Sibot's Journey Pt. 3: Grit

Mohato Lekena / September 20, 2017

Talent has never been enough for success. Angela Duckworth, author of Grit puts it simply – effort and passion count twice as much. Talent without effort produces nothing, and effort without passion for the parts that make the whole doesn’t last. If the “whole” is the Sibot who's been wrecking festival stages consistently for the last decade, each of the parts that brought it to life have been meticulously considered.

The Sibot Live Show
“My first personal live show was in 2007 at the album launch for In With the Old, in a cinema. That was personal and exciting, but from there I jumped into Playdoe,” says Sibot. While the time with Playdoe meant a dearth of new Sibot material, the touring refined his approach, making him more agile on stage. 

“When Playdoe stopped I was stuck where I was in 2007, where I didn't have a show, but I had gained all this skill.” This lead to a decision to slow down on the collaborative work to focus on the Sibot experience. 

“I needed to put a show together for Rocking the Daisies and Oppikoppi. So, I started putting a lot of effort into preparing those shows, designing the outfit.” 

The outfit would go on to be infamous – all black with a mask (a throwback of sorts to his first DJ battles), adorned with a small constellation of plastic eyes.

The new look
“When you’ve got 2000 people at a show all looking at you, it's quite cool to have the eyes there looking back at them. There are a lot of people who will slate [the mask], saying it's played out – but for me it's an old tribal thing that we have as human beings, and when you put that mask on it allows you to be someone else and to push yourself.” 

The show was as live of a live show as possible, with intricate finger drumming used to synthesise songs from scratch. This style of performance, though, doesn't quite lend itself to the big stage, far removed from audiences – a problem his partner Toyota would be uniquely placed to solve.

And Toyota
“Toyota and I started working together in 2011. I realised that people couldn't see what I was doing on stage so I had to incorporate cameras. I remember working with a local VJ once, and Toyota – who works as an animator and has a visual background – said, ‘You know I can do that right, very easily’.” 

The rest was history, and the two have now formed one of the most robust audio visual shows in the country. The live show lifted Sibot’s status, and a set of focussed releases reached increasingly wider audiences, culminating with the Magnet Jam EP on Diplo’s Mad Decent imprint. Unlike with the Real Estate Agents, who peaked before crowds were ready to appreciate them, Magnet Jam arrived at the peak of the trap explosion of stadium-sized electronic rap. 

“As a producer who loved rap music, trap music was natural for me. It felt exactly the same as the EDM explosion and the dubstep explosion, except that with the trap, it excited me because we were playing music we loved”

All of this has led to Sibot being in a comfortable place in the scene. Still though, a restless spirit keeps him working. 

“After a long time of not releasing any albums, I wanted to release one that was a self-validation, and that's how I came up with the name VLDT.”

VLDT is being released as a set of four EPs, which cumulatively form the full album – each part representing a congruous genre or sound that forms part of the Sibot arsenal. On the thinking behind the project, he says, “Kanye West had just released his album that was quite open-ended, he was changing it as he was releasing, and because it was only available on streaming, he could update it, which kinda hit me.”

The project probably won’t be the last big surprise Sibot pulls. A career of constant movement and introspection tells us this. 

“At the moment I feel like I’m kinda on a sabbatical. Basically, I’ve now just had a baby and I’ve been working on these albums and I’ve kinda just shut everything out. So I’m in a discovery period now where I’m just trying to see where this is going to go. And I still get excited when I get booked for big festivals and we have to figure out what we’re going to do. That’s super exciting but I don’t know where it's going to go.”

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