Native Mix #025: Sumerian

by Kieran Mallon, May 29, 2017

Continuing last week's theme of rising talents at The Unity Agency, for our 25th instalment we welcome Sumerian.

Between soaking up the intricacies of the music industry, finishing a degree in International Security, and delivering killer sets all over Brighton, Sumerian is one to keep an eye on. We fired a few questions at the industrious selector:

Do you have a particularly musical background?

I've always been heavily into many diverse genres of music, although it took a while for my taste to mature a bit. I was mostly into 70s folky guitar stuff like Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel before I got into dance music as well as various shades of indie electronica, then eventually got more and more into house and techno. My friends and I started our record collections around the same time and our taste went deeper and deeper over the course of a few months.

How did you get into DJing?

I've been DJing for approximately 2 years now - I count from the day I bought CDJs and a mixer, but my first contact with it was clanging mixes on my mate's Traktor in the beginning of 2nd year. Soon afterwards I started putting together some mixtapes on my laptop, inspired by the various stages at Dekmantel, and bought CDJs and a mixer at the beginning of 3rd year. That's when I started seeking out gigs and "breaking out of the bedroom" basically. Soon afterwards I got my residency at Midnight Funk Association, followed by my Trickstar Radio show.

Which events you've played have been your favourite?

The first half of this year has actually been really exciting. To sum up, I've played two gigs for Partyicipate, a local collective organizing parties in aid of Help Refugees, I've opened the upstairs at Patterns before Andy Smith (ex-Portishead) took over, and I've played a good amount of Midnight Funk Association dates. My favorite gig this year has been opening for Avalon Emerson and Bwana at Patterns, alongside DJ Faro. It was my first appearance downstairs at Patterns and it went incredibly well - Faro is by far the most talented DJ I know and whenever we go b2b it's so much fun. My two main residencies are Midnight Funk Association (the Patterns midweek disco party), and my Trickstar Radio show.

MFA was actually a really cool story. I posted a track on my facebook and one of the Soul City founders (Jack Lydon) slid into my DMs right afterwards, saying "that's one of my favorite tracks, do you DJ by any chance?". Got my first gig about a week after and stayed on as a resident. It's always good fun, the crowd is much more musically open-minded than other clubs and the people who run it put in so much effort it's beyond impressive. As for the Trickstar show, it bears the name Eperon, which is a podcast series I started in order to focus more on Brighton DJs and try to encourage the local scene. I thought of places like Bristol, where everyone knows who the Bristol DJs are and have been following them for years, and I wanted to help build that "local" culture. I've had 12 guest mixes and a handful of radio guests - could've had more if it wasn't for my lack of organization - and obviously it's not the Dekmantel podcast or anything, but I've enjoyed doing it quite a bit.

Do you produce any music yourself?

I do make a bit of music, but it's been a very slow learning process and I'm still a bit of a beginner. These days I've been getting slightly better at edits, and there's an edit of Delegation - You and I on my SoundCloud profile. I really want to improve and get better at getting my ideas out of my head and into my DAW, and eventually integrate more hardware and live stuff into my workflow. I've heard many people say "it's not the tools, it's how you use them", but I'm a hardware fiend through and through.

Is music your full time job?

I'm about to finish my Masters degree in International Security at Sussex. Right now I'm working on my dissertation, where I'll be looking at concepts of masculinity within far-right communities. Before that, I finished my undergrad in International Relations, also at Sussex. Between that and DJing I'm working as an intern at the Unity Agency - we represent DJs like Rayko, Late Nite Tuff Guy, The Reflex, and many more.

Can you give us some of your DJ influences?

Where do I begin... I'd say my main influences are Gerd Janson, Jayda G, Nick the Record, and I guess Antal, but I'm inspired by every artist and DJ I listen to. There isn't enough time in the world to list them all. I appreciate real selectors - as meaningless as that word has become lately - so I take loads of influence from the Rhythm Section crew as well, plus others like Sassy J and Hunee.

What does the future hold for you?

My schedule is quite free for the coming months after a reasonable first half of the year, but I'm looking forward to maybe getting some projects off the ground with some of my friends in London. There might be a move to London in my very near future so the biggest advantage would be finally linking up with friends and seeing what ideas we can get started on - releases, events etc.

And finally - a few words on the mix?

I decided to keep it quite housey, a bit like what I play out, but still keeping it sultry and suave (see: that Demuja track). It's got lots of ToyTonics stuff that I've finally got round to buying recently, plus some records I haven't really been playing that much. I wanted a mix that's more heads-down, but I tend to go in many different directions when I play out.

TRACKLIST:

Phonk D - Gonzo
Cisco Cisco - Jazzy Days (Ron Basejam remix)
Olivier Boogie - How High?
Mirage - Summer Grooves (Ziggy Phunk edit)
COEO - Mydonna
Demuja - Turn Me On
Black Loops - Sex
25 Places - Party in the Hills
Inland Knights - Out of Bounds
Lowtec - Please Go Away
Afriquoi - Can I Know You (Krywald & Farrer remix)
Cee Rule - Can You Feel It (Shelter 'Vybe' Mix)
DJ Aakmael - Daydreeming (Rimbaudian remix)
Tell - Y'all Feel That Honey (Paradise Mix)
Featured image credit: Susan Anifowoshe

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