The Dutch duo Sunnery James and Ryan Marciano from Amsterdam started their career a few years ago and now they’re one of the top national DJ’s, known by their groovy, energetic house sounds. Sunnery James was raised by a musical family and born to become a musician by his patience and determination, which caused recognition inside the dance scene. They perform and produce together, with the goals as musicians to entertain their crowd and to show them the fun side of dance music. Sunnery James provided RaverRafting with some stories about the duo’s past, musicical taste and other goals.
In short, how do you know each other?
Back then, I was a supervisor in a sporting goods store and Ryan really needed an internship. He was about to be kicked out of the house by his mother and I saved him by hiring him. That day, we found out that we had very similar interests in music and other stuff, we immediately got along really well. I’m talking about 16/17 years ago and now, it’s still on between us. 🙂
Your sound is been described as deep and funky. How would you describe it yourself?
At the beginning of our career we used to produce very deep music. We used to perform before other artists. When we became bigger, we started to produce more main music. Our style wasn’t just what we were performing back then, but we understood that if you were performing before a bigger artist, you should keep it down some more. We’re still danceable and some more firm. We think our music should always keep moving. We build up to an evening, we peak and we dare to go back to what we started off with. I think that’s the art of DJ-ing. The dance scene has become really big and we’re serious about it, but we also want to keep showing the fun side of dance music and how we fell in love with it. We want to be DJ’s and producers who perform different sessions, with fun and interaction with the crowd. Not too much fuzz, that’s what we’re trying to do.
What’s your favorite music genre? Is that what you produce yourself?
I really like the music we produce, but I have a very broad taste in music. When I’m chilling at home, I listen to a lot of Motown, from the old days. I like to listen to jazz and Caribbean music. My taste goes from reggae to hip hop or R&B, it’s a mix. If I’m driving my car, I like to listen to Dennis Ferrer, real deep house to get inspired.
What was the specific moment your career started?
I still remember that moment really good. I studied and I was being a DJ at the same time. We were having around 4 or 5 gigs per month. At a certain moment, I started working at Jack & Jones, because I wanted to save some money. The DJ-ing started going better and better, we were up to 15 gigs per month, which I thought was pretty good and I figured, that was the moment to go all the way or not. I believed that if it was what I wanted to do, I should give up everything else to gain everything out of it. We performed 15 shows and I started looking at it, financially as well. That’s when I realized I could live from it for around 6/7 months. I wanted to see how it would go if I really went for it for that time period.
After this, we got a gig at Mysteryland and I realized it became serious. I put everything aside and really went for it. We were an opening act at Mysteryland and there were barely 10 people in the crowd, but we realized we got support and we thought, if we do this right, perhaps we will be booked again. We took that risk. In 2 or 3 years we were booked for Sensation in Amsterdam, so it was the right choice. It worked out so fast, it seemed too good to be true, but it did.
So it’s definately worth taking risks with music, in your opinion?
Yes, I think it’s a must. My parents taught me that if I wanted to do something, I should fully go for it. Don’t just do something for a little bit. Do it for one hundred percent or don’t do it. So I think it’s very important.
What are your inspirational sources for your music?
From back home, it’s my parents. My father really inspired me with his music. I listened to his songs every day, he’s a composer and a singer. That’s the reason I already tried to mix tapes as a kid. He really inspired me. The Motown music my parents used to listen to, Michael Jackson, for example, he was a huge source of inspiration for me. Just like Earth, Wind & Fire, their disco sound introduced me to dance music. Back then, there were some guys in the dance scene who really inspired us and caused that we started creating our own sound. Examples of those artists are Dennis Ferrer, Erick Morillo, Masters at Work, Bob Sinclar, Martin Solveig. Now our sound is being described as tribal, groovy, banging, etcetera. That’s really awesome.
Do you have a specific Idol in the DJ scene?
There are a couple of them, but if I have to pick someone it would be Carl Cox, primeval DJ number one. He really gives me goosebumps. I think this guy is almost 60 years old. If he is performing, he doesn’t need to do anything. He stands up there and you believe everything he does. He’s the example of what a DJ should be like, in my opinion, and still now in the dance scene. He grabs an evening, he’s standing there for 5 hours and nobody is bored for a second. At least, I’m not. I think that’s the most important aspect of being a DJ.
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