Sally C has earned a reputation for her sets which always have a hefty amount of 909’s, hip-house-esque vocals and snares that will make your face tingle. It’s no surprise that her first release completely encompasses all that she loves in tunes. Groove is the foundation and as she says herself “Give me a chunky bassline, banging drums and a weird vocal – that’s the holy trinity! Simplicity is key – less is always more“
Her first EP, self-released on her new label Big Saldo’s Chunkers is full of bassy, breaksy goodness that will have you turning up the volume and nodding your head before you realise what’s what.
Belfast born, but cut her teeth in the Scottish scene where she went to Uni, it wasn’t long after that she moved to Berlin where she’s made a lasting impression. She no doubt brings a lot of fun in her sets and has honed her style playing at sessions for the die-hards in Griessmühle, along with gigs at Berghain’s Saüle and Melt! Festival, and of course throwing down a masterclass at her Boiler Room debut at AVA Festival last year, among others.
On this occasion, like the rest of the world, we’re self-isolating and chatting over a Zoom call from Berlin to Dublin. This is probably the first new face we’ve seen in weeks so it’s proper exciting having the chats amid the madness going on in the world and I’m eager to hear how she’s adapted to Berlin life.
“Berlin’s had a big influence on me for sure, even just the record stores here, my records have completely shaped my style. I’m always listening to new stuff but I’m always digging for the old stuff too. That’s my great love, hip house, the sounds of ’88 – ’98, that is the golden era for me, that’s what i fucking love.
I’ve been here for 5 years and I remember not really having a clue what was going on but I always went into the record stores and it was kind of a safe space, I knew I could spend loads of time there and combat the anxiety kinda thing. I think that the records and the record stores have really shaped my sound in a way.
It’s a really good place for artists to come and be creative and not be too intimidated by everything cus there’s kind of a place for everyone, there’s so many small clubs and small things as well as the big places. You just kinda have to make your own way, however small or big.”
We’ve all been super reflective during lockdown, what with all this extra isolation time we have on our hands, and while Sally’s touring has come to a stop, it hasn’t stopped her recording and reflecting on her experiences over the last few years.
“This time has been so essential for so many different people to really reflect on things. In my case it was really just an introductory couple of years to the madness, and I didn’t have a chance to get a full grasp on what I was projecting. Like what am I really projecting as an artist at every gig I play. A lot of the time you’re just going from one gig to the next so you’re not giving each gig the time it deserves, but this time’s been good to reset and think about what I’m bringing to the table. I want to create something that people can take away from it. When I get back I’m going to focus more on this.”
Breaking out of the DJ mold is not always an easy feat and something our readers and up-and-coming producers will be well aware of. In a world of so much music and pressure to promote yourself, it can be hard to allow your creative side free reign. Sally speaks super honestly about this process.
“It’s all exciting and feels kinda real now, I had a cloud over my head with the producer world so I’m really glad that I broke that. But it was only when I started making tunes for myself and the dance floor that creativeness came out of me, it was just a bit of a mental block before I guess.
It’s been a long time in the making. It was quite a frustrating process really and also just coming into the music world as a DJ and not a producer, that always played on my mind. I kinda doubted myself. I stopped after a while and changed how I go about it. I started playing them out in my sets and getting good reactions so knew I was ready to release them then.
This is a feeling many DJs and producers will no doubt be familiar with and knowing how to break through the 5th wall can be something we all do differently and no doubt struggle with at times. But what keeps that stamina and dedication lit? Gigs, people?
“The people you meet give you lots of energy, that’s quite important to me, I’ll always kinda feed off the energies of different places which helps me when I’m touring. But you don’t really have time to think about it then.
Like the Boiler Room AVA, that was really good, nerve racking tho, I’d come from a gig in Liverpool and had done a run of 3 gigs before it. My head was all over the place, but in a way I feel it was the best possible way I could have done it. I just went IN and the Belfast crowd were there with me the whole time like yeoowww ! They just want you to do well, that’s just the Irish way, they want you to have a good time. It’s the same as the mentality of ‘it’s all grand, come in for tea’ – everyone just wants everyone to have a good time. I think all of those elements just brought it together, it was very overwhelming but I’m so glad that the first Boiler Room experience was in my home town which meant a lot to me and encouraged me throughout.
To finish up, we chat about what she’s been listening to and recording over lockdown.
“I’ve been loving stuff from Russia atm, there’s a guy called ‘Raw Takes’ and he makes really nice electro, he has a label called ‘No Service’ and I was so buzzing when he asked me to do a mix for it! I love his tunes and music so was excited to fully explore that side of my collection. Also listening to loads of Amadeezy who’s from Boston and makes really good ghetto stuff. And been caning the new Roza Terenzi album too. Will be doing a live stream from Berlin with mates Cromby, OR:LA, Brame and Hamo so listen out for that.
Shout out to Sally for the chat!
Listen to the EP previews here and pre-order here.