Interview

Sidney Charles on vinyl vs digital, a new release with PIV and future plans

The German-born artist has just dropped a slick 4 track EP on Prunk's imprint

With the uncertainty around clubs and festivals in the future, and many artists still unable to perform week in, week out to ravers, it’s been a challenging year for new music. Without crowds for DJs to road test their records to, it feels as though many artists have held back on their productions.

So, we spoke to Sidney Charles about his brand new release out on PIV Records; a slick 4 track EP blending tech and minimal seamlessly with luscious melodies, groovy basslines, and tight drums. Originally from Hamburg in Germany, Sidney Charles has achieved some notable accolades in such as repeated chart success on Beatport with his release on 8Bit titled ‘Ruffline’ climbing to Number 2, as well as ‘All Night Long’ on Hot Creations reaching the Number 1 spot. Sidney was also RA’s most charted artist in 2013, and has been been nominated twice for Best Producer and Newcomer in the Ibiza DJs Awards.

Here’s what happened when we caught up.

Hi Sidney, thanks for speaking to us! How has 2021 been for you so far, and how have you been keeping busy during lockdown?

No problem…pleasure is mine! Well luckily, I have quite a nice studio that I could escape to most of the time. So, I was making lots of music, testing new creative methods and hardware to develop as an artist as well. Additionally, I was making a sample pack for Sample Market that came out in October last year. I was also teaching production techniques with video tutorials that came out on Demarzos EMC channel. On the other hand, I tried to recover as much sleep as possible that I’ve lost in the last couple of years!

Your new 4 track EP, “Organica” just dropped on PIV Records, what is it about the label that made you want to release with them?

I’ve been following Prunk and Chris Stussy for a while and I also play their music in most of my sets. I just love the fact that house music became so publicly acceptable and PIV did a major part in bringing this sound back. Very groovy beats paired with deep melodic sequences characterizes the PIV sound that I personally love to play out a lot. Also, I love to work with friends and build something up together, so I was even more happy when Prunk and Chris signed my tracks.

Your sound has definitely changed over the years, how do you feel you’ve developed as an artist?

Yes, for sure. I believe it is essential as an artist to change and develop over the years. It is a natural part of the creative process. I personally think it is nothing worse than being stuck in a certain sound and have the feeling that you are not able to grow. But at the same time I think it is important to not to lose your “red line“ that can be identified as certain elements in your music that can be recognised as something that is YOU.

Regarding my personal music I think I am always keen to learn to ways of making music and I am not shy to ask people how they did certain things. If you think you are too good in what you are doing and you shouldn’t ask people for help, then you miss a major part of being an artist.

I also have the impression that my sound has grown simultaneously with my age as well… Over the years, all my experiences as an artist constantly flows into my music, and the house sound I’m making right now is what I personally love playing out the most.

What were some of your early influences, and how has that shaped your music production now/the music you play?

When I was 16, I started to mix vinyl at home; mostly hip hop, funk and Soul. One of my favourite albums back then till today is “A Tribe Called Quest – Low End Theory”. It’s not only the lyrics that I felt a lot but also the way the whole album was mixed. Super fat and juicy low ends but the drums were very raw and dirty but still clear and punchy. This is also how I approach my music nowadays and how I want my mixes to sound like.

Being originally from Hamburg, what made you want to move to London? How do you find the scene differs? 

I lived in London for about 3 years. Before that I was in Berlin for about 5 years. Those two cities seem quite different, but I think they have a very similar rhythm when it comes to night life. I love the passion that the people work with in the industry. Most people I was working with in London they do it because they love music and they love keeping the underground alive and work with people they also personally want to support. Compared to Berlin I’d say it is quite similar…people often do events and book super underground artists, but it’s mainly about creating a great environment to enjoy music.

It’s great to see your records released on vinyl too, do you have a preference on vinyl vs digital?

I think both are important mediums to release music. I personally appreciate vinyl releases a lot more nowadays because they stand for something bigger than digital releases. They obviously ask for more work in in advance and the sound stand for a certain quality that can’t be reached by digital releases nowadays. I think that could also be connected to the sheer amount of music that I coming out on digital platforms nowadays.

But at the same time digital releases can reach much more people in a short time frame and some parts of the world it is almost impossible to get vinyl. So I also think it is a bit egoistical to make vinyl only releases because you cut out a certain group of people who might love to buy your music as well and support you and enjoy your music.

Amongst releasing on well-respected labels like PIV, NO ART, Saved, Locus, Do Not Sleep, and more, you also have your own imprint “Heavy House Society”, what’s the ethos behind it? 

Heavy House Society came to life because I wanted a platform where I can live out my personal vision of house music. The sound I always love, that I also described earlier connected to my early influences. As an artist you can express yourself more freely when you have your own platform because you don’t need to adapt to certain sound that other labels already established themselves in.

Also, you have the opportunity to build a family of artists that can act as collective and be more than one artist alone. And I think that this also one of the visions I am following with HHS.

One of Sidney’s previous releases on his own label Heavy House Society

With 2021 potentially looking like some events may be able to open, what’s your plans for this year?

Well, there are no real plans because of the uncertainty of things. But I am very much looking forward to going back to a rhythmic way of life and frequently planned events!

Sidney Charles’ ‘Organica’ EP on PIV Records is out now.

Stream: https://soundcloud.com/pivrecords/sets/piv034-sidney-charles-organica-1

Buy: https://www.beatport.com/release/organica/3233786

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