Music has always been Rony Seikaly’s passion. The Lebanese/American DJ and producer have played every major club worldwide. Since 2010 he has released on different labels including Suara, Saved, Yoshitoshi Recordings, and many more. Recently he began his own Stride Records imprint and continues to run his radio show ‘Sugar Free Radio’, now in its sixth year.
His goal for future upcoming gigs is to focus on bringing his distinct style of music to clubs that matter to him, continuing to follow a quality-over-quantity approach when picking his shows. From playing timeless sets, his ongoing new project as Stride label boss, creating brilliant productions, and building his radio audience too, Rony continues to do what he loves and does best.
We caught up with Rony Seikaly to talk about his current musical projects.
Electronic Groove: Hi, Rony, it’s a pleasure to talk with you today. In a previous interview, you mention your sound is made up of different styles of house music, that it could be deep techno, deep house with tech-house twists, or melodic techno. What was the way/road to reach that maturity in your sound?
Rony Seikaly: Thanks for the invite. I thought we’d been listening to the same style, everybody is playing and producing the same style of music so I just wanted to be free without any constraints of producing music for a certain label. If you do music for a record label you would have to do what they are looking for, and it doesn’t give you the freedom to do whatever you want. Part of the reason I started Stride is that I can be out of that box and to do something different. I use diverse elements, I don’t need to use straight tech-house, straight deep-house, or straight techno, I can use bits and pieces of everything and create my own sound.
EG: You’ve recently released ‘Flying Circles’ and ‘What For’ on your Stride label. What do you look forward to when you produce a track?
Rony Seikaly: What I look forward to is a groove. I just make sure that the track has that special groove that reaches the soul and body. I can start producing a track with any element as long as the groove is always there, that is the most important element for me.
EG: Stride has also recently released the ‘What For’ Remixes, how did the collaboration with Luciano came about?
Rony Seikaly: Luciano has been a friend for some years. I asked him to create this remix, he agreed on doing it and it was a very nice gesture. I respect him tremendously, as an artist and as an amazing talent. He is one of those guys who always put a smile on people’s faces, at any club he plays, because of his vibe and his music. He is an outstanding musician, a great DJ, and producer.
EG: Stride is a platform that was created to launch your own productions and it is performing very well on the deep house labels ranking. What would you say is the secret to become a successful imprint?
Rony Seikaly: I wish I knew the secret, if I knew it I would have done it a long time ago 😉 If you make the music and people enjoy it… that is the only way I think. Music is a signature that you have, a label is one of the ways you have for people to get to know the style of music that you are presenting. I guess that is what makes Stride different.
“I just make sure that the track has that special groove that reaches the soul and body”
EG: Mila is the name of your daughter and also the name of your next EP on Stride, obviously there is a connection between the two, but what is it?
Rony Seikaly: I made this track for my daughter. She is going to college next year, she’s been my baby for all these years and going off should be an amazing experience for these kids. I just want her to always know that I’ll be there, no matter what. As much as I want her to go, I don’t want to let her go, that is basically what the track is about.
EG: Moving into the uncertainty of the current situation with COVID-19, the music industry is facing some tough times, more specifically clubs and live events. Do you foresee a new direction in how the industry evolves?
Rony Seikaly: I think this is a temporary thing, it may last another few months and at some point we are going to have to figure out a way to get back to having fun, listening to music, and being with our friends. So it just a matter of waiting and hoping that it’s sooner rather than later. To me, I’ve been able to use this time to make music and be ready for the next episode, whatever it is.
EG: You are a regular visitor at Burning Man Festival, unfortunately this year won’t be happening, but would you say this is a special one for you and why?
Rony Seikaly: I’ve been going to Burning Man since 2006, I haven’t missed a year. To me, Burning Man is part of my yearly program. I love it, it’s an amazing experience. We are going to miss it tremendously, but I’m not sad about taking a year off because it’s really taxing on me to take that time off and being in the desert. You need a couple of weeks after coming out of the desert to come back down to the reality of life. It’s good to take a break once in a while, we’ll be back soon 🙂
EG: What are your plans for the rest of the year and what would you like to achieve?
Rony Seikaly: I just want to keep doing what I love, making music and being in the studio. I do this because I love it, I’m not in a hurry for anything to happen, one way or another. I just want to continue making and putting out music, hopefully it will resonate more and more.
‘What For (The Remixes)’ are now available via Stride. Grab your copy here.