SION (North Wales, United Kingdom)
[MTA Records, CUFF, Warung Recordings]Download
Over the years, producing genius and Dj SION has certainly caught the attention of big league icons such as Kolombo, Amine Edge & Dance, Tapesh, Etienne De Crecy, Sharam Jey, Seth Troxler, Jamie Jones, Jackmaster, the list goes on. His unique style combines Hiphop and the very best of Techhouse. Featured by platforms like Mixmag, Radio 1, BE@TV and Rinse FM its for sure that he knows what he does.
We are very happy to welcome SION here on Criminal Bassline.
When did u start to produce/dj and what was your plan B in case you couldn’t afford living from it?
SION: I was making loads of tracks at uni in my dorm, used to drive my flatmates nuts especially during exam periods. They started to come around to the idea when they began hearing the results of ‘boom boom boom’ on the radio. haha!
I had always planned to work in music somehow, but thinking back I probably had no backup plan at all. I started doing shows even before I graduated so went straight into DJ’ing. I’d worked in studios being the tea boy and some other musical pilgrimages but nothing popped out for me. It’s cool being 3 years down the line now and experienced the industry from my side of things. Theres so many ace jobs that would interest me further on in my career. (not yet!)
Which artist inspirers you the most and who influenced you back in the days in comparison to today?
SION: As a kid it was strictly Daft Punk & early Deadmau5 and obviously always listened to a lot of Hip Hop / RnB. When I started producing in the back end of 2012, early 2013 I was only really being musically influenced by Amine Edge & DANCE and Kolombo. That was it! It was fresh sounds back then and I jumped straight on-board. Nowadays a lot follows that formula in this corner of house music so I’ve completely moved away. Even my last 2 Eps that came out on CUFF & Bunny Tiger (that were made 2 years ago) are different. I tried really hard to get this going in the UK back then and will never forget the first big ‘G House’ showcase here. It was me, Kolombo and Amine & DANCE at EGG. What a lineup! Right now I’m playing more and more Dirtybird, This Ain’t Bristol & Nightbass tracks in my sets so I’m positive that ‘different’ sound is where my future lies. I’m collaborating with a few friends that release with them so we shall see!
What are currently your main challenges as a DJ?
SION: It gets more challenging every year. Right now, trying to keep on-top of a regular release schedule is a pain in the ass! Every year there seems to be a million more ace producers competing for a release date. Being efficient in this area is stressful but rewarding.
Other things like keeping an eye on international news and being relevant on current affairs is key. I got caught up in the Ukrainian revolution a couple of years back and just made it out in time. Just. There was an attempted Hi-jacking on a plane leaving as I was arriving. Loads of crazy stuff happened that I could probably write a whole interview about. The club I played in Kiev was 300 Meters from the main protest site where people died the following weekend. I’ve also played in Turkey a couple of times this year and the situation there right now makes it hard to go back to unfortuantly, but given the choice I would. They’re cancelling events left right and centre now. I’d like to point out that ‘terrorism’ would never make me turn down a show. I’ve played in every city effected by it this year. We can’t put a hold on normality or else we lose. The show will go on, and I’ll be there playing the fucking music.
What is it about DJing, compared to, say, producing your own music, that makes it interesting for you?
SION: Studio time is very isolated. Even if there are friends about you just really want to keep your head down and get this track finished. DJ’ing though is a polar opposite. It’s usually 24-48 hours or even 2 weeks jam packed with local food, culture, people. Thats interesting! My next South America tour in October is looking like a whole month and I can’t wait. There’s lots of promoters out there, especially in Europe, that enjoy showing you the best the area has to offer. I defiantly buzz of that the most.
What makes you decide to play a particular record during one of your sets?
SION: It has to be well produced… If I can’t enjoy it on my studio monitors or headphones I can’t play it in the club. I think that stems down to so many of my earlier tracks being so poor! It also has to be ‘my style’. I’m not entirely sure what that is but I’m guessing its got to have something different about it. I mostly only play pretty obscure stuff that I’ve searched hard for. Theres a lot out there. I rarely open promos now because the chance of finding something I like is at an all time low. If I hear a lot of my friends playing a track that I had maybe repped once or twice, I’ll drop it from my ‘new playlist’ – but will probably have another bash 6 moths later.
Is there a criteria other than pure subjectivity, for selecting what to play at a gig?
I get a playlist together for a gig really depending on what time I’m on, what the venues like, indoor, outdoor, summer, winter, who I’m playing before/after/with, continent, city, event, festival, clubnight… LOADS! I’ll play stuff from my playlists that suits the surroundings.
A strong set can be truly be more than the sum of its parts. How, do you feel, is the music transformed in the hands of a DJ?
SION: A DJ can totally take a track and make it huge in set depending on how he/she has delivered it, the same way in which you can do the opposite. A bit of crowd interaction can go along way too.
As for physically altering, I don’t do much of that. I enjoy end to end mixing and only used Rekord Box for the first time a couple of months ago. I know it sounds crazy but I just enjoy not being able to tell when the drop is, or have a super accurate BPM, or the tracks loading up at a million miles an hour. It just isn’t as fun.
In which way are you actively trying to create an experience that is more than just stringing together a few excellent records?
SION: Well, for me I always try and showcase something. Rather than it just being a party, I want people to be reaching for Shazam, or telling the guy thats blasting in my ear its a new one from me or my mate. Thats the experience in my opinion. I don’t play a track over and over for months, I keep it fresh for my own reasons as much as the experience I’m offering. I get super bored with music quickly, even to the point where I don’t listen to it too much before a gig. I need to have fun playing or else, whats the point? If you’re having fun the crowd is having fun, and that’s what I stand by!