Sykes is part of Rotterdam’s new forward-thinking electronic music scene, gravitating around cultural platforms and collectives of creative people such as Triphouse Rotterdam and Operator Radio. As a DJ he has been hosting his own show on Operator Radio, while as an artist and producer, he has been championed by DJ, music curator and NTS radio host Carista, who picked his infectious track ‘Take’ for ‘Modern Intimacy Volume 1’, the first compilation album out on her United Identities label. As a performer Sykes has been collaborating with Dutch producer Beau Zwart, who’s ‘Beyond Two Souls’ EP ft. Sykes marked the launch of the Fluid Funk label in 2020. Together they performed their energetic live set at ADE 2019, culminating in an EP release, ‘Hold Tight’, released last summer. With upcoming releases including tracks on Bristol-born record label Boogie Cafe Records’ upcoming compilation, an electronic dance EP on Carista’s United Identities and a future album in the pipeline, Sykes is set to make an impact on the international music scene. DMCWORLD checks in with the main as he releases his new ‘We And Us’ EP…
Hey Sykes, welcome to DMCWORLD! That’s an original name – what’s the meaning behind it?
Hi DMCWORLD! Thank you for the invitation. The name Sykes comes from a movie called Mean Machine. It’s an English cult movie about a guy that is playing football in prison. There is a character called Mr. Sykes who doesn’t really look like me. My friends and I watched the movie and we gave each other a nickname based on a character. That was Sykes for me.
What inspired ‘We And Us’ and how the was the production process behind the EP?
The We And Us EP is inspired on experiences I had in daily life, discussions I had with friends about day-to-day issues and deep divisions in modern society. I wanted to put all my experiences and feelings in these tracks and also bring a message of love and hope. I made all the tracks in my studio. Sometimes I started with some chords and sometimes with drums. I don’t have a particular way of working. Most of the times the process is kind of chaotic. I usually create the instrumental track first and write the lyrics on top of it.
Tell us a bit about the Rotterdam electronic dance music scene you are part of. Are there any other artists we should keep our eyes on?
I think the scene in Rotterdam is booming at the moment. There are many talented people and a lot of variation in music scenes. Although Rotterdam is quite a large city, the people in the music scene are really connected. There is a lot of collaboration between artists and they are really willing to help each other. Artists you have to keep an eye on are Beau Zwart, Black Cadmium, and Suze Ijo.
Can you tell us more about the tracks you picked for your DJ Mix and why you chose them?
The basis of the mix is the We And Us EP and I tried to surround these tracks with other tracks that inspired me to make the kind of music I make.
Sykes – Speak up
Speak up is the slow electronic ballad on the We and Us EP. The song is about speaking up about issues you are dealing with.
Outkast – Elevators
Outkast is one off my favourite Hip-Hop groups off all time and this track always brings me back to my teenage years.
Byron The Aquarius – Girls Girls Girls
I really love all the things that Byron The Aquarius puts out. It’s so diverse and drenched with soul and jazz even if it’s more electronic. This Girls Girls Girls track is a perfect example of that and was released through Apron Records.
Sykes – I Am 2
I Am 2 is a more electronic / R&B kind of track, mixed with some silky vocals.
I wanted to make an R&B track with electronic elements.
K15 – Our morning
I love all the music K15 makes. From his more up-tempo UK things to this EP, which is more a storytelling EP with loads of classical piano and beats.
Steve Spacek – Natural Sci-Fi
Steve Spacek and especially this Natural Sci-Fi track is an perfect example of great warm sounds and a mix between a beat track, electronic elements and lovely vocal work.
Kaidi Tatham ft Children of Zeus – Out here on my own
Kaidi Tatham is a big inspiration for my music. The things he makes are just mind blowing sometimes, his arrangements and the way he uses chords are great. I really like this combination in the track Children of Zeus.
Alfa Mist – Kyoki
Alfa Mist is a musical centipede. He makes sick jazz music, but also adds beats and raps from time to time. I really like the arrangement of this song and the overall nice warm feeling that it gives you.
Josef Leimberg – The Awakening
I always thought this track was a sort of combination between spiritual jazz and Hip-Hop. It always brings me to higher places when I’m listening to it
Jordan Rakei – Say Something
I really like the vocal work that Jordan Rakei did in this track. It’s a soul track, which can also be played in a DJ set.
Sykes – World
World is a jazz-influenced song with hip hop drums. The song is about the fact that it sometimes just feels overwhelming to find your own path. It’s also a song about hope and about the fact that there are always like-minded people with whom you can build your own community.
Dreamcast Moe – Make your move
The first time I heard the Dreamcast & Sasac track Summer Love, I was hypnotized by it. I really wanted to have this track, so I went to Rush Hour in Amsterdam to only buy this single on vinyl. Ever since, I am a big fan of his work and this track comes from his Lamont EP.
Hiatus Kaiyote – Shaolin Monk Motherfunk
Hiatus Kaiyote is THE band for me. I have listened to this album over and over again. They are all such great musicians and it all sounds so good.
Sykes – We and Us
We and Us is the title track of the EP. The vibe of the track is jazzy, but it has a drum & bass rhythm. The song is about the fact that we have to realize that we are all together on this planet and that we have to listen to each other to make things work out.
Fatima – Take it all feat. Roc Marciano
I love the sound and emotion of Fatima’s voice. I have listened to her music from the early days. This track was the perfect outro track for the mix.
What can we expect from you for the rest of 2021?
2021 is going to be a busy year. There are four Sykes tracks coming out on four different labels: Ruyzdael, Boogie Café records, Infinite Pleasure and INI Movement. I am working on a new solo EP and an EP with a jazz trio. I am also talking to the Fluid Funk label about a follow-up of the We and Us EP, so loads of good stuff are coming in 2021.