Get Physical's Siopis Talks Grandmaster Flash, Newfound Success, and Future Plans
A classically-trained musician who dropped the clarinet lessons in favor of turntables and hip-hop culture, Siopis cut hit teeth spinning at Greek clubs as a teen.
It may have taken him a couple of decades to come into his own as an internationally-recognized producer. But that's only because the man is a self-confessed perfectionist who wanted to master his craft before landing on the scene. And that he did. His first productions under the Silversurfer alias would get picked up by the esteemed Bpitch Control and Crosstown Rebels labels in the mid-'00s. And by 2008, he had his first release as Siopis on Get Physical. He has since continued to climb the international DJ charts with his fluid, dynamic brand of vocal tech-house.
We caught up with Siopis ahead of his Wednesday night performance at Electric Pickle to talk about his early influences, newfound success and what he's been up to in 2010.
New Times: You alternated a lot of your time growing up between Germany and the Greek Islands. What was your first exposure to electronic dance music during that time?
Siopis: I grew up in Germany, but every summer me and my family used to spend our vacations in Greek islands. So, 15 years ago electronic music made the first steps in Germany with Kraftwerk, Einstürzende Neubauten, etc., so I got inspired from those kinds of artists. On the other hand, in Greece electronic music wasn't so popular, so every summer I played there in clubs where not so many people could understand the kind of music I played. Nowadays, things are changing thanks to the internet and people are getting really excited with electronic music.
You have a classical music background though. How did you transition to electronic dance music production?
At the age of 15 I started to spin records, inspired by DJs like Grandmaster Flash and movies like Beat Street. I started to spin records and mix different sounds together. The truth is that clarinet and trumpet were really boring for me after I got involved with these new sounds. I was really impressed with the possibility to create music that no classical music instrument could make.
What prompted you to move to Berlin and how has living/working there affected your musical and professional development?
Berlin is the leader of all contemporary arts and the heart of the electronic music underground. I think there is not a better place for an artist to live. As the center of electronic music, Berlin gives the opportunity to have a very good stage/crowd that really loves EDM. Of course you have the possibilities to cooperate with different artists also.
How did you first hook up with the Get Physical label?
I sent Philipp (from M.A.N.D.Y.) "Penny From The Lane" last year, and the guys really liked it. So we met, drank coffee, ate some cookies, made some jokes and talked a lot. And after all this I signed my first EP on Get Physical!
What distinguishes your work as Siopis from that as Silversurfer?
Silversurfer, for me, was a playground in which to learn technical stuff when I was not really ready to produce the music that I had in mind -- not 100% ready. "Welcome To Berlin" was made in one night using Fruity Loops, after my first 2 weeks ever in my home studio. That was in 2003. Now I think I'm more into the technical stuff and it's easier to realize the music that I have in my mind. Now I can say that I'm more myself -- so Siopis is my name.
What have been some of the highlights of 2010 and what do you have in store for 2011?
I stayed for two months in Tulum, Mexico, in the jungle with my studio, getting inspired from the nature and the good energy there, and of course I won't forget the great Get Physical nights this year in club Watergate in Berlin. For 2011, things are getting wild! [Laughs] A new EP coming out in February on Get Physical and my own compilation mix.
What can Miami expect during your performance at Electric Pickle?
I hope a great party! Really looking forward.
Siopis. Wednesday, November 20. Electric Pickle, 2826 N. Miami Ave., Miami. Doors open at 10 p.m. Ages 21 and up. Call 305-456-5613 or visit electricpicklemiami.com.