Decked out to dance

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HE’S a world famous musician who criss-crosses the globe playing to thousands of people while the records he makes are regularly sondtracked on Radio 1.

But if you’ve never heard of Ryan Davis don’t worry too much.

Even his parents aren’t exactly sure what the 25-year-old house and techno DJ does.

“They don’t really get it,” he says. “Sometimes I play them my music and they’ll ask ‘Is that it?’

“They don’t like it. They know I’m doing something right because I’m being flown around the world but they don’t understand why.”

He rolls his eyes. “But, you know, what do you expect? They’re parents.”

Allow, then, The Diary to try and throw some lights on why this Brinsworth lad – also known as Nyra (“an anagram of Ryan”) – is making a something of a global name for himself.

He’s good at what he does and what he does is make music using computer software and mixing records. Then, because people like it, he gets asked to play that music in clubs around the world.

In 2010 he DJ-ed in venues as far flung as Miami, Moscow, Toronto, Barcelona and Copenhagen; while his fans include Radio One heavyweights such as Pete Tong.

Among house, techno and electronica lovers, meanwhile (those are kinds of music – keep up at the back), he’s a big enough face to be recognised when he walks into a club with his laptop and vinyl.

He’s also started his own monthly night, Downlo, here in Sheffield, which despite purely word-of-mouth publicity and being based in a nondescript warehouse, is already selling out its 500 capacity.

“They’re good nights,” says the former Brinsworth Comprehensive pupil. “Lots of cool people there.”

The Diary, it should be noted, has never been.

But if the five-star travel, free booze and general adoration sounds like a dream job, it’s been hard graft getting there.

“I bought my first decks with some money my uncle left me when I was 15,” he says.

“And this is all I’ve wanted to do since.

“But it hasn’t just happened. I spent years labouring during the day – dry lining and whatever – and then going home and mixing in the evening, while putting on nights in Rotherham at the weekend. But I was always determined to succeed and I felt I was good enough.”

So too, it seems, did various record labels – including scene majors Be As One and Logistic – which started releasing his creations in 2008.

From there his reputation grew, and so too did those air miles.

“The travel and that stuff is just perks, though” he says. “I remember one moment last year DJ-ing on the top of a Toronto skyscraper as the sun come up – it doesn’t get better than that. You have to pinch yourself – ‘But I’m just a lad from Brinsworth’.

“But, of course, the only thing that really matters is making music. It’s a buzz. Once it stops being fun, I’ll stop. For now, though, I still want to achieve so much more.”

Nyra DJs his own New Year’s Eve night, Downlo, at Sheffield’s Dan Sane warehouse along with Baby Ford and Loshea. Seek out details on Facebook.

Beginner’s guide to Nyra’s genres

House: think disco but more synths and less cheese; a sparse kind of music where a kick drum is never far away.

Electronica: music that sounds a bit, well, electronic.

Minimal: consonant harmony, steady pulse and gradual transformation? That’s minimal. Often played in art galleries. Occasionally referred to as repetitive drone.

Techno: a futurist dance music; described by fans as an expression of technological spirituality, described by dads as noise.