Coming in hot today with his brand new EP, we had the chance to sit down and chat with Wakaan rising star Sully (real name Chris Sullivant). Dropping earlier today, his Break The Floor EP contains seven monster tracks from the Los Angeles based producer and Icon Collective alumni.
Take a listen to his new EP below and give our conversation with the up and comer a read below. He tells us about his time at the esteemed Icon Collective, working with Wakaan label boss Liquid Stranger, connecting with UK nightlife legend Annie Nightingale, and what he has coming up in 2020. Enjoy!
How did you get started with producing/DJing?
When I was 15 or 16 years old. I found a super old digital DJ disc player type-of-thing in my friend’s basement. It was essentially an off-brand CDJ player, but I thought it was the coolest thing on the planet. My parents bought me Ableton that Christmas and I immediately began messing around with production. I was quite terrible for the first 3-4 years of messing with this new hobby of mine. I attended Western Michigan University and decided to study Audio Engineering whilst being on the Varsity soccer team there. The lifestyle balance was a lot, so I decided to quit the soccer team after my first year and pursue music full time. For the first time in my life, it felt like I had a passion for something that wasn’t sports, so I took a leap of faith and went for it. I continued to get better throughout college but I still felt like I didn’t have an X-Factor or Identity with production. I decided to go to Icon Collective after I graduated college in 2017. It was during Icon where I felt like I made a huge breakthrough as a producer and started to feel like I was developing some kind of identity. About 6 months after graduating Icon, I started releasing music as “Sully” which puts us where we are today!
What’s been your reaction so far to huge names playing your music out this year? Liquid Stranger obviously but also Protohype and even Excision.
It’s an extremely humbling thing to experience. They’ve all paved the way for producers like me over the years and have built so many strong communities in the process. Liquid Stranger is someone I feel like I owe a lot of gratitude towards. Within a couple weeks of releasing my first tune, Martin was already supporting me and playing my music out nearly every set. Now we share the same management and I’m releasing on his label; it’s crazy to think that this just began for me back in March.
Any upcoming collabs you can tell us about?
I have two collaborations on the “Break The Floor” EP. One is titled “Asylum” with my friends Fetish. They are extremely talented house/downtempo producers that l went to Icon with. You can find them on Tchami’s label, “Confession.” The other track is with Isaac Castor, a good friend, and rapper out of Detroit, Michigan.
As far as future collaborations go, I have a track releasing with my friend G-REX on Wakaan next Friday 12/6 called “Clique”. I also have a track with PEEKABOO called “Broken Calculator” that we hope to put out in early 2020!
How is the Double Vision tour going with Champagne Drip and Luzcid? Can you tell us a bit about that?
The Double Visions tour was the perfect way to introduce me to a new lifestyle that comes with touring. Neil (LUZCID) and Sam (Champagne Drip) are two of the best role models and artists that I’ve ever gotten the pleasure to know. All the shows had insane energy and I got to meet so many fans I didn’t know I had along the way. One of the most surreal moments was playing in front of my college and hometown friends in both Grand Rapids and Detroit. I started off as a local DJ playing in venues across Michigan so to return on a nationwide tour was a very full circle, wholesome moment for me.
How did you connect with Annie Nightingale for your BBC 1 mix?
To be honest, I got a random email one day from Annie’s manager, Zoe. She asked me to share released and unreleased tunes with her because Annie stumbled across my first tune, “Frequency Shift”. I got an email back a few days later asking if I wanted to do a guest mix and the rest is history!
Who are a couple of your inspirations within the dance music industry?
Skrillex is by far my number one influence overall musically. He’s one of, if not the biggest, pioneers of dance/bass music in America. On top of that, the guy just makes hits on top of hits. I look up to Noisia so much in terms of sound design for my tracks. I think they are the best there is when it comes to making something sound unique. I also love pop music. Max Martin blows my mind with how many cool records he’s created. I actually have another project that’s all poppy electronic music that hasn’t been released yet. Some of it might come out under “Sully” but I want to wait for the right time for that.
Who are a couple of your inspirations outside of the dance music industry?
I grew up playing the drums in my basement trying to mimic songs from The Beatles, The Who, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Incubus, Green Day, Blink 182; the list could go on forever. Being a musician at a young age set the foundation for what I’m doing today. I would even do drum covers over big rap songs. Maybe I should dust off the cobwebs and make a video sometime to post. I would love for fans to see this side of me.
That’s amazing. We’d love to see them! Who are you personally listening to right now?
My roommates Peekaboo, Effin, Fetish, & Haiku are some of my roommates. I think being in such a talented household has pushed us all immensely in the last two years of living together. We are all making such different and cool music. I love it. G-Rex is another good friend of mine- love his tunes. Outside of bass music, I’ve been loving rinsing through early 2000’s alternative rock throwbacks, something about them lately has been really nostalgic and been helpful creatively. Sasha Sloan is incredible, Labrinth (everything he did for the Euphoria soundtrack), LEON is great (imagine Bruce Springsteen and Lana Del Rey having a child), Whethan, Louis the Child, Noisias “Outer Edges” Album is always on repeat. Just naming a few here.
What’s on tap for 2020 from Sully?
2020 is going to start off with a bang. I have a single and another EP slotted for late January/early February with my favorite and most anticipated songs. I can’t wait for everyone to hear it.
I’ll also be touring again in the spring, but I can’t spoil too much about that yet 🙂
Lastly, what do you want to tell your fans about the new EP?
This EP is a culmination of projects I made when I was trying to find my breakthrough moment as a producer; in fact, all of them were started when I was a student at Icon Collective back in 2018. Over the last couple of years, these projects have grown with me as a producer and I couldn’t be more proud of how they all turned out after so many changes.
Thanks so much to Chris for chatting with us and we can’t wait for what’s next from him in the future! Be sure to support Sully on socials below.