Exclusive Interview With Sidney Charles
Sidney Charles, a name on everyones lips at the moment, is a DJ/Producer from Hamburg, Germany. Known for very punchy house music that has a strong hip hop vibe with a mix of old an new, Sidney was the top charted act on Resident Advisor 2013. And no wonder, his energetic music is built for the dancefloor.
Born with one of the most badass names ever, Sidney Charles Hurricane Vieljans started DJing at the tender age of 15. Moving through soundscapes of hip hop, soul and funk, Sidney finally found what he was looking for in the realms of house music. “Raw” is the word he likes to use to describe the sound he seeks. Raw is also the word that best describes his DJ sets and productions, if you ask us. Sidney is known for 4/4 vibes that are filled with forward pushing energy. His signature sound is easy to fall in love with, as it works like a hammer.
Sidney Charles has released on labels such as I’m A House Gangster, Moda Black & Hot Creations. His name has become known to DHA readers, after we’ve featured both his tunes as full premieres and had his mixtapes on the site. Next exciting thing this man has in store for us is his House Lessons album/mixtape/compilation, which will be out on Avotre on the 23rd of February. Sidney will also be playing at the Wonderland Festival on the 14th of February
We had the chance to talk with Sidney Charles about his upcoming release, his outlooks on music and some interesting future plans coming up.
Hi Sidney. How has 2015 started?
Hi Axel :) I had a pretty good start in 2015 with 3 gigs during NYE, in Nijmeigen, Amsterdam and London. I took 3 weeks off in January and spend a lot of time in my new studio in Berlin.
Let’s take things back to the beginning. What got you into DJing in the first place?
When I was a kid I was a big fan of R’n’B, Soul, Funk and Hip Hop. I was always watching “Mixery Raw Deluxe”, which is an urban TV-show. I was fascinated by those young guys who were participating in turntablism-contests. They were able to to create different beats and rhythms out of two of the same 4/4 beat with their turntables. We also had several radio shows where DJs could send in their mixtapes. I still have several of them recorded on tape.
When I was 15, one of my mothers DJ-friends sold me his old 1210 for about 300DM, I finally could get into the magic of the black-discs myself. I started to scratch while I let a cd run somewhere in the room until I could afford my 2nd 1210. It’s crazy I still have those Technics and they are older than 12 years now and they still run as well as back then.
How would you describe the development of your sound as a DJ? Was it hard to find your defining genre?
In the beginning of when I started DJing house music I was much more into deeper and slower house music like Terry Lee Brown Jr., The Timewriter or Jimpster. By the time it took me more and more into more heavy sounding and energetic grooves but at the same time I still kept my ground taste of old school house music which is characterized by heavy kicks, dusty hats and crunchy claps.
I think it makes a big difference to your sound if you also produce your own music because when you put your imagination of house music into reality yourself you more likely also create your own sound that people will recognize as your specific way of seeing house music. I don’t really like to think in genres too much. I make house and techno music. All the names for sub-genres are limitations in my mind. I just find myself more creative if I don’t think of making a specific genre. My creative flow is more free and I can make music without thinking of this limiting frames that put everything I create into a box.
It’s always interesting to hear where creativity stems from. What inspires you as an artist?
I agree. I found myself getting most of my inspiration in my environment. I can see for example a big difference in my music when I moved to Berlin 4 years ago. But basically everything is inspiration: the people you meet, the stories you hear, a night out hearing unknown artists, going to the cinema…. I think the most important is that you keep yourself interested in what is happening around you. When you are mindful to your environment and you are able to have an inspirational input, your output will go with it… This is just my personal experience. I also believe that the process of creating something is strongly connected to your character and your momentary state of mind. So in the end what people will hear as a track of mine mirros my personal state of this moment and this is quite a personal story. :)