1. Hello, Sick Elektrik! What was your biggest challenge in 2014 and how did this year start for you?
I think our biggest challenge in 2014 was avoiding falling into the trap of releasing too much music or doing too many remixes. So for the start of this year we have been trying to hold back, take our time and work harder on our sound and focus on a few quality releases rather than a ton of average tracks.
2. For those of us not already familiar with you, can you briefly introduce yourself and the style of music you are best known for?
We are Ben O’Connor and Jon Verde AKA Sick Elektrik, from Manchester UK and we produce groovy, jackin, bass heavy house and tech house music in our studio and destroy turntables in night clubs.
3. Have you always wanted to be a producer/DJ? At what age did you decide to get into the music business? Was there someone who influenced you to do so, another artist or family member?
At around the age of 12/13 a friend played a hardcore rave mix tape during my art class at school and it blew my mind, I had never heard anything like it and was amazed by the sounds and obsessed with the scratching, I didn’t even know what scratching was but knew thats what I wanted to do! From listening to that one tape I saved up to buy a dodgy pair of Sound lab turntables and since then have focused my whole life on house music and djing.
I was probably around the same age really. Before that probably around 9 or 10 I was making "mix tapes" from the radio with my first cassette machine and trying to press stop and play at the right time but then around 13 started producing music on a friends PC that came with Magix Music Maker included in the box. So you could say it was down to him really. I always spent my pocket money on vinyls then cassette tapes and CD's growing up though so the interest has always been there especially since my grandad was a drummer in a jazz band so i used to play on his drums growing up too. Much to the disapproval of the neighbours. :)
4. On what label was your first ever release and how did you manage to attract their attention for them to sign your track? Was it an easy or difficult goal to achieve?
Our first release was on Nervous Records and we were really lucky with it, it was in the early days of Soundcloud, we had produced the track and by chance we stuck it in the Nervous drop box on their Soundcloud page not really expecting anything or really knowing how it worked but about 2 weeks later we got an email saying they would like to sign the track so we did! Its a lot harder now to get music signed that way but happy it worked for us and got our feet on the ladder.
5. If you had to choose one element of your music that defines your music as a whole, what would it be and why?
We would probably say the groove, a solid groove is the base of all of our tracks and what we build our sound around, its got tohave that swing.
6. How would you describe your sets? What are the styles you mix more often?
Our sets are mainly house and tech house, we push into techno when we can if the crowd is going with us, we are pretty energetic behind the decks we bring hip hop style mixing and scratching to groovy house sets, there is plenty going on!
We do everything live on 4 CDJ’s a mixer and effects units, we DON’T do edits in the studio and then just stand there andclap! If you hear an accapella etc we are mixing it live. If we aren’t covered in sweat when we leave the dj booth we haven’t worked hard enough!
7. What kind of equipment did you start out with? How much has that changed to this date?
Started out with a free music making package that came budded with a friends PC then as we became more interested we got into MIDI and starting using a program called Tracker which, if you look at today, is awful!! Then went back to more standard PC based systems like Cubase and then Acid before finally moving to Logic. In terms of hardware we started off with a Yamaha DJX and a Yamaha CS2x for sounds and controlling and an old Akai sampler. If you look back now when we're using something like Native Instruments Maschine you realise just how much work you had to do to simply sample a chord or a drum hit, but that also kind of made you stick with those sounds where as now its very "throw away". We tend to scrap thing spretty quickly now if it doesn't grab us in the first few minutes.
8. What’s your most treasured tool in the studio and what’s so good about it?
Probably have to say Native Instruments Maschine. Its used as a basis for every track we do, whether its a drum loop or we samplea note from another track or even vocals, they all tend to go through Maschine at some point. Its really quick to get ideas down and real easy to just change sounds, then usually drag them out as audio. We bought a Roland TR8, but haven't had chance to get it sync'd up yet, but when we've had it running it sounds awesome, so I'd say probably that in the next few months.
9. What is your opinion about house music nowadays, from its quality point of view?
In some ways the quality of house music is better than its ever been and in other ways its absolutely terrible. There are some amazingly talented producers out there putting out really quality house records on labels that believe in quality and then there are millions of bedroom producers making there first track on an iPad and headphones and getting it signed to start up labels who will put out anything. Its about knowing where to search nowadays.
10. How important do you think it is for DJs to be also producers?
Unfortunately its super important, no new DJ's get booked because of how good a DJ they are, they get booked because of how well their last release has done on Beatport etc, which is a real shame. A producer that has never been a DJ before can put out one amazing track that tops the charts gets radio play etc, then go and tour the world as a DJ off the back of that ONE good track, without really knowing a thing about the real art of djing. Great producers don’t always make great DJ’s and Great DJ’s probably use ghost producers. ;)
11. Who is your favourite producer at the moment?
Changes daily, but today Sidney Charles.
12. Who would you like to remix your music?
Same as Ben…. you know it would be totally different to the original and a totally different direction to where we'd go.
13. Which DJ would you like to swap places for one day if you could?
Erick Morillo is normally surrounded by the most women so him.
Calvin Harris - He looks like he's been working out…. not too keen on the music though! :)
14. Name 3 of your favourite classic dance music tracks.
DJ H feat Stefy - Come On Boy (Larry Levan Remix)TC Crew - I Can't Do It Alone (Tyree's Mix)Todd Terry - Jumpin' (Thumpin RM Mix)
Marshall Jefferson - Move Your Body, T Coy - Carino, A Guy Called Gerald - Voodoo Ray
15. If you had to come up with a slogan to sell a Sick Elektrik set what would it be?
You won't believe how good these guys are with their hands. :)
16. What do you hope to achieve in the future?
We want to continue to put out quality house music on bigger labels and the dream would really be to land a summer residency in ibiza at DC10, Space or Pacha.
17. Thank you very much for your time! Do you have a message for all the people out there who love electronic music?
Thanks for all the support so far guys! Always an honour for people to spend their hard earned money buying our music. :)
Interview made by Adriana-Laura L. © 2015 DJs Arena. All righs reserved.