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Dark, Dirty Basements, Afrojack vs. Carl Cox, Illegal EDM Downloads and The Best Pick Up Line—The Sick Elektrik Interview



Sick Elektrik are a duo (Ben O’Connor and Jon Verde) from the North West of England, raised with a plethora of musical styles all around them, they’ve grown into connoisseurs of electronic beats for the EDM culture world and with their own imprint State Records hitting charts the world over, them being in demand to release on a long line of labels and hitting the stage in venues all over the land, this is a pair you need to keep your eye on.

EDM is an American thing, its probably a fad, it’s bringing a new audience to dance music, but the kids coming through maybe need a history lesson.

For their most recent release the duo teamed up with label buddy Karlos Cheadle on "Drop The Beat," released July 24 via the legendary house music imprint, Nervous Records. Have a listen.

Questions asked, answers given...enjoy.

How do chaps, are you both well?

Very well thanks, keeping busy, ducking and diving.

Since you've only just entered summer in the UK, has the constant downpour meant you’ve been hauled up in the studio more than usual?

It has actually; normally when the suns been out we can hear the local beer gardens calling... But this constant downpour has put a stop to that and our productivity has gone up 99%. Which is good really we have taken on quite a few remixes in the last month or so and State is really keeping us busy!

What sound are you predominately leaning towards at the moment?

We've recently been actively focusing on straight up house music. In the past we think we have let our mood and to some extent, what's been popular, dictate what we have been producing. When we started out producing together the focus was very much on house music, signing our first 3 productions to New York’s Nervous Records, then we made a couple more underground tech house tracks which came out on Stefano Noferinis Deeperfect label and Sonny Wharton’s Whartone Records. Then I think we possibly lost our way a bit and got caught up with the hype of the progressive house sound, big break downs and hands in the air sort of stuff, which has been pretty successful and scored us some high Beatport chart positions, but now we really don't like where that sound is going, it's become too commercial and too obvious. Our last progressive tracks came out earlier in the year and that's it for that sound, now we're back to what we do best, real house and groovy tech.

What’s your opinion on the fact EDM (as all the cool kids are calling it) is going much more mainstream at the moment, good thing or a bad thing?

This whole EDM thing is sort of the reason why we have made the conscious decision to put our focus back on house music. We're not disrespecting people who produce that genre, but house music to us is about the underground, we personally as producers, DJs or fans would much rather be in some dark, dirty basement club listening to, or playing to a crowd that wants to be taken on a journey through sounds that you've never heard before than be in front of a light show listening to songs you hear on the radio everyday.

EDM is an American thing, it's probably a fad, it’s bringing a new audience to dance music, but the kids coming through maybe need a history lesson.

Do you aspire to have the success like people like Afrojack appear to be having? And what do you think the difference between him and say Carl Cox is?

Erm... He's got a lot to answer for, for bringing us DJ Paris Hilton! Haha. Not really a route we want to take. We aspire to be successful, but without compromising what we are about which is almost what we were doing without realizing it.

Carl Cox is basically a God in our eyes, you can't compare the two... Let's just say that Carl Cox just celebrated his 50th birthday and he's still at the forefront on underground electronic music, let’s see what Afrojack is doing when he's 50.

What was the first record you ever bought?

Ben: This is really bad... Kriss Kross “Jump Jump” on tape—wore my jeans backwards a few times too.
Jon: Not as bad as Vanilla Ice and "Do The Bartman." I got them both from Our Price!

What’s your special dance move?

Ben: Straight 2 steppin
Jon: The Worm

Do you think we’re slowly edging to a world where no one will pay for music and artists will need to improvise on other ways to make money?

Yeah it's getting to that point, had an argument with a guy who was posting an illegal link to one of our tracks on Twitter, just could not get through to him that it was wrong. Young kids just don't see it as being wrong they don't know any other way. Unfortunately it's only going to get worse.

Steve Aoki was recently ousted for his outlandish rider, what’s on yours and how do you think he handled the situation?

We found that hilarious, fair play to him. If you can get away with it do it, it's funny. Don't really get his vibe, but whatever floats your boat. Didn't see how he handled it, I imagine he threw a cake at the situation.

Where can we expect to see you play over the next few months?

Next up for us is Venus Manchester, hometown gig for us and we are bringing along some of our artists from State Records to host room 2 in the club as we launch our new night. Very excited for this one! Then over to Mallorca and Ibiza and back to Manchester again just after summer.

What tracks do you have coming out as a duo and on your label?

We have a track with Karlos Cheadle called “Drop the Beat” out now on Nervous Records.

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A remix for K-Klass called "La Luna" which is also out now on Whartone. Also we have a remix that we are working on now for Whartone that will be coming out really soon.

We're currently working on a single for the legendary Skint Records and we have a few collaborations in the pipeline that we are really excited about!

On State we've some huge releases from Brett Gould who's just had releases out on Toolroom, residents at Venus, Frater & Stent and a cracking house track from Aad Mouthaan.

Quick Fire Round:

Keep it healthy or pile on the grease?

Healthy (depending on hangover)

Still or sparkling water?


If you could be born again as any DJ it would be…

Ben: Carl Cox
Jon: Pete Tong

Your top 5 dinner party guests…

Pete Tong

Jay Z

Ricky Gervais

Aerton Senna

Kelly Brooke

What is guaranteed to get you tipsy?


Hangover cure?

Pint of lager... With a lemonade top.

Hobbies outside of music?

Ben: Big Formula 1 fan
Jon: Rugby

Your best chat up line is…

Ben: Hold out your T Shirt to a girl, get her to feel the fabric, then when she is feeling it say, "Do you know what that is?" she says, "What?"… You say, "Boyfriend material."
Jon: Go stand right next to a girl and then tell them they are in your personal space. Guaranteed that they will start talking to you.

Dish a secret on each other…

Jon wanted to be a hairdresser when he left school. His dad talked him out of it.

Ben uses Rogaine on his hair.

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