Yeah, with the peer to peer... I'd be pissed if my album was on there and it got leaked early!
ISoA: I would be too I'd wanna kill somebody! *laughing*
Sinden: Yeah I know! *laughing*
ISoA: I was going to say, on the note of new music, there have been loads and loads of new labels and loads of new names slapped on to new music... I know Josh from Flosstradamus was using the term Zunestep the other day...
Sinden: Josh, he's on some new level, he is...
ISoA: What's the weirdest name that you've come across in the last couple years?
Sinden: There's got to be some good ones. I heard someone talk the other day about Midget House...
ISoA: *bursting out laughing*
Sinden: So, you've got like figet house, and you've got like all the midget house which is like more more micro. So it's like the more minimal fidget house records because its more micro it's midget house. That made me laugh. It's where the basslines aren't so... they're still big but the drum and everything is minimal like a techno record or something.
ISoA: Well maybe that will be the next REALLY big thing *laughing*... I was gonna say DJs like yourself have helped pave the way for the hiphop dance crossover, which even a few years seemed like it could never make a comeback. Do you think it's something that will stick this time and maybe even integrate itself with mainstream music?
Sinden: Yeah you can kind of see that with hiphop happening with... well all the Rihanna tracks that have been really big over here on the radio have fit into dance stations really well. They're really like dance records and I think... oh and that NeYo tune too... it's kind of like a dance record. I think maybe more producers might be tempted to go down that route, and definitely dance producers have been flirting with hiphop more. Like sort of rap house crossovers seem to be coming back, not just in the mainstream but independently as well. Hopefully yeah this time it will cement itself more. I mean over here dance music and hiphop are kind of in bed together really most of the itme especially with the garage scene and drum and bass which comes from MC culture. You can't go out raving without hearing MCs, or like rap tracks mixed with dance music...
ISoA: Yeah I think it's interesting because it's starting to carry over to some mainstream U.S. tracks. I know Darshan Jesrani from Metro Area was mentioning that producers are willing to embrace the idea, and they wanna make 4/4 tracks, while radio programmers still aren't willing to put it on the radio...
Sinden: I think the U.S. has an issue with it. I think people have an issue with dance music.
ISoA: Yeah, it all stems back to disco and the homophobia but that's not there in the U.K.
Sinden: EXACTLY! There were a couple people who I was speaking to they were like "Yeah people just think, It's common to think it's fag music, you know it's just gay music". But it's a very different perception in Europe just because it's not out of the ordinary for a dance tune the biggest tune in the pop charts or whatever.
ISoA: Well it's also not odd for really really macho dudes to go raving every weekend over there!
Sinden: And it's a shame really that there's that sort of hang up.
ISoA: Yeah yeah... well! On another note I was going to ask you, during this most recent dance hiphop crossover period there have been a lot of female rappers that have made it. Any guess as to why people are now more receptive to female rappers?
Sinden: That's kind of interesting. I dunno man... maybe the recent wave of female rappers have stood out more. Maybe they're bringing back the attitude more. I mean where you're talking about M.I.A. and Amanda Blank and Kid Sister and stuff, they're kinda more sassy, they're kind of edgier and they're not just rapping they're doing their own spin on it. So I think it's an interesting time... Yo Majesty too, they're kind of all unique rappers, they're not just doing what male rappers are do, they're asserting themselves more and the more characters like that, I think, the better it's going to be and it'll open up more doors.
ISoA: Speaking of female rappers... I'm sure this question has been asked 10,000 times before so bare with me... but what happened between the original version of "Beeper" and the Kid Sister version of "Beeper"?
Sinden: Ok, so, that track really started off as a kind of a fun, quite accidental track where I found the FamLay acapela and we based the beat around it. Once that record started to get picked up on the dance stations over here and it crossed over more and people knew about it we just thought 'this track really has the chance to cross over'... but the thing is, with the sampling thing, it could only go so far so we thought we really need to re-vocal this because there were a lot of labels interested but they wouldn't touch it with that acapella, it just wouldn't work. So, that's when we started to look at artists we could get on there. And then through A-Trak, the link with him, we meet Kid Sister who was just starting to make some tracks like "Damn Girl" and "Pro Nails" and was starting to make some waves so... she was just the natural person to get on it.
ISoA: You've collaborated with a lot of people, is there anyone you'd like to work with that you haven't been able to yet?
Sinden: Diplo and me were talking about doing something, so that would be a quite interesting angle, that would be quite mad. There are loads of high profile people. I'm trying to think of something more interesting. It's almost more challenging to find someone everyone's forgotten about and bring them back, you know? Like we just started collaborating with Ms Dynamite which is going to be really fun. I would have said Ms Dynamite for that question but that's kind of happening! That someone who came out when she was really young and changed the game, and now working with her is the most exciting thing happening in a minute. She's an absolute legend. She's cool...
ISoA: I'm looking forward to hearing that. Hey, what advice would you give to kids who are trying to make it out here in this difficult musical landscape?
Sinden: I'd say stick to your guns all the way. And try to innnovate... if you have a sound that's really unique then really just go with it. The reason that people aren't getting out there is because they're kind of carbon copies of things that are already happening and the thing is the producers who are already out there are doing it are doing it better! So maybe the thing is to just stick to your guns and create your own scene independently, don't wait for people to notice you... do it for yourself.
ISoA: There's sort of been that problem with dubstep a little... I mean there's still innovation but some people have said if it doesn't change it may suffer the same fate as drum n'bass...
Sinden: Yeah there is that problem is because people are going for that 'wobble'... wobblers they call them. And I think the stuff that's standing out more is the deeper techno stuff. Benga was saying in an interview more and more people from other scenes are coming into it but they're not really sort of providing anything different. But at least when you hear people like Appleblim and that sort of stuff, that deeper sort of stuff is standing out more, like Pervelist and stuff like that.
And then we went on to talk about mutual friends and pulling an prank on Herve which I don't need to reprint. But there you have it! Go cop FABRICLIVE 43: Switch and Sinden present Get Familiar out in stores now! And, also, hit me up if you figure out what the *%&^ Zunestep is lol...