Behind The Rhythm 014 | Stephanie Sykes:: Soundscapes
We welcome Stephanie Sykes to the fore, an artist who has so far made a serious impact on the techno circuit in the early stages of her career. In both the studio and behind the decks Stephanie strives to bring a raw and gritty modern spin on ambient, techno and experimental electronica, carefully curated and skilfully arranged into one seamless journey.
Born in Germany, now living in Manchester and raised on a diet of techno, a travel-laden up bringing combined with a natural penchant for experimental and diverse soundscapes have paved the foundations for Stephanie Sykes to develop a highly unique musical voice, one unrestricted by boundaries and defined by deviation.
I grew up in Germany, I was born and raised there and lived there for 15 years while my dad worked for the British Army. I moved around a lot, at that time I hated it but it is definitely what has made me the person I am today. So maybe this is why I love techno so much, growing up in Germany obviously had a lasting impact on me
It was the move to Manchester that really helped her find stability, simultaneously providing the platform to explore greater musical virtues. After making her presence felt on the Manchester club scene at various different nights, it was playing at Continue at Sankeys that really ignited proceedings for Stephanie. After linking up with the multi-faceted Techno pioneer Dasha Rush, and a handful of demo tracks later, Stephanie was signed as an artist to Rush’s well-revered Fullpanda Records – a label that pushes the boundaries of contemporary dance music, built on deep, dark and musically emotive experimentation.
I think Manchester was the making of me as an artist actually. I already knew who I was and what I liked and disliked, but I remember there were a few people that were really able to open my mind musically.
Her first foray into the production world accumulated in a two-track contribution on Luna Tactus on Fullpanda, together with Swedish artist Fjader. Spanning hypnotic, sonic-fused experimental techno with a broody, ambient undercurrent, Stephanie’s two tracks – Perplex and Hypo – served as a fine introduction into her stylistically techno-blemished sound.
This aesthetic carries over into her DJ sets, and explains why she’s been invited to grace the decks at places like Tresor and Corsica Studios; moreover, it’s led to a residency at Birmingham night Atomic Jam, one of the UKs best known and longest running techno nights. Her sonic presence as a DJ recently promoted Resident Advisor to award her Inner Escape Podcast as RA Mix of The Day.
More recently Stephanie has just got back from a show in New York for Twice As Proper and has also been invited to work with 4DSound: Techno Is Space at Warehouse Elementenstraat in Amsterdam for her first live performance. 4DSound: Techno Is Space ‘explores the nature of spatial forms and energetic movements within techno through a series of experimental techno artists residencies’, and brings together various artists to reinterpret techno through spatial sound.
I’ve never experimented with ‘live’ before, but have agreed to work with 4D in Amsterdam on the 4th of July and put on my first ever live performance. They approached me and wanted me to be part of their residency ‘Techno is Space at Nachtlab in Amsterdam. They love my sound and style and so asked me to be on board, because of the 4Dsound system set up I have completely changed the way I look at music and have tried to create something that will compliment the technology. It will be an abstract techno live set.
Aptly created in the build up to her show in Amsterdam this weekend, Stephanie has supplied an eerie mix of ambient textures and experimental sounds, providing an exploration into the more abstract soundscapes of her musical repertoire, solely and strategically mixed into a fully spatial sound experience. Inviting us to fantasize and leave behind her usual experience of deejaying, this 50-minute mix is both stimulating and auditorily intriguing, creating an immersive environment unbeknown to typical dance-floor culture.
Big thanks to Stephanie for taking the time to speak to us and for sharing with us a highly thought-provoking and musically intriguing soundscape.