Podcast 41 Jerome Sydenham

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Our relatively ‘new’ podcast sequence featured some amazing names so far. Both talented producers and established artists invested time and energy to record a podcast, something we’re extremely thankful for. We’re pretty proud to share another podcast with one of our favorite artists, someone we’re following for quite some years now: Jerome Sydenham.

Few traveling producer/DJs measure up to the legacy of Ibadan RecordsJerome Sydenham. Nothing short of a modern music visionary who cut his teeth as an A&R rep for Atlantic Records during the peak of the 90s New York house era. Now residing in Berlin, he’s still at the cutting edge of dance music; pioneering it through its various mutations over the years.

From initial ground-breaking tracks like the international award winning house tracks ‘Sandcastles‘ and ‘Timbuktu‘ – both co-produced with Dennis Ferrer – and the monstrous techno slammer ‘Elephant‘ co-produced with Rune on Avocado Records have cemented him as a master craftsman of the global dance music spectrum. Jerome has remixed the likes of Femi Kuti, Len Faki, Carl Craig, Radio Slave, Adam Beyer, Slam, Planetary Assault System and Function to name a few. Kerri Chandler stated about his skills that “Jerome has an impeccable sense of arrangement – he’s up there with Quincy Jones on that!”

Can you explain how you set yourself up on a day-to-day basis?

“As I DJ on the weekends, Monday has become my irreplaceable day off. Thus my workweek generally starts on a Tuesday around 8 am. My morning priority is always music production.  I take ear breaks every 3 hours or so to check emails, promos, and label related affairs.”

“Studio fatigue generally sets in around 5 pm. At this point, I switch to Chef mode. Occasional company generally carries the entertainment to open ended hours (depending!). Then I do it all over again. I make the vinyl shopping rounds later afternoons on Wednesdays and Thursday and try to keep this routine in a nice steady flow.”

You’re the label owner of Ibadan Records which you’re running almost for two decades now. What does it take to run a successfully label for such a long period of time?

“First of all, it was always a dream for me to one day be at the helm of my own label(s). This required unconditional commitment, a certain business acumen, lots of love, simplicity and a fuck-load of patience. Today, in general, many young music entrepreneurs will themselves be somewhat stifled by the congested digital retail channels.”

What advice would you give to young and enthusiastic people in the scene who are starting their own label?

“Go out as much as you can — if you are in the countryside, try to get into the city to catch the wide variety of artists/DJs that will always pass through. Seeing it for yourself is better than any stream!”

“Once you have found your sonic niche, don’t rush! Carefully prepare 2 to 3 releases that you think can get the rest of us exited at the record shop. Stick to it, expect nothing (patience) and it does not have to be about your own production but your taste and vision of the future (confidence required and fear to be expected). You’ll eventually individualize your methods and get the hang of all the bullshit that comes with it! Ultimately it is a very rewarding experience.”

As a label-owner, how do you feel about the technical developments, which changed the vinyl-industry and basically the overall electronic music scene? What are the benefits and downsides within these fast-changing technical developments?

The main upside of today’s digital format is that it allows a quick and cheap turnover of new music as the barrier to entry into this market has been lowered. The downside of digital is the same congestion argument as stated in the prior question.”

“The relevance of vinyl, however reduced, remains irreplaceably important intellectually and aesthetically.”

In the past you teamed-up with Hideo Kobayashi under the Nagano Kitchen moniker and released some brilliant tracks such as GSXR 810. Do you have the intention to release more music in the future as Nagano Kitchen?

“Absolutely. We are only suffering from logistically strain. Every opportunity to be in the studio together is the point as it is our preferable approach to creativity. So currently it is a bit of a slow boat but under full sail.”

From which artist do you find inspiration nowadays or can you introduce us to new talent that really needs some appreciation?

“Electronic music is so fragmented these days with misguided categorization. One good thing is that the genres, more so than not, become blurred, which I at times rather enjoy. My taste is a bit too varied to be specific in terms of artists. But podcasts are the easiest way to scan through mixes and find music that meets your individual tastes.”

What was your intention with the podcast? Any special backgrounds?

My intention was a fresh deep house perspective fused with rhythmic Tech-House overtones with a nice light chocolate Techno spread without ruining the sandwich!

Can you tell us something about upcoming projects, releases or events?

The Jerome Sydenham – Editopia compilation released on (Ibadan Records), a full-length album from Sally (new Ibadan Records artist), a remix competition of the ‘Sandcastles’ classic, an Ibadan EFX compilation and a couple of superb EP’s on Ibadan and Apotek featuring various artists with some great surprises.

For more information about Jerome Sydenham visit his website.

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House Cult is a community focused on electronic music. A particular active subculture full of people who all share the same passion for electronic music. For some still a cult, for others a way to enrich everyday life. For all of us a culture that brings us together.