You have to applaud a guy who will get established in one sound or style and almost shun that to explore different forms of music. Sinistarr spent the last five years having tracks signed and released on a number of drum & bass institutions (including Metalheadz, Hospital Records and Fabio’s Creative Source), only to feed his need to create tracks at BPMs outside of the dnb spectrum – to much acclaim. When guys like Chrissy Murderbot and Om Unit are championing (and signing) the tracks you’re not normally known for making? You’re definitely onto something. With his name on the bill of two big EDM festivals this month, he’s bound to get launched into the stratosphere, but he’s primarily focused on getting better…
Interview by Khal
You’ve been actively releasing music for the last five years. When you first started producing tracks, would you say you had any goals you set out for yourself? What were they? Do you feel you’ve lived up to them/surpassed them?
I think that all of the goals that I’ve hit in terms of the music that I’m currently known for are in fact goals I’ve set. From when I felt I was ready, to having my first tune out on a label, I’ve definitely hit every major goal that I’ve set for myself so far… Looking deeper into who I’ve had releases out with in the past 3 years, I would say that getting on Metalheadz was a goal I shot for in 2009/2010, and because of the support Hospital gave me then, it was inevitable I’d say, they were looking for the right one from me to get out there. The collab that Grimm and I did on Renegade Hardware last year was definitely one that I was elated about, because I was finally writing tunes to fit that mold, and ultimately the b-boy, hip hop influenced “Horsemen” sound that Loxy & Ink stylized, which has always been in my record crates, CD holder and Serato folders for some time.
Having all of these signings, as well as the ones in between, basically gave me something to talk about, now that I am getting into a broader spectrum in music. So to answer the last question, I’ve met and definitely surpassed them, much to the surprise of a lot of people!!
You’re from Michigan, and we can tell by listening that the Detroit Electronic Music vibe is ingrained in your sound. How important is it to keep that vibe alive within your own productions?
I keep listening to music from Detroit; I find it important to stay on my toes about what goes on in the city musically, even though I don’t live there anymore. I’m always looking for mixtapes, b-sides, and whatever else people recommend to me.
With your aforementioned tunes on some of drum & bass’ bigger imprints, what made you decide to pursue EDM outside of the dnb tempo?
I feel I set the precedent a while ago, that I knew branching out was my next step, but I felt that I needed to get in a comfortable position to. Getting on all the labels I’ve gotten on, there’s a plateau I feel that I hit in terms of dnb within the last year, and I wanted to explore a bit of my influences and experiment with writing them. So far, so good!!!
You’ve gotten support for your newer tracks from Om Unit, Chrissy Murderbot, Goldie and others. Were you surprised that some of the top selectors in the scene took to your new sounds so quickly? Did any of those guys give you advise on your new direction?
Meeting Chrissy and Jim (Om Unit) and having them back me the way that they are now is definitely one of the best things to happen with me right now, since I went on and took a risk on trying to reach a new audience and trying not to alienate the people that knew me from drum & bass throughout the years, and they have been steadily shouting me out along the way. Dropping tempos, especially 160 BPM sounds, opened me up to a world of different styles and techniques that I could actually use with out it sounding too fast.
You’ve already got two EPs under your belt this year. Do you have any plans on an album-length project?
Hopefully soon, I want to have enough to be able to shop a diverse catalog to a bigger label right now, so at the moment I’m working on tunes and collecting new emails.
With the BPM range of yours touching on hip hop, footwork, drum & bass and more, is there any style you want to try your hand at that you haven’t?
I want to make more house and techno. Cetra seemed to have taken off well, so I would love to follow that up sometime soon. I’ve been listening to a lot of 90s music as of late, so I want to emulate some of that in some new music.
You’re headlining the drum & bass area of the Decibel Festival in Seattle at the end of September. Since your production isn’t solely based on drum & bass these days, are you still actively following the scene? What does a 2012 Sinistarr dnb set consist of?
I’m still looking for good drum & bass, despite my slight style shift! I like going through different time periods of dnb when I spin, so you will hear 150 BPM jungle and 170+ dnb, with some halftime joints all in between that. I tend to pay more attention to tempos than particular styles when I spin, so every set will be different.
Describe your sound in five words.
Deep, dark, lush dance music.
We spoke earlier about the goals you laid out for yourself when you first started – how have your goals changed now? What are you striving towards at this point going forward?
My goal now is to revamp my sound to make it even more unique than it was before, and one of the goals that I had prior is the same – shop those sounds to bigger labels! I’m looking to write as much music as I possibly can and still keep it quality as usual. As I said before, I have some weight on me, so I feel I can hold my own in the bigger scope of things.