DJ Sy Exclusive Fantazia Interview
DJ Sy (real name Simon) is arguably one of the best hardcore dj’s ever, (he’s my own Fav dj ) you KNOW when you’re listening to one of the Scratchmasters sets.
Cant wait till January to see him play at the big bang 2!!
Anyways, I caught up with him, and this is how it went!! :
What were your early music influences? Who did you look up to?
The first music I really got into was Ska (The Specials, The Beat etc), then came Hip Hop, when I was influenced by all the early scratch djs, eg Grandmaster Flash, Cash Money, Jazzy Jeff, Dj Cheese etc. I also used to listen religiously to the pirate radio stations in London in the mid 80s, where djs such as Les Adams and dj teams like Mastermind would often play superb mixes of soul/dance/Hip Hop. I've still got most of those mixes on tape!
What were your 1st set of decks? How did you learn how to scratch?
My first real set were cheap Technics belt drives which were useless for scratching, but did have a pitch control, which is how I learnt how to mix. I learnt how to scratch by watching the Americans when they did gigs in the UK, & trying it out on my Dad's shitty old hi fi turntable!
How did you get into the scene? Where was your 1st gig?
I was asked to play at a club in Nottingham after having been a resident at the owner's wine bar, which became a very popular night in 1989, and because of the success there, I was then booked by Dj SS at his Nemesis nights in Leicester, Amnesia in Birmingham, Milwaukee’s In Bedford, Dreamscape at Milton Keynes, and the Eclipse in Coventry, and then, after my bookings for Fantazia in Exeter and Bournemouth, bookings right across the UK followed.
How long have you been Djing now?
Professionally since 1989.
People consider you to be one of the best Djs in the business, what do you think sets you apart from others?
I don't know really. Obviously the scratching is a useful weapon, and has been seized upon by many journalists as a defining characteristic of my sets, although it's not generally so important nowadays because of the style that hardcore has developed into. In my mind the real essence of a good dj is an ear for good music, and knowing when to play certain tracks, to maintain an atmosphere. I think any good dj has to have a real passion for music and not see it just as a fad or a profession; I've always pretty much lived & breathed music since I was a kid!
You work closely now with MC Storm, how did you come about working with him?
I can't remember! I think he used to try & get to mc on my sets up at The Pleasure Dome in Skegness & Hyperbolic up in Kings Lynn, and because of his vocal scratching; we worked well as a team, so that when he started getting major rave bookings we were teamed up by the promoters!
Also back in the day, you and MC Scratchmaster Techno worked a lot together; did you choose who you wanted to MC over your sets? And do you know what happened to Scratchmaster T?
No I never had a say. To be completely honest I never really used to pay much attention to MCs because most (IMO) ruin sets by talking too much! Techno was good though, he gave me room to breathe with my mixing & scratching, instead of trying to big himself up all the time. And I haven't got a clue where that lad is now! The number of people who ask me that is ridiculous!
How big is your vinyl collection?
Pretty extensive, must be 10,000 records at least, I've never actually
Best event you played?
Not being biased here, but Fantazia at Matchams Stadium, Bournemouth must be one of them.
I'm not going to single out one, I get on really well with pretty much all of the contemporary promoters nowadays, they're all great lads.
Happy or OldSkool Hardcore?
Both have their good & bad points, and both bring me good memories so I can't choose. But maybe just for the sheer diversity of musical styles under the one banner, Old Skool will always be the closest to my heart.
Mad P or Robbie Dee?
That's a question for the ravers, not me!
Cosy Club or Warehouse?
Fast Food or Fancy restaurant?
Fancy restaurant by a country mile
KnightRider or A-team?
Knight Rider for the theme music, A-Team for hilarity value!
Ibiza or Bahamas?
Bahamas for the bird, Ibiza for lots of birds ;-)
North or South?
Well I'm from the South originally, but I do love Northerners, pretty much every one of my girlfriends has been Northern!!!
Superman or Batman?
Neither, why, do I come across as gay?
Money or Morals?
Blondes or Brunettes?
Both at the same time ;-)
Terminator 2 or Heat
Do you listen to any other type of music?
Yeah, listen to all sorts of dance (Hip Hop, D & B, House), I listen to a
lot of old skool Electro still, and appreciate good film music
What football team do you support?
Used to be a devoted Liverpool fan when I was a nipper, now I don't find any interest in supporting English teams full of foreigners earning too much money!
Describe yourself in 5 words?
Impatient, dedicated, serious, silly, generous!
If you could be any other person, (past present, fictional or real) who would you be?
I'm fine being me thanks!
Who did you have your 1st crush on?
Ha ha, Olivia Newton-John when I was about 7
What is your greatest fear?
Not being able to beat a BMW M3 in the wet ;-)
If you had a time machine what year would you go back to and why?
Probably 1989, when I really started making headway in dj-ing, and the music was wicked that year. Plus I was at Uni, best years of my life!
What do you do to chill out away from the music?
Beat up old grannies. Nah, watch a film, eat out, the usual stuff....
How do you see the scene 5 years from now?
Don't know. I really don't!
What have you been up to recently? How's things going at Quosh?
Banging out the releases, we've got (and had) some wicked releases lately, still dj-ing profusely all over the UK....
You've been a working a long time with Dj Unknown, do you ever get on eachothers nerves?
Only when he insists on stripping off and running round the studio naked with a rose up his arse to impress the mechanics at the garage next door ;-)
Where do you get your ideas for new tunes and how do you go about putting a new tune together?
For some tunes we might hear a few samples and get some inspiration from, other ones we'll just mess about with chords or a riff until we come across something catchy. The second half of your question requires me to write a book, which I'm not about to do right now!
How many times have you entered the DMC World championships and how far have you got?
Only once, in 1988, I came third in the Nottingham heat, the winner was Cutmaster Swift, who went on to win the UK Championship, and the runner up was Scratch Professor, a 14 year old kid (sympathy vote, ha ha), who I think came second in the UK Championship, so I didn't do too bad! That was at the time when I was playing pretty much exclusively Hip Hop, and so was practising turntable trickery a lot. In 1989, as I said, I then started dj-ing in clubs, and rave music became popular, so I kinda gave up on the turntablism side of things because it just couldn't be worked on club set ups (unfortunately).
The set you did at Obsession 3rd Dimension is one of my favourite sets. Is there a set you've done that really stands out for you when you thought, wow, that really rocked?
I've done so many sets over the years that they tend to all blur into a haze in my memory, now that I'm an old c**t suffering from senile dementia (he he), but I did really enjoy the 2 sets I did at the last ever Slammin Vinyl at the Sanctuary last year, I was lovin' it!
What are your memories of Djing at previous Fantazia events?
At Summertine walking from my car in a quiet country lane, round a corner to be greeted by 10,000 ravers going mental! Awesome!
Big Bang 2, your thoughts on the new event..
I hope it's busy! ;-)
How different will it be 13 years on? Can it be as good as back in the day?
Well it's in a different country for a start! Asking "Can it be as good as back in the day?" is very subjective, because I bet there will be a hell of a lot of younger ravers there who won't know what it used to be like! And any "oldies" there who were at the original parties will probably be in bed by 10pm ha ha!
What sort of set will you be playing?
I don't know yet, I'm not sure if the promoter wants an upfront UK hardcore set, or a classic Old Skool Sy Fantazia set...
Are there any future stars that you predict will be big in 2006 and beyond?
Joey Riot, Dj Kurt, Gavin G & Dan Rolla, Gammer.... (basically anyone who's had a track on Quosh ha ha ha)
What does the future hold for Sy?
I don't know, have you asked him? ;-) More of the same me thinks.....
How would you like to be remembered?
As a good dj, and part of the UK's rave heritage!
Anything else you want to say? Any shouts?
As usual, a massive shout to all the ravers who have supported UK hardcore & myself over the years. Love ya!
AAAAnd of course, a massive big up to Fantazia who helped spread the Sy sound across the UK!
Interview by Bex
Links to Fantazia
DJ SY has performed at the following Fantazia events:
Fantazia New Year 1991
Fantazia Summertime 1992
Fantazia Leeds 1994
Fantazia Palace 1994
To purchase sets from these click here
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