Aug 23

Sinden Reveals How He Went From Gig Promoter to Festival DJ

by in Interviews

Sinden is a Los Angeles based producer/DJ who has done it all in the Electronic music world. His work has seen him host his own show on Kiss FM, start a record label and produce a catalogue of music that has torn up dance floors for decades. This week Sinden answered a few questions about his new Melodics lesson ‘Crystal Maze’ and also talked about his journey from gig promoter to DJing at some of the biggest festivals around the world.

You are originally for the UK but have been based out in LA for a while now. What made you want to move out to LA and what are the biggest differences between the scenes?

Yeah I made the move coming up to 6 years soon. I wanted to switch it up and see if I was compatible to live here first and then decided to make the move permanent. The scenes are really different, musically, although they do share a diversity that you would expect from a major city especially one like L.A, where dance music and club culture scene has always flourished.

In a previous interview you said that your first break came off the back of meeting Jesse Rose. Are you able to explain this story. How it came about and what it led to?

At the time Jesse and I were both promoting our respective club nights in London. We got along really well and stayed in touch. Anyway, he called me some weeks after to ask me whether I’d like to help out with his labels one day a week. I was passionate about the music, already DJing & interested in the music game and grateful for the opportunity. Jesse really nurtured me and through him I was able to see how the industry gears operated. He gave me insight of how independent labels run, we were a stones throw from a lot of the labels and distributors so we’d do the rounds and got to meet a ton of people. Also not only that, I started to listen to more House music and he also introduced me to Dave (Switch) and we started a run of productions together.  Those 2 were making House records that were blowing my mind. It really put me on the path, without that I wouldn’t be here but there’s no such thing as coincidence.

In the same interview you mentioned how your path could have easily gone down the club promoter route. What made you choose the music production instead?

Yeah I was promoting my club night in London with a friend but its not really for me. I really wanted to contribute to the scene but that wasn’t more forte. Music production was a natural progression from DJing which I was already mucking about with. I felt that was more my field, my strength. I had been collecting records since I was a teenager and was fascinated with how they were made. I remember hearing things like Aphex Twin Selected Ambient Works & stuff like Mantronix when I was a teen and also Jungle for the first time. Knowing how to be able to make music in that era was a myth. Meeting Switch and Jesse put me in this studio environment for the very first time and it taught me everything.

What was the first bit of gear you ever purchased? Is there a story behind it?

My first hardware piece was the Virus TI Snow in 08. I was starting to think about music ‘outside the box’ haha. It also had the integrated software interface too which I was more used to seeing. Producer friends had always told me about how the Virus had a beautiful sound, something that would really rev up the bass lines too. I still use it in the studio pretty regularly.

How did you initially get into Dance Music? Was there a song,artist or person who got you into it?

I was about 9 when I got into dance music. A lot of the music in the pop charts was club tunes, albeit a more commercial form. I remember hearing Steve Silk Hurley’s Jack Your Body which was a Bonafide House record which also got to Number 1 as the biggest selling record. That was one of my earliest memories of electronic music. I always say in the UK we’ve been lucky to be surrounded with great pirate radio, for instance. Radio was may gateway into all of this as I was too young to rave. In my local town we had 3 or 4 independents selling wax and I’d make regular trips up there to buy records and scoop up all the rave flyers for my bedroom wall. I always made sure that I was a connected to the new music as much as possible.

You seamlessly DJ in club and festival environments. Outside of scale what is the biggest differences in how approach these sets?

Club sets are always a bit more adventurous. I’ll experiment more with tunes I’ve just finished and wanna test out. Festival sets you tend to stick with the tried and tested but thats cool too, I feel. The mixing dynamics are different with the pacing. Festival sets are really short and you tend to power through things a bit faster.

You have produced numerous songs on different labels. Out of all these releases which is the most meaningful to you and why?

Yeah so many, its tough to pick but I would say releasing on Atlantic Jaxx. Basement Jaxx were already an act that I had a massive amount of respect and look upped too. Switch and I had made a track which Felix from Jaxx wanted to press up which I was so gassed about really early on in my career. Putting a tune on wax was a big deal for me as a vinyl lover and when I look back on it now still is.

You’re productions are high tempo and always chopping and changing. Where does your unique style stem from?

I think that really comes from listening to loads of different styles of music and growing up with radio also the influence of fidget that Switch and Jesse Rose was making. It was rewriting the rules of house for me and shaking things up without constraint or adhering to a formula.

How did you first hear about Melodics?

Matt at Serato first showed me the program. I was intrigued by it. My immediate impression was I could really do with signing up because my timing could be better haha.

You make your Melodics debut this week with ‘Crystal Maze’. What advice would you give to Melodics users before playing this lesson?

This was my time sitting down with Melodics and I don’t often finger drum. I got to grips with it quickly and found myself moving through the lessons. For me persistence paid off and made me wanna get further. I would say making the track slower and gradually making it faster to normal speed was a really successful method – good feature.

What is your perspective on finger drumming? Do you use it much in your production/DJing process? What intrigues you most about it?

The DJ set has shifted so much from where it came from, finger drumming is becoming more the norm in this Performer DJ environment, its become an extension of turntable-ism, another tool to use alongside the mixer, the platter, f etc. Its opening up more possibilities of what you can do and is advancing the art and I welcome that. I’d like to use it more but I honestly don’t think thats my strength. I love the human element in finger drumming, the swing and also the slight off times that happen. Also the guys that do this that are at the top of their game are so crazy to watch, its inspiring.

Your latest project is a compilation called Sinden’s House Line. Are you able to explain how this came about and what has been the best part of this project?

Its a comp that I put together and released with Insomniac Records. It came about from hanging with the guys from the label chatting some dance music genealogy type stuff haha. We were reminiscing about blog house era parties and sounds and talking about how its come to influence whats happening today and that got us on to this concept of a comp that nods to the past a little but keeps things moving forward. The whole vibe is centered around warehouse parties, the underground, really appreciating music irrespective of trends, music politics, social medias influence. Something fun with that lo-fi nod.

If you were stuck on a desert island for a year and could only bring there albums with you what would they be and why?

1. The Mighty Threes – Africa Shall Stretch Forth Her Hand

2. James Brown – The Payback

3. The Clash – Sandinista!

What does the rest of 2017 have install for you?

More tunes, more shows. Look out for more Houseline releases too!