Over a period of a few years through the late 2000s, Ryan Davis became one of the staples of Sheffield’s music scene. Recording under the alias NYRA he released a string of 12” records for respected house labels like Secretsundaze, and regularly brought some of house and techno’s best international artists to the city at his club night, Downlo.
In spite of this relative success, until recently it seemed as if his career as a musician had come to an end. In 2012 Davis put a pause on making records to pursue a career in professional cycling – something he likened to the experience of DJing. Last year saw him return with a series of singles via his self-run label Canoe, most of them taking modern house soundscapes into electro and breakbeat territory. He gives a hint of this playful style on his mix for us, dropping ahead of his appearance at Forms on 6th July.
I didn't have a theme in mind, I just went with the flow and I'm happy with how it came out. I feel that mixes can sometimes become boring if you limit yourself to one genre, so I wanted to use it to cover a few different bases.
Where did you source the records from?
I’m always on the hunt for music. Every day I find myself discovering music, whether it’s from rooting through Discogs, promos I’ve been sent, or through the plethora of music I’ve amassed whilst hiking around record shops. That’s where the music for this mix has come from.
What made you return to music after such a lengthy hiatus?
I left music with the intention of returning once I'd pursued a career in professional cycling. Before cycling I was running a successful warehouse club in Sheffield called Downlo @ Dan Sane, so it was a pretty crazy decision to leave music behind, especially when it was popping off. I knew I could always come back to it, but I couldn’t come back to racing. I returned to music after 5 years of cycling and accomplishing more than I ever expected to achieve. I knew it was time to return to music when I finished 3rd place in the Yorkshire Road Race Championships – I thought it was best to finish on a high!
It’s probably something you’ve been asked a lot, but do you think there are any comparisons you could draw between cycling and DJing or making music?
There are quite a few to be honest. You have to be patient and persistent when doing both, and calculate your moves wisely because they both end in a result.
Sheffield’s music scene is among the celebrated throughout the whole of the UK. Do you think it’s had a big influence on the music you play and produce today?
Definitely – the city has played a massive part in my musical journey. From the grass roots of buying records at the shops in the city, my youth spent in the clubs and being part of building the scene, to what it is today. Growing up in Sheffield was mega – so much musical diversity. Bands like The Human League, Moloko, Heaven 17, ABC and Pulp. Then there's the prolific Warp records and people like Chris Duckenfield, Winston Hazel and The Black Dog to name a few.
What are you up to throughout the rest of the summer?
I’ll be out and about doing shows, finishing music, getting more releases ready for my label Canoe, and general music-related stuff. You can keep up to date with my whereabouts on my socials: Facebook, Instagram, and Soundcloud.