Jerome Sydenham Interview
One of house music's brightest sparks sits down for a chat with Need2Soul.
Jerome Sydenham formed his label Ibadan Records in 1995, an imprint which has seen him routinely push boundaries of house music through his own productions and with tracks from the likes of Joe Claussell and Kerri Chandler. From the label’s early years’ forays into afro-tinged house, to the label’s more recent sounds leaning towards the deeper side of techno, Jerome has been dedicated to thinking outside the box. Jerome Sydenham recently launched two additional labels, Apotek Records and Avocado Records and has compiled one of the discs of London house institution Need2Soul’s first double-disc mix album. With its release rapidly approaching, and a set from Jerome in the main room alongside Layo & Bushwacka! at Olmeto coming up, we asked Need2Soul boss Alex Ruello to interview Jerome Sydenham for endclub.com…
Alex Ruello: Ibadan is a hugely respected label that is loved by a dazzlingly broad range of people. How do you manage to retain the label’s strong identity whilst having such an open minded music policy?
Jerome Sydenham: Ibadan Records started 13 years ago with a specific sound. Since then we have gradually expanded our musical repertoire, sometimes with frowns from our initial core audience. But I think in the last 5 years our base of supporters has come to expect a wide and flavourful variety of quality tunes. After all a good record is a good record; we strive to adhere to this, wherever it may lead us.
Tell us how Avocado and Apotek records’ output differs from Ibadan’s...
Ibadan Records represents a wide range of sophisticated high quality dance music. This means that we freely dip in and out of a multitude of dance music categories. Avocado Records is a label founded by Rune RK and myself last year and is about our musical collaborations focusing on a punchy and edgy house/techno fusion sound. As for Apotek Records, the focus here is specifically limited to the deep tech/techno realm. Fat kicks and big basslines. All producers and demos welcome!
Having worked in A&R for years, you obviously know what makes a hit. Do you create music with this in mind, or aim it strictly at the dancefloor?
Being a DJ, and as the labels are small and independent, I generally aim for the dancefloor. This mentality is obviously different when it comes to CD, concept or theme-based projects as your target audience will generally go beyond the club scene.
You were born in Nigeria, lived in New York and London, and collaborate with producers from Japan and Korea. Is it fair to say that you have a truly international sound?
I hope so. I must add that it really is such a pleasure to work with talent from across the globe.
One of your long time collaborators, Tiger Stripes, is playing up in AKA whilst you’re down in The End,¬ how did you guys hook up and will you be doing any more production together?
We hooked up for our first collaboration in Stockholm while I was playing for his party Stockholm Go Bang which was the title of our first track. We will definitely be banging out a few more joints in the near future!
Tell us about the Need2Soul CD, how did you choose the direction you wanted to go in?
I wanted to do something fresh and cool, whilst still touching on a variety of dance music styles. It’s a CD that jumps, represents a breeze with flair and will hopefully stand the test of time.
What have you got coming up over the next few months?
Ibadan has a new Ricky L EP and something from Joris Voorn. Avocado has a Luciano remix on the way and Apotek has remixes from Adam Beyer, Len Faki and Ken Ishii to name a few. I will continue to release my productions on many labels including a few remixes such as ‘Binding Spheres’, out on Dogtown, and a ‘Chiho MAS’ for Buzzin’ Fly.
I like that you have recipes on your Myspace! Can you cook up a storm in the kitchen as well as on the dancefloor?
Being a chef and a DJ seems to fall into some sort of natural harmony. Actually I don’t find this uncommon at all as many of my colleagues are great chefs themselves. For those of you who won’t get to taste my cooking, just drop by The End and check out my interpretation of tech house and techno!