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Getting Crafty with Sly One: Part 2

Reported by Frani Heyns / Submitted 02-02-10 10:27

Continuing our two part special on hot property, Sly One. Open up to find out more ahead of his trance Odyssey this weekend.

In 2009, the name Sly One vs Jurrane was signed to none other than the great Mr Askew’s Discover Records. How did you feel when the news broke?

I remember being quite stoked that John Askew was swearing about our music. He does that a lot. Now if I don't get a string of expletives out of the man, I worry we've not produced the goods!

Doing work under the Discover flagship has without doubt had a major impact on your career. Give us a glimpse of your time with one of the UK’s most influential labels.

I think the "moment" was really when we handed in the Dark mix of Second Summer. It was a bit of an experiment really. We had no idea how it was going to go down. As it happens, John absolutely loved the cheeky originality of it. It fell straight into Paul Van Dyk's record box for literally months on end, and they have since been unbelievably supportive of our every weird sonic experiment! So, our overriding experience is that the thing that really got a record label right behind us was handing in something a little bit daring and different.

I can sum up what it's like working with Discover with a simple quote. When we handed in our finished remix of John Askew's track Bad Apple, his reaction was:

“Holy...f*!t...knickers... It's heart-breakingly good... Guys, this is your best yet. Incredible.”

You can now proudly say that you’ve worked with huge names in the industry. Name three DJs that have had a massive impact on your work and tell us why.

John "00" Fleming was the first major name to pick up on any of my tunes. He put massive weight behind Gamma Storm when it came out, and invited me and some friends up to Godskitchen in Brighton to see him play it. What a memory that was! I had never seen anyone else play my music and there I was, in one of the most famous clubs, with my tune being played by one the world's biggest DJs and they were really, really going for it. Jon O'Bir was resident at the time, heard it, grabbed me, asked for a copy, and then made it a bit of an anthem for Godskitchen for the next month or two. It was a couple of years before I produced anything again, but the goodwill I had built up from Gamma Storm really served me well getting noticed when I really got moving again. If you don't mind me stretching to four, I must mention both Ian Betts (who signed my hard trance experiment, House of Muzik, written as an anthem for a new club in Cambridge, and thus helped kick start me really properly getting into production), and John Askew.

Although you’re infamous for your brilliant trance productions and DJ sets, you often stretch your style to embrace more genres – including progressive, psy trance and even a bit of tech trance. What is your take on this?

I think crowds have two expectations of DJs. The first is being a tastemaker, leading the pack with the latest sounds. However, it takes years to get to the point where people come to see you personally, to see what you do, and will therefore be completely happy to hear a single particular sound from you. On the other hand, when people aren't actually at a club to hear the DJ play, or are there to here someone else play, they place a very different expectation on the DJ; play what makes us dance.

As a result, anyone that spends years playing to regular crowds where they are not necessarily the "main event" starts to focus on reading a crowd and adapting, and what I have found is that, like me, crowds as a whole start to tread water when they hear the same style non-stop for eight hours. Breaking it up is like sprinkling fairy dust on the crowd - the thundering bass of a great piece of psy, or a grunty, cheeky bit of tech can really move things sideways and set things up to move back into trance with renewed energy.

It's good to see that this has become almost the norm now, with trance DJs alternating tech and trance to keep things sounding fresh.

Unlike any other trance producer or DJ I know, you were part of a band called Crossfader until 2008 – playing the keyboard and guitar. How did this come into being and how did it influence your trance productions?

There were five of us, covering between us, drums, bass, three sets of vocals, piano, lead guitar, cello, sax, synths and acoustic guitars. It was a mental mix-up of dance music, blues, rock, pop, with influences from right across the musical spectrum. It built up over a period of months, initially to perform our lead vocalist's material, and became this semi-experimental, semi-serious project. We knocked out some great tunes before the effort of holding together five very different people became too much! I had my commitments elsewhere and so did everyone else.

Funnily enough, I don't think it influenced my dance music at all - if anything, it was an antidote, an opportunity to get all the other weird ideas I had out of my system!

You also engineer for other dance producers, work as a mix engineer and have composed for film. Tell us more!

I'll always consider an engineering project if someone has a good idea they would like to work with. In the past I've worked mostly on getting peoples' existing material sounding tight and punchy. Mix engineering I've done for bands - I engineered and produced all Crossfader's demos, for example. I've also done a bit of live sound. The film composition is a mad one; I have a friend that does AV presentations for corporate events. A friend and I have done work for him producing the music, but it's always the same idea; he will have a released piece of music that he used to build the video, and gets us to write something similar sounding, synced to the same video. The last one we did for him was some very minimal glitchy stuff.

And just to add another dimension to your exciting life - you’ve also been a long-standing resident at Planet Angel, one of London’s best underground parties. When did you start playing there and how would you describe this event?

I started playing there in 2003, but I've been going since 2000. If you know someone that goes, find out when it is and go. It has a strict no-advertising policy so I can't tell you any more! It will be the best clubbing experience you've ever had. You will meet the friendliest people, hear the best music and it will be the first time you've ever played on a Playstation, built something out of Lego, painted a picture on a wall, then gone mental to drum and bass for four hours.

Speaking of underground parties… You’ll be playing at Odyssey on 6 February. With the theme ‘A Decade of Trance’ you’ve been given a certain era to cover between 1998 and 2008. What are your expectations of the night and what can we expect from your set?

I have a feeling there will be some shenanigans. Do they serve black sambuca?

I am covering 2002 and 2003, which is going to be great fun. So many amazing tunes came out around then!

If you were told you could have your own party, with your own chosen DJs anywhere in the world, where would it be and who would be in your line-up?

It would be on a beach, in a shielded cove, with cliffs behind and the sea in front, blasting out to the sea. And all my mates would be playing.

Not only have you done remixes for some pretty big names out there, including John O’ Callaghan and John Askew, but your tracks have also been remixed by great producers. A recent example is This Late Stage which was remixed by Aly & Fila. Name two producers you would like to work with in future.

Sunny Lax and Stoneface & Terminal I reckon. On the trance side, anyway!

You’ve reached so many goals in a relatively short space of time. What next?

More tunes, more gigs and a lot more noise! Our focus is simply on keeping the quality high at the moment and enjoying what we do. Each release seems to bring more recognition, so we think we're doing something right.

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Photos courtesy of Sly One. Not to be reproduced without permission.

Odyssey presents A Decade of Trance
Send an eFlyer for this event to a friend Include this Event in a Private Message Direct link to this Event
On: Saturday 6th February
At: Ember [map]

From: 15:00 - 24:00
Cost: FREE
Ticket Info: Free entrance all day.
More: For our next adventure we invite you to step into a time machine. With each of our chosen DJs representing an era between 1998 and 2008, we’ll travel through time – blending the past and the present in celebration of the music that will live in our minds forever.

In preparation for this epic journey, we urge all voyagers to dress up in classic rave gear. We’ll reward the best-dressed male and female with a fabulous prize.

Region: London
Music: Trance. Hard Trance.
DJ's: Andy Dunford
Anthony Dean vs Pablo
Dave Bennett
Dj Erc
Ian Edwards
Sly One

Who's Going? (18) : Adam Symbiosis, Agnes Klos, Alan-Banks, Andy Dunford, Carine, djdirtyd, Evie D, Frani Heyns, Ian Edwards, jackVanChallis, Lorenzo Barrero, Marc Antoine, Matt, Menthol Taz, miss C, miss marie, Riff and Raff, Ryan Wilkinson 

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Other Features By Frani Heyns:
Finding the passion with Ben Alonzi
Put your hands in the air for Glyn Waters
Shifting gears with Corderoy
Perfectly Adam White
Getting Crafty with Sly One: Part 1
The views and opinions expressed in this review are strictly those of the author only for which HarderFaster will not be held responsible or liable.

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