If you heard the song “Back In Time” by Pitbull, then you have heard the excellent work of Big Syphe. As one of the most underrated musical geniuses of our generation, Big Syphe is a force to be reckoned with in the industry. He is one of the most motivated yet ambitious people I know. Recently, I caught up with Big Syphe about music, SKAM, and Pitbull. Here is what he had to say…
(Q) Hello. How are you? It’s great to talk to you. Tell me a little more about Big Syphe…
I am from Los Angeles. Born and raised here. I have been DJing since I’ve been a young teenager. I worked in radio. I have been a part of SKAM since the beginning. I’ve been friends with Sujit since I was 18 years old. I have toured and produced music for Pitbull. Actually I have a new song coming out soon with him. Not sure if it will be his next single, but it’s definitely a song that he’s gonna have on his new album.
(Q) Wow, that is amazing.
I did a record with him a couple of years ago. It was called “Back In Time” and it was also featured on the Men In Black soundtrack. It was like the official song.
(Q) OMG! I love that song! That is one of my favorites.
It had a classic rock sample from a group called Mickey & Sylvia called Love Is Strange. So yeah, I sampled that on there.
(Q) You are so incredibly talented. I knew there was a reason I was a huge fan of you already. That song is something special. In fact, when I first heard it, I was addicted to it.
Wow, thank you. I actually made that song on the airplane.
(Q) That is fantastic.
Thank you. But yeah, I worked in radio for a long time here in LA called Power 106. It’s like the second biggest radio stations in the country. Especially when it comes to rhythmic, pop, hip hop, and urban. I was on the radio with my good friend Eric DLux, who is also a part of SKAM too. He is also a very talented and successful DJ. Even DJ Vice, who is another big DJ and a part of SKAM, he came from the radio station, as well. We have all been friends for over 10 years.
(Q) Now I have to ask you, what inspired you to get into music? Tell me a little more about the inspiration behind it all…
Music has always been around me. Me being hispanic and growing up in inner city Los Angeles, we always had little small parties. Especially on the weekends. Barbecues and our neighbors would throw parties. So, I have always been around music and that party environment where the music was always playing. When I started becoming a teenager, I would go to house parties. In the early 90s, we use to have party crews. Instead of being part of a gang, you would be a part of a party crew. Some of the friends from the neighborhood would throw parties. It was something special. I kind of came up as a DJ, as well because I was so into the music I would hear and known in that circuit from my part of town. I started DJing in my bedroom and then making mixed tapes. Then, getting feedback from friends and being able to DJ at these house parties and warehouse parties. I guess you could say that I started from A to Z. Then, going to the clubs and from there, everything took off.
(Q) That is amazing. I wanted to ask you about the SKAM event in Los Angeles. The one on Friday, June 27, 2014. Can you tell me a little more about this 10-year anniversary event?
The first one was in Las Vegas and now we’re starting to do some in different areas and in different markets because SKAM now has been known to be branded to represent some of the known club DJs that work around the country and even the world. Having one here in LA where the birth of the company started and some of the first DJs came from Los Angeles. A lot of people who know the nightlife know about SKAM. It’s really cool. And you have my boy Eric DLux. Me and him kind of came up together in our careers as a DJ. So, it’s gonna be great to DJ with him again.
Then, you got someone like D Nice who is a legendary hip hop rapper and producer coming from New York. He coming from one of the most influential rap groups back in the day is awesome. I’m a big fan of his so it’s gonna be cool to DJ next to him. I remember when he was the new guy and I remember asking him all of these questions about his career. It was really cool. He is a legend. Then, we got DJ Mauricio or Mr. Mauricio from Miami who is one of the dopest skilled technique DJs that I know as part of the crew. Then, we have Justin Credible who is an up and coming artist. You know, he’s been DJing for quite a while and has been around. He is known in Hollywood cool spots and now he’s starting to travel. He’s one of the newest artists at SKAM Artists. They are helping him get his name out there and exposing him to new markets and opportunities.
(Q) Now I have to ask Syphe, if you could work with anyone in the industry, who would you work with and why?
That is a good question. I never really thought about this to be honest. I focus a lot when it comes to writing and producing music on someone like Pitbull because he a good friend of mine. He’s also probably one of the biggest pop stars. And him being a good friend of mine, it’s just really easy for me to send him stuff. Send the music, the material, etc. It’s easy to get ahold of him. Besides him, hmmmmm. I really do admire Daft Punk. They are dope musicians and producers. I love how they linked with Niles Rodgers and collaborating with him. So, for me personally, I would like to work with someone like George Clinton. I really love funk music. Funk music was a really big inspiration for me in music. Even though I love music. When I work with musicians, I get inspired by a lot of old funk and disco. Where music is today, I feel like the progression has those old school grooves and elements.
(Q) George Clinton is really awesome. In fact, he epitomizes funk music. I actually have one of his CDs and was listening to it a few nights ago. I enjoy him very much. I wanted to ask, what about Prince?
I would love to work with Prince. But even someone like Prince looked up to George Clinton, Issac Hayes, he looked up to Rick James, etc. He was very influenced by them. They were all able to produce, write, play all of those instruments, etc. Definitely! Prince is definitely someone I would love to work with. I look up to all of these artists because they were not only writing and singing their songs, but they produced them. They were musicians. They were behind the engineering. I remember once when I was in the studio with Will.i.am. I saw him working. Even though I was cool with him, I always seen him around. I actually had the opportunity to sit with him as he was working. Just seeing him kind of being hands on was great. There are a lot of amazing DJs that do produce music. A lot of them aren’t really hands on, as they usually have a team. When you see someone that is hands on, on that level you are looking at them creating. That is amazing.
(Q) What if the Trans Siberian Orchestra contacted you and said “we would love to work with you” what would you say?
I would say lets work! I would be very interested. They are very talented. I am someone who loves to work with and collaborate with anyone. Even with them, I would love to hear what their influences are. I feel like music is all about being creative. I really love live instruments, so working with someone like them would be amazing. I would love to get live violins and strings, as well as, a strong percussion. Right now I am into making dance music, but with live instruments. It’s all about making incredible big sounding music.
(Q) There are so many artists around the world. In fact, I know of a ton in Europe that would love to work with you. Your work is incredible. Back In Time is just proof. Pitbull never fails, as everything he puts out there is epic. The song that you did is just so catchy and unique.
Thank you. It was different. Pitbull has always been known for his big hooks. When we worked on this, we tried something new. Instead of him doing the hook, we used a sample from another song. It was really cool and I’m glad it came out sounding good. Pitbull’s new album will bring more of that unique quality. I can’t say too much about it, but will say that you will love it.
(Q) Just so you know, I downloaded Back In Time the first moment I heard it.
Wow, nice. Thank you.
(Q) For all of those music enthusiasts reading this interview, what would you like them to know? What is next for Big Syphe?
Now days it’s not just about you being a DJ, but you, playing your own tracks, and bringing out your own tracks. When I first started, I felt like I was holding back. But now, I am right where I want to be in life where I don’t need to do that. I feel very confident in how my stuff sounds. It’s always been my goal to make music because I love music. I would say something next for me would be that I definitely want to put out my own projects. That is the dream.
For more information about Big Syphe, please visit www.bigsyphe.com today!