SIBA: ‘I’d Rather Be Rebecca Black Than Be Nobody’

Collaborator Charli XCX is full of praise for the Copenhagen producer’s idiosyncratic pop

In April, one month after Copenhagen producer SIBA released his ‘Fruits’ EP, Charli XCX announced that she’d been working with the 24-year-old. “I was just so blown away by him,” she told listeners of her Beats 1 show The Candy Shop. “Amazing beats, amazing lines.”

SIBA – who’d like his real name to remain a secret for now – had never produced music for a singer before XCX and calls their time at London’s Abbey Road Studios a “very big experience”. An educational one, too: “I’ve always had this idea that maybe popstars don’t really do that much – but she does a lot.”

Thanks to his effervescent, sample-crammed tracks (‘Kiwi’, ‘Pomegranate’), he’s drawn comparisons with zany hyper-pop producers like Sophie, another Charli XCX collaborator. But he says there’s a lot more to come from him: “I don’t want to be an artist who has a sound and sticks to it. I want to do the opposite.”

He’s passionate about the detail in Hudson Mohawke’s 2009 album ‘Butter’ and harbours a deep respect for the ultra-accessible pop of Swedish producer/songwriter Max Martin, the man behind everything from Backstreet Boys’ ‘I Want It That Way’ to Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake It Off’. SIBA says of Martin: “How does he do it? There’s something in his melody that everybody gets.”

You can hear Martin’s and Mohawke’s influence on ‘Fruits’, which pairs SIBA’s airy vocal with exhilarating electropop. It’s a glittering opening flourish, one that follows a long-held passion for music. He remembers playing air guitar to metal legends Deftones in front of the mirror as a kid. At 12 he was already in bands with friends; aged 15 he got into electronic music, downloaded production software FruityLoops and began imitating everything from Coldplay to Basshunter. Soon he moved to London and started playing live shows.

His immediate concern is his next, as-yet-unnamed single: a retro guitar track due in autumn. It’s lyrically similar to Rebecca Black’s widely mocked 2011 track ‘Friday’ and he’s worried people might not find it funny (sample lyric: “Everybody wants to be us because we’re cool”). “But,” he says, “I’d rather be Rebecca Black than be nobody.”