For our final interview to prep you for this year’s Contact Festival, we spoke with none other than local artist Sivz. Sivz has been a force to be reckoned with here in Vancouver over the last few years. With her residencies at M.I.A. and Gorg-O-Mish and appearances at festivals such as Snowbombing and Bass Coast, she is not one to miss.
As a Vancouverite yourself, how does it feel to now be performing for fellow Vancouverites at a festival like Contact? Does it hold any specific significance?
I spent a few years regularly hitting local clubs and festivals as a fan before my music career really took off in town. I hit as many festivals like Contact as possible to see my favourite acts play. I wouldn’t have believed you if you told me I’d be playing one of these big shows in a few years’ time, but here we are, and that makes me feel really proud to have come full circle with it. I’m excited to attend for the very first time, and it also be my debut in front of my fan base who have supported me since my very first show in town.
Over the past few years, you’ve not only had your own residency at venues like M.I.A. and Gorg-O-Mish, but you’ve performed at festivals like Snowbombing and Bass Coast and even performed as support or other artists such as Green Velvet and Chris Lake. Is there anything, in particular, you look forward to bringing to the stage at Contact from those experiences?
I’m really grateful that I’ve had so many opportunities to share the stage with artists I admire. I love getting these support bookings because I enjoy the process of crafting really customized support sets that hype up the headliners without stepping on their toes. When I started playing music festivals, I was pushed to start treating myself as a headliner. Rather than having any constraints on my playlisting in terms of what I thought was “appropriate”, I just started to do me, and that ended up being some of my best work and what’s most reflective of my sound. For Contact, you can expect the same, a truly Sivz festival set that’s a little bit of all things house.
How do you compare producing and creating your music as opposed to performing your music live? Which would you say you prefer better?
I have a complete split personality as both an introvert and extrovert, so producing and performing appeal to me equally and in their own ways. Producing is like a video game I’m hooked on that I can lose myself in for hours and experience such joy from. The loner in me really likes that no one else is involved. Producing is also a bit of a tough mental battle with yourself, and there’s nothing more rewarding than fighting through that battle and ending up with art, you can take pride in. Every time you work, you’re going to end up with something completely new that no one has ever written or heard before, so I always look forward to seeing what’s going to come out of a studio session.
On the flip side though, I’m definitely more of a selector, and a party girl through and through. I still regularly chase festivals and events around the world to experience that feeling of connection in the crowd. I live for it, so being the person in charge of building that connection is my ultimate high. It also gives me the chance to witness something very important to me. The reason I’ve gone into music as a career is because many times in my life, it’s the only thing that has helped me survive tremendous emotional pain and multiple traumas. I wouldn’t be anywhere without the albums I listened to during hard times or the nights I went out to dance it all off. All I want to do is pay it forward and help people cope and heal through music. So when I perform, I get to see people taking a break from the stress in their lives and living in the moment first hand, and that brings me such joy.
What inspired your most recently released single “Every Time”? Is there a backstory to it? Can we expect more music coming soon?
I had a good feeling about Every Time having some potential, so I kept working at it. I worked on it a bunch while travelling Europe and finally nailed down the vocals when I was in Cyprus. I sent it off to Westwood X on my next stop when I was in Berlin and was stoked that they signed it right away. It was my first choice for a label and releasing on it was another goal of mine crushed early. I’ve been hitting the studio a lot harder since working on three remixes and a couple of originals. Release dates are all TBD, but one thing I’ll say is that I seem to be going consistently deeper, darker, and more minimal with my sound.
What continues to be your point of inspiration throughout your career? Is there anything specific that immediately triggers and drives creativity for you?
I go out of my way to regularly experience shows and festivals, both in Vancouver and beyond. Even though I’m there to dance, I’m very attentive while I’m at these shows discovering new artists, the music they’re playing, and how they’re playing it. I go home with all sorts of ideas about what to do next. I’m also inspired by the fact that music is endless! There’s so much out there, and new genres are continually evolving. There are times where I lose interest in tech house for a bit, so I’ll go off on tangents, and I end up discovering genres like minimal groove or melodic techno. Suddenly I’m inspired by one sound here, one instrument there, and the next time I sit down in the studio, I can already see how those influences come to light in my own productions.
Now back to your Contact performance, is there any particular pre-show ritual you like to do before hitting the stage? What can we expect from your performance this year?
My pre-show ritual involves lots of playlisting and set prepping (I put way too much work into my sets), then jamming out on my setup at home to make sure it all flows together. Then, nap time is an absolute must. Next, I’ll host a pre-party at my place and have friends over to get in the mood.
For my set, you can expect my signature gradual build, blend of multiple house styles, and at least two or three originals I’ll push myself to play out. I plan to set a good and exciting tone for the crowd at the start of the night that will get them snowballing in energy all the way to Tiesto’s set.
What is one thing you hope the audience takes away from your performance at the end of the night?
I’m just happy to hype people up and be their very first impression on day 2. And if anything, I want aspiring local musicians in the crowd to be able to look up at me knowing I started in Vancouver just a few years ago and think “if she can do it, I can and will too.”
Celebrate this year’s Contact Festival alongside Vancouver’s very own Sivz on December 27th and 28th at BC Place. Tickets now available in the link below.
By: Shania Coombsget tickets