Saytek – I think if your not live , don’t fake it.

As one of the UK’s most exciting acts, Saytek has carved out a unique position for himself over the last few years. Having built a reputation for innovative, improvised hardware heavy live sets that span the house and techno spectrum he is now widely regarded as one of the nation’s very best live performers.

His expertise and confidence in using hardware to create totally original tracks right before the audience’s eyes creates the perfect blend of entertainment and unpredictability. Merely watching him build his live set via an impressive array of hardware including his trusty Roland MC909, Maschine Mikro, a Kaos Pad 3, Pioneer’s RMX1000, the Akai APC 40 and a DJ mixer is a joy to behold. Performing with all of these instruments through Ableton has now become second nature, meaning every twist and turn is controlled effortlessly, creating a dynamic experience for all involved.

Saytek, real name Joseph Keevill, melds a variety of styles mainly influenced by Detroit and Chicago; house, techno, those deep cutting edge sounds that still resonate with so many people today – though, being a Londoner, there’s a distinctly British flavour that permeates throughout his music. It’s an authentic sound that emanates a timeless quality, echoes of the past are evident, yet the future can be heard just as clearly in Saytek’s work. Years of experience in the clubs of England’s capital city, both as a performer and a partygoer, have informed his output and fuelled a recording career that has lasted over 10 years.

He built his name at one of London’s most legendary contemporary clubs, The End and Fabric alongside regular international touring schedule with releases on some of the industry’s most respected labels such as My Favorite Robot, Soma, Monique Musique, Lucid Flow, Love Not Money and Wiggle to name but a few. Keen supporters of his music include Carl Cox, Seth Troxler, Richie Hawtin, Luciano, Danny Tenaglia, John Digweed, Steve Lawler, Claude Von Stroke, DJ Sneak, Dubfire, Derrick May, Laurent Garnier and Nic Fanciulli.

We caught up with him during his busy schedule

Hi Saytek, thank you for joining us today. We hear you have been pretty busy of late with your 3rd Cubism release, how has the experience been so far?

Really happy , it’s been received very well getting some great reviews including here on Decoded , Faze Magazine Germany and DJ mag … Also I have some great tour dates lined up starting with this weekends Loco at Corsica studios I am very happy :)

Programming a release can be quite a long journey, can you talk to us about the processes it takes to get to release stage?

Yeah this one has taken a long time , I mean it was a good couple of months in the studio making and performing it. Then there is everything else to deal with when it’s your own label , I have pretty much engaged with every process in getting this release out there from chatting to the distribution to arranging mastering. The process has been very time consuming but ultimately worth it :)

Did you find with each album you are torn between events and places that inspire you when compiling your series or is it process you find relatively easy and straightforward?

It’s been easy because it’s a live album and have 23 tracks I can fit a lot of ideas and influences on there , it’s a journey through my influences past and present. But on the other hand it’s not been easy in the sense to make in the sense it’s quite a mammoth task and I have really focused on detail and sound design more than ever on this volume.

You are renowned for your live shows, what is the preparation that is involved on night? Do you have a dedicated live rig you use?

For prepping for a night I normally just have a jam maybe create some fresh material to perform that night . I love my hardware so u will see me on planes , trains and sometime on the streets trying to negotiate big bags and flight cases it’s hard work at 9 in the morning and the difference is even more obvious now DJs turn up with USB sticks.

There has been numerous articles over the years about advertised ‘live acts’ that merely create a show then actually playing live. Do you think they are being true to themselves and the fans or is it something more common that has become a necessary evil?

I think if your not live , don’t fake it. It’s a shame and I for one would feel at a loose end and embarrassed on stage in front of all those people pretending to do something I am not !

You have never shy’ed away from admitting in your earlier days that drugs and alcohol were a part of your life, but realised this was distracting from your passion of music. What advice would you give any aspiring producer or DJ who is stepping into the industry?

I am in recovery and addiction was a big part of my life , I have no off button and was really really out of control. So I got help and now I am totally abstinent from drugs and alcohol for nearly 6 years . I see a lot of people taking drugs having fun and I am not one to judge a lot of people can and do control their intake. But they also have a darker side if you have that addictive streak or issues so if you feel you have a problem get help. Unfortunately though it’s admitting you have a problem that’s hard denial is a big part if addiction.

You have over the last few years, been touring more and more; looking beyond the logistical and frighting nightmare of transporting your equipment, what is some of the exciting moments you have experienced whilst on the road?

I love touring first and foremost I love performing to crowds I am in my element , but I love the people I meet always find loads of great promoters and clubbers out there? I love the cities and the whole dance music culture. I mean for example 600 people In a secret warehouse party in Helsinki or dancing till dawn and beyond in Berlin … It’s a great way to celebrate life

Murphy’s law will always rear its head, what has been some of the worst moments?

Equipment failure and delayed flights are the worst things that happen , I want to do my job and if I can’t I am very upset and feel I have let some people down.

Touring can take its toll on the body and mind, as well as being away from family, what is some of the tips you can share to keep you going?

Try and eat well , exercise , relax . I normally like to try and spend a day in bed after touring sleeping and recouping I find if I do that I am back to myself much quicker if I don’t I am still tired by the middle of the week.

Is there any producer or DJ you would love to work with?

Yeah Darren Emerson would be great we have been talking about it for a long time, hahah hopefully we will get it together :)

Thank you for taking the time out to speak to us, is there any last news you can share?

Yeah my new albums out did we mention that ?

Catch Saytek with Scientific Funk ( Wiggle ) Avarice ( Pacha, Space Ibiza ) Jacque Dee ( Get Greedy ) Max E Groove ( London Live FM, Get Greedy )
KCS B2B Farside ( Get Greedy ) Baz Snedden ( Get Greedy ) at BrixtonJamm (One of our favourite London venues) Dec 27th. For more info and tickets, head here Plus we review his latest Cubism here


About the author

For the last 20+ years, Damion has been an international touring DJ, promoter, touring agent, label owner, magazine editor and producer. He is currently the Group Editor and Managing Director of Decoded Magazine. Hear more at https://soundcloud.com/damionpell-1

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