Posted February 14, 2013 by Cooper Point Journal in Arts & Entertainment
 
 

SIXIS: New Beats for a New Mindset


When Ben Wyss – better known under his moniker SIXIS – sits down to talk about music, the thing that most comes across is his  artistic vision. The up-and-coming electronic music wizard and DJ conjures tracks worth considering in an age of artless and unimaginative production. In his last year studying music at Evergreen, Wyss has set himself apart from the average dance-music hack with his solid foundation in music theory and composition, and a humanistic vision of empowering individuals through music.

SIXIS embodies global and personal awareness through his alien grooves and synth lines.

“I call what I do psychedelic bass music, psychedelic because it gets in your head and makes you think about what’s going on,” he says. “It’s supposed to be conscious. They call the festivals I play at ‘conscious’ gatherings, or ‘intentional’ gatherings. A lot people call it transformational.”

SIXIS

His positive attitude has helped him put out two inspired EPs and numerous remixes since he first started making tracks three years ago. After relocating from his native Berkeley, Wyss supplanted his hometown band-mates with his computer, Apple Logic and a MIDI keyboard. He immediately began designing innovative tracks that fuse dub, breakbeats, glitch and bass.

Complex and exciting, his tracks feature expertly composed drum beats, transporting synth pads, and earthy bass lines. To this he adds tasteful synthesizer glitches, field recordings, and vocal samples.

Throughout his discography he displays an uncanny ability to make synthetic sounds feel alive and spontaneous.

“I started out playing in bands, so I’m definitely into more organic music like rock and jazz. I was always the guy that would get more effects pedals. Eventually it became an electronic-rock fusion with a lot of looping, and everything synced via MIDI. Then when I moved up here, I just started doing it all on my own.”

Since then he has performed at dance music festivals from California to British Columbia, with plans to make even more appearances after he’s done with school. His newest EP, Transhuman, released on Substruk Records, topped the charts at Addictech.com, a digital market for forward-thinking electronic music, and ranked 63 in the top 100 of 2012.

In the next few weeks, he will have a track featured on a major compilation from Kalya Scintilla’s new record label.

“It’s going to be with some of my seriously favorite musicians in the whole world. And some of them are the ones who got me into this initially. I’m really stoked for that because people who are into this kind of music are going to hear it.”

SIXIS

It is an exciting time to be making conscious dance music in Washington, as the scene crosses from the underground into the mainstream. While California, particularly the Bay area, is an obvious mecca of electronic music of all stripes, interest is growing rapidly around the Northwest. Seattle’s Decibel Festival has included some of the biggest names in electronic music, and smaller festivals are popping up from Eugene to Vancouver.

This summer, Mas Sol Festival, organized by Evergreen students, will be in its third year and will feature regional DJs including SIXIS.

“I’ve seen other things blow up over time, communities get larger, and start throwing more shows. This is first time that I have been really a part of it, and that’s pretty exciting for me.”

by Issac Scott | photos by Lauren Shanafelt