She goes by Sivz, Dj and Producer Sylva Sivzattian, known for "spinning the filthiest G House you can find," talks about the evolution of Beatginnings, her process and some upcoming projects.
Q: Where were you born/currently live?
A: I was born in Jordan in the Middle East and my parents are British and Armenian. I moved here for university when I was 18 and have been in Vancouver for 9 years ever since and never looked back. I love it here.
Q: What lead you into a career in music?
A: In one word, passion. I obsessed over the music in The Lion King when I was a kid and replayed the movie over and over again just for the songs. In high school I played the drums, guitar, piano and sang and wrote my own songs, either solo or in a band. I always wanted to go to music school but was told by one too many adults I’d never make a real living out of it. After graduating from UBC in Marketing & Psychology, I started discovering the local music scene and was heavily influenced by our local DJs. Naturally I began promoting at Ginger 62 and meeting more DJs. When I asked Gellert Horvath to show me the ropes on mixing I felt like I rediscovered concepts I had known my whole life and it instantly clicked that I needed to do music. Going to my first few music festivals was also life-changing for me and made me realize the impact that music can have on many people. It re-inspired me to live a life traveling the world through music, which was what I always wanted to do as a kid. I think people spend their lives looking for their passion, but I also believe at the end of the day your passion will keeping finding you in different ways until you realize it. The past couple of years have been my realization years so I’ve been chasing it really hard.
Q: How do you distinguish your sound/brand from other DJs?
A: I think if you ask anyone about my sound they’ll tell you I’m most known for spinning the filthiest G House you can find. To many people that’s a genre that’s come and gone, but I relentlessly keep it alive and introduce it’s new waves to different crowds and I think it’s making a comeback now; especially with the Brazilian Bass movement and artists like Destructo highlighting more G house artists in big productions. I also (personally) haven’t come across many girls known for the genre and I think a lot of people like to see that. It’s surprising to see what kind of music comes out of little, unsuspecting me when I jump on stage and throw on a gas mask! I think what’s also key is that even though I’m known for that, I’m also constantly evolving into new sub-genres of house. I can play a banging late night Tech House set at Gorgomish or lift your spirits with Soulful House at a boat party. As a brand and personality I’d say I’m also very real and an open book. I don’t try to be anyone else and I share how I feel about certain accomplishments.
Q: Can you talk about the background story of Sivz and how this name came to be?
A: My real name, Sylva Sivzattian is a true mouthful and as Armenian as you can get. I’ve been frustrated my whole life with people calling me “Sylvia” by accident, and I don’t expect anyone to take the ultimate test of pronouncing or spelling my last name. Sivz is a childhood nickname I’ve been rolling with that makes my life easier. People still get it wrong by spelling it Sivs and I cringe, but realize that happens to everyone. I sometimes wish I had some wicked DJ name with a smart play on words, but really I just am who I am!
Q: You’ve started Beatginnings which is an amazing event- Can you talk about this some more and what your selection process is for picking artists to perform?
A: Over time I’ve realized how difficult it is for so many artists to get booked in Vancouver, so I teamed up with Angelo Daniele (AKA Palehock) to start a night that helps bring upcoming DJs and Producers from the bedroom to the booth. Right now it’s a monthly event that’s 100% submission based to eliminate the fact that you’d typically need lots of followers, club music, a stacked guest list, or to sell tickets to get booked. Submitting is very straight forward; all we ask for is a mix, your originals (if you have any, not required), and a little bit of background about you and what you’re finding to be your biggest barrier to getting booked in the city. We welcome all electronic musical styles and levels, from House to Dubstep and from people who have never played a club show to veterans that took a break and are looking to network and get back into the scene. It’s a safe space to get comfortable on the decks, or alternatively test out your productions on a club system. We select 4 artists per show and look at the quality of the mix, and the appropriateness of the music to match the night should we do spin-off events at other venues like MIA. But with our home base in the Fortune Soundclub Livestock room anything goes, as long as you love it! We always commit to booking someone who has never played a club show before, as well as someone more senior to act as a role model. We get a lot of repeat submissions and always make it a point to prioritize those who don’t make it through in one round but try again for the next one.
Q: Do you have any upcoming projects you can talk about?
A: I’ve had a lot on my plate lately, but I’ve finally been putting some time into the studio collaborating with a new friend of mine, Shane Patrick Riley who’s an incredibly talented producer and 100% on the same page as me when it comes to our tastes. Both our friendship and our tracks are only getting better and we’re about to wrap up a few that I’m very excited about. There are a couple of labels I have my heart set on and I think one of the tracks is very close to what the owner wants to hear; so fingers crossed. But honestly, whether they get signed or not, I’m just happy to be putting myself in those producer shoes more and more and to finally have a couple pieces done. On the DJing side of things, I’ve got a few exciting shows and festival announcements coming up this summer, and I am continuing to release new House mixes on my Sylections Live mix series.
Q: How would you define the word success?
A: Success is doing what makes you happy, having a true support crew that believes in you and and having the ability to inspire others by doing what you love without even intending to. If you find one thing that passes time for you so effortlessly, that you can make a living out of, even just a bit, or even in the future, then I think that’s already success in a nutshell. As a DJ, I tell myself I’m successful if I give even just one person in the room a good night out and chance to dance their worries away. A memorable night to one person is a successful night to me.
Q: What is your process when creating a track?
A: I wish I had a tried and true workflow I could walk you though, but I’m still very very new to making music. I’m still learning from other people’s processes. I’ve worked with producers who showed me it’s great to start with the drums, the driving force behind House music. Sometimes I toss in any drum sample for background sounds while I work on nailing a catchy bassline before I take it anywhere else. Other days I go through endless samples until I find something that interests me, and a cool vocal that I’ll build a whole track around. Most days I really have no idea what I’m doing and things happen by complete accident. I’ve gone into the studio adamant to make make a G House track one night and come out with a Progressive, almost Psytrance track!
Q: Who are some of your musical influences?
A: Far too many to mention but I’ll try to to pick a few of my electronic ones. Deadmau5, Duke Dumont, Shiba San (and all Dirtybird artists), Daniel Fernandes, Vintage Culture, Sonny Fodera, Franky Rizardo, Dennis Cruz, Claptone, Latmun, Green Velvet and my most recent obsessions are Ghostea and Solardo.
Q: Who are some people you have collaborated with or want to collaborate with in the
A: So far I’ve collaborated with I Know Karate, my very first production mentor (and we will continue to collab), and secondly Shane Patrick Riley. Locally I would love to collaborate with Diana Boss, Sheps, Elazion, Phate and even Skiitour. If I were to take my ultimate picks, anyone in the world I’d say Shiba San, Duke Dumont, Latmun, Vintage Culture and Daniel Fernandes. I wouldn’t say no to Deadmau5 either….. But let’s get him to Tweet me back first.
Q: Can you talk about one venue in particular that you really enjoyed?
A: I’m really lucky to call myself a resident at Gorgomish. Probably one of the best places you can play in the city with its educated crowd, also known for eating it all up. I haven’t had it done to me yet, but you can get showered in money when you play a good set….. Only at Gorg! The sound system is also out of this world both on the dancefloor and in the DJ booth. Out of town I’ve had the pleasure of playing at Artisan Afterhours in Las Vegas for the Shiba San and Will Clarke after party, and it was great getting to spin to a new crowd on one of the busiest nights they’ve seen. I’m back there soon and at more Vegas venues for a mini-tour with a stop in San Diego. I’m looking forward to checking out those new spots.
Q: Do you have anything else you want your viewers to know about you?
A: Like I said, I’m a pretty open book, there’s probably no secrets I need to reveal or points I need to make. All us DJs begin to look the same with our flashy promo pics and such, but I just want people to know how I’m a lot more humble than I look! I’m the kind of person that only wants recognition when I really deserve it and have put in the time and effort like others have. I’ll never cruise on a free ride, piggyback on someone famous or think I’m the best thing since sliced bread because I can put track A and B together. I hope people can see the respect I have for everyone in the industry from event organizers, to dancers, and above all the producers who spend countless hours in the studio making the music we all connect to. I just want people to know me for being true to who I am - patient, committed and willing to start from the very bottom and move up at the right times.
Shane Patrick Riley -
I Know Karate -
Sylections Live Mix Series -