Sirra opens up about his origins, influences and debut album ‘SLR 001’
Probably one of the few of his kind, Manchester based DJ and producer Sirra has been making waves across the Electronic music scene. After all, the budding progressive house producer runs his own label – known as Solr Recordings – and has already released a stunning album as his own as well as the imprint’s debut release. The album, titled ‘SLR 001‘, was touted by us as one that features strong progressive foundations and is a ’10-track masterpiece’.
With that setting to the tone for 2018, the Manchester based producer is looking forward to a bright and successful year as he heads towards the release of another four-track release. As a producer who admits to have been influenced by a flurry of 80’s Synth-pop bands – one of the many pioneers of Electronic music in the mainstream, Sirra’s music embodies the love for Electronic music. While his music can do a lot of the talking, we sat down with him to talk about his origins and influences behind his productions as well as his latest release ‘SLR 001’.
How long have you been a producer/DJ for? Tell us about the origin of your music. What inspired you to pursue your career as an artist?
Hi my name’s Ali, I go by the alias of Sirra. I started off as a DJ at university back in 2011, along with some friends of mine.
I really enjoyed mixing back at an early age because back then it was okay to make a lot of mistakes and learn I guess. I learned quickly that DJ-ing alone, wouldn’t get me where I wanted. So around the same time I began learning how to produce. I kept up with it, which led me to become better. Up and till 2015, I then began ghost writing for, well… I can’t say really. But it opened up new doors and areas in music, which I never would have considered initially. But getting to that point was a huge uphill climb.
I never had this pursuit though of becoming an ‘artist’. I kinda fallen into it naturally I guess, as a consequence of the path I’m on. I mean I really enjoy making music. There’s something very grounded and fulfilling about it.
Who do you consider to have been your biggest influences throughout your career that have made an impact on your productions?
My biggest influences I’d say would be my friends and family, as corny as that sounds, its been one of the corner stones of why I sit down, day in day out for this. I mean, if its not writing about an experience, I’d write something about them.
Listening to my folks records too, another huge impact, bands like New Order, the Police and Erasure. I’ve drawn a lot from those guys, especially into my productions. I think their music is timeless. And movie scores like Halloween, Blade Runner and Drive. Cult films, I absolutely love them, they have that timeless feel too.
Also on my own doorstep, Manchester. We have a rich culture in dance music, like the hacienda, the warehouse project and Sankeys. I mean, I’ve seen countless of the world’s best DJs right here. So yeah, a lot of music from here alone has inspired my productions and maybe one day it definitely be a dream of mine to play somewhere like the warehouse project.
Your debut album ‘SLR 001’ is an absolute masterpiece. Could you describe the process of making it? What was the inspiration and main idea behind it?
Thank you, I really appreciate that. I mean, its been a lot of work and has got me through a lot personally, just to sit down and work on day in day out. However originally I scheduled two tracks per release and SLR001 is actually a culmination of 4/5 releases in one. The reason for that is because I’ve got a lot more music finished… waiting… on the shelf.
Specifically speaking on the tracks from SLR001, it was a real culmination of sounds and experiences from over the last few years. I had the opportunity to be at Miami music week this year and over in Sweden with other producers. I made some lifetime friends and experienced new places, which inspired me even more.
I really feel like I took in a lot more recently by getting out of the box and experiencing more music from other genres. Which I hope, reflects from hearing the records I’ve produced.
Speaking of your latest album, you dropped it on your own imprint ‘Solr Recordings’. What made you decide to start your own imprint? Tell us the story and concept behind it.
The reason I started my own label was because I never wanted some head guy or person, sat on desk to tell me; “oh, we want this to be the art design” or “we want it to sound a little more like this”.
No thanks! The vision I’ve set for my music, design and everything that goes with it, to be me. You get artists right at the top that sometimes have a track produced or co-produced. A writer to write the lyrics. Then a graphic designer to do the art. A mastering engineer to do the master. I mean at that point you might aswell call yourself a band really. This approach I’d say has helped me because I’ve got to learn every aspect of what I’m putting out to the world, from the business and production side of it all.
I like to have control in everything I can, because at the end of the day at least I can say it was all me.
What does Solr Recordings have in store? Any upcoming releases in the pipeline?
As mentioned before I do have some music on the shelf, but I’m constantly making new records. Some might see the light of day, some might not. Not sure yet… we’ll see. But one thing is for sure I never make the same track twice and I’ll always branch off into something new and different.
What next for Sirra? Any hints or clues that you could give us about future productions and collaborations? Is another album in the making?
My next release is scheduled at some point this year, it will be a four-track release. I’m also signing someone on to the label, a super talented guy from Birmingham, he has a very unique sound which I’m sure listeners will love. For any new announcements follow myself over on my Facebook page.
Check out Sirra’s ‘SLR 001’ LP on Solr Recordings here.