Sien Strickly

Already revered in his homeland of Chile for his scintillating turntablism skills as Sien Strickly, Manuel Bustos Wilson catches up with Red Bull halfway through his 12 month musical sabbatical to Sydney.

Manuel Bustos Wilson seemingly had it all happening for him in Chile under his DJ/producer guise of Sien Strickly. Since taking out the DMC turntablism title in his homeland in 2001, and subsequently repping at the world finals at London’s Apollo Theatre, he’s never been short of work behind the turntables.

Indeed, his last gig before setting up ship on Sydney’s north shore was in support of the world-beating Skrillex, with supports for A-Trak, Diplo, and Massive Attack and festival slots at festivals like Mysteryland before that. He’s also been invited by Red Bull Music Academy to talk to aspiring Chilean musicians about his decorated career.

2012 isn’t the first time Manuel has lived overseas, having spent some time in Barcelona in 2006, but he relocated to Sydney in May looking for both a fresh challenge and to make new connections.

“I’m here for trying to make a bridge between Chile musical scene and Australia musical scene,” he tells Red Bull when we catch up near the iconic Sydney Opera House. “I got interested in Australia because it’s like a new country, but it has a big influence from all parts of the world.”

The drummer, who honed his chops at Conservatory of Music of the Universidad Católica de Chile for seven years from the age of 10 before discovering hip hop culture and turntablism in 1998, has spent his time here wisely. He’s just put the wraps on his 4-track Honesty Is The Best Policy EP, a release that could be lazily tagged as electro house with turntablism if Manuel hasn’t been so successful at his quest “to make music that I feel is not predictable”. Just check opening track Favela for some idea of a style that leaps all over the place, but somehow still makes sense for the dance floor.

 

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“I grew up listening to jazz, Latin music, African music, a lot of styles of music,” Manuel says when quizzed about his sound, “and when I started to listen to more electronic music, I felt interested in the sound. I don’t listen to it and go ‘this is house, this is electro’. It’s like art, when you see a painting it’s difficult to say it’s good because of the techniques. If you see the painting and you feel things with the painting, it’s good – and music is I think the same.”

Manuel is now around the halfway mark of his intended 12 month stay in Sydney, and with the EP finally completed, he’s keen to move on to the next parts of his Australia plan – collaborate with local producers and musicians, and finally step back behind the decks in local clubland.

“When I arrived here, I didn’t want to go to the clubs and say ‘hey, hey, hey, I want to play’,” he explains. “The last three years I’ve been playing a lot. I’ve been learning a lot, and really I think I’d been doing the same thing a long, long time, and I feel like I wanted to change. So you need to stop, see this from the other point of view, and then come back to playing but in a different way – with more improvement in your skills, your music, everything.

“I’m working now on a second EP, so for this second EP I would like to meet people here and of course work with people – that’s one of the reasons I’m here. When I arrived I wasn’t trying so much to meet people, because I think that things happen – you need to let it happen naturally, let it flow, you know? Maybe with my second EP I would like to work with local people or artists living here in Sydney or Australia.”

And even if the connections don’t come naturally, he’s confident his Sydney sabbatical is already a successful one.

“I don’t live here with any expectations,” Manuel says. “The only thing I want to do here is have the opportunity to show my work, and with that hope to meet people in the same frequency.” 

Sien Strickly’s Honesty Is The Best Policy EP is available now through http://newkidsonthenoise.com. To stay in touch with his upcoming gigs or make contact, follow him on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/sienstrickly.



 


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