Imaginarium Interview & Guest Mix

Imaginarium Interview & Guest Mix

Andy Murrell from the Imaginarium reached out to have a chat about my recent move to London, the city's world-famous electronic music scene and we also touched on what Juncture is about among other things...there's also a mix to accompany the read.

Q&A Ryan Sullivan - Episode 32

THE IMAGINARIUM·THURSDAY, 23 JULY 2020·READING TIME: 7 MINUTES


AM
Hey Ryan, welcome to the Imaginarium!

Riaan aka Crescendo, says at the end of his shows… ‘Welcome to the Imaginarium family’, which I always think that’s really nice I should use that more, haha… So welcome to the family! I wanted to dig a little deeper into Ryan Sullivan both the musician and individual because you’ve got an interesting story.


First to start, you’ve just recently moved to London at what is probably the most interesting/confusing/volatile/WTF moments in our history….aside from the personal challenges, has that ‘volatility’ made you a better musician do you think? As an example your weekly Juncture live stream series is probably one the most engaged and interesting music projects out there!


RS
Hey Andy, thanks for the warm welcome. Yes, this is an interesting and volatile moment in time for sure. I arrived just the nick of time and am very grateful to have made it.

Everybody is facing challenges to various degrees right now and I can feel that my mentality has shifted but definitely for the better. It’s been a good time to reflect on my strengths and weaknesses, work around them, and make use of the time indoors to produce and remix more than I can usually afford.
Juncture was initially to compensate for not being able to gig and it’s become unexpectedly enjoyable to play music for people online.


AM
Off the back of your Juncture project and talking about setups for a minute. I always find your sets incredibly seamless. To the point where I’m literally confused as to how you get things sounding so fluid and organic and I’m also very interested in your setup. What does that look like from a technical point of view and maybe let’s talk about how you construct sets, do you arrange things by key, by energy, how do you do it?.


RS
From a technical point of view, it’s a DJ set that is augmented by a bit of synth work and I play off of synth (Access Virus TI) which I programmed to DJ with, only because it’s what I have with me.
Musically, I select music by mood and feel and really just go by ear but that said, harmony is how I express myself in my original music and so it comes into play in my sets as well. I also love to mix very long mixes which I think is where the flow within the transitions comes from.


AM
Your Triplefire Music record label has been going for 10 years now, am I correct in saying that? You’ve had about 315 releases or tracks out on that label if Beatport is anything to go by…although that maybe doesn’t reflect the entire catalogue… but can you remember the first release, what that felt like, and then what prompted you to start the label?


RS
Yes, it’s just hit the 10-year mark under the Triplefire brand and it was started to fill a gap at the time. I was first signed to a big label that eventually closed down in 2006 and all the artists involved were left stranded, so I set up a new label to offer them a platform to continue with their release plans, and then it was rebranded as Triplefire in 2010. The first release that year was my first full-length album called ‘No One Will Ever Know’ and it was an exhilarating time, as it is for each of the Triplefire releases.


AM
As a musician you’ve released on various record labels like Superordinate Music, Lowbit Records, Mango Alley, Pangea Recordings (are the ones that stand out for me because of my bias) and loads more. Can you remember that one release that’s been your aha moment, or one that’s got support from some big industry names that made you feel, shit I’m really onto something here… or is that not what its about for you? What drives or motivates you?


RS
It’s not the driving force but peer recognition definitely helps support a positive mindset and keeps doubt at bay. My very first release did well in terms of sales charting and reviews and was also played by all the famous artists I respected and loved most, that validation so early on definitely motivated me to continue.


AM
You’re in, well my opinion anyway, the dance music capital of the world and I’ve perhaps got a glorified view of it because I can remember as kid growing up in South Africa when Mixmag and DJ Mag was distributed widely in most magazine outlets and getting the free CD and paging through and seeing the worlds best DJ’s on a lineup week in and week out at the biggest clubs across the UK and I’ve always placed ‘that’ on a pedestal and I certainly didn’t ever think I’d be living in this amazing city. I’ve somewhat grown out of that idea now as I think happens to everything magical when you grow up haha…but I’ve always wondered if anyone else shared the same perspective. I’m perhaps naively approaching that more as a dance music fan rather than a musician such as yourself… do you have a different view on things?


RS
Oh yes I had the exact same view for sure and even after traveling a good few parts of the world, I still have that view. I used to dream of playing around the world in cities like London and Amsterdam which I had imagined to be so magical and when I began touring I learned that much of it is really magical but in a slightly different way to what my imagination had cooked up. Living here, those experiences we could only see in magazines and dream about are available on a weekly basis, well not right this moment but the two weeks I experienced before lockdown had more on offer than any one person could physically attend and we’ll be back in that position again soon.


AM
Looking forward to the future, do you have any exciting plans for the label or you personally?


RS
Well my focus has been on getting to the UK and now that I’m here, the future is an unwritten book. While I definitely have big goals, I don’t really have particular plans right now as I’m learning to navigate a new landscape here and of course, finding my footing in the pandemic. I’m just grateful to have made it to where I am today and am excited for what lies ahead tomorrow. I know it will be great and the journey will be fun.


AM
Thanks so much for your time and energy into putting the mix together, can you tell us a little more about it?


RS
An absolute pleasure. It’s a selection of music that really grabs me at the moment and features two of my new records. Firstly, my Juncture mix of Joy Ride comes up early in the mix, the original of Joy Ride was first featured on the Emotional Distance album and now has new remixes including an outstanding remix from Cape Town talent, MKLY. Then closing out is my remix of Dusk by Jono Stephenson, a talented young artist from Durban.


AM
To finish off, perhaps something a little more light hearted, but what does Ryan Sullivan do for fun? Is there anything surprising about yourself that people don’t really know.


RS
All the time at the mixer and computer has to be balanced out with healthy physical activities and so I love to do a couple of different things. Climbing has become an important part of my life, as was surfing before moving to London and now I’ve found my way onto a bicycle for the first time since I was a child, it’s been a great way to explore the outdoors and the city. I also enjoy the odd video game when I can’t do any of those things.


AM
On behalf of The Imaginarium, thanks for your time Ryan, we really appreciate it.


RS
It’s been a pleasure and thank you.



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