Few traveling producers and DJs measure up to the legacy of Ibadan Records’ Jerome Sydenham. He is nothing short of a modern music visionary who cut his teeth as an A&R rep for Atlantic Records and the infamous Nell’s nightclub during the peak of the 90s New York house era. Now residing in Berlin, he’s still at the cutting edge of dance music; still pioneering through a strong passion for artist development.
Jerome’s illustrious music career took off in the early nineties at Atlantic/EastWest Records as part of the A&R team that launched the careers of multi-platinum recording artists such as EnVogue, Snow, Das EFX to name a few. At the same time working with pioneering house music legends such as MAW, Kerri Chandler, Joe Claussell, Pal Joey, Dennis Ferrer, Timmy Regisford and the list goes on.
His own imprint – Ibadan Records – started its journey in 1995 with a string of house music classics, including the hit rework of ‘See Line Woman’ produced in collaboration with long-term friend Kerri Chandler. Jerome Sydenham showed his deft production ability as he moved effortlessly within genres of the electronic diaspora. His album ‘Saturday’ – co-produced with Kerri – clearly displayed his production range and musical ability as deftly displayed on tracks like ‘Rising The Sun’ – a timeless recording capable of working even the most finicky of dance floors into a frenzy.
By 2002, Sydenham started to explore further from the sound of New York that was his roots. While vocal and afro-house prevailed in New York house clubs, Sydenham chose to represent a new era in melodic tech-house and launched his 10” Beats series. With releases like the crossover deep tech-house record ‘Timbuktu’ and the mammoth ‘Sandcastles’ – co-produced with Dennis Ferrer and winner of – the label marked a major turning point in the global house scene. 2006 saw Jerome leave New York behind for the European shores of the Danish capitol, Copenhagen. There he launched Avocado Records with Danish producer, Rune (aka Kölsch). Shortly thereafter he founded Apotek Records, a platform for his growing passion for Techno. A move to Berlin in 2007 found Sydenham in the heart of a vibrant techno community and it was here that a musical resurrection occurred. Ostgut Ton enlisted his remix services for Len Faki’s ‘Rainbow Delta’, resulting in a bona fide throbbing, techno classic. Not long afterwards, his ‘Elephant’ collaboration with Danish producer Rune on Avocado rocked throughout the house and techno worlds.
Riding this wave of momentum, Jerome continued to craft a series of splendid remixes such as Carl Craig’s ‘Angel’ on Planet E, Adam Beyer & Joel Mull ‘Forming Dies’ on Drumcode, and another for Planetary Assault Systems ‘GT’ (Function & Jerome Sydenham Remix) on Mote Evolver. Even with all this success in Techno, Jerome never forgot his roots, as represented by his Kerri Chandler-esque ‘Flora Cruz’ hit remix in 2009 ravenously licensed to house compilations across multiple territories. Collaboratively, he’s been as active as ever remixing Dennis Ferrer’s ‘The Red Room’ with The Martinez Brothers on Ferrer’s Objektivity. Ibadan’s 100th release ‘White Light’ co-produced with another NYC Techno veteran – Function – has been one of the label’s most sought-after contemporary releases.
Further releases and remixes include a track on Kerri Chandler’s label Kaos Theory and a remix of the track ‘Cruel Intentions feat. Seth Troxler’ from the album by Art Department. Basement Galaxy, a remix compilation out on Apotek Records in 2015, showcased Jerome’s gold remixing touch on Techno tracks from the label past and present such as by Carl Craig, Radio Slave, Truncate and Xhin.
Sydenham’s first solo album ‘Animal Social Club’, was released on Ibadan Records at the end of 2012. Continuing on his sonic exploration in bridging Techno and House, Sydenham released the album ‘S.A.T.’ which is an album of co-productions with Aybee and Ron Trent released under the artist name S.A.T to acclaimed reviews. The year 2018 sees Sydenham releasing the album ‘Cosmic Urban Flight’ on BBE Music. Cosmic Urban flight is Sydenham’s endeavor at an energetic, DJ-friendly form of music that fits into today’s diverse sets. The year also sees Sydenham launching his ‘Editopia’ series on Ibadan Records showcasing his tight arrangement and editing skills offering a new interpretation of existing recordings.
Some names, a few faces and the places have changed. But from being at the highest echelons of New York’s house era to the forefront of Berlin’s relentless Techno industry, Jerome Sydenham is still doing what he does best: Quality Music.