To many, the music of Henry Saiz is the way of enlightenment. Texturally brilliant, pristinely layered, his modus operandi defines careful melody over meticulously constructed meters; all submerged beneath wrapped mantles of harmonically tuned beats. The music is insistent, an electronically symphonic anesthetic. You’re predisposed to call it hypnotic, but all the while, the mind is reaching; and very much aware; secured within the clutches of this consonant cloud. There is no musical law that confines or defines him, as boundaries are obliterated and traditional music principles – though respected – are left behind.
The Spaniard is heralded from every corner of the world, an intense respect for his music exceeding beyond superstardom to a fervent mysticism. And while his admirers are in awe, his colleagues appreciate his talents for what they truly are: a predisposition to wade through all the muddy sounds in the world, and out of chaos, design harmony and structure. It is no wonder that esteemed record labels such as Renaissance, Global Underground and Bedrock embrace him; this DJ-Producer who is a true craftsman in his field. No piece of equipment or instrument eludes him. Vinyl, cassette, reel-to-reel, keyboards, drumkits – they are all his to subvert.
He has known many triumphs, his own label Natura Sonoris taking out 2011’s best label DJ Magazine with his remix of Guy J‘s Lamur bringing him to his first Essential New Tune on Pete Tong’s Radio 1. His 2011 Balance Series CD remains amongst the elite of all fine recordings. Stage to festival arena, studio to turntable; Henry cuts through the musical provender with ease. He is so automated, his humanism seems drowned. In this frenzy of adoration, where does the divine end and the reality begin? In the lead up to his Brisbane show with Lemon & Lime at Capulet, Lady Lex explores the Henry Saiz Phenomenon.
You’ve clearly demonstrated in your recordings and performances that you have quite a musical background. How has this background lead to you ending up in the studio and behind the decks?
I started making and playing music since I was a teen – in several metal, experimental, stoner and pop bands, and making music and sound design for Disney and Nickelodeon. Music always was my passion and I always wanted to make a living out of it, so I experimented and worked on it as much as possible. At some point, ‘doing’ became my main job. People seemed to be really enjoying what I was ‘doing’. I started producing some experimental electronica, but then went more club-oriented trying to save the experimental flavour. My first releases in 2005 boosted everything – they were noticed by Bedrock and Renaissance. Almost 10 years later, here I am, still doing what I love and what I always wanted to do.
You’ve always been really musically inclined and willing to push the boundaries: last year you were exploring the organic-live instrumental side of electronic music, and now you’re back behind the decks again. What are you trying to achieve with your music?
Music has always been a very personal and somehow intimate way of expressing myself. It will sound cliché, but with each track, I’m giving away a part of me. I’m always trying to put a certain emotion in it, a certain feeling, a certain story. Sometimes it’s not easy to explain with words – that’s where music comes to help; to soothe the mind, to pause the memories, to speak what cannot be expressed. I believe that music can change lives. Maybe one day, mine will change someone´s too. That would be the biggest reward.
Given you transcend so many boundaries in music whether organically in a band, or electronically as a producer or balancing progressive house with techno as a DJ: how would you describe the signature sound of Henry Saiz?
I don´t really follow any musical trend or style and my influences are too vast, so it´s hard for me to describe it: Melodic electronica with lo-fi disco vibe. Psychedelic house. My fans say I am my own style – I don´t know if it’s true but that´s a nice thought. I´m just letting my music speak for itself. Every single track I make, I´m trying to put out a message, and let people to interpret it the way they want it and feel it. That´s always the best part of the music-making process – evoking the emotions that people are sometimes scared to embrace.
What do you want to achieve with every set you perform?
Taking the crowd on a journey. Too many DJs nowadays are all about dropping banger after banger. I am trying to make the audience enjoy the ride so that tomorrow they wake up saying ’Damn, that was a soulful experience – and fun’.
You’re down under once more for a tour – Australia clearly loves you. What lasting impressions would you like to leave with us?
Touring Australia is always great fun. There is no trip here I don’t enjoy. Last time, I was down under in June with my live band and it was amazing: the crowd, the atmosphere, meeting some old friends and new ones. I just love Oz.
You’ll also be returning to Brisbane for the first time since 2012 – quite a few years for us. What can we expect from you?
The goal is always to make it unforgettable and fun. Expect it to be surprising, as there are lots of stuff in the bag to test.
From the archives: This is from our original site, MyCityLife, posted back on 11 March 2015