Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano sat down with us at Mysteryland 2019, and spoke about their Hi Ibiza residency, EXPOSED show in Amsterdam during ADE 2019 and how they plan to give back to the dance music scene via their record label – SONO.
Elsi Mink – Your latest track “In my bones” was only released a few weeks ago. Very catchy tune! How did it come about? Cause it sounds a little poppier than your usual sound?
Sunnery James – Actually, the track, the vocals, the song we made three, four years ago in Los Angeles. We had it for a while but didn’t do anything with it. When we were in the studio the vocal popped up, so we started working on it again. We actually made like 40 versions of it before we got this final one. You guys are the ones to dig it. I mean the vocal is so big that the production around has to follow as well.
Ryan Marciano – We actually worked four years on this record. It’s finally out so we’re very happy! At some point, we had this version and we listened to it and the goosebumps came up and then we were like, okay this is it!
Elsi Mink – And SONO has also been doing great, I saw 66 releases so far?
Sunnery James – Yes!
Elsi Mink – It’s almost like one release a week, right?
Sunnery James – Almost, almost! I mean we have so many promos and tracks from really talented guys who are all hungry to release and we do have a big platform to release music on. We’re also very experimental with releasing songs, where other labels don’t dare to take them, we do. We help the guys mixing the tracks a little better and release it so they get more drive and we create a bigger scene. I mean, we love to give back to the dance scene. It’s important!
Elsi Mink – Do you have a lot of newcomers?
Sunnery James – We signed a Russian guy two years ago named Novak. He makes amazing music, real housey stuff and nobody believed in him actually! We picked him up and we had a big record with him called “Ruff”. We played it before, we’re gonna play it again today and a lot of DJs are supporting it. So, he’s popping up and doing some shows around the world.
Ryan Marciano – And Mark Volt! Dutch guy! He’s also doing very well. We did a track together “In my mind”.
Sunnery James – YAX.X – a guy from Amsterdam also really good!
Ryan Marciano – But they’re all making really good music, but they’re not really releasing anywhere so we were like, “come here, guys!!”
Elsi Mink – And are there any like newbies that you would like to bring onto SONO that you have your eye on?
Sunnery James – I’ve got an eye on this one guy, he did some remixes for labels like Magnificence and he’s from the North, I think Friesland and he makes really banging beats and sends me music every week. I think he’s gonna release a lot of songs on SONO soon.
Ryan Marciano – There are a couple of guys around the world we’re in touch with, but some of them are not ready yet. They send tracks and we’re like, it’s ok but you can do better. We keep them warm a little bit, so they improve!
Elsi Mink – Now that the summer is nearing the end, how has the Ibiza residency been this year?
Sunnery James – It’s been amazing! It’s our third year and compared to the last two years I think this was the biggest one. Let’s say we did 12 shows last year and I think 4 were really good and the rest were ok. And now we did 11 shows and 10 were amazing. I think we brought it to a point that it’s well known by people, they come to the island for this party and that’s what we’ve been working on. So I’m very happy and proud that we built it this way. It was a challenge because Armin is trance and we’re house but we approached it like a little festival with two stages, a house stage, and a trance stage.
Elsi Mink – Yes, I mean, you even had Boris Brejcha!
Sunnery James – Yes, Yes!!
Elsi Mink – I’m impressed!
Sunnery James – I mean we’ve been working very hard and it’s great to see things come together with the vision we had in mind. That includes artists that people might not have expected.
Elsi Mink – Which one’s been the most memorable one this summer?
Ryan Marciano – I think the solo one?
Sunnery James – Yeah. 100%
Ryan Marciano – Yeah. We were actually so much into the summer and were really tired, so we were like, argh, a solo set all night long and actually it was the best one. You can set the vibe; you can do whatever you want.
Sunnery James – You have to imagine you start with no one, nobody in the club and you have to build the vibe from there.
Ryan Marciano – With a solo set you play different music as well. You approach it like back in the days when you come into the club and you open up the club and then you blink with your eyes and six hours are gone. And then you think, ooh I wanted to play that track and that track because you get in the vibe and I think it was the best night so far, also for Armin!
Elsi Mink – So how many tracks did you have on your USB sticks for the night?
Sunnery James – I have like over 25,000 records on my USB sticks.
Ryan Marciano – I think the USB’s go all the way back to 2000, 1998, 2002…
Sunnery James – I have a lot of music, but I think I only play like 20 tracks…
Ryan Marciano – I made a special list with all the classics!
Sunnery James – When the vibe is good you can check you can jam out old records which is nice!
Elsi Mink – And I guess you guys won’t get bored after the summer because you’re preparing for your show, Exposed, at ADE.
Sunnery James – Yes!
Elsi Mink – How’s that starting to look?
Sunnery James – To be honest, there’s a lot of feeling in it, it’s amazing. I think the whole blueprint about how we want to build the night is there and now we need to fill the missing parts. It’s more about what we wanna tell and show this to the fans. But still, as we speak, we’re thinking about maybe we have to start here, or we have to bring this. We’re still building the show, but the message is clear and we want to show more of ourselves and go back to the roots and as to why are we doing this.
Elsi Mink – Last year you did, Sexy by Nature. What is going to be the main differences between that show and Exposed?
Sunnery James – Sexy By Nature has a lineup and it’s a club night. It’s a big club with a certain lineup and amazing music. Exposed is something about us. And of course, we will have to have amazing music, but it’s going to be a story about who we are, where we come from and what we stand for. It’s a trip down memory lane as well.
Ryan Marciano – It’s like when a singer comes in and does his show, it’s more like that. Only we do it a little longer more like a showcase.
Sunnery James – And we have many surprises!
Elsi Mink – After that, what else do you guys have planned? What do we need to watch out for?
Sunnery James – Uhm, after Exposed I want to take off for a little bit haha. But we have some things planned like a big show in Romania. Then we’re going to the United States for some shows, South America, Asia…. It’s still a full schedule like in the summer.
Ryan Marciano – My schedule in my mind right now is still, October 18th!
Sunnery James – I think we’re going to close the year in New York. So that’s gonna be fun.
Ryan Marciano – Either we’re closing it or we’re opening it!