GBH Interview with Sinden

22 04 2008

An interview with one of the new electronic music phenoms Sinden.  I really liked this interview because it talks about alot of the recent trends going on in the American metropolitan city dance floors that you would only notice if you were there experiencing it for yourself.  From the electro – hip hop movement in the US to the beginnings of a reversal back to the early 90’s house sound (yes fully equipped with disco sirens) – this gives a good flavor of what’s going down.  Especially here in New York.  Taken from GBV.TV:

An Interview with Sinden
by Max WillensGraeme Sinden is all business. As the head of Counterfeet Records and one half of the suddenly-very-high-profile duo Sinden and the Count, Sinden’s had to take his commitment to a level he never anticipated. But along the way, he’s discovered, as a select few also have, that a lot of doors are open to DJs these days. After dropping one of the harder, crazier sets that Hiro’s heard in a long time back on April 3 (one of many highlights of the Fool’s Gold vs. Dim Mak showcase), I caught up with him a few days later to discuss his past, his present, his future, and here’s what happened…Sinden PIc 

Sinden got him some Bathing Apes. Photo courtesy of Sinden’s Myspace)
So you just played our Fool’s Gold party last week, and you’ve been in New York since then. What does a superstar DJ do on his days off?
That’s a good question. Today…I had a bit of a late night last night, so today I had to recuperate a bit, and recover. Quite a few things to do today, I’ve brought some work with me, some remixes, on the road. So I’ve got to get on with that for a bit. And then I’ve got a few friends in town, so I’m meeting up with them a bit later.
Is that remix operation totally mobile? Is it all on your laptop, or do you bring along a korg or some external stuff? Tell us a bit about that.
I do all my work on my laptop, on Logic. So I just take that around with me. And that’s easy to set up, it’s all software, so I can just plop down and that way I’m always working on something. And then maybe, if the sound isn’t right, I can always adjust that when I get back, but on the road it’s just putting ideas down and arranging stuff. I actually work mostly on the road.
Really? So you don’t hole up in a studio..?
I do, but when I’m traveling, if you can get a little something down, that accumulates.
Tell us a bit about this album with Herve (a.k.a. The Count of Monte Cristal). That’s coming out on Domino this fall, yeah? I was surprised to hear you guys were making a full-on album. Is it going to be ten or eleven club heaters, or is it gonna have a flow from beginning to end..
It’s gonna be not totally clubby. It’s a dance record, but we’re really keen to make a banging club record which you can play from start to finish. We wanted to mess with the tempos, write more songs, guest vocalists, short songs. It’s what we do, but…

…you took the opportunity to go a little further.
Yeah. Cuz Count and Sinden together is mostly about urban dance music, so it’s not gonna be just 4 4 4 4. There’s gonna be hip hop on there, drum and bass, mad world music on there, just whatever we’re feeling.

Connecting with world music…If what I’ve read about you is correct, you met up with a member of Basement Jaxx at a record shop and got to talking to him about world music you were into, and that led to you getting a residency at Inside Out.
Yeah.

First of all, tell the readers what those were like. Cuz I never got to any of those, and that only lasted about a year, and I’m sure everybody wants to know more about a party thrown by Basement Jaxx.
Basement Jaxx used to run these monthly parties in Brixton, where they’ve always run parties. It was in about a 500 capacity venue, so nothing massive, but in this sort of pub-club venue, and it would just sort of be…it wasn’t promoted as well as I feel it could’ve been. They were always busy and it always seemed to be like a last-minute thing, but it always managed to get loads of people there just because of the following they have. And I really feel like it was never something too marketed or promoted, it was always more like a spontaneous jam. People would just come up, friends of the Jaxx, and do like PAs and stuff. There’d be DJs, and there’d be like a horn section next to you, or singers or MCs, or there’d be like a trumpet player, working through an effects unit. Guests would just pop down, but it wasn’t about stars…and it was just really laid back, just chill, and then the party, obviously, was really insane. Always over capacity.

Why brixton, do you think? Cuz they’re not originally from Brixton, I don’t think…
They’ve always worked in Brixton, they’ve got their studios in Camberwell, and they’ve got an attachment to the area. It’s just their association with the area. There’s something about Brixton as well, it’s really different from other areas of the city.

It’s kind of stayed itself.
Brixton’s changed a lot, but, I dunno. It’s got its own thing going there, y’know?

Getting back to the album. Would you like to move into production full-time, or go more into making Counterfeet a big time thing? Do you want to keep doing a little of everything? what’s your long-term outlook at this point?
I think really to concentrate more on production.

Are you planning on opening a studio? Your friend Switch kind of showed you the ropes with production; do you wanna keep looking over his shoulder, or do you enjoy messing about on your own?
I like collaboration, I like to work with a lot of people. I think, after this record’s finished, I just wanna work on my own stuff and bring people in to help out.

A lot of your most popular work over here has involved rappers. That track with Acafool, the Beeper track obviously. Give me three rappers you’d love to work with at some point.
Like anybody?

Alive, dead, retired, active, whatever.
Big Boi. He’s one of my favourite rappers. Lil’ wayne. That’d be kind of an interesting collaboration, doing something different. I think he’s just head and shoulders above everybody. And the final one…I dunno. I’m not gonna say Jay-Z or anyone like that. It’s a bit obvious. I’m not really a huge Jay-Z fan anyway.

No English guys? No Sway, no Dizzee?
Not really. I’m not really digging a lot of UK stuff with rappers. I don’t think they stand up against the US guys. Maybe a wild card guy, like Project Pat, or somebody. Y’know, just something southern like that.

A friend and I were talking about “Beeper” the other day, and we decided it reminds us a lot of “I Like to Move It Move It” by Reel 2 Real.
Yes!

Do you think that 90’s house sound is coming back, and if so, why?
I think I’ve heard someone else also hear the same thing. Like, it’s even got that throwback video. It’s really retro, it’s got that kinda hip house kinda feel. I don’t know that it’s coming back or not. [pauses] I’m just trying to think of some examples. There’s a dude I really feel out of New York called Dre Skull and he’s doing some like really cool 90’s hip house kind of stuff, but I don’t know if there’s enough people really pushing it. But it’s an interesting theory.

Finish this sentence. In five years, Sinden will be…
Hopefully not burnt out.

Haha. Are you surprised by how busy you are now? What’s it like to blow up internationally the way you’ve done in the last two years? Do you have interns or anything, or are you just going crazy all the time?
First of all, I think over the last year I’ve felt more pressure with things, so it’s just adjusting to that. I’ve always grinded really hard, but it’s just a lot to juggle. It’s definitely been a bit shocking, things have moved really quickly. Signing with Domino was a really big thing, because we were just making club records, and now we’re putting out an album, and documenting this thing we’re doing, and touring all over the summer and playing big festivals, and doing TV. It’s definitely coming on.

So what’re you working on right now?
Today? I’ve got a few remixes to do. Public Enemy, “Bring the Noise.” It’s a rerelease for, I think Relentless Records.

That’s really amazing.
Yeah, it is. I’ve gotta just turn my laptop on. They haven’t sent me all the parts though.

That’s a little weird…
Yeah, it is. There’s only two verses, and the chorus. I guess they expect me to maybe just chop the vocals up. But that should be cool. And i’ve got to do a remix for A-Trak, his new single. And then this UK group called Tigerstyle, they’re from Scotland, and they do bhangra stuff.

I’m gonna get all serious on you for a second. For the first time in close to 15 years, dance music’s gotten real big in America again. Steve Aoki’s profile as a DJ is real high, Justice and Daft Punk are real big, the BPMs on rap singles are in the 100s, and labels like Fool’s Gold and Mad Decent and T&A are making a real mark on things too. But are all the goods only moving westward? Like, do people in europe and the UK have an interest in American labels, or is it more self-contained and local?
I think it’s building. I think people are aware of it. To the discerning people, y’know, they’ll actively go out and get those singles. It’s still quite a sort of bubbling thing. Mad Decent and Fool’s Gold have a fan base, but that’s what touring does, y’know. It’ll work eventually, but it’s about hammering home and going all over the country, that’s what does it. They’re still quite new record labels. Fool’s Gold’s barely a year, and so it’s still in its infancy, I think.

Ah, that explains it. Being in America, you expect to be a hit right away.
Yeah.

Name three records you’d like to hear come back.
Armand van Helden, “The Witch Doctor.”

..and the other two?
Just that. You can just put that. “The Witch Doctor.”

Okay, done. Thanks so much for doing this!
Cheers, man.

Anyone who’s mad they missed Sinden’s set on April 3 should check out the Resident Advisor podcast he did with Herve this week. And anyone mad for Sinden’s work in general should check out his latest remixes for Kudu, Alphabeat, and Armand Van Helden on his Myspace page. His single “Beeper,” with The Count of Monte Cristal, is available on iTunes.

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