With some of the biggest club hits of the past ten years under his belt including the immense Ferrer & Sydenham Inc. Sandcastles (Defected) & Timbuktu (Ibadan), See Line Woman (Ibadan), Stockholm-Go Bang! and a monster remix of Julien Jabre's "Swimming Places (Defected), Jerome Sydenham
is a bona fide hit maker. Indeed, Sydenham and his Ibadan Records imprint are larger than ever. From the earliest years of acoustic, afro-tinged house to recent explorations into the so-called "Pan-African Electro" of the 10" series, the sound of Ibadan has always pioneered new directions in dance. Only someone with his unique cultural background could have founded a record label this innovative.
Born and raised in Ibadan, Nigeria to an English father and Jamaican mother, he was schooled in his teens in England before migrating to New York City in the early 80's. Sydenham's work today is largely influenced by the cultural diversity of his upbringing and has echoes of a musical history that spans indigenous African and contemporary western music. During the mid 80's he became involved in the underground dance music scene both as a DJ and a promoter. In 1986 he threw a successful weekly party in Philadelphia and by 1987 he had a residency at the legendary Nell's in NYC.
Impressed by Sydenham's love of music and business ability, Atlantic Records procured his talents within the A&R department in 1989. Over the next five years at Atlantic and later, East West, he honed his business skills in a major label environment, lending A&R direction to such artists as En Vogue, Gerald Levert, Simply Red and Das EFX. His underground dance music interests continued to run in tangent with his commercial A&R work at East West as he largely succeeded in crossing dance over to the mainstream with albums by Ten City and Michael Watford. As an A&R guy, he also compiled one of the most significant representations of early 90's deep house with his "Underground Dance Classics Vol. 1" CD showcasing some of the earliest productions from a young Roger S, Murk
and Pal Joey.
In search of an outlet for his own creative and entrepreneurial skills, Sydenham founded Ibadan Recordings in 1995. Passionate discussions about classic records and new jams with former Dance Tracks owner Joe Claussell
, led to more serious deliberations about the future of his label. Both were particularly unified in their approach to reworking the prestigious Atlantic Records Ten City catalogue, which Sydenham acquired from East West upon his resignation. Sydenham brought in Kerri Chandler
who shared similar remix aspirations for Ten City's classics and thus the backbone of the label was formed. Sydenham's emphasis on outstanding musicianship challenged standard house music production values and the critically acclaimed Joe Claussell
compilation "Language" of 1999 which features productions by Claussell, Sydenham, Chandler, Marc Cary and Dele Sosimi is widely considered as a milestone in the deep house genre. 2001 saw the release of his own full- length collaboration with Kerri Chandler
, "Saturday" and bears out Sydenham's talent as a producer.
In 2003 he started the 10" Beat / TIB imprint which features the more edgy electronic side of the Ibadan sound. His "Pan-African Electro" direction reached new heights of popularity in the form of "Sandcastles" and "Timbuktu" co-produced with Sfere Records man, Dennis Ferrer. Licensed and re-released by Defected Records, `Sandcastles' entered the official UK Dance Charts in March 2005 after eighteen months of steady sales and building momentum on Ibadan. In an era of micro-genre madness, this record has appealed to an unprecedented cross-section of the DJ
community, A-listed by DJ's as diverse as Jeff Mills
, Joe Claussell
. Sydenham's latest foray into the world of electronic house comes in the form of a forthcoming mix CD, "Casino J Introduces The Electric Pussycat" featuring an outstanding collection of techno and house classics, old and new. Sydenham seamlessly draws from his own stable of material combining Afro rhythms with tracks by Carl Craig
- "Darkness" (Planet E), DJ Koze "Brutalga Square" (Kompakt), Ame "Rej" (Innervisions) and by doing so, delivers a truly unique range of repertoire.