Interview with

Rucyl & King Britt aka Saturn Never Sleeps

Saturn Never Sleeps came about when music producer King Britt and singer​/artist Rucyl collar​orated in 2009 for two improvisatio​nal perfor​mances specif​ically dedicated to the music and sound of fellow Philad​elphian Sun-Ra. Carrying on in the tradition of Sun Ra’s vision of process as art, they decided to continue their project, which led to a year of amazing opport​unitie​s. The duo has been inspired by the works of classic electronic innovators like Herbie Hancock, Raymond Scott, Delia Derbyshire, the present day forward​d-thin​king electronic scene as well as experi​mental composers, dub and rockst​eady. T​hese inspirations have transpired in a solid stage show combining laptop​/elect​ronics with heart melting vocals and improvised electronic instrumentat​ion, heavy bass vibrations and sonic ambiance. Their debut album, Yesterday’s Machine, combined an experi​mental create​-in-th​e-mome​nt vibe with inspir​ational lyrics and vocal sonics that range from Sade tones to Flora Purim’s ethereal layers. The result is well-c​rafted, intell​igent, genre-​pushin​g, electronic soul rooted in the duo’s collective years of experience and musical expanse.

Facts

Rucyl’s FACT:
1:  I’m working on building a Saturn Never Sleeps midi controller or function generator.
2:  My biggest influences are early dancehall, lover’s rock, and Sun Ra’s film Space is the Place.
3:  Saturn Never Sleeps is an interstellar journey to the unknown.

King’s FACT:
1: King James Britt is my real name. I hate when people call me Britt.
2: Saturn Never Sleeps is a project my fiance and I created.  It is now my…whole life! It is why i am here on earth.
3: My parents are the reason I am a great producer.

Questions

What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
King:  Over the years it has changed.  It used to be certain songs, then certain album, producers but now its pure ‚sound‘. Sounds inspire everything now.  Found Sounds especially.  Sounds taken out of context and given new meaning.
Rucyl: I’m inspired by the music of my immediate peers, by visual artists, and by human nature.

How and when did you get into making music?
King:  1984 I bought my first keyboard.  I wanted to make music like Kraftwerk, Vince Clark and Quincy Jones.  My friend Dozia and I started making things for fun.  We were called the Red Team.
Rucyl:  I left home at an early age and fell into music by accident, eventually joining The Goats, an alternative hip hop group, here in Philly.  Oatie Kato, one of the rappers/producer of the band , was an engineer-turned-musician. He had the first early Apple computers and was using DAWs in his home studio, and I was paying attention. I started with a Tascam four track, then moved on to a Mac Power PC desktop and a demo copy of Protools, and have been expand ing ever since.

What are your 5 favourite albums of all time?
King: Now you know this is one of the most impossible questions…but for now its the following:
1.- Off The Wall- Michael Jackson
2.- Black Celebration- Depeche Mode
3.- Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack- Various
4.- Songs from the Big Chair- Tears for Fears
5.- Three Days of the Condor Soundtrack- Dave Grusin

Rucyl: Also an impossible question for me to answer! but these five are always in rotation:
1. The Secret Life of Plants – Stevie Wonder
2.  John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman – John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman
3.  Dexter Gordon –  Round Midnight
4. Nina Simone –  Ultimate Nina Simone (curated by Dianne Reeves)
5. Linda Perhacs – Parallelograms

What do you associate with Berlin?
King: Techno! My early days of coming to Germany were Love Parade and performing on floats and afterparties.  From the early days of German techno to now the amazing work of Jazzanova, Dixon, Henrik Swartz and Ame, who have taken that history and flipped it into new movements in sound. Now Berlin is so worldwide, due to everyone moving there, that there are many hybrids being discovered and created… I love Berlin. Visiting….
Rucyl: Berlin makes me think of art, minimalism, industrialism, musical freedom and German food. My mother is of German / Russian descent and fed us well yumm.

What’s your favourite place in your town?
King: Philadelphia is a great city.  I have been here for 41yrs.  There are many amazing places but I must say that HOME is the best.  We have a beautiful place and I dont like to leave !!….hahahaha.
Rucyl: Home is definitely the best… and the parks.. We have beautiful parks and river access here in Philly and spending time in nature is my favorite refuge when everything else we do demand s constant use of technology.

If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
King: I would definitely be a film maker !
Rucyl: Visual artist or electronic engineer.

What was the last record you bought?
King: Low (remastered)- David Bowie (Berlin again…hahaha)
Rucyl: HTLV Ep by Sonnymoon

Who would you most like to collaborate with?
King: Anne Dudley!  she is one of my favorite string arrangers and pianists.  She is 1/3rd of Art of Noise and has produced and worked on countless records and soundtracks!  TOP NOTCH! also, Claudia Bruchen from the band Propagand a in the 80s.  Very distinctive voice !
Rucyl: Konono No. 1, Tinariwen, and Robin of Quadron

What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
King: As a spectator I must go with Radiohead live at Tower Theatre in Philly.  Holy sh*t.  Mindblowing energy. As a performer, the first Sylk130 show in Philadelphia at the TLA.  It was the beginning of the neo soul movement in Philly before anyone knew…amazing…so much love in the room.
Rucyl: When I was singing with the Goats, we played Germany in ’94, and the intensity of the crowd was unforgettable. Spectator wise, I recently saw Janelle Monae at a small venue here in Philly, and her execution and performance was incredibly inspiring.

How important is technology to your creative process?
King: It is very important.  Technology allows me to bring my ideas to life so quickly now.  Ableton has to be the best program on the planet for music. It allows me to be a musician and not a programmer.  Hahahaha…But ultimately it all starts with the idea.  The brain is the most important, then sound…then the computer.
Rucyl: Technology is everything.. but if you don’t have a story to tell, it’s pointless. I use it for everything, but always with the understand ing that it is a tool.

Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career?
King: No siblings.  There can be only one King Britt (my real name by the way).
Rucyl: 1 sister and 3 younger brothers. None of them understand what I do, but they love and support me 100%.

Our Favourites: Take it out  | Hearts on fire |  Lotus

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