Interview: Sifa

Born and raised in Brussels and bred from a hip-hop background, DJ/Producer Sifa waltzed into electronic music by way of dance, landed in an underground scene dominated by a rather hard techno-leaning sound, yet unswervingly cultivated his own style. The Belgian’s longstanding affair with music, guided by intuition and inspired by artistic freedom, cannot easily be defined in words as it never let itself be defined. Sifa has released music on reputable labels such as Kompakt Records.

Our team had a chance to interview Sifa about his musical background and inspirations, his experience during the pandemic, and his upcoming activities. Read full interview below.

Hey Sifa, how are you – how has the last year been for you?

Hi guys. I’m doing well and can’t complain. The last year has been kind of a rollercoaster. It is as if we are living in a TV show with a cliffhanger every 2 weeks. Waiting on the next decision and the one after. It felt nice the few first weeks as it allowed some people to take a break. On my side I’ve mostly been busy with work and music production. 

Belgium is predominantly hard techno right – why did you swerve that and how did you get into what you did?

Before I got into electronic music, I was mostly listening to Hip-Hop. It’s only later and through soulful-house that I discovered the rest. Which led by digging deeper, to what I like, play and listen today. Which also includes some techno tracks.

When I first started playing events it was only in small venues and bars where I could play Soulful and Afro house. Only after the world did put their eyes and ears into the Afro sound did I start to get booked by bigger venues and promoters.

How much does hip hop still influence what you do now? What’s your favourite period?

I think Hip-Hop is and will always influence me in everything I do. For instance, I do sometimes use hip hop patterns or elements in my productions.My favourite period would be the late ’90s and then fast-forward to 2014.

How do you approach remixing differently to producing original material?

I only like to remix when I think I can bring something nice to it by keeping the original recognizable. If not I think there is no point to even start with it. After that, I try to make something that would fit next to the original version and also please the original artist.

Has it been weird making music during the lockdown with no real crowds?

It hasn’t been weird at all for me. During the process of making music I always put myself in the mood of what I’m going to produce. If you have a hard time producing music without a real crowd put a YouTube video of a party on or something similar and the tone will instantly be set.

Where does your inspiration and motivation come from?

As mentioned my inspiration comes from the mood I set myself or the mood I’m in that day. Which can vary from white to black of course. Regarding my motivation I think it’s just that I like to play music and it’s always nice to play something that you made.

Tell me about your joint project with Ivory and Terranova, on Kompakt. how different are you working with other people than alone? What role do you take?

During a taxi drive, after stopping at McDonalds, Terranova asked me if I would be down to work on a remix for his new EP. As Ivory and myself did finish the Wonani EP at that time, I invited him to join me on this interesting venture. Fast-forward the remix was so good that Terranova decided to add some elements in it and make it an original version.

The way I work with other people is by sending the track back and forth as soon as we add or feel stuck with it. It’s always exciting as you always look forward to what you will hear when you download the wetransfer file. It’s like christmas 🙂

Tell us about the new remix you out on Afroterraneo – how did you approach it?

Be.Lanuit is a good friend of mine. I couldn’t refuse his request. The vocals were really captivating to me so I decided to make an ambient version as a remix. Something that would literally bring you on a trip wherever you are. I felt like there was no need for something clubby or aggressive.

The other remix which is more bouncy was mostly (as we say in french) “pour la forme”.Obviously if you want the track to be played it needs something more formal. 🙂 

What else you working on/have you got coming up?

At the moment I’m working on my next EP and a few other remixes. More to be revealed soon 🙂

What are you most looking forward to post-lockdown?

FREEDOM!

Thanks for having me guys!

https://soundcloud.com/deeptechminimal/exclusive-guest-mix-sifa