Sulta possesses a natural talent for electronic dance music; as if it is in his DNA. DJ and Producer, Denis Sulta can now add singer to his list of accomplishments with this new track - released on November 10 last year - featuring his own vocals despite having never sung on anything before, telling us this masterful track only took around two and half hours to complete.
After his release of It’s Only Real in 2015, Sulta exploded from Glasgow’s stratospheric club and music scene, making his way to some of the best venues around the globe including the Warehouse Project and Panorama Bar. With an appreciation of his Scottish roots, the track is about relationships with your current and old self, acknowledging the person inside of you that used to be. Taking influence from synth-pop, his latest single, World of Flies features the dynamic sound of synthesisers, combining them with euphonic vocals to ensure a truly charismatic single.
Since his last release in 2020, Sulta’s musical, and emotional, evolution is evident, using what he has learned over the past few years to take the music industry by storm yet again. Having already toured Europe, Sulta will be touring Asia from February 16, securing his place as an international star.
You worked part-time in Rubadub Record Store when you were a teenager which would have been full of a multitude of artists, so this must have had an impact on your musical choices. What genre of music first got you interested in DJing? Did you hear techno for the first time and think “this is it”, or was there a transition period?
I was first inspired by hip-hop and disco, those were definitely the first things that totally caught my attention. I think the dance music I really loved, that got my attention, was the stuff that sampled or took influence from those hip-hop and disco. I liked how electronic music could pull from other genres and still be its own thing.
The track title of your latest release is named World of Flies, which instantly got me thinking of the novel Lord of the Flies. Did the themes of this novel such as brutality and hostile environments influence your making of the single? If not, what was the main inspiration for this single?
I guess those themes could be somewhat accurate! It's about letting go of a frame of mind that I was unable to see, until I was ready to accept it wasn’t good for me - accepting the bad parts of my character, exposing it to the light.
This is the first single you have released in three years, so what did you do during this suspension apart from touring and securing your place as one of the world’s most prominent DJs? How do you manage to balance your personal life with your DJing life, or is DJing your life?
I was touring a lot, I very much enjoyed the experiences and places I have travelled and meeting the great people along the way. The balance of life is a perfect ideal that I suppose a lot of people strive for. I have a wonderful partner and I enjoy every second I get to spend with her, touring every weekend and sometimes during the week gets exhausting. I’m looking forward to a circuit break, some time to spend building a new plan for the Sulta and enjoying spending some time with my family.
What was your creative process for producing this single? The track is reminiscent of 80s pop and the vocal reverberations and synths that bands like Eurythmics and Depeche Mode used. Were there any technologies or software that were essential to get this specific sound for your track?
I used the U-He synth Diva for all the synths, it's in F sharp. I was on the phone to my Dad that day and said “Hey Dad I'm just going to play 1 note today and see if it works” he replies “cool idea, what note?” “F Sharp” “nice, nice note” - my dad plays the keys. I layered the basses, added some noises and atmosphere, kept the drums really simple then just sang and I hadn't ever sung on something before. It sounded class and I did it in two takes. I had to redo the second verse one time I think. The whole thing took about two and half hours.
This is the first track you have created that features your own vocals. How did you feel hearing your voice sing back to you when listening to the completed single for the first time? Is this something that you are going to continue adding to your singles?
It feels really cool to hear them back, I wouldn't know it was me if I didn't know it was me (laughs). Jay the mix engineer that worked on the track did a ridiculously great job of making it all much bigger and it's a crazy feeling when people sing the words back to you!
The opening lyrics of the track are “You are no friend of mine” – that’s quite a strong and bitter start! When listening to the rest of the track, the lyrics combined with the heavy bass give a feeling of irritation or resentment. Is this single about selfishness in relationships; people that take but don’t give?
It's written about a part of myself which makes it easier for me to be bitter and resentful. I think if you are going to write and perform something it has to be honest and I honestly could never sing or perform something malicious towards another person. Writing about your relationship with yourself or past selves is a nice tool to use. It's also just the way my thoughts were orientated at the time, it all happened very quickly. Often the best bits of music or art happen in an instant, when you're not trying and just being honest or having fun.
The press release describes your work as a flavourful “production palette” which I think is perfect. Do you think your work has a linear and coherent vibe? Or do you agree that your EPs and singles consist of a myriad of aromas and spices?
Nowadays I like to try and make things a little more coherent, a little more structure. My Ninja Tune LP was definitely an artist exploration and I toyed with a lot of disruptive and unsettling ideas. I’m really happy to give anything a go, although I do like clean synth sounds, my sound design knowledge is far from vast. I’ll push buttons and turn knobs until it sounds cool.
Where has been your favourite venue to perform? You’ve travelled the world with your sets and experienced many dierent environments and crowds. I’ve been to Space in Miami a couple of times and oh my goodness it's incredible, that would definitely be my pick! But one must have stood out to you. Where have you experienced the best energy from the crowd, surely Glasgow?
Space is killer! I love the new index in Dublin, it's fantastic. Glasgow of course is a next level place to play, people are just totally ready to go. Australia is another one, with amazing energy. One of my all time favourites though I have to say is Pacha with Solomun. [It was an] unbelievable honour to stand up and go b2b with the boss!
You said in your biography that you would like to collaborate more with people now that you have a new-found confidence in yourself. Who is the one artist, dead or alive, that you would collaborate with to create the craziest mash-up? Think Mozart or Willie Nelson.
Avicii, I would have loved to have been in a creative environment with him, I’ve watched how he layers elements and how he constructed his melodies.
What are you most looking forward to now as a DJ with a secure fanbase and sound?
Coming up with a new show, getting married, making some new exciting music, playing golf, eating stew and playing the odd game of chess.
What is your best memory looking back at the past year, 2023?
The day I proposed to my fiancé Saoirse.