Fresh 140 pressure from two bassweight rising stars.
Boiler Room can be make or break. It’s been responsible for some of social media’s biggest trends, and some would argue that it can propel an artist’s career into the stratosphere. London’s Sicaria Sound look to be shifting toward the latter. Their standout set at Boiler Room HQ for their second instalment of Bass and Percs was one of our favourites of the year so far, and has helped placed them firmly on the map.
Breeding an affinity for raw bass weight and everything 140, Sancha Ndeko and Imbratura Lou often look to friends and lesser known producers for their fire power, as well as taking subtle cues from their heritage (Ndeko is South Sudanese, Imbratura is Moroccan). Sicaria Sound are now mainstays with Mala’s Deep Medi label and party, and solid advocates of the stripped back, dark riddims that were responsible for dubstep’s original ascension.
This summer looks to be their busiest yet including, a return to Outlook Festival, which sadly says farewell to its beloved Fort Punta Christo after 11 years. Ahead of their appearance, we invited them to debut on our mix series, where they step up with only the freshest of 140 pressure. We also find out more on their backstory, influences and plans for the future. Check in full below.
I’ve read that you always get asked where you met, so I’ll refrain from asking that question, but I wanted to know how you went from being friends with a similar taste in music, to actually deciding to give djing as duo a go? Were you DJs before you met?
To be honest, it all fell in to place step by step over the years. We never set out with the intention of being a ‘thing’: We were just two girls who loved so many different aspects of music that happened to be really good friends and enjoyed doing shit together. As for DJing, it was a year or two into our friendship that we started learning, one after the other – We were living in a flat and the guy below us used to threaten us pretty much every time we went in for a mix. Big up Steve and his baseball bat. There’ll be a track off our first EP dedicated to you.
Where do your influences stem from?
It’s funny because this is where our differences lie (and yes, contrary to popular belief, we do have some differences). We’re really all over the place – there’s Imbratura’s background in various styles of dance to Ndeko’s obsession with music in minor keys…Between us, we’re drawing on anything from lively worldly music to deeper, weirder and more experimental sounds; from hip hop to metal to classical and beyond, it’s a very mixed bag.
How did the Deep Medi residency come about?
One day Mala and Steffi – the Medi label heads – reached out and let us know that they’d been listening to some of our Radar Radio shows and it inspired them to get us involved in an event: we were booked to play a two-hour warm-up set in Brixton Jamm’s bar room before they opened up the main room to the attendees and so we practised intensely for weeks before the event as we were shitting it just thinking about the gig let alone getting on decks for the night. It was by far one of the biggest sets we had to perform at the time. Thankfully that absurd amount of hours we put in before the set came across during the night because it’s safe to say that we turned that room into a zoo! Mala told us a week later that he couldn’t stop listening back to the recording of our set from that night and that he knew from then, he wanted us involved in the label somehow. No doubt it’s been an incredible experience being part of the Deep Medi family and the opportunities that it’s presented us; we’re super thankful to both Mala and Steffi for taking us in.
How does your African heritage influence the tracks you play?
We’re both blessed to be from countries that are really varied culturally. So both naturally and by choice some of the tracks we are drawn to have aspects of this – notably drumming, lively dances, interesting percussive elements and moving vocals. What’s important to us is trying to avoid music that draws on clichéd ‘tribal’ or ‘Arab’ sounds (some of which can sometimes be a bit borderline to be honest – we’ve had some pretty questionable stuff land in the inbox), and instead drawing for songs that creatively nod to both our regions of the world as well as many others. Massive shout out to the incredible beatmakers that we’ve either discovered or who’ve reached out to us that have managed to do this – we’ve had some incredible music over the years from all corners of the globe that has helped sculpt our ‘sound’.
Your Boiler Room set was one of the best we’ve seen in a while, and arguably a big point in your career. How’s life been since that?
Thank you! We said it between ourselves just the other day, it still feels really humbling to have received appreciation for what we’re doing and we’re forever counting our blessings. In our career so far, we feel lucky to have maintained a steady fan base that is both deeply into what we do, and into the dubstep that we support. The Boiler Room stream helped provide a bigger platform for our sound and in that way, we were able to get it across to an entirely new community of electronic music fans around the world! Let’s just say in the most modest way, a healthy amount of interest has been reaching the inbox ever since.
What have Sicaria Sound got in store for the rest of the year?
We’re currently in the process of wrapping up the final details before launching our project-based label – Cutcross Recordings – so watch out for that as it’s going to be a very interesting take on what we play. And alongside that, we’ve got our first proper Summer festival circuit featuring a series of debuts, our first America tour in Autumn as well as some very exciting UK & International shows.
There’s one mad mad mad event at the end of the year that we’ve been booked to play – we legit squealed when we found it and it’s by far bigger than anything we thought we’d ever be part of! Can’t say too much on it just yet though but it’ll come out soon. There’s our Rinse show too which we spend a lot of time working towards; even if things are looking busier, we’ll never plan on leaving it behind as we’ll always feel rooted in supporting as many up and coming artists as possible – so expect some more from that as well.
Catch Sicaria Sound at Outlook Festival 4th-8th September 2019.