Interview with Sully

Big up to all, I've got a treat for you today, in the form of an interview with Sully, the badman responsible for album-of-the-year-list-botherer Carrier which was released on Blackdown's Keysound Recordings. Read on and find out a little more about the man behind it and check out some of his tunes if you're not a fan yet... (The interview continues after the page break)

NT: Hey man, can you give us an introduction to those who may not know Sully yet?
In short, I make tunes, mainly but definitely not strictly in a 2-step fashion.
I've worked with a lot of labels but most closely tied with Frijsfo beats and Keysound Recordings. The latter released my debut LP Carrier in September and currently I'm getting (back) into DJing...

Click here, here, here, or here to buy Carrier

NT: You’ve been releasing for a few years now, what made you decide to put out an album?
In all honesty it was down to Blackdown's persistance. I've had a fair few people put the idea to me, but Keysound kept with it and the time came where it seemed the thing to do. I wanted to try out some new things, have the oppurtunity to write some tunes without a dancefloor and DJ in mind, as result I did a lot of experimenting and came up with some tunes I would have never made outside of an LP. So I'm thankful to everyone who pushed the idea to me over the years!

Sully - It's Your Love

NT: Your album came out on Blackdown’s label Keysound Recordings. How did you manage to convince Blackdown to put out a full album on vinyl? That label has so many albums that need a vinyl release! Does it feel more special that Carrier got that treatment?
S: It's true, Keysound have a serious catalog. They've stepped up even more over the last year or two and I'm stoked to be nestled in there at such an interesting time for the label. I can't think of a thing they've done that doesn't deserve wax, would love some of Damu's Unity in particular, but the sad fact with vinyl is that it's economically difficult, the sales are undoubtedly going down as people switch to Serato and so on, so it isn't always possible to put double or triple disc LPs . I even know some labels have such a passion for vinyl they'll make a loss and make it up with digital sales, which I think is worth it, I love vinyl and always seems to go back to playing it over anything else, but there's a limit to how much you can put into it. I was lucky, Carrier is short enough to fit on 2 sides, which is perfect for the flow of the record too, as you mention...

Sully - Toffee Apple

NT: To me, Carrier seems split in two, the garage side and the juke/footwork side. Was this split intentional or just the way things panned out?
The first tunes put aside were 2 step, but I started to play with the footwork sounds quite early on. The divide wasn't pre-meditated, but once I'd got a few tracks together the shape of the LP started to form and I worked from there, filling the gaps and piecing it together. I think I managed to thread it through, there's links from one step to the next, even though they might not be obvious.

NT: As I mentioned above, the LP has a real variation in styles throughout, with straight up UK Garage, Juke and some of your other productions have elements of what could be termed Dubstep, and you seem to move freely between the tempos. Is there a style you prefer producing or listening to?
My tastes change like moods really, so whatever I'm doing is what I'm feeling at that time. I might hear something that will grab my attention and I'll be thinking about that vibe that day, then it might switch the next. I know a tune I'm making is working when it keeps my attention long enough to finish it. More and more I'm getting more into the crate digging mentality, going back to the 60's and 70's, soul, prog, jazz and all the rest. It's amazing how fresh things can sound after decades. It's kinda refreshing to go back to old records, when you find good ones it keeps you full of ideas too.

Sully - The Loot (Remix)/In Some Pattern

NT: Stock interview question time: I mentioned in my review that ‘It’s Your Love’ has a real El-B sound to it, especially reminiscent of ‘Buck & Bury’, which from me, is high praise man! So the question is, which producers are you influenced by?
Thanks, I made that drum loop and had it hanging around for ages, could never move on to a track with it, but I knew I had to keep it til I did cos it's the slinkiest beat I've made! Patience paid off hehe. Obviously El-B was the Don of dark 2-step, no-one will ever take that from him. Garage wise I really rate Steve Gurley too, his stuffs different to El-B in that everything is funky. Instead of just dubbing out the elements of the beats his tunes are like clockwork, all the vocals and stabs and bass bump together. Inevitably I have to say Burial too, he was my window into garage as something darker, something I could get into, obviously his vocal work has had an impact on me, as has the level of mood in his tunes, which people have linked with the 2nd half of Carrier, but I was really more influenced by cinematic hip hop like Shadows' Entroducing or 80's film scores; Moroder, Vangelis, those kind of guys. All that new age synth music has had a kind of resurgence recently and I love it, I think it's really nostalgic for lot of people, I know it is for me.

NT: There have been some rumours floating around the internet that the second track, ‘2 Hearts’ was originally going to make an appearance on the much-discussed Burial DJ Kicks. Can you set the record straight? (Check the track out below, I guarantee you won't regret it!)
In a word no hehe. The record is and always was pretty warped. Burial loved the tune, that I know, in fact we even mentioned a collab off the back of it but it remained talk. Same with the DJ Kicks mix, he said he wanted to use it but at the same time he said the tracklist was getting changed all the time, so yeah it's true in that it was Burials intention at a point, but that mix was just never going to happen hehe.

Sully - 2 Hearts

NT: What have you got planned for the future? Any releases planned? Any styles you want to further explore?
I've got a remix of 23Hz & Numaestro's Zumo coming out soon, on 2nd Drop. It's quite old now, I think it was a bit of a shock for the label when I made it so it sat for a while, but as things have moved on it made a bit more sense to them so it's coming out. Production wise I'm obsessed with old school jungle at the moment, so have been putting together some rinse outs in that kind of style. I don't know if anyone would put em out but it's so much fun I don't really care! I have learned a few things in the process though so perhaps I could translate them into something a bit more current, we'll see...

NT: Can we get you back for a mix some time?
S: Hehe, I am terribly disorganised with that sort of thing so that's a smart move getting this in writing hehe. But yeah, for sure.

Sully - Exit

NT: Finally, can you name your three favourite “Night Tracks”?
Mobb Deep - Survival of the Fittest
Burial - South London Buroughs
Boogie Times Tribe - Dark Stranger (Origin Unknown Remix)

NT: Thanks for your time man, I'm going to keep bugging you about that mix until we get it! Big up!
Until then, check out his back catalogue and grab his records if you're into physical or BUY some of his downloads! Remember to keep an eye out for his mix in the future.