In Conversation: Sylvere & Noire [Sans Absence]
Insert: Hey guys hope you’re good. Just to get the ball rolling I was wondering if you’d like to share how you first met Akito & came to be signed to Sans Absence.
Noire: Shall I start? Yeah alright then. It was at my mate’s night 4 Seasons originally. I was a resident there, Akito was playing at the dance once and I was warming up before his set. From then on I’ve just always sent him tunes. I wasn’t sending anyone else tunes and just sort of developed a relationship through that. I wasn’t in the habit of sending anyone anything at the time but he was encouraging me to make more so it was just a natural progression from there until I was ready to actually get a body of music together for the label, not just one offs.
Sylvere: Why do you think it’s taken this long for your first official release to come out? Obviously your tracks have been doing the rounds or cropping up in radio sets for years.
Noire: I think I’m just overly picky basically. I don’t think that’s a bad thing in the long run. You can look back on them and be happy and know that they work. What about you, how did you meet Akito?
Sylvere: I met Akito for the first time probably in Dalston at a Trax Couture birthday event at Bar a Bar. We were chatting and sharing tracks online before that but, yeah, when we saw each other play there was a connection you know? I was releasing tracks for Rushmore’s Trax Couture label at the time and when I finished my next EP, I shared it with Akito and he was down to release it straight away.
Noire: One thing I’m keen to know about is your approach to producing because obviously there are similarities in our sounds…
Sylvere: Yeah I think that’s an interesting thing because I think our production techniques are actually mad different. First off, you are super productive. Your work-rate is mad. You make like ten tracks a month no?
Noire: Haha that was when I was hungry bro! I’d agree that we have different approaches even if there are some similarities in sounds. I think there’s just things that I wouldn’t try and do, because I would probably do them badly. But then I hear them in your tunes and I think, “yeah that bangs,” do you know what I mean? There’s things I hear that I want to do in tunes but I wouldn’t necessarily have the balls to try. I think to some extent I play to my strengths with my production but I don’t experiment with melody nearly as much as you do.
You studio set-up is looking mad at the moment Sylvere…
Sylvere: Ah it’s not that mad man. I’ve got two synths and an MPC. I’ve got a BeatStep Pro (which is lit) and I’m just using Ableton, that’s it. When I’m making music I like to think of it as a project. When I’m making beats I try to have a vision and build 3 or 4 tracks that fall within that thinking. I think that’s why I’m so slow to produce tunes because I like to produce a batch of tracks within a vague style. And for you that’s different because you’re making drum tracks and all the DJs are playing them so you need to work a bit faster.
Noire: To be honest I think yours is a way better approach, trying to slow down and take your time. At one point I was just banging stuff out. When I was getting booked more (when there were more gigs going on in Bristol) I had more early slots where I could just play floor-clearers or rough mixdowns and not be too worried about it. But now I’m trying to slow it down a bit rather than just get too excited about something and try and think about how I can better it after I’ve heard it in the club. Actually sitting on tracks or putting project files aside for a bit.
Sylvere: So you’re a fan of the test running stuff in the clubs before you’ve got the finalised version of a track?
Noire: Partly, year. But to an extent once you’ve bounced down a track it’s bounced. Once you’ve taken it out of the DAW you’re using, it’s already a sort of living thing so it’s harder to work on it with a real critical head. I think sometimes it’s good to sit on shit and be stubborn.
Sylvere: Yeah keep that project file open.
Noire: Yeah literally. Don’t even save it ha!
Insert: One thing we can’t not mention with you two present is UK funky. Why do you guys think it is that UK funky has come back in a big way? It’s notoriously been a genre that never ’took off’ or had a heyday like garage did but in the last 2-3 years you’ve seen that there’s a sudden re-interest in the sound by loads of producers.
“The main thing about producing with other people is that you’ve got to have a vibe with them.”
Sylvere: I’ve been making my ‘sound’ for 3 or 4 years now. And UK funky wasn’t really being played at the time like it is now but I think 4 years ago UK funky wasn’t as good as it is today with this ‘nu’ stuff.
Noire: Yeah there’s a lot of offshoots right now innit. UK Funky’s like a certain sounds that you get with older tunes. I feel weird calling our stuff UK Funky. I dunno what it is and why it’s suddenly come round but everything comes in waves like that. I like just making music and thinking about it as just music. We’ve all got influences from all over the shop like trance with your music, Sylvere, trappy sirens with other people and more generally a whole range of percussive influences. I find it interesting but I like just keeping myself to myself with it to be honest. In terms of ‘genres’ and shit I just leave it to someone else to put a name to it.
Sylvere: All of your tunes are mad mad percussive though. And yeah, you’ve been living in Bristol where there’s a lot of producers and groups like Super Kitchen that have this ‘sound’ of really percussive drum tracks and I just don’t know where it’s from.
Noire: Fuck knows really! When I was first introduced to it in clubs was probably Crazylegs nights in Bristol, I remember one at Crash Mansion in particular as well as Blue Mountain. Their parties and a select few others definitely helped to get me making what I’m making now. What about yourself? Was there much music like this about in France when you were going out?
Sylvere: I spent one or two years in London and I’m obviously involved in the UK music scene… maybe more than the French one. But yeah as I’m French I can have a sort of outside view of the music.
Noire: Is there anything in particular that you were listening to a lot when you were making your new EP for Sans Absence?
Sylvere: To be honest with you, at the moment I’m mainly listening to new wave and getting back into shoegaze haha. I’m just listening to the odd show on NTS or Rinse really.
Noire: That’s the way to do it I reckon. Through social media you always see a lot of releases coming up but I try not to delve too much. If I’m going to try and make something I’d rather listen to completely unrelated music. Then you feel excited about whatever you’re trying to make rather than listening to a mastered finished song and then try and emulate that in the early days of a project.
Sylvere: Having said that I’m listening to some new stuff by Akito and guys like Drum Thing. I really like what they’re doing.
I was wondering, who would be your dream person to collaborate with?
Noire: Sinjin Hawke and Zora Jones, that would be amazing. But also, I think I’d just be shitting myself. Do you know what I mean? I think I’d fall to pieces and start messing up. Collaborating with you and Akito would be sick we’ve never had the chance.
Sylvere: Yeah that’s a good idea because we’ve never done it before and we’re all on Sans Absence.
Noire: The main thing about producing with other people is that you’ve got to have a vibe with them. That’s got to be the main thing. Ability is all that but it doesn’t make for the best track. You could be making something with a guy that’s been at it for two months but if you gel with them, you get shit done.
Sylvere: I would love to collaborate with Girl Unit I am really feeling his sound. I guess that my sound is not similar but it would fit with his. Also guys like Dean Lyon. He’s making mad rhythms bruv so it’d be cool to do something with him too.
So Noire, what’s next for you then?
Noire: Fuck knows. Like I was saying; trying to sit on tunes a lot more and see where that takes me rather than thinking about tunes for the club/for a set. I’m trying to think of tracks more as songs or pieces of music than just stuff that bangs in the club. I’ve been making a lot of hip hop 808-style beats, (not as Noire just generally), which I’ve been sending out to MCs. I just want to keep the momentum up to be honest.
You planning on singing on any more tracks like you did on Katsu Katsu?
Sylvere: Well my EP comes out on Sans Absence this week and, yeah, I’m currently working on a new vocal track. It’s work in progress but I’d like to finish two or three more tracks in that style because I really like that vibe. I’m using autotune because I really really need it!
Noire: It sounds hard though. I’ll do a vocal feature bruv. We need to link up and lock ourselves away in the studio for a week.
Sylvere: Let’s do it man!