Hailing straight out of Seatlle, Washington, Derek Lombardo, aka Sixfour has been on the come up in a major way. With his latest single ‘Panik’ absolutely sizzling its way to center stage on the 13-track Mayan Audio Presents: 2016 compilation (out now!), we thought it high time that we wrangled the new-school producer in for a chat and a guest mix chock-full of some of his favorite cuts.
First off introduce yourself to the masses and what style of music you see yourself representing…
Hi! My name is Derek Lombardo and I’m hailing from Seattle, Washington! I’m really excited to be representing drum and bass in Seattle among so many heavyweights, and I’m trying to bring a groovier, heavy dancefloor sound to my productions and my DJ sets!
What’s the story behind your production/dj name? I’m assuming it’s a reference to your height? If you are six-four let the shorties know just how tough it is to DJ the taller you get!
My name is indeed a reference to my height, it stemmed from my high school days during a bout of not-so-creativity and brought it to college with me! I actually planned on finding a new moniker during my college days, but I entered and won a production contest held by Delta Heavy during my first semester at school and decided to ride the lightning! Six years later, I’m still Sixfour! The height is quite an issue playing at a lot of places as it seems most DJ tables are built for the shorter DJs, though it is quite funny to meet a lot of my drum and bass heroes and have them looking up at me the entire time!
Now you’re from the Pacific Northwest which has been a hotbed of drum & bass talent lately. Talk a bit about your local scene and your exposure to the larger regional scene in general.
I’m very thankful to be coming out of the Pacific Northwest and to be surrounded by so many amazing artists and djs alike. There’s been no shortage of support for my music out here, even before I had officially moved to Seattle after graduating college. The Seattle club scene is amazing, with places like the Baltic Room hosting such an amazing weekly night (Dnb Tuesdays) that brings some serious talent, the SOMA crew brings artists like Hybrid Minds through here, and Foundation Nightclub brings the bigger tours like the RAM Records tour — all of which is to say we are pretty spoiled for choice here.
What kind of music were you listening to growing up and when does electronic music and drum & bass in particular kind of catch your ear?
I owe my love for drum and bass to growing up listening to a healthy dose of punk! The frantic energy of drum and bass immediately caught my ear and growing up playing the drums gave me an immediate appreciation for the technicality of the percussion in drum and bass! The bass-walking skills of a lot of the bassists in the punk tunes I was listening to back then translated directly to my love of drum and bass basslines that kind of move and bounce around, as well.
How did you go from just digging the sounds into DJing and producing and how did you make the leap from “bedroom DJ/producer” to playing out at shows and getting your tunes heard and represented internationally?
Quite honestly, trying to figure out my sound took me a really long time. At college, there wasn’t so much of a dance music scene at all aside from a few gigs here and there. It wasn’t until late 2014 until I really buckled down and figured out a sound. Linking up and getting some great advice here and there from the Delta Heavy guys, as well as getting in touch with Seb Skankandbass were absolutely instrumental in helping me push my music through to the international level!
You’ve had a few big moments so far in your career – what are some of the highlights for you.
Personal highlights thus far have got to be the releases on Skankandbass, and now this new release on Mayan Audio. It’s still a bit bizarre to me to check my Soundcloud stats and see a few of my inspirations pop up on the “listened to” list and I owe a ton of that to Seb Skankandbass. My first upload on SnB was last spring, titled “Blind Heart,” and it’s sort of continued from there, culminating in a two track release to kick off his new netlabel with “Summer Fires / Power Struggle.” It’s pretty unreal getting the international support that is afforded by a channel as big as his! Being asked to have a tune on the Mayan 2016 compilation was also huge for me as well!
Speaking of Mayan Audio, this tune ‘Panik’ you dropped on them is absolutely wicked. It has a deep hypnotic vibe to it that is also grimy enough for the dancefloor – is this pretty much your signature style?
The guys at Mayan are all incredibly supportive and it’s been awesome to have such a receptive ear to my sound! It’s been amazing getting so much international support as an American. I do quite a bit of different material as I’m still trying new things and nailing down my kind of style, but I have a deep love for, as you put it, that hypnotic, techno-esque sound. My journey through dance music began in techno and the pounding minimal groove stuff with weird bleepy synth riffs. I take a ton of inspiration from guys like Culture Shock, Cyantific and Metrik in that regard. I love the winding, twisting basslines they work with that feel so alive and organic, and I try to put that feeling into my productions! My live sets are a pretty good representation of where I take that influence from, as well.
Last but not least, you’re hitting us with a proper guest mix so give us a sense of what kind of vibes we should be expecting and if there’s any special secret bits from yourself in there we should be looking out for in particular.
My guest mix is a pretty complete representation of my influences, tastes and live sets! I kind of wove it in and out of the rolling tunes of Break and Dawn Wall to the crunchy grooving tunes of guys like Culture Shock and Dimension, and rounded it out with some of my favorite dancefloor smashers of recent times! I included my tune ‘Panik’ from the Mayan Audio 2016 LP as well as some of my favorites from the other artists on the LP so make sure to look out for those!