It might have come as a surprise to some that Hamburg’s Sidney Charles topped Resident Advisor’s Top 100 Most Charted Artists of 2013, but it’s an accolade that speaks volumes about both his approach to music and his prolific, consistent output.
Born Sidney Charles Hurricane Vieljans (yes, really), his journey towards the world of house and techno began when he first started DJing hip-hop, soul and funk at the age of 15. Taking his cues from the golden age of turntablism and associated culture in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, his attentions were led towards other sounds of the era also enjoying their first heyday. His infatuation with those classic 4/4 club sounds is something that lives and breathes vividly in his music today. “I see myself mainly connected with the raw house sound” he says of the style he projects with his productions and DJ sets today. “I am highly influenced by the early ‘90s. Jacking beats; heavy kicks; dirty highs. But I also like to experiment a lot to not make people bored of a certain sound.” Whatever shade of house or techno he’s producing, it’s always packed full of hard grooves, raw sounds and a classy simplicity that lets the track do what it’s supposed to do: make your ass wiggle.
For a producer who only started releasing music in 2011, Sidney’s achievements are all the more impressive. In the space of just three years, his works have graced bastions of house and techno such as Avotre, 8bit, I Am A House Gangster, Moda Black, Off, VIVa, Kling Klong, SCI+TEC, Suara and Area Remote - each release adding to his clout and helping him to become one of the biggest names in the underground. And that’s where he wants to stay. He has no lofty aspirations to play arena shows or break through into the mainstream of electronic music. He’d rather stay true to the scene and surroundings he loves and develop and grow therein.
“I think the most important thing for me is that people take my music as a personal part of me” he says. “That means I can create an image mostly characterised by authenticity. So I don’t need to play for the biggest fees in the biggest clubs. I am mainly interested in the underground scene itself and being an active and creative part of it. With my music and my activeness in the scene as a DJ or otherwise. I want to give my part to keep the underground alive. As my music is meant to be honest, I also see myself more playing in clubs which are not fancy or posh-like. I see myself in more underground-orientated locations like Sankeys, fabric, Watergate, Panoramabar…”
Along with his lengthy studio stints and his focus on making dancefloors vibrate.
Sidney continues to collaborate closely with his AVOTRE label mate and buddy Santé, whether it’s playing sold out AVOTRE labelnights or making tracks together. AVOTRE and Sidney’s rise to the top has often been hand in hand and this fruitful alliance shows no sign of fading.
2014 was the year of Sidney’s consecration into the big leagues, appearing at many festival stages and headlining clubs and parties around the world, and holding down a successful summer residency at Sankeys in Ibiza. Release wise, tracks on Hot Creations and Moda Black topped the Beatport Tech House charts for weeks on end. 2015 will see the release of his album ‘House Lessons’ on AVOTRE, packed with remixes and collaborations with DJ Sneak, Santé, Darius Syrossian, Pan-Pot, Hot Since 82, Patrick Topping & many others. Sidney continues to be in high demand around the world, once again reinforcing his huge pull on audiences internationally, topped off by another huge summer residency for Tribal Sessions in Ibiza.
With the diversity he’s displayed and the continually acclaimed output he’s been creating, there’s little doubt that Sidney Charles can continue to grow and evolve in the years to come - even within those refreshingly focused parameters which he has set for himself.