If you caught DJ Times’ recent online premiere of Sydney Blu’s “Vnderground” EP, you’re well aware of the dark tech-house soundscapes the L.A.-based DJ/producer creates. The EP—out now on Kevin Saunderson’s KMS Recordings—is a two-track journey through sinister vibes, booming bass, and extended grooves, ripe for late-night dancefloors and subversive warehouse raves.
Now, Sydney Blu is gearing up for the release of her artist album Relentless this year, previewing the full-length LP with single releases on a series of underground labels (including the new “Vnderground” EP and late-2014’s “My Neighbors Hate Me”). However, the album is just one piece of the Sydney Blu puzzle, as the Canadian-born artist maintains a never-ending series of tour dates and manages her BLU Music label and BLU Party series.
Amidst all of the madness, Sydney Blu connected with DJ Times to talk about the new EP, work on her upcoming album, and some of her favorite live and studio gear.
DJ Times: Your Vnderground EP is out now. How did its release on Kevin Saunderson’s KMS Records come to be?
Sydney Blu: Kevin played my big Miami Music Week Party. It was amazing and he played an unreal set. I met his awesome manager Phil at the party and kept in touch and sent over the EP to them. They liked the track! Dantiez Saunderson, Kevin’s son, also loved the EP. They’re a pleasure to work with. I just gave them another track for the KMS Miami Compilation also.
DJ Times: Both tracks are pretty dark atmospherically, and “Vnderground” has a really crazy vocal sample throughout. Where did it come from?
Sydney Blu: It’s a sample from an old movie with Sandra Bernhard—I love it! I’m just really into techno right now. I love playing it, and I really enjoy making it.
DJ Times: “My Neighbors Hate Me” also came out recently and it’s a thumping tech-house bomb. What went into the creation of the track?
Sydney Blu: Groovy house vibes. I wanted to make just a groovy house track with what I was feeling at the moment. Bumping bassline with swinging melodies. The name was random; I got a bunch of noise complaints and jokingly named the song that one time when I saved the Ableton file. When the record was finished, I just kept it that name.
DJ Times: You’re currently working on your upcoming artist album Relentless. What can fans expect?
Sydney Blu: A chugging techno and house album. It’s very me. Anyone who knows my music will appreciate it. I can’t wait for the whole album to come out in 2015!
DJ Times: What are the challenges of creating dance music across a long-form album format, as opposed to just releasing singles?
Sydney Blu: Time and not releasing music for a while. I definitely suffered when I was not releasing music. It feels good to finally start releasing it.
DJ Times: You throw a series of BLU Parties. What vibe do they aim to have and what can attendees expect from each one?
Sydney Blu: Proper DJs coming from the underground. I like to book DJs of music that I play and that represent my sound on all spectrums. I also like to book artists that inspire me. It’s all about throwing events that are quality to me.
DJ Times: Do you prefer DJing or producing? How do they give back to each other?
Sydney Blu: DJing for sure. That is the icing on the cake. I love performing! I’m a great DJ and have no insecurities about it. Producing is a work in progress; I’m so hard on myself.
DJ Times: Your preferred DJ setup?
Sydney Blu: My live setup is three Pioneer CDJ-2000s and a Pioneer DJM-900 mixer.
DJ Times: What are some studio gear and software must-haves?
Sydney Blu: Ableton Live, [LennarDigital] Sylenth, [reFX] Nexus, several Rob Papen synths, [Native Instruments] Reaktor, [Spectrasonics] Trilian, [Spectrasonics] Atmosphere, and so many more.
DJ Times: What other projects do you have in the works?
Sydney Blu: BLU Mega Miami Music Week Party is my main event right now, as well as finishing the final touches on the album and expanding the brand even more.