Words by Phelps
DC’s Chris Yurista, aka Sickboy, has been banging out beats for nearly two decades whether behind the kit or the turntables. This spring he’s elected to take a slice of pop culture and build the Gleemix tape behind it to showcase influence from genres all over the BPM map. Yurista reworks songs from FOX’s Glee, a fall hit with the inimitable Jane Lynch in tow, into unabashed skullcrackers more suited for the underground club than the glee club. We caught up with him via email to discuss inspiration, ambition, and whether or not the Gleeheads and bassheads can both get behind the Gleemix. Check out the streams throughout the interview and download the Gleemix here.
BYT: You’re DC based; were you born and raised here? Talk a little bit about your musical background and how you ventured into the world of production.
Sickboy: I’ve been here for about 8 years or so, but I was born and raised in and around Albany, NY. My trajectory into production started with the drums at age 10. By age 15, I got into DJing and playing at local clubs and raves in Upstate NY. Listening to the records I played, I figured I could come up with my own stuff. Around late 2001, I started to get into production, around age 19. I also went to college for it. I’ve been at it ever since.
BYT: Who, production wise, has been your inspiration? Hip hop producers? Electronic producers? Artists? A combination? Who would you want to work with?
Sickboy: Everything influences me. I listen to everything and try to internalize it. As far as producers go, there is a huge range. Probably the biggest are guys like Brian Eno, Roy Thomas Baker, Stuart Price, Paul Epworth, Timbaland, Goldie, Roni Size, DJ Premier, Dilla. Artists like Queen, Daft Punk, The Clash, Kraftwerk, Underworld, Wu-Tang, Mos Def, Nas. Too many to mention. It’d be a great experience to work with any of them.
BYT: Why Glee? Are you a TV head? Or was it just the chance to remix the remixes, so to speak, as stated in the press release?
Sickboy: My friend and advisor Tom sent me some of the music and suggested I give it a shot. I listened to it and liked it enough to go for it. I enjoy those types of things, flipping something into a whole new context. Nobody’s done it either, so that was a plus too. I’ve seen bits of the show, but in general I don’t watch a lot of TV. So it’s not something I follow on a week to week basis.
BYT: What other projects have you helmed or have on the horizon? Other themes, like Gleemix, or working on production for artists other than yourself?
Sickboy: The point of Gleemix, at least for me, is to show the range of what I can do and generate an interest in what I do as a producer. I think the fact that it’s under the theme of an incredibly popular TV show ties it in kinda nicely. It makes it a bit of a head-turner, like WTF? It also goes beyond just music and leaks into the pop culture forum, which is also cool.
BYT: Are you a producer or DJ in the sense that you’re out spinning any of your work live?
Sickboy: I could spin my tracks out in a club. For a few years, the DJ thing took a back seat to the production thing. I’ve really been working at producing with the goal of playing my own stuff as a DJ. As a DJ, it’s natural to want to have exclusive stuff that nobody else has, at least for the first few times you play it. The easiest way is to make it yourself. I’m getting back into DJing though, I miss it. I’m going to probably put out a new mix this spring.
BYT: Several of the songs on Gleemix bare a minimal resemblance to what a Glee fan may have heard on the show, and perhaps no association will be made by those who don’t know the show; is this something you made strictly for Glee fans, or for any fan of this genre of music whether Glee fans or not? Who are you trying to reach as an audience with this and with your production in general/outside of the Gleemix?
Sickboy: It’s for everyone. It’s not just remixing music, it’s remixing pop culture. So, at the very least it will get out there and hopefully have people talking about it. It’s a bit of a novelty of course, but I’m happy with how the project came out. I’d like to think it would go over well in a club setting!
BYT: Have you started work on the next project?
Sickboy: I’m always working on music. I’m working on some hip hop for a couple artists, Deontre Blayz and Good Hood, as well as others. I’m going to do more remixes to put out there, albeit a bit more conventional. I’ve also got some dance tracks on deck. I’m always looking for new opportunities though.
+++ download the Gleemix here.