Techno tastemaker Sian owns Octopus Recordings and has previously released on acclaimed labels like Pokerflat, Soma and Bedrock, among others.
While not foregoing his other projects, 2019 saw Sian introduce fans to a new sound — one that harkens back to the glory days of electro, synthwave and darkwave. Drawing comparisons to artists like Terrence Fixmer, Blackstrobe, and Vitalic but with a contemporary spin, this new sound has found a home on deadmau5’s mau5trap imprint where, following the project’s first component, Ultraviolet 1.0, Sian satisfied listeners this year with the second installation of his project: Ultraviolet 2.0. His ever-evolving sounds flow throughout each track with his implementation of acid sounds and varying sound design techniques, and it is his craft that earned him direct support spots for deadmau5’s highly anticipated The Cube V3 tour in 2019.
Beyond his work on Ultraviolet 2.0 this year, he’s booked shows worldwide as Sian, and in summer packed out the Pink Tent at HARD Summer with his second project AMOK with Will Clarke.
6AM is no stranger to Sian’s work, but with so many new projects now on the go, we found it fitting to sit down with the LA resident to discuss them all, and how he juggles each on his very busy schedule.
Hi Graham, it’s been a while since we last had a chat… what was it, Movement weekend? How have things been since?
Good, yes Movement! Quite a while, always good to chat to you guys, all is good, busy and crazy as usual.
Still living in LA? How is that going?
Great, my fav place on earth tbh.. I miss it every time I leave. I recently moved to Hollywood from DTLA, perfect combo of lifestyle and work here.
Similarly to me, your life has seen you move from your home country and live in various huge and well-known cities and places around the world. Do you think LA is your final home or is Sian moving again at some point in the future?
I feel like it’s really home now, it has so many things I was looking for. Whether, good, the West Coast chill vibes. I’ve made so many creative steps here too.
This year you landed on mau5trap, with releases, tours supporting the big boss deadmau5 and more. How did that relationship first come about?
My manager Abi put that together, she works closely with them, since we were looking for a place I could expand my sound and not be restricted to dance floor techno, this was the perfect fit.
What’s it like touring and playing alongside Joel?
A huge opportunity, it’s rare that a household name artists takes so many risks, he is pushing sound and visual to limits each time and bringing in artists with no compromise on what they play.
Why mau5trap? Specifically, after using your own Octopus label for so many years to champion and give voice to your own releases, why the switch?
We needed a platform that covered more crossover ground, I have always made various tempo stuff and it felt right to branch out since Octopus is really a club track imprint, I’ve always been a fan of how Mau5trap breaks a lot of rules.
What does this mean for your own focus and output on Octopus as a producer yourself?
Octopus will always be about finding and releasing modern/new school “Techno”, in whatever form. I play every single new release out and its always going to be the main focus in terms of club music.
Another project of yours that has really picked up steam is your collab with Will Clarke as AMOK. You could say that AMOK, the work on mau5trap and your releases on Octopus are all three very distinct sounds, although of course there is a common denominator with all three: you. How do you separate the three, if you even do, in the studio and through your creative process?
Yeah, three things that tie all these together is my sound, I don’t want to get stuck in any box or be labelled, so being able to work on various projects and think solely about making good music is the key here. Myself and Will work remotely, and occasionally get together. We both write a lot of music so there are always lots of ideas to throw around and see what fits.
Would you say you’re focusing on one or more of these projects more than the others?
My main focus is building the new Sian releases, working with vocalists and eventually that will lead to a new album, and of course continue the other projects parallel.
From outside appearances, it seems that Sian enjoys techno, electro and tattoos. But I also know you have strong passions for some other “left-field” subjects, at least when looked at from within the nightlife industry. Two of these that particularly struck to mind are your interests in entomology and marine biology. How did you first come into contact with these subjects and why do they appeal to you so much?
It’s strange but I originally started out studying to be a biologist. I quickly escaped the lab and got signed to a label. I’ve always been into marine life, insects and exploring, so I’ve been using my touring off days for these interests on the road!
Back to tattoos… do you always go to the same guy?
I’ve been going to a bunch actually but recently I found a superb one, Cailin Stell, she’s based in Phoenix / LA and is really unique.
What’s your favorite?
I like my face tattoos since they are extreme!
Is there one you plan to cover some day?
No, I think they all should remain as markers in my random life.
You recently shared a LA restaurant guide via Forbes, with many diverse options. What would you say your absolute favorite spot in LA is? And what is your favorite type of cuisine, if you can choose any.
I love Indian food, the India’s Grill spot is incredible, really homely and total spice wizards in the kitchen.
We talked about a lot of random stuff in this interview but I want to know one more thing, something random. Tell us something about you that we nor anyone reading this doesn’t know!
I’m Irish and I don’t drink a lot of alcohol, a rare breed!