Spotlight on SDR

Special Feature 4/28/2021
SDR

Meet SDR: SDR began as an outlet for the funky feelings of this UK based producer/musician. The project keeps evolving from dancey bops to more emotional, ethereal synth-pop they’ve produced for others such as labelmate and long time collaborator Alex Edwin and Rob Clemz. Sharing musical spheres with the likes of Fibre, Discoholic and Camino 84, SDR infuses contemporary production with an extreme detail on the post-disco and boogie of the early to mid 1980’s. Stay tuned for more exciting work, coming very soon… Source: About SDR, Spotify.

My kind of Music, with SDR.

Music Like YOU WON’T BELIEVE.

Aaand whe’re back in the UK, where my guest of today, SDR, resides. I first heard about SDR at the end of 2020, when his single ‘Won’t Believe’ was released (12/11/2020) under the Montaime label, yes indeed, one and the same where Fibre is leading the troops. Just to give a little insight as how one thing always leads to another at the Colorful Expressions headquarters 🙂. Or rather, how following one artist always leads to following another and another and…well you get it. Though I had already started updating my weekly playlist, this track had not yet been added. “Shame!” You say. Well…Maaaybe.

I did however add a remix of ‘Missing You’. The original, a collab with Rob Clemz, was released 11/28/2015 and also appeared in 2017 on Rob Clemz’s album, ‘Looking Up’, in 2017. Remixes appeared in October 2018, when Rob Clemz released the album ‘Looking Up (The Remixes)’. Here you can find the SCU remix as well as the mentioned Doktor Plekter remix , from ‘Missing You’. I couldn’t help but being intrigued when I recognized that name, because it’s always very nice when things come together on my blog: By then the Spotlights on Doktor Plekter and Discoholic were history and the one on FIBRE was in the pipeline.

If I find  the nerve, I will ask Camino 84 for a future Spotlight, to make SDR’s little list of ‘shared musical spheres’ complete, but uhm… Maaaybe… Anyways, so happy to say today’s guest is a quick responder – how I love that – and here we are! In a way it’s been a good thing I had not yet added ‘Won’t Believe’ to the Some Groovy Medicine playlist, it just means I can do it with the next update! The song has some interesting background info, which you can hear SDR talk about in the interview done with Montaime 12/18/2020. A couple of details: he started creating ‘Won’t Believe’ in 2017, his partner gave him a deadline to finally finish it in 3 days in 2020, which he did! Aaand the song has vocals from when he started as well as newly added ones. Can you believe it?

‘Won’t Believe’, is showing off SDR’s talent for sure. The opening makes me feel I’m diving in head first and I love it when a song does that to me. As with all lyrics, interpretation is up to the listener, but the part: ‘You won’t believe what I’m feeling‘, could be a true clue in any universe. I think it’s pure creativity, when you can come up with a song that is definitely new in every aspect, but still makes me feel as if I’ve known it all along. Great hook and all that. Fresh and nostalgic at the same time, I think SDR captured what his Twitter bio says, I quote: ‘Always working on my boogie‘.

I recommend you listen to the whole interview on SoundCloud, where some interesting questions are asked and SDR is going into detail about, for instance, mastering. Together with the little interview below, you can get a good picture of what SDR is all about – and also find out his previous alias 😉 On SoundCloud you can also find a couple of older songs/remixes, made by SDR, which you won’t find on Spotify. These were from before he made a new start as SDR, which are his actual initials in real life. Pretty good stuff!

Just around that new start in 2017, SDR got in contact with Fibre and he released ‘Want You Here’ under the – at that time, new! – Montaime label. Kind of going full circle, starting and ending there, well almost… Because it didn’t end there. Listening to this song, it’s definitely giving that 80’s vibe. Great synths, soulful vocals, that combination really feels like a groovy 80’s marriage. His voice sounding is if he indeed went back in time to catch that specific timbre. Yes, yes, big word for a great voice, which btw is another fact SDR shared in the Montaime interview: this was the first time he actually sang. So, WOW. And since I’m never sure if the vocals are actually done by the artist self, and I only discovered this after sending the questions, I pretty much spoiled this one for ya. Sorry-not-sorry.

Going through SDR’s social media, brought me a couple of fun facts too: He visited Amsterdam during the summer of 2015 – and y’all know as a Dutchie, things like that make me smile. Even better: when I noticed a couple of posts referring to his Doc Martens, I just HAD to ask him, how much he loved his shoes. His reply, I quote: ‘I really do love them! Wish I had more 😂’. See, now we’re talking! I’ve said it before and I will say it again: me and my Docs, will never part! Double score for SDR in my book!

Anyways, back to his music. I know, chaotic me never seems to go through the songs in order of release, but that’s basically because I never really listen to the artists music that way. If you do, you’re weird. You’d never want to go shopping with me, because I never succeed in going through a store following a logical path. Which in a round-about way brings me to SDR’s latest release, ‘Love Under Pressure’, released 4/2/2021 – under the Savona label –  which I DID add to my playlist a couple of days after the release. It also gave me the perfect excuse – do I need it – to tag SDR, get in contact with him and throw the inevitable ‘if-you’re-interested-I-would-like-to-do-an-interview’ bomb. Again, sorry-not-sorry. No Pressure at all.

The song is an absolute banger, dealing about, well obviously, a love under pressure. Singing about a relationship that slowly seems to deteriorate, it bugs the heck out of me I still can’t pinpoint of whom SDR’s voice reminds me. I’m sure it must be someone from the past and the closest I can get: he’s sounding like a fusion of Freeez and Hall & Oates. If that’s offending, I’m sorry. At any rate, his voice is very recognizable and that is a most welcome feat. Next to amazing vocals, the song is carried by the synths/keys, melodies taking me straight back to the 80’s indeed, with the guitar tickling in the background. Groovy Heartbreak.

Going back in time again – whiplash much? – when a couple of collabs and SDR remixes were released, the most recent one being ‘Cheque’, a collab with Nukumachi, released on the album ‘Atsuko’, but also as a single 4/23/2019. A funky tune about a love in which anything is possible: ‘So tell me what you want babe, close your eyes and make a wish. Anything you want baby, I can check it off your list‘. Who doesn’t want to find a love like that huh? Synths through the roof and a bassline dreams are made of. SDR magic? Cheque!

Which leaves 3 others, which you can find below.

Released 12/5/2015

Released 12/18/2015

I can only say I am very much enjoying SDR’s music so far and I am very curious as to what he will release in the future. So that’s about it from my side, it’s time to let SDR speak, but as always I want to say: BIG Thank You SDR! I am very happy you made some time to be part of my blog and I hope to hear new stuff soon! Wishing you all the blessings and creativity on your musical path. I will add you asap to my Spotlight page, where you will stay indefinitely and I will do my best to update all your new songs!

The Interview

Let’s start with the obvious: can you please introduce yourself and tell us, who is SDR? When and how did you get started making music? Do you play any instruments / sing, yourself? Do you write your own lyrics?

‘I started making music when I was about 11-12 years old when I found this free software where you make music online called ‘Audiotool’. I learnt so much just messing about in there, engaging with the community of others, and from there it just grew and grew for a few years until I discovered Ableton Live – everything changed from there. 

I used to make music under a previous alias but that ended, now SDR is my outlet for all things eighties disco/synth-funk. I learnt guitar when I was young but I always wanted to play the piano because my sister did, so I taught myself! Yeah! I do sing, I was quite scared to sing on my songs but I realized I should just try and have fun with it and it just works!’

Who have been / are, your biggest influences? Where do you get your inspiration from? How would you describe your music?

‘My biggest inspiration is Daft Punk but it’s not the most obvious when you hear my music. I love everything they make but also their journey because I share the same thing. I initially got into electronic music, the more aggressive stuff. Then started really listening to french house and from there…the samples. I started just listening to those original samples, 70s & 80s funk/disco! So really all the big players in that field: Kashif, Chic, Change, D-Train and some Yacht Rock too: Steely Dan, Doobie Brothers, Airplay, Lee Ritenour and Michael Franks etc’.

Your Spotify bio says, I quote: ‘SDR infuses contemporary production with an extreme detail on the post-disco and boogie of the early to mid-1980’s’. Sounds really cool, but can you please elaborate on that? And why this particular era?

‘There’s something fascinating about that era to me. Early digital. There was a great breakthrough in technology and music was shifting at the time. Listening to music that blends from those worlds that crossover from analogue to digital, I find it so satisfying. There was also a magic to the musicians of that era, just after the peak of the LA studio musician and just as disco recesses into a niche, post-‘disco sucks”. 

How does your creative process work? Is it a ‘go-with-the-flow’ thing, or have you developed some kind of plan you follow? What do you consider the hardest part and what is the most fun part of producing?

‘I love being technical but the more and more I’ve made music over the years, I’ve realized my feelings really need to come first. I have to ask myself…what am I trying to say/feel? and that isn’t always an easy answer! My more technical side has helped me though: it stops me from having to think about how to do something but now just ‘what do I want to say’. The hardest part for me is saying stop and not ruining what is great about the music’.

I know you’ve released your last single ‘Under Pressure’, under the Savona label, but can you tell us a bit about your relation to that label and what it means to you?

‘Savona means a lot to me. Rob (RobClemz) has been a friend of mine for many years and was one of my first music friends I met online. We’ve worked on so many projects together and he has really inspired me creatively and has kept me on track to make music regularly! In late 2019/early 2020 he kept suggesting I could help out with Savona and after I graduated with my degree in music technology I said yes! So I have been helping him out, running his one-man show to a two-man show!’

Your Instagram bio says, I quote: ‘Aspiring Mastering Engineer’, can you share a little about your vision regarding this? What has been your most prized achievement so far? What would be your ultimate dream coming true?

‘I came into my university degree with (what I thought) was a lot of music-tech knowledge. My degree really helped me show the many different paths you can take in audio. I became fascinated with mastering, the final step of making music. The more I did it, the more I loved it. It’s often seen as a dark art in the audio world and I wanted to demystify it and really learn from those who’ve come before’. 

What’s in store for your fans in the (near) future? Anything new you’re working on, you can share something about?

‘Actually quite a lot is coming up! I’m working on about 5 songs simultaneously, some solo tracks, some collaborations. I am very excited since it took me a while to start regularly releasing music, but now I’ve started, I want to just keep productive and let the music flow!’

Is there anything else you would like to add / share, with your fans / the readers? Anything I did not ask about maybe?

‘I just want to say thank you so much to everyone who’s listening to my music, and if anyone is in need of a mastering engineer – hit me up! (@shawisure on insta)

Thanks’

Again, Big Thanks to SDR, I love all the artists that have been an inspiration to you, but mentioning Lee Ritenour goes straight to my heart! And to you my readers, if you haven’t found SDR’s music yet, get a move on will ya!

Follow SDR on SpotifyBandcampSoundCloudInstagram TwitterFacebook

Or Follow Savona !

Wishing y’all a week like You Won’t Believe, Peace

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