We recently brought you the hot new mixtape Prism Mix 003 by Manchester, UK based producer Sivey and received such a positive reaction from our community that we had to connect with him. As you will see from his responses, this artist is well on his way to the top. We are fortunate that he has taken the time to give soulheads Worldwide more insight into his sound and scene. Enjoy!
soulhead: How did you get into music? When did you fall in love with it?
Sivey: I became interested in music fairly late for someone as obsessed as I now am. I was pretty clueless until around 1997 when the Beastie Boys’ Hello Nasty album came out and more or less introduced me to good hip hop and alternative music styles when I was about 14. After that I discovered various hip hop, neo-soul and R&B on shows like MTV’s The Lick (shout outs to Trevor Nelson!) and Matt White’s show on London radio station Kiss 100. I should also mention that my Dad, a massive Jazz fan, was playing Erykah Badu and D’Angelo in the car before I even really “got” that style of music. UK garage was of course impossible not to notice circa 1999-2001 and luckily I was a fan. Later in my teens I became much more interested in dance music through my older brother who was heavily into house music at the time, this was when Napster and other filesharing sites like Audiogalaxy were taking off which really nurtured the nerdy side of my music interest and was totally addictive at the time. At university I realised there were British rappers that were rapping in their own accents so of course then I became obsessed with UK hip hop and spent the next 3 or 4 years listening to depressing and gloomy but refreshingly honest and authentic British hip hop by artists such as Jehst and Task Force. This is also when I first started producing music.
soulhead: What are your primary musical influences?
Sivey: As suggested above, the main areas of influence for my productions are hip hop, R&B/soul and dance music, I definitely get a buzz from attempting to combine some or all of my favourite genres together within a single track. I must give a massive shout out here to Kosyne and all the original Louis Den crew. Louis Den was an online community and series of events held around 2008-2010 in Birmingham for beatmakers to meet up and play their music to each other in front of a crowd and also compete in beat battles. I met a load of like-minded producers there that I still talk to and exchange music with and it was a massive part of influencing my production knowledge and style. Quite a few people that I know from there have gone on to have success in hip hop and other genres and it’s great to see what people are doing now. Shouts to Evil Needle, S-Type, Jon Phonics, BUG, Mr Figz, Jaisu, Pete Cannon, Wizard, Budgie, Boombaptist, Shears, Kela and all the other brummies and extended fam! Lately the resurgence of UK garage and house has had a definite impact on my style along with discovering labels like Soulection and HW&W and all the artists affiliated with them.
soulhead: Do you feel you are underground?
Sivey: I definitely feel I am underground in terms of how well known I am, of course, but at the same time I hope that my music is accessible and melodic enough that anyone can enjoy it – not just underground heads or dedicated music enthusiasts.
soulhead: Why do you think you have been able to fly under the radar for so long?
Sivey: The reason for this is pretty simple – I have only recently (since 2012) started releasing tracks on which I am the primary artist, rather than producing for rappers, where I found it very difficult and frustrating to get people to acknowledge the effort I was putting in. Also I must give credit to Soulection who I came into contact with when I started collaborating with Evil Needle. They have really helped me to gain worldwide exposure to the people that really want to hear what I have to offer. I was going to answer this question originally with “because I very rarely play shows or DJ” but in the age of the internet you can still get somewhere without that. This is an area I would like to develop though, for sure. If there are any promoters in the UK that are interested (especially in Manchester) then hit me up!
soulhead: Tell us about your scene.
Sivey: The closest affiliation I have with any particular scene would probably be with the Soulection crew and the whole LA beat scene but truly I don’t really feel part of any scene. I only attend musical events and club nights pretty sporadically and my hermetic tendencies have probably hindered me in this sense but I also feel it has enabled me to develop my own personal tastes and production style.
soulhead: What’s coming up for you this year?
Sivey: This year will see the fruition of some of the ideas that have been brewing away in my head and my FL projects folder for several years. I have 2 projects to be released with Soulection, firstly a collaborative EP with Evil Needle and then a solo EP that will continue the sound that I’ve been exploring in my recent free downloads. I also have a couple of mixes ready to drop following the success of my Prism mix. One will be dropping very soon for LA-based Shifty Rhythms and another will be a labour of love mix of classic and futurey slowjams from the r&b/soul world as well as the electronic/beat scene. Both of these will feature some exclusive tracks of mine that will appear on my EP projects.
Thanks to all the bloggers, tweeters and Facebook crew for the support and especially to soulhead for the interview!