Denis Sulta could have been ‘Disco Dennis.’ At least he thought that name ‘had a ring to it,’ until a misspelling changed it forever. We asked the up-and-coming Glaswegian DJ about his origin story and more before his shows at Dada (Beijing and Shanghai) this weekend.
How would you describe the Glasgow music scene?
It's busy, eclectic, underground yet inclusive. Anything you want to dig into, you will find.
You’re only 24. How did you get your start, and how does it feel to be so successful at such a young age? How do you play confidently alongside artists who are older and more established than you?
Oh, thank you! That’s flattering. I started off playing in a club in Glasgow called Chambre 69 which is no longer open. I ran a night there called Beast Moves every Thursday, which was never very busy but always wild. I guess now looking back on the last three years, things have changed a lot and I could not be more grateful for the support I've been shown. It’s a very humbling experience to be playing alongside legends that I have looked up to from a young age.
‘Denis Sulta’ sounds like it could be a real, legal name – not a typical DJ name. Why did you choose it?
I have another Alias called 'Atlus' that focuses more on a darker and angry sonic aesthetic. When I was a bit younger, I was quite an angry young man, and my music reflected that. On my 21st birthday I had a change of heart and became a little more hopeful and optimistic about things, and felt that my new musical persona needed a name to suit.
Sulta is just Atlus backwards, as my angst and frustration had turned on its head. As for the Denis, well, it was originally spelt ‘Dennis’ and was inspired by Disco Stu from ‘The Simpsons.’ ‘Disco Dennis’ had a ring to it.
I had told Dan and Kenny from DABJ that I was going to use this name and we made the record, when it arrived the record had Dennis spelt the way it is now, and it just kind of stuck.
What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had at a show?
I stopped the music in Chester to introduce a friend of mine proposing to his girlfriend. She said yes! That was pretty special.
You’ve spoken in interviews before about struggles with depression – how does that affect your music?
It can affect productivity and sonic aesthetic in equal measures I feel. When you don't feel great, you stop getting enjoyment from the things you love doing the most. This was a big struggle for me over the last year or so, but overcoming a certain challenge or depressive episode can be very inspiring. My next project is very much based on this.
Have you been to Asia before? What are you looking forward to about it (or, alternatively... dreading)?
Never! I am so excited and I just can't wait to eat everything! The gardens and architecture, ugh! I'm so excited to visit the Forbidden City. So excited to dance with you all!
Photo by Sean Bell