For over 10 years Jannis Siopis has been bending minds and souls to his unique blend of electronically warped musical wizardry. And, as the sun sets on a season of sumptuous outdoor adventures, he graces the main stage at Make Believe, one of Cape Town’s foremost house tableaus. Whether you are familiar or not, the promise of pants-ff dance-offs are increasingly large, so we got together with the maestro to get a deeper insight into what the day and night spectacular will hold.
MCBN: For those of us locals who may not be completely familiar with Siopis, how would you personally describe your sound?
Siopis: Its always different to describe a sound or music with words, for me it’s important to have your own style… You have to listen to it.. I play between 120 – 124 BPM. I like it deep & dirty.
MCBN: With travelling around the world, have you heard much of the South African scene? What is the general impression, if any, that comes from overseas?
Siopis: I hear a lot the last 2 years about the festivals and parties in South Africa, also artists like Lazarusman or Black Coffee, Jimmy Chronic are a symbol for me … The last time I experienced South Africa was a year ago with this amazing Make Believe party. It was located in Cape Town at an old train station, an amazing party!
MCBN: We’re pretty certain that this will change after you play in Cape Town, and particularly the magnificent venue in Elgin, but if you could play anywhere in the world where would it be?
Siopis: I like to play everywhere by the way 😉 Most at my place for friends and family or at some special after hours places in Berlin. Everywhere and anywhere where I can give good vibes and energy! Even if it’s for 2 people around the corner from me, the most important thing is not the hype behind the DJ… It’s not only me, the crowd, for me is the party! And you know, it’s all about music.
MCBN: You are quite a man of the arts, I have seen that you have roots in the breakdancing and graffiti scene, is this something you still practice?
Siopis: Every morning when I wake up I do a turtle walking backspin, one handed handstand headspin, into Handglide freeze and of course the legendary windmill to finish it off… Hehe, not really I think I’m a bit too old for this now… I still like to see some nice paintings and follow graffiti artists but I don’t have so much time to do it now ..
MCBN: You also use the “Silversurfer” pseudonym. What is the difference between this guise and the Siopis brand that is venturing down south?
Siopis: Silversurfer for me, was the playground in which I learnt all the technical stuff when I was not really ready to produce the music that I had in mind, well not 100% ready.
‘Welcome to Berlin’ was made in one night using Fruity Loops, after my first 2 weeks ever in my home studio. That was in 2003. Now I think I’m more into the technical stuff and it’s easier to realise the music that I have in my mind. Now I can say that I’m more myself…so Siopis is my last name.
MCBN: Your house is on fire!!! Ok, in a hypothetical sense at least, what 3 items do you quickly grab?
Siopis: My USB, my girlfriend and my head
MCBN: You’ve been going for well over a decade now, and in that time you must have seen many artists come and go. Which young, up and coming ‘lil whipper snapper should we look out for in the future?
Siopis: Hmmm, difficult… I like David Kassis productions, I also Nikkname from Greece.
MCBN: Suddenly Putin has become global president and has outlawed house music on Earth, what would be your alternative way to pay rent?
Siopis: More give and take communities… I can play weddings, birthday parties, give free downloads away and get some food and that’ll sort out my rent deal.
MCBN: If you were to do a collaboration with anyone on the planet, who would it be and why?
Siopis: I think some old school guys like Africa Bambaattaa, Newclues and maybe Pharell for some vox ;-))
MCBN: I need to please the tech geeks so what tools are going into your productions, and is there any secret you can give to admiring producers?
Siopis: I use Ableton for fast productions and bringing ideas together. After I make the sound and I re-wire it with Logic. I also have some external synth like the Mini Moog voyager and drum machines like the 808.
MCBN: So we have heard that you might be hanging around these parts for the local Afika Burn festival. Do you have any idea what youre getting yourself into? And in the whole “trade” ethos of the event, what will you be bringing to the party?
Siopis: A nice costume, a lot of serious music and good energy!!
MCBN: Finally the dreaded MCBN “would you rather…” question. So would you rather be half your height, or three times your weight?
I don’t prefer either of those…
MCBN: Thanks Siopis, and we cant wait to Make Believe!! Afrika Burn….