Exclusive Interview with Sick Elektrik
DJ/Producers Ben O’Connor & Jon Verde produce and play music they love for people to dance and without dictating to the crowd. Effortlessly marrying genres from Deep to Progressive and Mainroom to Minimal…its all House Music.
Taking influences from a varied and eclectic past, Sick Elektrik combine to produce quality, underground, electronic music right across the board from hands up House to groovy, chugging Tech House and Techno. Its not just production that Sick Elektrik are quickly gaining a reputation for either. Clubbers have also seen the pair raise the roof at various events and festivals from the Wickerman festival in Scotland to the Residents Terrace at Creamfields 2 years in a row! This along with summers of travelling the UK and Europe have seen the duo play on the same bill as Pete Tong, ATFC, Steve Lawler and more. Set apart as a highly technical act with an infectious enthusiasm that cannot be ignored.
For those who don’t know Sick Elektrik very well, can you give us a quick idea of Sick Elektrik and how it started?
We are House music Dj/Producers from Manchester producing and playing right across the board from House, Tech to Techno and Progressive.
We met by chance in our home town quite a few years back. Jon, who’s been producing under various names for years, was running a design company who produced the flyers that I (Ben) was having printed for club nights that I was Djing and promoting at that time. We ended up talking about production and both discovered we had a similar passion for house music so decided to get in the studio together and make some tracks. We then started doing gigs together and over time sort of organically formed as a duo and became Sick Elektrik.
With your latest track ‘Ozzy’ came out Monday and your remix of Daniel Rostron’s Creeper released earlier this month, has 2012 had a busy start for Sick Elektrik?
Massively! Its been all go so far this year, we set up our own label ‘State Records’ in January which has really kept us busy with a debut release from Sonny Wharton and Dom Kane and following up with releases from Rotterdam’s Aad Mouthaan and Sankeys resident Mr Pedros, and now we have newcomer Daniel Rostron’s ‘Creeper’ with a remix from ourselves out which all in all has been keeping us busy and getting good support too!
Also for us just as producers we are working on a lot of original material along with collaborations with Dom Kane and Craig Connelly and this year we have had remixes out on Stefano Noferini’s Deeperfect Label which received great support along with remixes and originals out on Whartone.
Our new track ‘Ozzy’, which was out on Skint Records on Monday is massive for us, we are really happy to have a track on such a legendary label.
You’ve been working together with Sonny Wharton recently, specifically on ‘Crash’? Will we now start to see lots of your stuff being associated with Whartone Records?
Definitely, we have had some great tracks and high Beatport Chart positions with releases on Whartone, Working with Sonny is great we have a lot of respect for him as an artist and as a person he is like our Yoda of the house music world! He gives us great advice and always helps us out if we need it. It’s great doing a collab though as you always learn from each other, there’s always new tricks that one or the other doesn’t know.
Whartone is definitely one of the best up and coming labels out there, the quality of releases are up there with the likes of Toolroom, Skint or CR2 and the artists coming through on Whartone have some serious talent, Dom Kane, Chris Aidy, Jon Kong, Karlos Cheadle and Will Clarke all have absolute bangers out on Whartone and we think our new collaboration on ‘Crash’ with Sonny will hopefully take it to the next level!
What does Sick Elektrik have planned for the rest of the year?
Most of all getting in the studio as much as possible, we have a couple of remixes to finish and then we will really focus just on original material and a new EP we are working on with Dom Kane.
At the end of the month we are playing at The Attic Manchester then following that we are in Manchester again for Venus but after that we will be working on the launch of our own night for State Records called ‘Statement’ which we are really looking forward to!
We’ve also got some wicked releases that we have signed to State. Its great to be passionate about other peoples music and have the opportunity to give new artists a chance to show there stuff.
What has been your favourite moment of 2012 so far?
Signing our track ‘Ozzy’ to Skint Records has to be up there, definitely a big box ticked off!
If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be?
I think anyone from the dance music world would like to answer Daft Punk to that one, they are absolute geniuses! Also to work with Sasha would be a dream come true definitely a big hero of ours.
Where in the world would you most like to play?
Tough one to decide…It would have to be Pacha Ibiza which to us is the Church of house music or for just the madness of it from what we’ve seen on documentaries The Burning Man Festival in the Black Rock desert America.
Do you prepare your sets before arriving at gigs?
Not really, we prepare with edits and bootlegs in the studio and decide which of our own tracks we want to play or start with but other than that we play to the room then once we have a hold of the crowd we can dictate which way the party goes… We do a lot of effects and trigger samples off an iPad to make our sets quite visual and give the crowd a show, we definitely don’t hide behind a laptop with our heads down.
Do you follow what’s going on in your scene or are you happy with what you create now?
We just produce what we are feeling at the time really. If that’s affected by the scene we don’t know, our tastes are very eclectic, we are influenced from all genres of music but we just set out to make what we are happy with, then look where that will fit rather than the other way round. We can be working on big room house one day and groovy techno the next, we don’t want to pigeon hole ourselves into one genre just yet.
Would you ever go on a reality TV show?
100% No! Everything with what’s wrong with celebrity culture stems from those horrible shows, we will never understand wanting to be famous for having no talent other than living in Essex.
Do you collect anything?
Vinyl which I still buy today, not even just house vinyl I have all sorts of music, my dad used to collect Northern Soul records which I have now obtained from his loft. We have a good synth collection growing too. That and a huge collection of gadgets for the
studio that never get used.
Can you describe an average day of your life?
Weekdays can vary massively from weekends or Sundays that can sometimes just be hangover, bed, sofa, back to bed. But most days its up at 7am, breakfast and mainly deal with the label, demos, promotion, emails etc then once thats out the way its Studio till pretty late in the evening, both of us will lie and say we go to the gym too but thats not happening a lot recently! Then like to chill out at night watching the comedy channel.
Is the glass half full or half empty?
Half full… always optimistic :)
Is there a word you over use?
“Twerp” trying to bring it back, it’s a fantastic insult.
What are your thoughts on the rumours about a DJ Xfactor show?
We hope it’s a joke! We would never begrudge people the chance to shine and prove there talent but that format of show would be the worst way of trying to prove yourself for so many reasons, it would be terrible for our industry.
You can already see club nights advertising “Celebrity DJs” as it is, some people think to become a “DJ” all you have to is get a job as an extra on Hollyoaks and play the David Guetta album on repeat! Can’t take seeing another flyer for a night with some twerp from Essex headlining, imagine what would happen if the DJ- Xfactor happened! Horrible.
And finally – Daddy or chips?
Haha. I remember that advert! I’ll say Dad though. Best to avoid chips when no time the gym.