Interview: Brit-Nominated British DJ, producer and artist, Sigala
After a phenomenally successful 2019 that saw his single ‘Wish You Well’ featuring Becky Hill become the anthem of everyone’s Summer holiday, Sigala rounded off the year with another banger ‘We Got Love’ that brought together the soaring vocals of Ella Henderson with the trademark hypnotic beats an slick production we’ve come to expect from the Brit-Nominated British DJ, producer and artist.
Sixty9° caught up with him as he called into Nottingham’s Rock City as part of his European and North American Tour and upcoming long player…
So, first things first, where does the name Sigala come from?
It’s actually an old family name, my mum was telling me about my great great grandfather, and he was called Amos Sigala – I just thought it sounded cool!
As a child you learned the piano, was that something that was thrust upon you by your parents or was it something you wanted to do, and how significant do you feel that was to how your career has turned out?
My parents introduced me to the piano at the age of 8 and I think they were happy to see how much I loved it (and how quiet it kept me!) But I do love the piano, and to this day, most of my songs still include it – I usually start off on the piano as an acoustic song and then go from there. When you’re on the piano, I think it helps to write a better song because you’re not tricked by all the production. It’s just the piano and a vocal and if you can make something sound great on the piano, it should translate when it’s finished. So it’s certainly a huge factor in what I am doing now.
The piano is where it all started for me.
When did you first discover dance music and when was the moment you decided to try your hand at it?
I actually can’t pinpoint exactly when I discovered dance music, but I was involved in a lot of bands in my teens and would record us onto my computer and then edit the tracks. The whole production and song-writing thing naturally evolved from there really.
Were there any particular producers or DJs that you took inspiration from?
There have been so many bands, producers, DJ’s and people that have inspired me over the years, but this changes massively across time. I guess I get inspired by things that are happening at that moment.
Not even thirty years old and already you’ve achieved such incredible success, tell us about the journey so far, has it been what you’d expected?
Nothing about it is expected! Music has always been such an integral part of my life and I worked hard on many different projects before landing on Sigala. Luckily I have a great team around me who are amazing and help make the Sigala vision possible.
Your music has become anthemic in clubs everywhere. What’s it like when you’re out socially and your own music comes on?
It never gets old hearing your song played on the radio… so much time and effort goes into each track, it’s always a hugely proud moment to know that people are listening and enjoying my music. I was in Tokyo for New Year when I heard Say You Do in a shop, on the other side of the world! I find it a little mind blowing each time.
To say you’ve worked with some of the biggest names in the industry would be an understatement, how does it feel having other people be the face of your music?
It is one of my favourites parts of what I do; being able to work with amazingly talented people and learn from them and their creative processes. I’m very happy they are the face of my music – I think people would get bored if it was just my face!
Do you approach them or are you approached to work with – how do these collaborations come about?
It is different every time. Sometimes it will start with a writing session which may be set up by my management or me direct – this is generally my preferred way as it is more organic, and you can build the track together. But then equally, sometimes I will have a track which I love and have been working on, and just need the right person to come in and vocal it – this is what happened with We Got Love, and it actually turned out great, because Ella was able to come in and add her own twist and really smash the vocals!
Who is the dream collaboration?
There are many so I feel like I always change my answer… But a couple of names would be Anne-Marie or Tiesto!
And it’s not just the biggest names you’ve worked with. You’ve performed across the world in some of the biggest festivals and venues. How mindblowing is that?
It’s honestly crazy. I have been playing to some huge crowds over the last few years and when I hear a sea of people singing my song back to me, often twice as loud… wow!
You’re just about to embark on a European and Amercan tour. Tell us about the process of pulling the tour together…
A lot of work, haha. For me it’s essential that my live show is always evolving and feels new and exciting to everyone, including myself. So before the tour starts I spend lots of time in the studio and in rehearsals trying to perfect the show and the experience.
On the tour what can we expect, will there be any special guests, what are you planning for the stage show?
I’m really looking forward to showing people the next stage of the Sigala show – I want people to come and experience for themselves so trust me on this one! Doubly exciting as this is the first time I will take my live show outside of the UK. Expect to see me jumping around behind the decks trying to contain my excitement.
What do you do during your down time when on tour?
I try and explore a place as much as possible – I generally only ever have a few hours in each city before moving on but I will fit in what I can! Often if I really like a place, I will try to go back and explore it in downtime outside of writing and touring.
After the tour, what does the future hold for Sigala, any plans set in stone yet or are you taking the organic route and taking things as they come?
My main priority for 2020 is getting out new music. I have loads of amazing music that I want everyone to hear, so that’s really going to be my focus once the craziness of my tour has subsided.