We are excited to welcome Sydney Blu to the mix series today. The Toronto based producer and DJ has had a long a successful career that began when she started out as a DJ back in the year 2000. Over the years she has spanned the globe sharing her music and talents. She is coming in hot from Miami Music Week where Sydney used to call home for a time. Drawing from those inspirations and her leftover Miami energy she has delivered a superb mix that shares some of the new music Sydney has been digging while in Miami along with some a few of her own releases. Today we also had the pleasure of premiering her new release from SOUP records “Do The Math” which you will hear in the mix as well. You can Pre-order it here and we will have more on that down below with our weekly interview with Sydney conducted by PZB down below. Enjoy.
PZB: Hi Sydney and thank you for joining us this week. I have been listening to and collecting tracks of yours for several years and it is a pleasure to have you as a part of the mix series. Can you please tell our audience what they
can expect with your mix this week?
Sydney Blu: I am fired up from Miami Music Week. Every time I come back from the Miami conference I’m very inspired musically. This is a perfect time to have me do a mix actually because I have a lot of new music and and new inspiration from the Djs I saw down in Miami. I also have a lot of my own music included in this mix.
PZB:In addition to your mix, we also premiered the title track of your upcoming EP “Do The Math” on Soup NYC. Where did your inspiration come from for this latest EP?
SB: I wrote Do the Math last summer and and I’m super proud of it. I chopped up vocals, reversed them, pitched them and made this super groovy house tune out of the simplest baseline and everyone goes off when I play it. It was the perfect follow up to my last Ep for Soup and I’m always happy to release with the SOUP fam.
PZB: Our guests always come from a variety of musical backgrounds. Some with classical training and others who’ve have been self taught. Where do you land in this spectrum and how did you first get involved in producing and DJing?
SB: I used to play piano when I was a kid and I was always musical. The music theory I learned as a kid allowed me to make music in key and write some cool melodies and baselines over the years. I started Djing in the year 2000. The first 7 years or so I played only vinyl because that’s all there was. Then I switched to Cd’s and then Mp3. I’m a real DJ, zero clue how to synch anything and will always be a Dj before anything. Producing started after, I’m constantly still learning in this department but I think I’ve gotten a good hang of it after years of taking various online courses and audio engineering in school. The most recent course I took was Maschine at Dubspot and I started making my grooves this way recently.
PZB: As I mentioned before your music has been on my radar for quite some time. I think my first tracks of yours I came across were back with Mau5trap around a decade ago. Including your own label Blu music you have a nice resume of releases and it has been interesting to hear how your musical style has varied over the years from electro to progressive house to where you are today which is more tech house. What are some of the influences you have had along the way that have led to that progression?
SB: I am an evolving human being being and my music has evolved with me. I love so many different styles of music. ..especially dance music. I think as I grew, I would be keen on new sounds. I loved Electro back when it was chunky and funky (more house driven) ..as soon as it became commercial i steered away from it. Same with Progressive…I loved progressive when it was actually progressive. I’m quite happy Beatport went back to honouring its genre. I have always played mostly Tech house, Techno and house, even Deep house. My roots are from being an underground vinyl house DJ from Toronto. Right now, I am playing Tech house but I’m also really inspired by Melodic house and techno too. You can definitely hear that a bit in this mix and I’m excited about it.
PZB: As an artist it is important to surround yourself with other likeminded individuals. Who are a couple of your mentors and what is the best piece of advice you have been given by another artist?
SB: Gene Farris is one of my best friends and mentors. I remember he said to me last summer, your career will always be peaks and valleys, just remember to never get off the train…I loved that. SO TRUE. I’ll never get off the train. Another mentor…probably Roger Sanchez, he’s extremely supportive of my music and is always giving me advice. We are at a point were he even gives me personally advice now which I love. Sometimes you need another DJ’s ear to rationalize what is happening in your personal life because we definitely do not have normal lives!
PZB: I came across your documentary that Blackhole recording did for you and it gave me a great deal more insight into your world. Many DJ’s and Producers often get caught up in playing what is commercial because that is what the promoters are asking for or it is what the audience is asking for. How hard was it to break away and make the transition from playing more commercial style sets to underground house and tech house and how have your fans responded to it?
SB: My fans loved it. The industry; it was hard I’m not going to lie. Possibly one of the hardest things I have ever done and I’m still dealing with criticism from it occasionally, slowly that’s going away though. The truth of it is, the first 8 years of my career I played all different kinds of underground house, prog, techno..even Deep house because I started out playing vinyl in restaurants and then serious after hours clubs in Toronto. I had a long career before I became known for my record on Mau5trap, after a few years in the US, I started to miss my Toronto roots and I came back to myself and really started playing authentically and myself again. I stopped thinking, what does the club want me to play, and played what I wanted. It was hard but every Blu party, every release on a more respected underground label eventually people started to go…ok she’s legit, she’s just versatil. People evolve. I’m doing just fine now and I’m working with everyone that I want to work with 🙂
PZB: Sometimes we all have trouble getting started on our own projects. It is easy to get distracted. What do you do in order to get yourself into yourcreative zone?
SB: I meditate! I love to meditate. It is SO good for your brain, it helps creativity and let’s you think about your reaction to everything. The most successful people in the world ALL meditate because it allows you to control your thoughts and not waste time thinking about shit you don’t need to. I am ALL about productivity, probably also a workaholic but I like to also take care of myself so meditation helps all of these things.
PZB: You have had an extensive career touring across the globe and had some incredible opportunities to perform at a number of events over the years including your own events. What have been a couple of your favourite places to play during your travels.
SB: Playing Miami Space Terrace was a very special moment, Pacha New York was a favourite too. Burning Man I will never forget as well. There’s so many …most recently Output New York. Abroad?…Space Ibiza for sure. I played the main room after hours 8am! I also played once in Pakistan and THAT was an awesome experience. Hawaii might have been my all time favourite though. That is my favourite place on earth.It’s always fun to take a little peak into an artist’s record collection.
PZB: What was the first record you ever purchased that you still play out today? Are there any tracks that you haven’t played in ages that you think might be coming back in style that you’re excited to wipe the dust of off?
SB: Something I still play out today that was one of the first (vinyl) records I ever bought is a song called, Shake it for Me, by the Hydraulic Dogs. A couple years ago I obtained it digitally because I realized it had been released on a DJ Sneak compilation. (He definitely used to play that vinyl too). Hot since 82, I think charted it and it came back into my life and I play it all the time now. That’s another reason why I love Hot since 82, he has exact same taste in music as me.
Here is the record:
A track I played before I’d love to come back? Maybe, Dreams, by Sandy Rivera. I used to play this vinyl every set.