Skylife’s ‘Why’ (feat. Summer Rayne) is the UK duo’s debut single and a fresh take on Carly Simon’s 80’s classic that has become a Balearic staple. One of the anthems of the summer? You could say that. Dan Prince gets stuck in…
Sveinn, Reg…a huge summer welcome to DMCWORLD. Where on planet earth are you right now?
Hey DMC WORLD! Thanks, we are in Shoreditch East London. UK.
The first piece of music you heard this morning after rolling out of bed?
Svenni: The first thing I put on this morning was actually Bob Marley, Stir It Up. Helps me starts the day, good old Bob.
Reg: I got in the car and the new Beyonce track was on the radio, no idea what it is called.
So a massive new tune coming out on Polydor in July which we will come to shortly. But before we get to the music, let’s get some background on you two….
Sveinn you grew up in Iceland, how old were you when electronic music appeared on your radar and who were the early producers you were into?
My older brother went through an Electronic music phase and I used to sneak into his room after school and go through his records. I remember picking up an album with a weird face on the front cover and it was Aphex Twin “…I care because you do” – it blew my mind. Then went onto explore artists like Squarepusher, DJ Shadow, Massive Attack, Nightmares on Wax, A lot of stuff from Ninja Tunes and then I discovered Boards of Canada, one of my favourite artists.
What was the dream back then for you and what were your first steps into fulfilling your dream?
My dream back then was to become a Computer & Electronic Engineer. I learnt how to build my own synthesizer and drum machines and use it to make my own music. But I quickly became consumed by playing guitar and turned into a grumpy teenage rock star for a bit. Well, I still am probably a bit like a grumpy teenage rock star come to think about it.
Your first big break into the industry?
I’m not 100% sure, it has been a long hard working gradual kind of break. Like trying to break through the arctic ice with a tea spoon so you can put your hook down and finally get a chance to catch some fish. But I guess signing with Polydor is the biggest fish I’ve caught so far.
Reg – I feel like I know you already as the Kemps are good friends of mine! What is your earliest musical memory growing up?
Yeah, that’s actually a funny coincidence as I grew up with Martin & Gary Kemp when I was baby. I used to soak up everything they used to play and I remember hearing Bowie and The Buzzcocks blaring out of their rooms and it sounded incredible. I quickly became hooked on the sounds and the exciting music and got obsessed with listening through their record collections.
You took a different path to Sveinn with your career starting on the decks at London’s warehouse party scene. What was your musical style back then?
When I first started DJ-ing in London ungerground scene everyone was into house, garage, acid music and I started buying and collecting as much vinyl as I could get my hands on.
DJs who impressed you back then?
Todd Terry, Frankie Knuckles, Kenny Ken, Pete Tong.
So the obvious question, how the fuck did you meet?
We were both fucking about in bands and playing around London venues. We had a mutual friend that was the lead singer in both of our bands. He introduced us one day and we became good friends, we were both very passionate about live music, recordings, equipment and all sorts of geeky stuff so we finally decided to run a studio together.
How long was it before the idea of a studio production partnership came about?
We have been producing and recording other artists for some time now and every now and then we would invest a lot of time into up and coming artists. One artist completely lost the plot and turned into a crack head. Then we nurtured another band for about a year. Recorded a full album for them, helped them with live stuff, music videos etc. We had a few major labels knocking on the door but the band started arguing about splits and who did what and when. It got messy and they fell out and split up. Classic music industry story…unfortunately. From that point we were fed up with working for other people and thought we would concentrate on our own music and invest our time in us.
Who excels in what department in the studio?
We both put equal effort into the studio, Sveinn has been a recording engineer and instrumentalist for a long time and does most of the recordings while Reg is a performer and producer. So we always work on all ideas and write everything together. Reg has a lot more knowledge of all the classic underground house, garage & dance music and when we combine or set of skills we come up with an interesting cocktail of music.
When was the last time you had a massive argument about music?
We rarely argue about music, but sometimes there will be simple and short opinions on something and that usually goes something like.
“I really like this”
“Nah I think it’s shit”
“Ok, lets fuck it off then”
Then we move on…
Right then, ‘Why’ feat. Summer Rayne. Please tell us the history and production on your rework of this classic…
We are both huge fans of the original song and we got the idea about 5 years ago. We were originally going to do it for the artist that lost the plot and turned to crack. So when we finally decided to rework a classic song, this song come to mind straight away. It’s like the universe was telling us to do this song. We just always knew we had to do it. Originally we started messing about with it 5 years ago for this other artist but it was in a completely different style. It was a D&B style production with rap vocals and live instruments. Nothing came of it and we forgot about it.
Then this year Justin Bieber track ‘Sorry’ came on the radio and all of a sudden Reg starts to sing ‘Why’ over it and it sounded so cool. We had an epiphany and were reminded of the song again. We started building the track immediately but it was a lot slower, 100 bpm, with a reggae style piano and a dancehall type beat, some crazy 808 and bit of Nile Rodger guitar on top. We did a demo of this and played it to our manager, he loved it straight away but it was way too slow. He said “can you change the tempo to, say 114 bpm, and play it back”. We were all in the studio and in the first 10 seconds we knew that was the right tempo as the song came alive and we all started smiling. The guide vocal Summer Rayne did was sped up too much so we got her into the studio the next day to re-do the vocal. Once we had her amazing vocal on it we knew we had something special.
Rumour has it you have been prolific writing songs for Spinnin’ and Armada these past few years?
Yeah, we write a lot of toplines for DJ’s and have been writing for a plethora of artists through MusicAllStars our publisher.
What are the 5 big tunes in your box this weekend, please give us a few words on each…
Martin Solveig – ‘Do It Right’
Killer Vocal and loving the groovy drop with the cowbell, looove cowbell! More Cowbell!
CID – ‘Together’
Amazing old school vibe with a modern sound. Makes us feel nostalgic.
L’Tric – ‘1994’
Simple cool bass line hook with groovy vocal, makes you feel happy and 1994 was a good year!
Joe Stone – ‘Man Enough’
Another great remake of a classic. We just love the classics.
Flatdisk – ‘Just Gotta Have It’
Because we gotta have it!
What is coming out next from you studio wise?
We’ve been working on loads of new original tracks. The best is yet to come!
Some big live dates you are looking forward to this summer…
We are looking forward to Secret Solstice Iceland, Creamfields Ibiza.
And finally gotta ask, Reg – you a Spandau Ballet fan??
Of course! Number one fan!
Skylife ‘Why’ feat. Summer Rayne is out now on Polydor