Nyra is an artist who hails from Sheffield but who is now based in London, and he is very much entering the third phase of his career.
The first saw him put out music on labels like Elastic Dreams, Secretsundaze and Never Learnt. The second saw him quit all that to become a top pro cyclist with top teams in the UK, and the third phase sees him return to the dance floor, to the DJ booth and the studio. He does so with the launch of his own new label canoe, which features plenty of his own tough house, disco and techno beats as well as a much talked about track from someone called no face. Here we speak to him about all this and more.
“I don’t sit down with an aim, just make what I’m feeling on the day.”
How did you first get into music and where? What sounds, labels and parties? When was that?
Music has always been around me, as a child there was always music being played in my house, my mum was a big influence to me, she would always have different types of music blasting out, weather it be Madonna, Sade, Dépêche Mode, Talk Talk, Dianna Ross or the Smiths, music was always being played. I discovered dance music by stumbling in to one of the record shops in the city at around 10 years old, if I remember rightly, and was hooked instantly. It then progressed in to buying some turntables and a mixer at the age of 16, with some money my uncle left me behind, I then taught myself to play and thats when the door opened to what music was being played around me. back in the day Sheffield was a major player in the house music scene with clubs like the bed regularly booking some of the worlds top house dj’s/producers on a weekly basis, this also led to my love of all kinds of electronic music with the city having a great heritage with the likes of warp records, one of the staple labels. The first amazing club I went to was also Bed in Sheffield, it was my first experience of listening to quality music and DJs in an atmosphere like no other, it was my first real taste of club culture and it blew my mind. Then there is Panorama bar/Berghain, but we wont go in to that :-/
Tell us about the last few years – you took some time out of music right?
In 2008 I think I clocked up around 50 flights that year, so it was pretty tiring and stressful, then I carried on gigging for a few years after and got a little tired of the music, so I got in to cycling, and found it to be a release from the stresses, I have always been in to sport, at school I swam and ran for Sheffield, so I had the genetics already there, I started cycling and my uncle said I was pretty good, I then got hooked and started to enter races and progressed from there getting signed by team after team. Then before I knew it I was a full time cyclist racing at the top level on TV, I knew I would come back to music but I just had to get cycling out of my system first.
You have released on lots of different labels but have now started your own – why is that? What motivates you?
I started my own label due to the sheer amount of music I have and want to get out, and also the signing of Noface – Young Larry prompted me, I also have full control of every aspect from start to finish, I will still release on other labels, but for now I’m concentrating on canoe.
Will you still release other places or just focus on your own thing for now?
I will release on other labels I like but for now I’m 100% full emerged in canoe and we have some very exciting times ahead.
When you make music, what gear do you use? Does that after to you?
In the studio I love the the Roland 808 and 909 as a staple, but used with a modern twist, along side various synths, thats the sound I’m going for at the moment, a bit rough and ready so to speak.
And what is your aim with a track? Is there always something you want to achieve?
I don’t sit down with an aim, just make what I’m feeling on the day.
Do you design them with a certain place or club or time in the night in mind?
I have a little bit of inspiration going round in my head, but really its a blank canvas.
Tell us about the party you started in Sheffield – why did you do that, promote, rather than just DJ?
In 2011 I founded Sheffield warehouse party Downlo at Dansane, in the years open we booked the like of – Dinky, DJ Deep, Wbeeza, Secretsundaze, Baby Ford Praslea, Luke Solomun, to name a few, which paved the way for the city’s Hope Works.
I promoted it as well as DJing because I wanted to bring the acts I loved to Sheffield and make way for a new scene.
What is the Sheffield scene like now – what sounds are hot? Is it healthy and inspiring?
I don’t know I have been out of it for a while and live in London now 🙂
What’s next for you, what are you working on?
I’m 100% emerged in music so making music, releasing music, building canoe and DJing, music, music, music.
Nyra’s latest EP drops on his new label Canoe later this month