Akylla is an up and coming electronic music duo compromising of the talented Sherry St Germain & Saratonin. Since combining creative forces Sherry and Sara have gone from strength to strength, successfully building their reputation musically and forging an even stronger friendship personally. This week Akylla has released their debut Melodics lesson ‘Invincible’. The track ‘Invincible’ is a yet to be released track which will be coming out on Big Top Amsterdam next month. Both Sherry and Sara were kind enough to answer a few questions about their journey so far as Akylla.
Tell us the story about how you both connected and why you formed Akylla?
Sara: The two of us met in our friend’s studio in Winnipeg, Canada. I was there taking some production lessons and Sherry was coming in to mix a track. She was coming and I was leaving and we started to chat. I had heard a lot about her (this rad producer chick from Vegas) from our engineer, and she had heard of me from him as well. Both of us had our own solo music careers for over the past decade so we were both genuinely interested in what the other was working on. We decided we needed to get together and jam, and I think it only took two times before we realized that this needs to be a real thing. We’ve never looked back since. And we aren’t just bonded over music now, we are best friends.
On to the name ‘AKYLLA’ according to your bio – (In numerology the name Akylla has the birth path 8 and its meaning is connected to balance between the material and spiritual.) – What is the significance behind this name for you guys? Is there a story behind why you decided to use it as the name of your group?
Sara: To be honest we didn’t learn about the numerology aspect until after we chose the name. The first meanings that we discovered from the name were “Intelligent Women” and “Eagle” both of which resonated with us. But what also mattered was the way the name sounds and rolls off your tongue, how it looks written out etc. It didn’t take us long to settle on Akylla.
Musical duos always have different ways of collaborating and creating. Are you able to describe your process in the studio when creating a track? How do you guys work together? Has it always been easy?
Sara: Yeah I think that’s part of the reason why we bonded so quickly. From the start, it’s always been very fluid with us in the studio. One idea leads to another, and most importantly we have so much fun! A fly on the wall will see us falling on the floor laughing, jumping up and down when we get excited about a drop we made etc. This doesn’t mean we don’t take it seriously because we do, it’s just that there’s a very playful energy between us even when we need to buckle down into boss mode.
Sherry: Inspiration hits at all times but mostly I get all the music/production ideas out in the day and then do the singing and writing at nighttime. I’ll generally sing some jibberish. Then Sara will come in and decide what I’m saying and we’ll both write the song and arrange together from there.
Your onstage performances are full of energy and different gear. Are you able to describe your onstage setup? What gear do you use and for what purposes?
Sherry: I rock the MicroKorg, APC 40, Ableton Push 2, Midi Fighter 3D and the Komplete Kontrol. I know it’s a lot of gear but they all compliment each other live and keep it challenging. My live set up also forces me to grow as a musician.
Sara: My set up includes 2 CDJ’s, a Z2 mixer (with Traktor), for DJing, and a Midi Fighter (with Ableton) for playing in percussion, synths, and samples live.
Watching through your ‘Shenanigans’ videos the MIDI Fighter makes numerous appearances. What inspired you to purchase the controller and how does it help with your live performances?
Sherry: I saw a video with Mad Zach he is one of my greatest teachers, but he doesn’t know it. I’ve watched all of his tutorials. He’s an amazing teacher, performer & creator.
How has the art of finger drumming influenced your live performance skills?
Sherry: Level up!It’s the next evolution of music. It went from musicians playing to not playing at all and now we finally have the technology to bring that back! Basically, as long as it lights up as you hit it, I’m down.
You have just released your new lesson “Invincible” on Melodics. How did you discover the app and what benefits does it have for aspiring producers?
Sherry: I was in at Ableton headquarters in L.A. I was trying to get a device made for me for playing live and my friend Cole over there said “Have you heard of Melodics? I think you’d love it” and that was it I’ve been hooked ever since.
The Electronic Music scene is a very male dominated environment. What has it been like navigating this world as a female duo?
Sara: I think this is something that Sherry and I have been used to just from the music scene in general and so we are pretty thick skinned about it. But we would be lying if we said that it didn’t bother us to see such a lack of representation from women in this industry. It does, however, feel like the scale is starting to balance more, and we are extremely happy to not only tip the scale ourselves but hopefully inspire other females to step up if this is their calling.
What has been the best on stage moment you have both had so far since forming Akylla?
Sara: Oh man, hard to pick one. I have always loved the live stage, but performing with Sherry is the most fun I’ve ever had in my life. It’s the same as the studio in the way that it’s so natural and fluid. We feed off each other’s energy and both have the same work ethic about making our show as tight as possible. I will list one funny memory though. When Sherry and I were playing our second show ever together and this guy from the crowd comes to the stage and yells over to us “ ARE YOU GUYS BEST FRIENDS!? “. We thought it was hilarious and the fact that that’s what was coming through made us feel like we were doing something right.
Sherry: Sara just said it! I’ll never forget that moment. It’s like he could see the joy on our faces and had to ask us right in the middle of a performance, while I was scratching with a sine wave/white noise on the Midi Fighter.
If you were stuck on a desert island for a year and could only bring three albums with you what would they be and why?
Sherry: Tough question.
1) Pink Floyd- Dark Side of The Moon
2) Best of Iron Maiden
3) Best of Aretha Franklin
Because I can air guitar to the first two and get into my zone with the queen of soul.
Sara: This is so hard. But I’ll name a few albums I’m pretty obsessed with.
1)Paul Wall & Chamillionaire – Get Ya Mind Correct (2002).
This album came out well before either of them really blew up, but they capture the sound that exploded the Dirty South Rap genre. It is a sound that I just can’t get sick of. I played it all the time back then, and I play it all the time still.
2)Radiohead – The Bends (1995).
So much love for all the Radiohead albums, but this one, in particular, hits me very deep in my heart. Start to finish I love every song, and since I was 13 I’ve known every lyric.
3) Tool – Lateralus (2001)
Again, love all the Tool albums, especially the earliest ones. But there is something very special about Lateralus. It’s as though Tool broke out of the 3 rd dimension and decided to take us all with them. I’ve been lucky enough to see Tool (and Radiohead) four times.
You have collaborated with the likes of Excision and Steve Aoki. What other artists would you love to work together with in the future?
Sherry and Sara: Zeds Dead, Alison Wonderland, Skrillex, Diplo, Kill The Noise, too many to name
What has been the biggest thing you have learned in terms of music production in the last year?
Sherry: Multi-band compression is your best friend. The OTT is Epic and makes everything sound so big and automation on the LFO tool swing/rate and filters are super rad for sound design stuff.
What advice would you give to someone trying to make it as a professional musician?
Sara: Just know that it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes hard work and dedication, but if it’s truly what you want to do the reward is worth the sacrifice. Also, enjoy the journey! Live in the moment and be grateful for every step.
Sherry: Practice every day! To songs that you actually like. Don’t practice to some outdated system just to get a certificate. Some of the greatest musicians I know aren’t schooled “traditionally” but they slay harder than most. Practice to the stuff you like so your mind stays stimulated and your heart is fulfilled. If you’re passionate about it, do THAT! Your passion is your purpose.
Any other comments or shout outs you want to make?
Sara and Sherry: Yes! We have teamed up with Bakermat and his label Big Top Amsterdam! Our track “Invincible” (which is also the track used for our Melodics lesson) will be released next month!