Stephanie Sykes on touring and her Sub Club debut

We chat to techno wiz Stephanie Sykes ahead of her Sub Club debut this month as part of Animal Farm's 14th birthday celebrations

Feature by Claire Francis | 17 Dec 2018
  • Stephanie Sykes

The Skinny: We last saw you in Glasgow for Soma Skool at SWG3 in March – are you looking forward to coming back to Glasgow and making your Sub Club debut for Animal Farm's 14th birthday party?

That was my first Soma Skool event and I was honoured to be a member of the techno panel; slightly nerve-wracking but honestly amazing. I'll never forget being on that stage alongside British Murder Boys (Regis & Surgeon), Slam, I Hate Models & He/aT. I'm mega excited to return to Glasgow for the Animal Farm 14th birthday! I've never been in the Sub Club before and I’ve heard some cool things.

You'll be playing alongside French producer Shlømo, have you played with him before?

We were both playing at the [Berlin] 7001 festival earlier this summer but we were playing on different stages, so it will be the first time for me. I have heard him DJ before and he blew me away. It will be a killer night of techno that's for sure.

Most UK DJs and producers seem to move to Germany (or more specifically, Berlin) at some point in their career; you've done the opposite in coming from Germany to the UK. How do you think living in the UK shaped your taste in music and your style as a DJ and producer?

Yeah, I was born and raised there and then moved to the UK when I was 13. I loved living all around Germany, it's a great country, but my dad was in the British Army so I'd say 70% of the time we were actually living on army barracks. I then moved to the Midlands, where I took up DJing as a hobby and played various back rooms of hard house nights from the early age of 15 or 16, so those moments really were the foundations of my life as a DJ.

The move to Manchester played a vital part in bringing me to life as a producer. I'd say the scene up there shaped my musical interests a lot and I became a lot more experimental as an artist. So much amazing talent has come from this city so I'm happy to have also been able to spend some years there.

You've had a big year of international touring, is there one particular event or place you most enjoyed?

There are so many places, I can't pick just one! Tbilisi is up there with San Francisco, and Seoul was really cool, but Australia – Melbourne in particular – was really nice. All of these places are really enjoyable but the people I met is what made it really fun. I'm a big foodie too, so I like to just eat my way around the world!

Melbourne was my favourite place to play in Australia; the scene there was vibrant and a lot more was going on in comparison to Sydney. I played in the Substation which was an old power plant; perfect aesthetics for a techno rave. The drinking laws suck a little bit but I heard they are getting later licenses. Also Melbourne has lots of kangaroos which I got really excited about, they're so cool. 

How was your experience of being a resident at KHIDI in Tbilisi, given the atmosphere in the city surrounding the Bassiani club raid?

Being a resident for KHIDI has been a wonderful experience so far. I don't think the Georgian people will let the raid change their spirits and their passion for club culture. When I played there last month everybody and everything was on top form. The city is thriving and club culture is very alive!

As well as DJing you've been releasing music since 2014, do you have any new releases on the horizon?

I have been working on a new EP, as well as a collaboration and various other projects. My attitude towards producing music is to just try and be a little bit better than I was yesterday. To take my time and not get too pressurised. To do it because I enjoy it and to not worry about things not sounding perfect, because perfection doesn't exist. All I can try to be is creative and true to my sound.

Your Sub Club show is smack bang in the middle of the festive season. How will you be spending your Christmas and NYE?

I will be at home relaxing with family and friends, eating mince pies and drinking sherry like an old lady! I don't plan on having a crazy one, last NYE I was in Berlin and had a lot of fun but I also paid for it afterwards. I want to start the New Year fresh and energised.

Animal Farm 14th Birthday: Shlømo + Stephanie Sykes is on at Sub Club, Glasgow, 27 December.