Sinden - Getting Familiar With Sinden
Sinden has been one of the hottest names in dance music over the past 24 months due to his work with the likes of Switch, Jesse Rose and Herve (under his Count Of Monte Cristal alias). This Easter sees the Briton celebrating the rise of Christ in the best way possible – by banging the fuck out of the Metro Theatre.
Graeme Sinden is finally stepping out of those strobe-created shadows. The fidget house DJ has occasionally been marginalised by his illustrious collaborators, notably Dave “Switch” Taylor, but he’s now a force unto himself. He even presented his first compilation (for Fabric) in December.
Ironically, as Sinden returns to Australia to tour with Fake Blood, AKA The Black Ghosts’ DJ Touche, he’s conducting all the interviews. Having radically (and brilliantly) reinvented himself after the big beat era of the Wiseguys, Touche refuses to do press as Fake Blood, preserving his hard-won new cred and mystique. That said, it might be easier for poor Sinden were he not jetlagged. He’s just flown into London from South America. “I’m a bit spun out still,” he apologises.
Sinden came to the fore as Switch’s fresh-faced cohort, the two active as A Brucker & Sinden. Switch wanted to stretch beyond house music and Sinden, then a studio novice, brought his knowledge of reggae, hip hop and grime to the partnership. They launched the Counterfeet imprint. Nevertheless, since his success producing M.I.A., Switch has relocated to Los Angeles.
“We finished the label a long time ago,” Sinden says. “He’s based in LA now. He has different commitments. I think at the time, when we were running the label, it wasn’t run that well. He’s so busy – and he was kinda taking care of the label management side. So we knocked it on the head. He’s got his Dubsided label, which he still runs. We still chill. If I’m in LA, I’ll definitely go and hang out with him and see what he’s up to. We don’t see as much of each other now, simply because we’re in different places, but we still get on well.”
Sinden has also recorded with Berlin’s Jesse Rose. And then there’s his high-profile project with Joshua “Herve” Harvey, AKA The Count of Monte Cristal. They’re primarily buddies.
“It just works through our friendship, really. We’re good mates – and that’s what brought us together in the first place. That’s what still connects us now – that we get on so well. The ideas come easily. It’s not forced or anything like that, it’s something that’s quite easy. We really enjoy going out, DJing together. There’s a lot in common. We obviously enjoy it, working together. We both have different inputs and we draw on different strengths. When we work together, I think the results are more unpredictable than when we’re working by ourselves.”
Sinden is an adept networker. He was not only resident at Basement Jaxx’s Brixton club night Inside Out but also their tour DJ. He has had a long-standing slot on London’s Kiss FM and has promoted a bi-monthly at Fabric, Get Familiar.
Today, along with Switch, Herve and Rose, the DJ is at the forefront of the so-called ‘fidget house’ that evolved out of the electro explosion, an endemic mash-up scene, and the surge of regional urban styles such as Bmore, post-Diplo. But, ever restless, he’s transcending ‘fidget’. Sinden identifies with a culture of radical – and always mutating – hybridisation, not gimmickry. “What drew me to music is just the different hybrids and different genres. The thing is I get off on all sorts of music – and that’s what really motivates me as a DJ, as a producer, [and] as someone who actively goes and buys records and CDs or whatever. It’s just looking for that new sound or that new band that brings something really fresh. And that’s what I still wanna bring out in my music. I still see myself like I always have seen myself, as someone who is thinking outside the box and trying to do something different and carve my own path.”
The Count & Sinden will unleash their album through Domino later this year, capitalising on early club hits like Tambourzouda and the Kid Sister-featuring Beeper, plus the recent Hardcore Girls. They may yet be an edgier Basement Jaxx. Are they any closer to finishing the LP- Yes, Sinden assures. They intend to drop it in the UK autumn. “It’s looking really good. We’re really happy with it. We’re waiting on some vocalists who have just come through in the last week. I’m keeping them a bit close to my chest at the moment, but it’s really exciting. It’s gonna be typically Count & Sinden – very eclectic, very all-over-the-shop, lots of different tempos and styles and genre-hopping, and hot moments and club moments, and, yeah, it’s got some great guests on there!”
Above all, The Count & Sinden are keen to demonstrate that they can do more than pump out club bangers. “We’re really album-focused, and especially the label that we’re with, Domino, they’re very centred around albums. With club producers, it’s more about singles and things, but we’re really ambitious with this record. We’re not thinking just about club dancefloors – I mean, we still are with some tracks – but we’re thinking more about evoking other things. We’re doing an animation at the moment – or we aren’t, but someone else is – for a song which is a bit slower. We’ve got live strings and things like that. There’s some different moods on there but, of course, there’s still our trademark dancefloor stuff as well.” He promises to preview tracks in Oz.
Around 2007 Sinden experimented with trancey elements. He’s now purged of that. “There’s been a few moments,” he laughs mischievously. “I’ve referenced it a few times in some remixes. But I didn’t go down that path. At the minute, I’m really interested in world sounds, I’m still into that, and bands – I’ve really got into bands in a big way. I’d love to do something like that.” (The bands he digs- How about TV On the Radio, Vampire Weekend and Fleet Foxes-)
Sinden, like Switch, harbours a desire to produce US hip hoppers. From the outset, The Count & Sinden have crossed into ‘urban’. Now, conversely, Kanye West, the reigning King of Hip Hop, is tapping into electro. Sinden admires the ethos behind ’Ye’s 808s & Heartbreak (he’s played tracks on-air). “I really liked that record. It was flawed, and he didn’t pull off everything, but, as a hip hop artist doing that, it’s an ambitious move and he should be applauded for it. I don’t know how inspirational it’s gonna be to other people, just ’cause it’s so weird, but good on him for doing something like that.
“Rappers should not be judged or penalised for doing that, ’cause in hip hop there’s all that thing about ‘keeping it real’, and these artists should have the freedom to explore these kinda avenues. Hip hop holds itself back sometimes – I think it’s one of the problems.
“It’s a really creative music, but too often it holds itself back. But hip hop’s always been interesting and it’s always changing and, give it time, and some more artists will come out as creative as Kanye and do something really out of the box.”
WHAT: Plays Killer Easter at Metro Theatre
WHEN: Sunday 12 April