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  • Titel-Magazin
    TITEL kulturmagazin
    Montag, 21. August 2017 | 06:41

    Die Popkolumne aus London - mit Musik-Download!

    20.10.2012

    Can House music be sexy? An Interview with Sir Stephen

    This October 100% Silk are treating the discerning listener to the debut album by Sir Stephen who is following up his fantastically funky By Design EP with his debut album House of Regalia. The eight tracks contained within join together to create a melodic and sensuous listen that has oodles of proto-house goodness, trancelike vibes, and early rave euphoria. An interview by JOHN BITTLES

     

    Seriously though, to listen is to love (or at least to dance or shuffle in some rather cumbersome way that you hope to God is rhythmic but most probably is not).

     

    Sir Stephen has been bubbling away nicely in the underground for a while now with tastemakers tipping him as someone who could most likely, metaphorically at least, ›blow shit up‹. That is one of the many reasons that I thought I would track him down for a full-length interview.

     

    It wasn’t easy though! First I flew first-class to Berlin and had a look for him in some of the clubs around there. A few months of dancing and drinking later someone told my editor that Sir Stephen actually lives in America, and I had to return home with a hangover and my tail between my legs!

     

    Next I attempted to fly to the good old US of A only to be told by passport control that I was deemed an undesirable because the American people might be a little ›freaked out‹ by my ›ginger beard‹. After futile attempts to convince the border authorities that my three day stubble was actually a work of art and made me look ›quite like George Michael when he was cool and all that‹ I gave up and went home feeling sad, dejected, and alone. Then, while shaving, I remembered the joys of the internet and listened to some great music while pretending to my girlfriend that I was looking at porn. While doing this I had an excellent idea and contacted Sir Stephen by e-mail. You can read the full interview below. Please enjoy!

     

    Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

     

    I currently live in New Orleans.I produce and mix music full-time for a number of Artists of various styles. I suffer from an addiction to classic records and strange synthesizers.
    Love playing shows and dancing at a good party. New Orleans is known for being a birthplace of Jazz and that tradition remains strong, which is wonderful and a major influence for me in my personal work.


    I'd like to believe I was from Detroit and always 'planning' (i.e.; wishing) to relocate to Europe, haha. Grew up going to Raves at the State Palace Theatre (thrown by the infamous Disco Donnie!)… one party and I was hooked on the music for all the RIGHT reasons. Started DJing Florida Breaks (and DnB) in high-school at a very sleazy local after-hours club that doubled as a Lazer Tag arena during the day.


    What can we expect with your debut album House Of Regalia?

     

    Hopefully you can expect BigFun! This album doesn't have as much of a specific/strategic vision as the By Design EP. I hope it showcases a general overview of the different music I'm producing… from the House tracks with old school flavor to contemporary and minimal Techno. It is largely music meant for the ›Dancefloor‹, but I hope people will perhaps appreciate the spectrum of sounds and attention to detail put into this first solo full length. In general, it seems that most Dance oriented music is often treated as an expendable DJ tool, which is fine, but many producers and Artists such as myself strive to assemble proper Albums with subtle nuances that should reveal themselves with deep listening. Personally, that's the most important thing to me on a philosophical level: I'd like to think full-length 12" Dance records can still be considered just as much an »ALBUM» as would an acoustic CD by Pearl Jam.


    You must be pretty excited?

     

    Absolutely! It is a huge honor releasing music alongside the brilliant Artists on Silk/NNF. Amanda is always AMAZING, and has been so wonderful at helping put this together! Never did I imagine I'd have such a great LOOKING album with my name on it. The LP artwork was designed by the most phenomenal graphic artist, Spencer Longo. It's so great to work with people whom you already greatly admire for their own artistic endeavors.


    Have you changed your sound in any way to fit in with the album format?


    I'd have to say my music is always changing or evolving, but not so much for any specific format. However, the track selection was influenced as it is my first LP. Perhaps you could say my goal was to include a broader variety of tracks/styles which represent a 'snapshot' of where I was musically at the time.


    Are you planning any promotional tours etc to promote the LP? And can we ever expect you in London?

     

    Is that an invitation? I'd love to, haha. No plans yet… but I can't wait to play in the EU again. Performing live in London is the ultimate badge of honor for most American DJs/producers! Soon enough… ;)


    How do you feel your music fits in with the 100% Silk sound?

     

    In my opinion, Silk has done a inexplicably stellar job at carving out a niche for itself amidst the barrage of new »Dance music« sounds/labels/formats etc. They are able to remain open to more experimental/left-field Artists for which NotNotFun has always been known… like Maria Minerva, LA Vampires or Peaking Lights, while simultaneously releasing more overtly dance-oriented music… such as my first Silk release and the new LP. Amanda is also great at cultivating the Artists on her roster: advising, mixing, matching, and collaborating. I mean, a REMIX 12" of Peaking Lights' brilliant 936… what an idea! Getting introduced, all at once, to the entire NNF catalog was a »rad awakening«. I think Silk seems to stay fresh, take risks, and still have people guessing, all while managing to keep everything quite classy!


    You recently covered Wicked Game which in my opinion is the sexiest song ever. If you exclude all Donna Summer songs that is! Can House music be ›sexy‹?


    I don't think there would be ›House‹, as we know it, without Donna Summer… but absolutely House music can be sexy! There isn't much House, or Techno, that I love and don't consider ›sexy‹ for many reasons. I think House/Dance music generally is all about helping people get lost (escapism)… lost in the sound but also helping shed inhibitions and getting freaky! Dancing to a killer new House joint can make anyone feel bold and sexy… it's an important release of energy for me.


    What producers, bands or DJs are getting you excited right now?


    At this moment, I'd have to say my favorite producer is probably Andrés. A friend and fellow artist, DJ Perpetual Care, accurately pointed out the other day that Andrés' music »summons an ecstatic quality that nobody else can«. It sounds like a rather typical observation, but I think it is especially true in this case. His track New For U is the most recent song that REALLY excited me. Always a big fan of Theo Parrish's mixing and releases. He's got a great outlook on music in general. Also, lately a lot of music seems to be coming from Bristol these days that is quite captivating… Idle Hands, among others, has become a new favorite label. The track Astro Girl by OutBoxx is pretty amazing as is the whole EP!


    Is the rise of ›EBM‹ in America a help or a hindrance for house music producers right now?

     

    My first EP, on Angelmaker Records (2004), is arguably ›EBM‹ in many ways. Anything that pulls America away from Hip/Hop's longstanding grip on nearly all things mainstream is a plus. But I dunno really… Maybe it's laying the foundation for a younger audience who will mature, like I did, to appreciate the ›deeper‹ electronic sounds. It could be a question of maturity and acquired tastes: Many people are first drawn to more abrasive/in your face electronic music as a kid such as Front242 or NIN (real EBM). Or even just being impressed by, albeit good, music just because it seems more ›technical‹ like my generation with IDM (Autechre etc.). But eventually the whole ›shock-value‹ thing wears off I think for most though I don't see a lot of that stuff in this city.
    When Front242 makes a return to greatness (Kraftwerk did it after all) I could die a happy ›man-machine‹!

     

    Any last messages for our readers?

     

    Listento Silk! And read Titel! Really though… great 'zine. It is a real honor for a mere ›Southern kid‹ to be on the same page as all of the brilliant stuff you uncover!

    And if you get a chance, please check out the new Rush Hour affiliated label, Borneo Records in Amsterdam. There are two of my tracks on their debut release, Fortunate Alpha, followed by a Sir Stephen EP. (Pre-order: here)

     

    As well as answering my questions Sir Stephen was also kind enough to give us an exclusive download for all you lucky readers from his sideproject Fleur de Lis. It is a pleasingly sensual take on Wicked Games by Chris Isaak which while being respectful of the original gives it a nice bit of House-like oomph. I love it! My friends love it! My cat thinks it’s just ok!

     

    Next week I shall be treating you, dear reader, to not one but two great interviews where I shall be discussing entropy and how to resolve the modern economic crisis with JMII and 100% Silk head honcho Amanda Brown. JMII has his debut EP Nueva York coming out on 100% Silk very soon, while Amanda will be telling us all about her new album that she recorded together with the mega-talented Maria Minerva. See you in seven!

    TITEL ist umgezogen!

    Liebe Leserinnen, liebe Leser!


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