Words: Jonathan Cooper
Since his first release in 2011, Hamburg-born Sidney Charles has been working hard to become one of the most integral DJs today on the underground techhouse circuit. A mere two years after his first release, Sidney placed at number one in Resident Advisor’s ‘2013 Top 100 Charted Artists’, and since then, his popularity has continued to grow with highly sought-after releases on labels such as DJ Sneak’s I Am A House Gangster, Jamie Jones’ Hot Creations and Adam Beyer’s Truesoul. Yeah, the man’s got skills… Ahead of his Australian tour we caught up with the accomplished producer for a quick chat about everything from Italian powerhouse club night Elrow to B2B sets.
Jonathan: First off, you recently played at Passpop Festival for the Elrow crew. Of late they really seem to be in the news a lot for their sensational events. For those in Australia who have not experience an Elrow event, can you tell us more about it and what do you think make it so special?
Sidney: The Elrow family always puts a lot of effort into decorating the venue. They mostly work with various themes e.g. The Bronx. Where the club is fully decorated with props and great production that characterises The Bronx. They also bring a lot of performing artists who are dressed up in theme, giving it a fully immersive feeling. I believe it’s an amazing change as sometimes you get bored a bit of usual club nights. It’s a great experience when you love lots of confetti! The people behind Elrow work as a family and I think that is a big reason why they are so successful at the moment. People just love keep working with them!
Jonathan: You just released a brand new EP on Moon Harbour. What can you tell us about it? The new EP also feature vocals from Lady Vale, how did that collaboration come about?
Sidney: Lady Vale messaged me asking whether I’m interested in hearing some of her vocals. Obviously as a producer I’m always keen to find new vocals for my productions. She sent me some jams she had done especially for me and I really like the vibe of her voice. I felt humbled that she made them extra for me. I ask her to get them recorded properly so I could work on some ideas in the studio. At that time I was based for 2 months in Buenos Aires for my last South America tour. When I received the vocals I was renting into a studio from some DJ friends of mine in Buenos Aires. It took some time to get used to their equipment and the new studio environment. But in the end I came up with some pretty cool ideas. It just took me 2 days after I received the vocals to finalise the track. In the end we were both happy with the result and after testing it also on my SA tour the tune was ready for send-out. I always have been a big fan of Matthias Tanzmann’s Moon Harbour and it’s an honour to release on his label. I had two other tunes that were fitting to the “Make Me Moove” tune I made with Lady Vale and the vibe was progressing into the direction of Moon Harbour. So I just tried my luck. When Matthias answered me with his confirmation I was really happy and I realised that the inspiration I gathered on my SA tour was helping me a lot to accomplish that.
Jonathan: Recently you played a 6 hour set at Watergate. What are your thoughts on longer sets and do you prefer them? What for you is the perfect set length?
Sidney: I’m a big fan of long sets simply because when I’m DJ-ing I want to lose the feeling for time and this can only work if you are not under a certain time pressure. A lot of set times nowadays at big festivals are under two hours which from my perspective is by far not enough to experience a musical journey. I don’t have a perfect set length but I simply love to play without thinking about when I have to stop.
Jonathan: Avotre label boss Sante have been playing a fair bit of b2b sets with you of late. What is it about you two playing together that you think works so well? And outside of Sante, which DJ would you consider to be a dream pairing with you for a B2B?
Sidney: As Santé and I are working together on his label Avotre, we are having a lot of contact and also exchange a lot of music – so we kind of know the style of each other. I personally love to play a lot of old-school stuff and try to bring down the tension a bit to create ups and downs in my set. Santé is a straight on banging peak time DJ. I think this combination makes it quiet interesting. I would love to play b2b with DJ Pierre, Kerrie Chandler, Chez Damier, Masters At Work, Cassy, Laurent Garnier to name a few.
Jonathan: Back in the day you made the move from Hamburg to Berlin where your career really rocketed. What is it about that move (and Berlin) which allowed this to happen?
Sidney: The scene in Berlin is very concentrated and you can find plenty of very good clubs where my favourite artists play. In Hamburg I could never have listened to all these great artists. I was inspired a lot by the artists I have heard over the past years in Berlin. Also, Berlin itself is very inspirational. I love the multicultural vibe and the subcultural scene. And if you are an upcoming broke ass little DJ like I was Berlin can give you a lot of space to develop yourself. It has a great living quality by being relatively cheap.
Jonathan: To date you still haven’t released a full length artist album. Is this something that you would like to do? And do you think there is still a place in today’s market for an artist LP?
Sidney: That’s true. I was trying to get my feet into that when I released my House Lessons Compilation EP which included 8 exclusive tracks of mine, combined with remixes for and from friends. I still think that I want to gain some more experience as DJ as well as a producer until I can come up with something that fulfils my own expectations.
Jonathan: You have 4-date tour of Australia upcoming. What can we expect from the tour and what are you most looking forward to in returning?
I have a lot of new music including some unreleased stuff of mine. People can expect my signature house sound that I’m true to. I enjoyed my first two tours in Australia a lot. Especially Revolver and the Chinese Laundry were legendary and unforgettable nights. So I’m even happier to return!!
Friday 5th May: Habitat @ Geisha Bar, Perth
Saturday 6th May: LNDRY @ Chinese Laundry, Sydney
Sunday 7th May: Revolver Sundays @ Revolver, Melbourne (DAY)
Sunday 7th May: Inner Circles @ Rhonda’s, Central Coast (NIGHT)