CGNY: So tell us a bit about Ryan Sullivan - who are you where do you come from? (If you've Irish blood in you?
Hi there. I’m a South African guy with some distant Irish ancestry and live in Cape Town. I have this uncontrollable passion for electronic music, especially music with feeling and I spend as much time as possible listening to, creating and playing music to others.
CGNY: How did you get started in the music industry?
My ear was first peeked by the electronic music I heard in the early to mid nineties. I fell absolutely in love with the sounds put out by labels like XL Recordings, Moving Shadow and Suburban Base and artists like The Prodigy, SL2, Blaze, Foul Play, Boogie Times Tribe, DJ Hype, Acen, Dj Zinc, Krome & Time and all that Jungle/Rave stuff. To be honest I never even knew their names or the labels back then as I had been given the music on all these copied cassette tapes. I still only find out some of the names behind all that lot today, it’s really funny.
After years of falling asleep to this music at night, dreaming of sounds and imagining how amazing it must be to feel what I was feeling with thousands of others at the same time, and having zero knowledge of how the music was created, I decided that I needed to at least play music to others. I was young though and had never been to a club or anything so had absolutely no idea that records still existed. I used to mess around with tapes, fading from one deck to another which were both connected to the same speaker system and honestly thought I had come up with a unique concept, haha. A few years later, I had heard from a friend that dj’s actually had mixers and turntables with speed adjustment and so on and I couldn’t believe that they used records. Anyway, about another year or so later, a record store had opened up the road from where I lived and that was me, the doors of heaven had opened.
CGNY: What was the first song or piece of music that got you interested in EDM?
I can’t think of any one particular song being the one but The Prodigy Experience album certainly had major impact. There was also one other tape I had that had a huge influence on me. I think it was Suburban Base & Moving Shadow present The Joint LP. It’s the only thing I’ve found online that seems to match the songs that I remember being on the tape.
CGNY: When did you start Gut Feel Records and why?
The idea behind Gut Feel came about in mid 2005 after I noticed things getting a bit shady with the label I was signed to at the time. They closed down very shortly after and so at the beginning of 2006 I put out the first record on Gut Feel Records and continued on my own mission. The plan was and still is, just like with most small labels, to share quality music by quality artists with the rest of the world. Initially I wanted to boast the sounds that the South African artists were creating but since then it’s extended its reach and now Gut Feel releases music from all corners of the globe.
CGNY: I know nothing about the EDM/techno scene in South Africa! Is it a thriving community - are there many opportunities to play out as DJ?
We are nation of diverse people who all like different things but in general, house music is what the masses want. Any other electronic genre is really small and you have to work hard to gather and keep a following but there is opportunity for all sorts. We are a pretty big country so you have at least five cities to play in depending on your music. Some are great for some genres and others are not but you have to have your music on offer either way. Techno on its own doesn’t have much of a following but that’s only if you label yourself as a techno artist. Personally I think it’s dangerous to box yourself that way, at least over here in South Africa. Sure you have your sound and that’s that but you when you give it a name people will love or hate it without having heard a note or a beat.
CGNY: Do you have many artists signed to Gut Feel and how do you find them. Tell us about the latest release from SVY & Mainer.
I don’t sign artists to Gut Feel, I only license their music as I don’t see it as a platform to make or break an artist’s career but simply as an outlet for their music. Sometimes I find them and sometimes they find me, either online through the music itself, at a gig or through a friend. SVY & Mainer for example met me online and we simply got chatting. They sent some tracks over which I really liked and after seeing what they do on the dance floor I asked if they were keen to put them out and so we did. Both tracks from their Route 133Q EP have been in my sets over the last while. Route has been a winner on my dance floors and 133Q has received praise from Djs like Chloe Harris, Xplore, Sasha Le Monnier, Spin D, dPen, Tim Culbert and more.
CGNY: Yes that EP is terrific- definitely giving it some good play myself! Who are the artists you admire in the industry - any you have played with?
I mostly admire the artists that have managed to get to the top through their music alone and have managed to stay up there. James Holden is the only one that comes to mind right now. His music has always been real, clever and emotive. There are many I have respect for though, too many to mention. I’ve shared the lineup with some really great artists like Perc, Lee Burridge, Sterling Moss, Afroboogie, Ralf Kollmann, Pablo Cahn Speyer, Ziggy Kinder, Wally Lopez and Trafik, all of which are brilliant and I have plenty of respect for them.
CGNY: What’s your top tune of this year so far - from your own label and in general?
In general I think that King Unique’s 2000000 Suns is absolutely brilliant. The engineering and the musical concept stand out for me. On Gut Feel Records I’d be hard pressed to pick one favorite track but Steve Clarke’s Waterboy and the Wholesome Goodness Truth & Inspiration EP are both great. I think my favorite of them all is still to come though, lookout for 2Drops later in the year.
Here are some links for people to find more info.