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Recognise: Job Sifre

Recognise: Job Sifre

Recognise is DJ Mag’s new monthly mix series, introducing artists we love that are bursting onto the global electronic music scene. This month, we speak to one of the fastest-rising stars in the scene perpetuating the unstoppable influence of EBM on techno, Job Sifre...

Job Sifre sits in his home studio staring down at a tattoo on the back of his arm that reads, ‘This Must be the Place’. It’s a reference to the Talking Heads track of the same name from their 1983 album ‘Speaking in Tongues’, and the same line that is written above the entrance to BAR in Rotterdam, where Sifre started as an intern just a few years ago.

The Amsterdam-based DJ/producer is now one of the fastest-rising stars in the scene perpetuating the unstoppable influence of EBM on techno, having seen overnight success following the release of his debut EP, ‘Worries’, last October. He now holds a residency at much-revered clubs BAR and De School in Amsterdam, as well as being given the honour of closing Frankfurt’s iconic club, Robert Johnson.

“Just half a year after my first release I was closing the club,” Sifre tells DJ Mag. “I really have to pinch myself every now and then to make sure it is all actually happening,” he laughs.

‘Worries’ was also the inaugural release on Rush Hour associate Interstellar Funk’s Artificial Dance label, which has since released an EP from C. Stein. “After meeting Olf [Interstellar Funk] at a party in Amsterdam, I sent him some music,” Sifre explains, “just curious what he would think of it as I deeply value his taste in music. I didn’t know he was planning on doing the label,” he smiles.

Together the pair planned the release, which combines elements of EBM, industrial, electro, new wave and more in an angular six-track exploration. “I really didn’t expect it to be so successful,” Sifre muses. “But I’m grateful that an influential artist like him supported me. The fact that I play regularly around Europe now, is mostly because of him.”

His ‘Het Bestaan’ EP followed in February, presenting more of the bold, whip-crack snares and slick, seedy synthwork that made his debut such a winner, with club cuts like ‘Zeno Dicho’ showing a talent way beyond his years. Sifre also sings on both of his own releases, something of a rarity in contemporary electronic music.

“I really love the vocals in old school EBM,” he enthuses. “After the ‘80s, they slowly disappeared, which is a shame. Emotion is the most important thing in music – vocals add a certain drama. I just thought, ‘If no one is doing it, I’ll just do it myself!’ It was hell to make them sound acceptable though,” he laughs. “It’s done super DIY with a shitty mic I borrowed from someone. And I have no background in singing whatsoever.”

On deck Sifre has a fluid style that incorporates a lot of different genres and aesthetics of the sounds that surround industrial music but, reflecting on being passed a note that read, ‘It’s so much fun watching you have fun’ after his show at Robert Johnson, he says he doesn’t want to deliver it in the serious manner of many artists on the scene.

“My philosophy is simple: if you are playing music that you selected – which is, hopefully, also your favourite music – then why wouldn’t you be excited about that?” he enthuses. “Interaction with the audience is super important and fun. I understand some artists are more introvert, but for me it would feel silly not to be on the same level as the audience. Making a party is always my number one priority, but I’ll always try to do so with as challenging music as is possible.”

Sifre says living in Amsterdam has had a huge impact on his career too, as a city in the middle of a continuing boom in electronic music, with his show on Red Light Radio – the broadcaster responsible for pushing countless artists on the Netherlands’ underground scene – acting as the “starting point” for his burgeoning career.

“I think the city really took over,” he laughs. “Where we used to be the little brother of places like Berlin, London and Paris, now we’re a serious competitor. We’re have a huge wave of successful and influential parties and festivals like Dekmantel and Strange Sounds from Beyond, clubs like De School, Garage Noord and Shelter, record stores Rush Hour, Red Light Records and Bordello and other important players like Red Light Radio, who all really define the Amsterdam sound. It’s really inspiring [to live here] as there are so many things happening and international artists are constantly in your city.”

Sifre’s busy touring schedule for summer includes ZeeZout Festival, Lowlands and his London debut with Vicious Creatures, as well as two huge bookings in the shape of Dekmantel in August and their Dekmantel Selectors festival. “That’s pretty crazy!” he smiles. “I mean, I’ve been going to their parties from pretty early on. So, it is an honor to play there.”

He also says how close knit the scene is in Amsterdam helps cultivates success. Sifre is set to play a party at De School with Identified Patient, Merel and Post Ave, three artists that share a similar aesthetic in their music. “We all have the same mindset but approach it all just from a slightly different angle,” he explans. “What makes it very interesting.” It’s a collective he says will be solidified before the party at the end of the month (29th June). “Stay tuned!” he beams.

Sifre is currently working on a new EP as well as remix projects that will all land after summer, which he explains are currently exploring breakbeat and tribal music. “I’ll never make music which is just one genre,” he concludes. “There will always be influences from different genres in each song.”

Sifre’s Recognise mix is an undulating blend of the moody grooves found on his first two releases. Listen to it below.

Want more? Check out DJ Mag UK’s exploration of the return of electro.

Rob McCallum is DJ Mag’s deputy digital editor. Follow him on Twitter here.