By: Filip Sandström Beijer
Photos: Shanélle de Melo
Meeting Moodyman in Detroit made Stingray choose a then unexpected path of life. Today he’s one of the techno legends living in Berlin – a city he’s felt connected to since he put his feet on the ground here for the first time.
The man behind the ski mask is Sherard Ingram. A tall, gentle man that most probably would have ended up working as an engineer or tech scientist if it wasn’t for one of those moments that tend to turn up when least expected in life.
Born and raised in Detroit, Ingram I went to a vocation school program for high school students at Crockett Vocational were I tried Histology and then Surgical technician. After high school a few odd jobs including some time in Detroit Recording Institute I got a job at Buy Rite Music a record store in detroit. Later myself and Moodymann started to hold their own slot at a biker’s club in North Detroit and that’s where Ingram developed his style of DJ:ing.
He mixed the days half-and-half playing basketball and studying. His big interest for science and medicine made him consider the medical field as a future career with the final goal of becoming a doctor. But then life changed one day.
“One day in High school, it was in class and I met with Moodyman, who came from the same neighborhood as I did. I mentioned an edit of the B52s-Mesopotamia on the Electrifying Mojo radio show on WGPR a Detroit black owned station, and he said he could mix better. I was so clueless, and I was like ‘no way’. He said after class that he would take me to his home and that was the first time I had ever seen turntables and mixers. That was the beginning of the end of me having a remote chance of going to med school.”
The duo became good friends and Ingram joined the Dj journey Moodyman was already on. (This was the Motorcycle club mentioned earlier) He had to be really fast if he wanted to play his techno tracks. The easy explanation is that the crowd wanted hip-hop.
After being part of building the iconic techno scene in Detroit, Ingram’s journey took to Berlin five years ago after being a frequent visitor, playing the most iconic clubs and venues in Europe for decades.
“I had friends here and the agency I was with was here as well. Also, it’s a robust electronic music and art scene and the generally safe social climate made Berlin irresistible for me.”
“I feel very safe in Berlin. I had a walk today; four miles and I took 11 000 steps next to the nearest canal. Nobody bothered me. People look at me of course, being a tall black man. But it doesn’t bother me, I feel safe, but I still take the Detroit raised precautions.”
He still remembers his first arrival in Berlin. An arrival that made a big impact on him. He was invited to DJ Flush of KILLEKILL to play at his parties and events.
“It was surreal when I first arrived. I really enjoyed his events. I even took my mask off and played one time” he says and laughs.
The second time he decided to stay longer and use Berlin as a base for his mini tour. He rented a place to stay and got to know the city on a deeper level.
“I rode the U-bahn, shopped, played at Tresor and went to Berghain for the first time. There was a little Turkish restaurant on Hermanstrasse maybe one or two blocks from U8 Leinestrasse and I would always be there. I also remember the first time I went to Hardwax, getting the records, even going to Aldi, for me my aha-moment with Berlin was that full month.”
“I really liked the city. You get the vibe of a big city but it was also so quiet and chilled out. I found it smooth there. Nobody bothered me falling in love was a collective moment of all this”
Today he’s living his life in the city The last years covid restrictions has put both his live performances on pause, but also his way of exploring the city. He’s been out running and walking but he’s also admitting that the last year has made him a bit of a hermit.
Even if there’s contenders around the world, he still believes that Berlin is one of the most important and dynamic cities when it comes to electronic music and techno.
“I mean on any given weekend you can see a young thunderbolt on the decks, or a certified legend, or a steady veteran that just enjoys playing and not in the limelight but could easily be. Several shops that cater to vinyl DJ’s, Modular heads… All with cool atmospheres. Also, I have to give respect to some of the icons that came to Berlin before me and laid the foundation for today’s landscape. I could go on. Berlin is a city I enjoy.”
Even though Moodymann might be responsible for Ingram putting his doctor career on hold, he’s still carrying a lot of his passion for technology, medicine and even politics with him. Today it’s fuel for his inspiration.
He often watches medical and physics lectures on YouTube, which he refers to as the Universe for independent scientists, and reading scientific articles is often applied to the music he creates.
“I have several sites that I visit, and I like to catch up on news about nature and biotechnology. Sometimes I read a scientific paper. I try to read as much as possible, science is very specific and you need formal training to really understand a research paper. With me it’s like, sometimes, I make a track, I read an article and it fits. Other times I have these images and stream of consciousness. When I’m in the sound design process, I’m looking into how to make my stream of consciousness connect with my sounds.”
And as much as Berlin needs techno to survive, the world needs technology too. Something that is very close to Ingrams heart.
“I’m really interested in how we can use science and solve very heavy problems. Pathogens, pollution, even down to how to deal with food shortages. We’re projected to be around 9 billion people in the world by 2042, and there is a great concern as to how the planet is going to be fed. With the climate crises even if we would plant a billion trees, we still have things that are already put in motion. We need technical solutions.”
After a year of pandemic restrictions DJ Stingray 313 is looking forward to playing live in front of an audience again. And he’s got some plans for the summer.
“I'd like to be playing again of course. Improve my Deutsche. Then I would like to achieve some fitness goals and work on a live set. I have plans to release two artists on my label Micron Audio and an LP from myself.”