Behind The Beat: Sydney Blu
The last time we caught up with Sydney Blu was a little more than a year ago. Back then, she was prepping to come into Chicago for one of of my favorite events in Chicago, the Reverse Tech(no9) series that I never shut up about.
Back then she was living in L.A., throwing Blu Parties and touring. In the meantime, I was living in San Francisco, hadn’t even played my first gig, and would fly into Chicago once a month for the Tech(no) parties. I vividly remember being disappointed about having to leave early that night, missing the second half of Sydney’s set. You can imagine my excitement when I found out that not only was I going to have another chance to see her play, but we were going to be on the same lineup! If that wasn’t enough, she wanted to do an exclusive guest mix on my site!
Only The Beat: Last time we caught up with you was a year ago at Tech(no9). What is new since then?
Sydney Blu: A lot has happened. I released an album last Fall. Since then I’ve also moved back home to Toronto. I was living in L.A. when I was in Chicago. Another thing I did since I moved home are Blu parties in Toronto. I just introduced the very first one in November. They’ve been a really successful show with the Cocodrills.
OTB: Where else have you done the parties?
Sydney Blu: Well they originated in Miami around 2010. Since then they’ve been in L.A., NYC, D.C., Calgary, Toronto, and now Detroit!
OTB: How did you get your start?
Sydney Blu: It was 15 years ago, more than that probably. I got involved in 1998 in college. I went to a club. Electronic music was playing. Changed my life.
I decided to become a DJ few years after. I knew I could do it so I just did, been DJing ever since. I started off as a local in Toronto. I DJ’d a big club called Guvernment.
I caught a break when I had a big record on Mau5trap, give it up for me back in 2008. It was an electro house record back when it was annoyingly popular. Yeah, I was trying to be cool.
OTB: Did you start in techno or did you find a home there?
Sydney Blu: Well I’m taking it back to the underground. After my electro record I was playing these big shows and I felt disconnected from where I started.
“I’ve evolved and my music has too.”
OTB: How did you find techno?
Sydney Blu: I don’t play full on techno; I play house parties. So many genres. Tech House. Whatever. When I started DJing I was doing it all on vinyl. Think dark, after-hours places in Toronto 4-6 AM every Saturday night.
I went commercial for a bit; big room progressive. I realized that I wanted to get back to my roots. The clubs were super commercial and I was feeling disconnected. I went to Detroit in 2013 and that’s what really made me realize that I wanted to go back. Everything there is pretty authentic underground stuff. I’m influenced by house music. That, most importantly, is what I came up on.
OTB: Proudest moment in your career?
Sydney Blu: I played at Toronto Rogers Center Stadium in front of 35,000 people while opening for Deadmau5. This was back in 2011.
OTB: Who do you look up to?
Sydney Blu: I look up to artists like Derek Carter, Kevin Saunderson, Green Velvet. Original back in the day artists.
OTB: Ideal collaboration?
Sydney Blu: Gene Farris and I are discussing a collaboration. Hmm, I’d love to collab with Green Velvet. I’m currently writing a track with Kevin Saunderson.
OTB: Sounds like we have a lot to look forward to. What else is on the radar this year?
Sydney Blu: I have a bunch of new music coming out on Toolroom! Lot of Blu parties coming up! There’s one that’s going to be announced on Monday [Don’t say you didn’t hear it first here]. It’s in Toronto and it’s outdoors. That’s all I can say.