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Sky so young: “I think I’ll always be in the process of discovering my sound”

Brooklyn-based artist Sky so young is gaining recognition in the music scene for her distinctive combination of sensory experience and melodic beats. Taking inspiration from diverse global sound, as well as analog and digital frequencies, she crafts an enthralling soundscape that aims to evoke a sense of movement and a state of flow.

Photo credit:   Sky so young – Official

With a background in industrial, graphic, and space design, Sky so young seamlessly translates her artistic vision into the realm of sound. Her music is a harmonious blend of different styles, skillfully building a groovy rhythm through an eclectic mix of sounds.

Sky so young has performed at various prestigious venues and events, such as Elements Music Festival, House of Yes, Williamsburg Watertower, and the summer rooftop of William Vale. Her performances have also been showcased in nightlife productions in NYC, including JunXion, Sonic Jungle, Love Medicine, BangOn! Elements, Sounddeck, Gaia Nomaya, Komunitas, and Deep Root Tribe.

EG had the opportunity to catch up with Sky so young to gain insights into her latest EG Spotlight.254 and explore her upcoming projects and future endeavors.

EG: Hi Sky so young! Welcome to EG. It’s a pleasure to have you here with us. How have you been? Where are you right now?

Sky so young: Hey EG! I’m currently in New York City – back home after summer travels. It’s great to ground my energy for the upcoming fall season. My place feels like a lush oasis within the city grid. All the plants are thriving and most recently orchids started to re-bloom in my room.

EG: You are the owner of a very unique and personal sound, often collaborating with live violins on stage. So, how did this come about? How did you come across electronic dance music? Was there a record or show that pushed you down the rabbit hole?

Sky so young: I got a chance to see Bonobo’s North Borders show in 2013 at Terminal 5. I remember being mesmerized by the live orchestra blending in harmony with electronic beat. The entire show sounded so dynamic with the live crescendos of the string instruments and the album had a completely new sound. I also heard that Simon worked with musicians local to the city he was touring in, which is such a cool approach to embracing that every show it’s own experience. This definitely ignited my draw for more melodic and cinematic-driven electronic music and always welcoming collaboration during my sets, in particular the violin, also brass instrument, and drums.

EG: And what was the process of finding your sound like? When did you first start DJing?

Sky so young: I think I’ll always be in the process of discovering my sound. I’m inspired by a wide range of genres within electronic music and constantly learning to better categorize my library. It’s interesting to look back on my older playlists as it’s so evident that my relationship with music has evolved. What I used to categorize as a ‘High-Energy’ track, now sounds downtempo and I still love the track but would probably play it for a way different scenario.

I really enjoy pairing tracks with contrast. If the current track has a melodic and introspective feeling, I question how to bring it back to a funk or groove. Then, I consider what the sonic thread is to blend the tracks together. I started DJing for immersive art events, dinners, and gallery openings. My first major booking was for In My Elements 2020 and Elements Music Festival 2021 & 2022 where I got to play on a way larger sound system, which was for sure a milestone moment.

EG: As an industrial, graphic, and space designer, what parallelisms can you find with the creation of a track or a DJ set? Do you take away anything from your trade to implement in your music?

Sky so young: The way I create my DJ sets is very similar to the way I design spaces. With design, I think big picture first, what is the wide brushstroke that carries the concept and then the supporting elements that can bring contrast or enhance the visual experience. I think a lot about how someone experiences the flow of the space and even though space is a vastly different medium than sound, you can build up an inviting dance floor through sound – it’s just like dimming the lights and adding ambiance.

With a DJ set, I like to consider the overall melodic journey. I’ll start with several foundational tracks that set the overall tone, then work in supportive tracks that can help build the momentum for those tracks.

“I’m inspired by a wide range of genres within electronic music and constantly learning to better categorize my library”

EG: You’ve already performed at Elements Music Festival, House of Yes, Williamsburg Watertower, and more. What are your dreams as an artist? Is there a dream venue?

Sky so young: I think my dream venue is not an actual venue, but an abandoned space that can tell a unique story of its vibrant past. Whether it’s a church, factory, or grand train station, these places hold historical context in a moment of time. The dream event would be a temporary activation within these spaces through immersive theater, artist installations & yes, a DJ set! Maybe I’m calling in a collective?

EG: Now, stepping away from the studio for a bit…Have you found any good books, movies, or albums lately that you’d recommend? Where do you tend to find inspiration?

Sky so young: I tend to lean more into non-fiction books & documentaries. A book I just finished is, A Sense of Self: Memory, the Brain, and Who We Are – it explains how the brain processes information to form the memories that shape us. Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers is a book I’ve had for many years that I enjoy flipping through from time to time. A book I love to travel with is translated poems by Rumi, the Persian poet in the 13th Century, they still remain timeless and relevant. The book is called Gold Rumi.

I always find direct inspiration when going to art exhibits, especially in NYC where there is a stimulation overload of things to see. A place I love to frequent solo is the sculpture garden at the Noguchi Museum. It’s located in a very unassuming industrial area and feels like entering a zen portal. There’s over 150 stone-carved sculptures made by Isamu Noguchi over the course of his lifetime. It’s definitely impressive to see this level of dedication to craft and it reminds me to constantly create, that no idea is too small to explore.

EG: As a female artist, what are some of the main challenges you’ve had to overcome? What are some of the aspects that you believe we should work on as a scene?

Sky so young: I think the key is realizing your energy input and output. Investing energy into nightlife scenes that are supportive and community based, feels right for me. Some of my most memorable DJ sets have been so unexpected, in the side room of a larger party where the energy starts from your supportive friends and just grows into the most bumping side room set. It’s a special moment when you can connect with the people who are invested in your sound, the pressure is off and they are down for the journey.

This entire exploration for me is trying something new. There are many scenarios that I’ve navigated learning that this is either a moment to advocate for myself or just go with the flow. I know when an event producer genuinely aligns with my music and books me for a time slot that they know I’m capable of. It’s a level of altruism that I appreciate and that opportunity has even pushed my own imagination for what I’m capable of. We live in a culture that needs to showcase constant linear progression and for me, it’s not a linear experience. There are many directions I want to explore on my own timeline.

EG: Right now, social media seems to play a completely prominent role in the development of an artist’s career. What’s your stance on this? Is the bringing us closer than ever, or is it drawing our attention away from the actual music?

Sky so young: Social media is a mesh for digital community and definitely a tool to share highlights of your life creatively. It’s just one aspect of the vast ways of connecting and it shouldn’t be the only form of networking.

I laugh when I relate it back to when a tree falls in the forest and no one is around, does it make a sound? And similarly: If the DJ doesn’t post on social media of last night’s set, did it happen? The answer to that is truly different for everyone. As long as you are expressing yourself in an authentic healthy way, I support people posting about their wins and experiences. I also support posts regarding mental health and life’s challenges – human to human, that is most relatable.

It’s all about finding what works for you and being cognizant of what you’re consuming. Let’s be real, you are what you consume. I cast a pretty wide net for my digital intake so it’s balanced with all my interests in architecture, design & food – then music. I admit, that I follow more ceramicists than DJs.

“We live in a culture that needs to showcase constant linear progression and for me, it’s not a linear experience. There are many directions I want to explore on my own timeline”

EG: What’s next for Sky so young? Where can your fans catch you next? What new milestones are you looking forward to in 2023

Sky so young: This EG Spotlight is definitely an exciting milestone for me. I’ve admired the Electronic Groove platform for many years and appreciate the inquisitive questions asked in this interview that merge all my interests in both music & design. This is my first time sharing more about myself through the lens of Sky so young. It feels great to feel aligned with the timing of it all, I don’t think I would have felt ready for this last year and it reminds me of the actual progress I’ve made as an artist.

This mix is a collection of 22 tracks that flow from retro groovy basslines, earthy percussive drums, melodic deep house and vocals. I wanted the mix to open invitingly with a smooth and steady build with moments of dynamic shift. Making a mix always feels like encapsulating a moment in my life and this is absolutely the moment. 
Thanks for tuning in!

Sky so young EG Spotlight.254  is out now.  Listen here.

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