We pleased to welcome Northern Irish DJ , Producer Cyence to the series. The artist has been a mainstay of the Belfast scene as both an selector , curator and promoter over the last 25 or so years. in recent times, he’s had stand out releases on Correspondent, Sincopat and is now about to land on Sam Francisco’s Roam Recordings with his ‘Pulsate’ EP (Which you can purchase here). On the eve of the release, we caught up with the man himself to get the lo-down on the release, his influences, inspirations and what’s new on the horizon. So fire up the speakers and enjoy 90mins of dance-floor focused goodness.
1) Please Introduce yourself?
My name’s Steve Boyd and I record under the production alias, ‘Cyence’.. I have been dj’ing and promoting events in Ireland for the last 3 decades. I’ve held down two, twenty five year residencies in Belfast’s longest running dance music club, ‘Thompsons Garage’ and played numerous gigs across the globe. I now own the club along with my business partner and continue to showcase all manner of electronic acts on a weekly basis.
2) With the never-ending series of lockdowns and ongoing restrictions, how have you been spending your time in recent months?
My club hasn’t properly operated since March 2020. We briefly opened last Summer as a music/cocktail lounge and invited djs to play deeper, chilled set as dancing was banned. We were forced to close again in September and since then have been playing waiting game. Hopefully we can operate as a club again in the latter stages of this summer.
3) Congrats with the fantastic new release on Roam, can you tell us a bit about how that came about both in its creation stage and how you connected with the label?
The track is a remake of the classic Vangelis track, ‘Pulstar’ that I’ve basically given an uptempo, dark disco twist. I originally made the track as a re-edit to drop as a crescendo in my dj sets. I had considering releasing it as free download, but the Roam Recordings guys picked up on it, signed it up and suggested a remix package. Hopefully it will see some club & festival action this summer.
4) What else you do have lined up for the year, can we expect more original music or other projects?
I have a number of demos out there and am waiting to see what label wants what. I also have a stack of unfinished tracks that I really need to get wrapped up and ready for release. Outside of that, I’m looking forward to starting my residencies in Belfast and working a dancefloor again.
5) What can you tell us about the podcast? Was there specific inspiration or a particular vibe you were going for? Do you have a favourite track in there?
I always put a lot of thought into my dj mixes and make sure they slowly build up and work through a few styles and genres. I pretty much continuously blend tracks together throughout the mix and create a few customised re-edits and mash ups along the way. This mix kicks off with some moody breaks then moves into dark disco territory before stripping down and building back up into a succession of peaktime tracks. My favourite track on the mix is Tomcraft’s, ‘The Mission’. After playing it to death back in the days, I recently heard it and thought it deserved a new lease of life.
6) How have your listening habits changed over the last year? Are you still actively looking for new music with the absence of gigs? Or perhaps feeling different vibes? And are there any tracks that have really stood out for you in the last year and why?
Spending so much time in the house over lockdown has definitely affected my listening habits. When I’m not listening to podcasts, I pretty much always listening to ambient music & electronica. It so easy to listen to a steady stream of amazing electronic music these days via Spotify.
I play a few different styles under separate aliases. Under ‘Cyence’ I play all kinds of underground styles from Breaks to Italo to Techno. I have remained on the lookout for new music in these styles the whole way through lockdown and keep a close eye on Beatport, Bandcamp etc to make sure I don’t miss anything. I also dj under the alias ‘Hijaxx’ with another guy. Under our Hijaxx moniker we play straight up American House & Disco. Alas, I haven’t been keeping up to date with what’s hot in these genres as it’s been hard to motivate myself to work through Traxsource’s Weekend Weapons Chart with no weekend gigs on the horizon. I’m sure I’ll get back in the saddle once there is a bit of light at the end of the tunnel.
6) Who or what are your biggest musical influences?
I’m a big fan of 80’s synth pop and as much as there are a number of bands I enjoy, none can quite match Depeche Mode.
7) Tell us about 3 DJ’s / Producer’s we may not know but should be looking out for?
Theus Mago is great producer and I’ve been lucky enough to have him remix a track on this EP. I always keep an eye out for what Chaim & The Red Axes guys release but I’m sure you are more than familiar with all three of these producers.
8) What is your favourite Venue or Festival to play at and why?
As biased as it seems, I enjoy playing extend sets at my club. It gives me a chance to slowly build a vibe and introduce the club’s regulars to new music. We also have a local music festival in Belfast called AVA which has been running for a few years now. The festival has been a big success and showcases the city’s dj talent alongside a stack of heavy hitters plus Boiler Room sessions etc. Their inaugural festival was definitely one of my favourite gigs as it seemed to unite numerous independent promoters and their crowds under one banner.
9) Do you have a ritual before you start playing or straight after?
Not particularly. I like to spend all week listening to new tracks on Beatport etc. then putting them into various folders. Come Friday, I relisten to the tracks in their folders and if I’m still feeling them, they then go into a ‘Buy Now’ folder that I download, put through ‘Mixed In Key’, then flip into ITunes. From there I listen to the tracks again, drag them into an appropriate genre folder in Rekordbox and give them a star rating depending on their vibe, pace & style.
All this preparation means I know what & where everything is and the only pre-gig ritual I need to go through is having a few beers.
10) What is your favourite bit of kit?
I sketch out all my tracks in Ableton and am a massive fan of their Push 2 unit. It makes it so easy to explore and work through all manner of Plug Ins. My go to audio unit is definitely the U-he Diva; arp nirvana!
11) What is your favourite film score?
Hard to pick one but the album I have listen to more than any other album would be The Who’s, Quadrophenia, closely followed by Pink Floyd’s, The Wall. I guess you could quality both albums as film scores to a degree. Outside of that its hard to beat anything Ennio Morricone is involved with.
12) What makes you smile?
I have three sons who are always making me smile with their unique outlook on life. Outside of that I would like to say watching my team, Arsenal, win a their games but alas this season has definitely involved more frowning than smiling!