Sunnery James and Ryan Marciano Interview


Club Octagon started the new year off strong with a ton of great international acts.  To finish out the month of January, house DJ/production duo Sunnery James and Ryan Marciano delivered a powerful set that was well received by the crowd.  Keeping the music energetic, yet diverse, we were impressed by their performance and song selections.  Following their set, we had the opportunity to sit down and chat with them about a little bit of everything.  Check out the transcript of the conversation below!


First off, Happy New Year! How have the first few weeks of 2015 been for you guys?

Sunnery:  It looks like July already.  We had so many things.  We are off in January, but we’ve been in the studio.  We [were] working  [on] our radio show and find new tracks, so it was really busy actually.  We didn’t tour a lot in January, but now already we did two tours — one in the states and now one in Asia.  So it’s quite a year already.

Out of the 365 days in a year, how many of those days are spent on the road?

Ryan: But still, this doesn’t feel like work…only the traveling — that feels like work.

Sunnery: I mean if you had to count it, we have like 250- 265 flights a year.  So if you think about that, you’re flying a lot.  That’s for sure, but I don’t count how many times I’m home.  I always try to go home to my family wherever I am.  After this…flying back home, and that’s what counts at the end of the day…

Spending so much time touring, how do you find time to keep up with your fans on SNS?

Sunnery: Yeah, we have our own accounts — Ryan Marciano/Sunnery James.  And we have one together — SJRM.  That’s more…for the people.  For something more personal.  And we try to capture everything on tour — when we [are] in the plane…when we eat something somewhere.  Like, we had a duck in Hong Kong.  We posted a picture.  That’s how we do it and thank God for the iPhone because that’s how you keep up.  And we also have a team who’s also on our social media…also individually…Sometimes you can’t post and they do it for us.

Tell me a little bit about how you got started with your radio show Sexy by Nature?

Sunnery: Actually, we wanted to do this already like 3-4 years ago and we didn’t thought the time was right for it.  And now we came to a point where the world got educated with dance music/house music.  And the thing where we always do in our sets — we play really diverse…from big room to techno to funky.  And this was the right time to start a show because people got more educated and you can show them a lot of different styles of music and they get it now…

Ryan: Before we were more like ‘Who’s gonna listen to this? Nobody’s gonna listen.  Maybe my grandma or something…’

[Everyone laughs]

Sunnery: If you do a radio show, you don’t wanna play the same sh*t in one hour.  You wanna play some different stuff [for] people to get used to…So this was the right time for us to start with this.

We’ve heard Ryan is a practical joker, Can you tell me your best prank or any good pranks you’ve done on tour?

Sunnery: Today, our tour manager…because the flight was delayed….he was fixing the tickets and everything and we had to go on another flight…Ryan took his jacket, and…h e took the stapler and took the bag of our tour manager and his jacket and stick it together.  So he was like pulling and he couldn’t get it up.  And he put a[n] egg in his bag.  This was Ryan’s doing.

[Group laughter]

Ryan: Yeah, it happens.

Sunnery: And one more thing.  I was really grumpy one time.  We played in Miami and we didn’t sleep and we had to go to, I don’t know where…London.  I don’t know anymore.   And we went through immigration/customs and he took my shoes and he did my laces really strong.

Ryan: Like tied it up.

Sunnery: And I was losing it, but then you have to take it and it’s fun.

What do you think are the advantages of being a part of a duo? How about the challenges?

Ryan: The great part is I don’t have to answer any questions.  [Group laughter]  So that’s a good part

Sunnery: Yeah, there you go.  The thing is, we started this not because we wanted to be DJs, we started as best friends.  We just met each other like 15 years ago and was a connection — we had a lot of the same music, same kinds of interests, football — and we’re best friends.  And then we start[ed] throwing parties together and start[ed] DJing together.  So it was not because, ‘Oh! Let’s come together and let’s be big DJs.’  It was just fun and we [are] still having fun, and that’s the most important thing.  I’m the more outgoing person, as you noticed.  And that’s why I say we [are] like [a] kind of battery — I am the plus and he’s the minus and together we like…you know?

Ryan: …but when you’re with two, it’s much more fun because you run into so much crazy stuff and when you’re alone you can’t share it with anyone.

So what are some of your hobbies outside of producing and touring?

Sunnery: Yeah, football — a lot.  My kids are my hobbies, as well.  I have two kids…and I like my PlayStation — the FIFA football.  And, yeah, making music, but that’s work actually, but also a hobby.

Ryan: I don’t have kids by the way…but the same things — football…cooking…

Sunnery: He can cook really good actually.

Ryan: And not Breaking Bad cooking…

[Group laughter]

Who came up with the art direction on the video for the “Come Follow”, your single coming out February 13th?

Sunnery: Every year we play, we try to go back to South America…are ancestors are from Suriname. [We] always try to go that way.  We played in Curaçao the second of January. And we took a team…and it was funny because the guy who owns the company, I worked with him like 15-16 years ago in a store.  And he came up [and] he did a video.  It was just his idea — just filming on the island while we were playing and his girl was walking around…

Ryan: So wait, you knew him already?

Sunnery: Not her.  Him —the guy.

Ryan: Did we get [a] discount?

Sunnery: Yeah, we got [a] discount.

[Group laughter]

What has you excited at the moment and what are you looking forward to in the rest of 2015?

Sunnery: We got to work on our ‘Sexy by Nature’ show a lot, of course.  There’s a lot of new music coming out.  We have some collabos with Sander Van Doorn.  We have a nice record coming out on Size with our boy Leroy Styles from Amsterdam.  Keep an  eye on this guy, by the way.  And we just almost finished a new song that’s coming out on Spinnin‘ as well, so I think for the year already we have enough tracks lined up.

Ryan: And we [are] gonna do a lot of festivals.

Sunnery: Tomorrowland Brazil is confirmed, so it’s gonna be fun!

You guys have had a few releases on Spinnin‘ Records, is that  your home base?

Sunnery: We [are] really working nice at Spinnin‘.  They [are] Dutch and they know what we want.  We [are] really stubborn with music.   We know what we want, so sometimes its a little little bit like…’We like this.’  There like, ‘No, its not good enough.’…’Okay then we’re not gonna release it with you.  We’re gonna sign somewhere else.’  Actually, Spinnin’ is our home base, but we have the  freedom to go to other labels, so its not exclusive.  But they have the first choice to take it or not, actually… But, they work really nice and really professional people.

We like to ask most of the acts we interview to give us a brief production tip that you think holds a lot of value?

Sunnery: What I notice with young kids, and we always discuss this…they have talent and they always try to make a track like exactly the same as another one.  Get inspired by a track, but try to give your own vibe to it — what you like.  And don’t be afraid to get it out and push it out.  Just believe in your own stuff.  That’s what we did with our sets…our music.  [We] always stick to what we are doing.  It’s hard sometimes because sometimes people don’t get it, but if you believe in it and you bring it in with your heart, it will work. Don’t try to copy, get inspired and do your own sh*t always.

Ryan: It’s much more fun for yourself, as well.  Even when you’re not successful, you still have fun.


As always, thank you to Sunnery James and Ryan Marciano and their team for the opportunity, and thanks to Club Octagon for always being so cooperative.  As we mentioned in the interview, Sunnery James and Ryan Marciano’s new single ‘Come Follow’ feat. KiFi and the music video came out on February 13th.  Check out the music video at the top of this feature and buy the track on Beatport here.