Sicaria Sound is the DJ partnership of Sancha Ndeko and Imbratura Lou, two young South London-based DJs on the ascent. The music they typically play crosses dubstep and grime, sounds that London imprints like DMZ and Deep Medi first championed in the early 2000s. The pair first broke through on the airwaves via London’s underground radio network, focussing on supporting other young artists pushing bass-heavy electronics at 140 BPM. They describe the sound they’ve developed as a representation of their African heritage, favouring unreleased dubs that closely align with the region’s distinct musical flavours. It’s the same path they’ve taken on their mix for us, timed ahead of their Farringdon debut at FABRICLIVE next Friday.
Imbratura: Yes! We actually try and theme the majority of our mixes: we try and make sure they sound as different from each other as possible, whilst generally sticking within the realms of dubstep and grime. This particular mix is themed around recent dubs we’ve received that generally resonate with aspects of our heritage – I’m North African-Arab, and Ndeko is East African with a Rastafarian father; we’re very particular with what we play and how it represents our background as it’s easy to come across as cheesy or insincere.
Ndeko: This mix is a bit different in the sense that besides drawing on our heritage it also portrays a bit of a narrative. We built an opener for the mix to introduce a playful set that you’d expect people to move to in a club setting.
From where did you source the tracks?
N: A big part of what we do is wanting to spotlight lesser recognised artists and support their sounds as they develop, so we always make sure to take time to not only look for new music but also check in with the artists we’ve backed in the past as to how they’re getting on and whether they’ve got any new bits for us to support in sets.
I: We’ve also been blessed in the sense that the more traction we got, the more people began understanding “our sound” and this in turn meant that more people started sending us their own productions. This mix is no exception in that you can find tracks from some of the artists we’ve repped so far as well as some newer names. We really pride ourselves on listening and replying to every new bit we’ve been sent, regardless of how busy the inbox is!
Does this typically reflect the music you play in your sets too?
N: Definitely. Across both recorded mixes and DJ sets we play the deeper and darker end of the 140 BPM range, alongside more experimental music within and beyond dubstep and grime. Our overall focus is on playing newer sounds but always paying homage to the roots and foundations of the genres we play.
I: Yeah, when choosing our selection for a DJ set we’ll try and introduce the audience to as many new producers as possible while still keeping the set relatable, fun and enjoyable – we want the crowd to think “shit, who is this they’re playing?!” We tend to get a bit more experimental when curating guest mixes though and really use the opportunity to have a bit of a play-around.
Can you talk about your previous history with us?
I: We didn’t actually meet until our second year of uni; I feel like I’ve told this story so many times! On the first day of the academic year, she was sat in my seat – one that was obscure enough to stay out of the lecturer’s sight and also isolated enough so I wouldn’t have to chat to anyone on my course, as I used to move a bit anti. To my dismay I was forced to sit next to her as an alternative. We got talking a little bit and did the courteous ‘maybe-let’s-try-stay-in-touch’ Facebook request and after I stalked her a little bit (as if we don’t all do it…) I saw that she worked at fabric and had a picture up with SGT Pokes! That’s when I thought ‘yeah, this girl is certified AND she knows her shit’ so I hollered.
N: We started chatting about our favourite fabric memories – the monthly Playaz sessions, an introduction to Butterz and of course fanboying over a fair few dubstep label takeovers, and quickly realised we shared the same love for music (in particular dubstep). Our friendship pretty much firmed itself from there onwards! So you could definitely say that fabric is one of the reasons we’re here today as Sicaria Sound... mad isn’t it?
Do you remember the first time you came here?
N: Will never forget it! Fresh from my first Outlook festival earlier that month and thirsty for more decent electronic music, I managed to escape going to a dead fresher’s night and instead made it to Four Tet’s FABRICLIVE 59 launch. Hessle Audio had taken over Room Two, Chunky was on the mic, and even after many nights at the club I’ll always remember the feeling of being in that room for the first time.
I: I can’t remember mine so much – I had been going to underage raves for a while but I finally got the chance to come with a few people from college in the summer of first year as a rite of passage sort of thing and it wound up being a RAM Records night. As well as these underage places, I guess it’s one of the events that really helped shape my earlier understandings of electronic music as I didn’t know much about electronic music beforehand! I also really remember liking the space, and the fact that there was not much reception underground because the emphasis was on getting lost and enjoying the music rather than chatting to your mates all night.
What are your plans for the summer?
I: Got a few very exciting projects coming up! All in due time though, we can’t really reveal anything until they’re finalised.
N: What we can say for this summer though is how much we’re looking forward to performing at Outlook Festival! After the first year that we went together, we came back with steely determination to continue working hard so that maybe we too could play there (as well as fabric funnily enough). We genuinely thought it might never happen but fast forward a few years and we’re here... always grateful for being able to actualise our dreams.
Do you have any other dates coming up that you’re looking forward to?
I: The next one is with you, alongside a number of music legends! Very excited to be a part of it, and even friends who don’t normally come out are going to be making an appearance.
N: Yes! Aside from fabric and Outlook, we’ve got some other international dates and big nights lined up, including Croydub and Deep Medi in Berlin. It’s best to keep your eyes on our socials for dates though as we always post what’s forthcoming.
Where can we find out more about you?
I: We’re @sicariasound across all platforms but we’re typically most active on Instagram and SoundCloud. We’re trying to make more of an effort on the others, but I swear it’s a job in itself? I guess it becomes harder when there are two people, as you expect the other to person to pick up the slack!
N: We’ll get there one day. Guess we’re gonna have to tag team this one as per!