A Short Chat With DJ Stingray
This Friday, legendary Detroit disc-jockey DJ Stingray joins us to inaugurate his 2019 Oval Space residency. The party, a collaboration with Dimensions Festival, celebrates the multifaceted shades of electro, so who more appropriate to headline than Sherard Ingram, who in recent times has become a figurehead in the global resurgence of the genre. Ahead of it, we caught up with Ingram from his Berlin base for a quick chat.
Hey Sherard, lovely to chat. How are you doing?
Doing fine thanks and I hope the same for yourself.
We're great thanks. Let's start at the beginning. What were the sorts of records you were listening to growing up? Was the household you grew up in a musical one or was there more influence from outside the home?
Growing up I listened mostly to R&B, Parliament/Funkadelic, Pop radio , Hip hop As I got older my tastes expanded to Industrial,Alternative,...
How did this then lead to you selling records at Rite Music? What was the impact of you working in the shop, both for your own ears and also the connections that you made from behind the counter?
I think my natural curiosity was a big impetus also during my early teen years there was a real drive in across the city to find new, cutting edge music which I believe was fuelled by Detroit High School Social clubs that were highly competitive in terms of exuding class fashion wise and musically and while I was not a participant I absorbed a lot of the culture and aesthetics. Buy Rite sold the soundtrack to this paradigm and I learned of the shop shortly after I learned to DJ. I was shocked when I was hired.
You've said in a previous interview that, 'I like to give people as much, as many different records as possible in the shortest time possible.' Where's the inspiration come for this approach? Have specific artists inspired this approach, our do certain sounds lend themselves most readily to this fast and furious style?
The way you hear me play is taken from Detroit DJs who played Bass, early electro and more in clubs throughout the city. Jeff Mills was a huge influence and you only need to do a quick search and listen to his sets as the Wizard. My own experience plays a part as well. I feel like it's an entertaining style and fun for myself and the people.
In the past, electro seems to have been a bit of a divisive term for you. With the 'resurgence' and new found interest in the genre over the past few years, have you embraced the definition? Or is it a reductive concept?
My problem with the term Electro is not the word itself but the onslaught of revivalist mentality rather than building on what was done before. The endless looping historical timeline narration where one has to hear where it began and who to look for etc.. Quaint, comfortable antique shopping rather than brave frontier sound crafting. At some point you have to ditch that comfortable, lovable easy chair with the springs poking out.
You've been living in Europe for the past two years now. How have you found the experience? Are there cultural difference between Berlin and Detroit that have taken you a whole to get used to, in or out of dance music culture?
I have met some great people and had some of the best times of my life on this continent and I encourage my USA colleagues to make it a point to take in the electronic music culture here. Compare and contrast from a non competitive perspective. As far as getting used to the cultural differences that was relatively easy as I have been traveling to the EU for many years so I came here informed for the most part.
But I think it would serve Berliners and the EU at large to come to Detroit for the festival (Movement) when they can. The Detroit Metropolitan area is a great place to learn about the USA and have fun.
Finally, let's talk residencies. Which club residents have had a big impact on you over the years? What does the year hold for us this year at Oval Space?
This is my first residency in the EU with my previous one being in a Detroit club . So let's talk about this question in a few months.
DJ Stingray joins us this Friday here at Oval Space alongside Josey Rebelle, Convextion (Live), Carl Finlow (Live) and Dimensions Soundsystem. Final tickets available below.