Sinden tells us about Grizzly Records, The Crystal System and LA

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Graeme Sinden has established himself as a powerful force in electronic music over his decade-long career, spreading that time between his numerous titles of DJ, producer, label owner, radio show host and more.

After growing up in rural Essex before moving to London at the age of 21, Sinden has more recently taken his busy lifestyle stateside, living in LA for the last couple of years.

With a multitude of impressive releases in his early production days, including collaborations with Solid Groove (aka Switch) and Herve (as The Count and Sinden), Sinden quickly became recognised as an innovator in UK house music.

His appetite for new sounds and impeccable selections behind the decks soon saw Sinden take up a regular spot on Kiss FM, and eventually lead to the launch of his own Grizzly Records label in 2010.

The label has gone from strength to strength over the ensuing four years, putting out stellar releases from the likes of Mélé and Brodonski as well as some of Sinden’s own productions, including two collaborations with SBTRKT.

More recently, Sinden has been working with Fritz Helder and Starving Yet Full on a new project, Sinden Presents The Crystal System, whose EP Got Me Moving came out last month.

With so much on his plate, we were fortunate enough to get some time to chat to Sinden about his musical background, the label and the many projects he currently has on the go.

Hi, how are you and what have you been up to today?

I’m good, just coming back from meetings. Now time to make some music in the studio!

You’ve been a leader in the dance music scene for almost a decade now, what do you think are some of the reasons behind your sustained success?

I think keeping the quality of music high and staying relevant. Dance music has changed a lot and continues to evolve. Staying ahead of the curve and adapting is key whilst still being true to you.

What artists, albums or tracks first inspired you to make music?

So many artists and albums it’s almost impossible to answer. Hanging out in record stores, listening to radio, my peers, going to clubs, the UK underground. Also if it wasn’t for Switch taking me under his wing in the beginning I wouldn’t have the opportunities available to me. Basement Jaxx too were key in doing the same thing when I was starting out DJing.

You set up your own label back in 2010, can you tell us about some of the biggest challenges and most rewarding moments associated with the Grizzly Records venture?

It’s nothing but challenges lol. Running an independent label you’re constantly trying to get you music heard by many, but with the constraints of budget it’s tough and limiting. Social media evened the playing field though and that’s what gives me hope. It’s rewarding too though. Listening to the masters, getting the art & video back, hearing the originals flipped in a different way, being in control of everything, having an outlet for your creativity.

Last month saw the release of your Crystal System project’s EP Get Me Moving, can you tell us a little bit about how this project came about?

I met SYF [Starving Yet Full] and Fritz Helder in Tokyo 3 years ago and we hit it off. We jumped in the studio and recorded several tracks. This was the beginnings of a new project that would go on to include several other guest vocalists too. This is the debut release and the follow up will be out before the year’s out on Grizzly.

How has the reaction to the EP been so far?

Yeah really positive; it’s a bit of a departure for me so I was curious to see how people would take to it. Seems to be going over really well!

How have you found the move to LA? What opportunities has it opened up for you?

It’s been rewarding – a big change coming from England. The scene is pretty different and it’s taken me some time to figure out how I needed to adapt. Plying my trade here now has opened up more opportunities with working with US artists, rappers especially, as well as widening my fan bases in North America.

Who are some of the standout acts that you have come across recently both in the States and back home?

There’s a lot of exciting talent in the US, one DJ that I don’t tire of seeing is Gas Lamp Killer. He’s easily one of the most enjoyable DJs for selection and entertainment, really good value!

Who have been some of your favourite collaborators throughout your career and why?

Really enjoyed working with Herve when we made The Count & Sinden record. He’s still one of my best friends and I don’t think I’ve experienced the same synergy with another producer since. Loved working with SBTRKT too. Also when I get in the studio with Mykki Blanco we come out with the weirdest shit!

What can we expect from Sinden in the near future in terms of releases, remixes and/or shows?

You can get my collab EP with Pilo for BNR [Boys Noize Records] which is out now, plus The Crystal System release on Sweat It Out which marks the first in many tracks under this new project. The follow up is out in November. Show wise I’ve got tours coming up with Astronomar and Fake Blood. Astronomar and me will drop some fresh new tracks ahead if our dates. Keep checking in with my Soundcloud, everything is up on there.

Sinden Presents the Crystal System is out now on Sweat it Out, while Pilo and Sinden’s Night Visions can be found via Boys Noize Records.

Written by Will Van de Pol