With a career and profile that already seems to be flourishing it may seem surprising to some that we’re only just ‘getting to know’ D.Tiffany; but it’s following the release of Needs 006 that we sit down, and delve a little deeper into Sophie Sweetland’s upbringing, future ambitions and attitude towards the life of a sustainable DJ.
From the mellow house of her first self titled album in 2014, to last year’s breaky contribution to Oscillate Tracks, Sweetland’s style is ever-changing and evolving, yet she still maintains an ear for dreamy melodies, and spacey atmospheres. It’s with her first outing this year that we see more of the same from the Canadian native, delivering another punchy serving of wigged out breakbeat for a label championing world issues with each release.
Needs (not-for-profit) is a label, and event series who’s main goal is to raise money and awareness for different social, and cultural issues. They describe their mission as “promoting harmony and togetherness rather than isolation and estrangement”, and previous releases have touched on mental health, homelessness and the refugee crisis, as well as special collaborative record with UN Women.
For its sixth edition, on which D.Tiffany features, Needs 006 turns its attention to the environment, with all proceeds going towards Cool Earth.
I’d like to hear about your upbringing? I read that you were in bands before you started producing?
I grew up in a suburb of Vancouver called South Surrey. I spent a my formative years in a basement obsessively teaching myself how to play guitar and learning to record my own music. Starting out with just a webcam mic to record ideas and what would eventually become some of the first music I released on a little compilation called “Wrinkles” that as compiled by my friend Connor Brady and also included tracks from one of the bands I was in Watermelon, and my friends Walter TV and other people from the White Rock/ Surrey area.
Before I played in Watermelon , when I was 18, I was in a synth punk band called MT-40 . That was the first band I ever played in and was fully electronic music, I played a Casio mt40 keyboard and my bandmate Reginald played a Commodore 64 with the synth chip and we had Ableton backing tracks. It was def wild style! Eventually Bobby Draino aka Journeymann Traxx joined the band as our live drummer and that is where my fascination with learning to produce my own house/ techno music came from. Bobby had a really nice studio set up that he would let me come over and use whenever I wanted and taught me a lot about the ins n the outs of setting up analog gear and at that point I started collecting my own gear and set up my own studio 🙂
You’re currently based in Montreal? How do you find this suits your lifestyle as a touring DJ / producer?
I’ve only recently moved to Montreal but I really am enjoying being in a city that is affordable to live in to work on music and also not have to struggle constantly.
I’m curious to know a bit more about Canadian scene. How would you describe it? Are local authorities supportive in putting together events, and club licensing?
Canada is the worst place for having anything legit club wise. There is about almost 0 support from any legitimate venue spaces. It’s honestly tragic to see how many talented artists in Canada will never get the exposure or platform they deserve because of the bureaucracy that is almost impossible to manoeuvre unless you’re rich.
Are there any Canadian artists we should be keeping an eye on?
There are so many!
From Vancouver – DJ Venetta, Baby Blue, Overland, Big Zen, SMP and of course my main G Regularfantasy.
From Montreal – DJ Donini, Lis Dalton, Dust e-1, Priori, Frankie Teardrop, I’m also looking forward to catching DJ Frog’s set at our Piknic Electronique gig later in August!
I’m unfortunately not as familiar with the scenes in other cities but there’s a lot going on in Toronto right now especially with the new label from Ciel, Yohei S and Daniel 58 called Parallel Minds. Excited to see whats up next on that label 🙂
You’ve had releases on 1080p, Pacific Rhythm, Oscillate Tracks and more. Your earlier works seemed to bear a more lo-fi feel good house sound. However your later tracks seem tougher, with slightly more emphasis on breakbeat/electro.
How did this evolution process come about? Was there anyone or thing that you took inspiration from with the shift in style?
My earlier productions sound lo-fi because being completely self taught I had a lack of knowledge at the time of how to mix anything properly and I would just throw a lot of effects on things to make up for that. Also not having access to certain gear I would record a lot of stuff to tape thus everything had a lot of tape hiss and sounds a bit wonky at times.
Living in Vancouver at that time that was the first kind of house music I was exposed to going out to parties that were largely dominated by Mood Hut and Pacific Rhythm. As like most things in life you become exposed to different things and people and your taste changes. Another thing is that the opportunities I had to release music early on were on these labels that were looking for these sounds not that I wasn’t making “harder” music, there was just no audience for it at that time where I was existing and definitely no platform to exist on unless I was making that music.
You run Planet Euphorique. How would you describe the label’s ethos and what are your ambitions for it?
Planet Euphorique is all about my friends and every record that I put out I have a personal relationship with the artist. I want to support people in my life that are making beautiful music for the dance floor no matter what the vibe is. It is also a place for me to release my own music without having to rely on anyone else.
I read that you co-founded Intersessions DJ School. The aim being, to make DJ equipment, technology and know how more accessible to women. Is this something you still find yourself directly involved in? How do you juggle such ventures with your touring schedule?
Yes I did co-found Intersessions. However my involvement with the organization was only at the very beginning. The success of Intersession is owed to Chippy Nonstop and her endless hard work. She is one of the most inspiring people and I’m proud I was able to be a part of it.
So you’ve featured on the latest Needs (not-for-profit) EP. This release looks to raise money and awareness for the environment. Is the environment something that actively plays on your mind. Have you thought of how you could make your life as a DJ more sustainable?
Yeh I think about my carbon footprint a lot because of flying so much. I like to take trains if possible but trains are not always the most affordable option, which is insane to me. Like most people, thinking about the state of the environment/ global warming can be extremely overwhelming. Being a part of this project is one small thing I can do, which sometimes doesn’t seem like a lot, but every bit counts!
Have you got anything in the pipeline for the rest of year? Any releases or projects coming up?
I’m on tour pretty much until December now so that will be my main focus. Planet Euphorique and my other label I run with my pal Uon called XPQ? will be taking up my free time between the gigs. I have a few more remixes slotted for release this year so I’m looking forward to those coming out! Other than those few lil things I’m just taking it easy and not really stressing about churning out “content”, I’m feeling very comfortable where I am at the moment and I’m not trying to rush anything.
Needs 006 is out now, and you can cop it here