One of the biggest DJs on the planet bringing on the night
Good to speak to you again Sash, how are you after the weekend?
"Hi Dan, you too. To be honest I'm pretty trashed but not for the reasons you're thinking. I've had the weekend off DJing and my kids have just been relentless. I tell you, having kids is fucking tough. We all got stuck in the elevator going up to our apartment for over an hour and had to call the fire department out, it wasn't good. And of course I got the blame."
I bumped into the estate agent who rented you your old house in Oxfordshire the other day (as you do). He remembered you, he said that you and your mates had very nocturnal habits back then in the early 90s, the curtains were always drawn...all day long...
"Ha ha, I remember those days. It was when I could sleep!"
I saw the photos of you DJing at Cielo the weekend before, how is New York nightlife at the moment?
"To be honest I don't really play in my own city that much, maybe three or four times a year. Cielo was an amazing night, it probably has the best sound system in town right now but it maybe wasn't the best choice of weekends to do as it was holiday weekend and New York was rammed. It was a bit uncomfortable in there and a bit too full, but I really enjoyed it. I've played over at Pacha only once I think which was okay and at District 36 but that club hasn't any real cohesion with their nights, no real energy behind it. I've done a few warehouse parties down in Brooklyn and the odd boat party, but I haven't found my new home here yet."
You seem the most contented you have ever been in the 20 years I've known you. Happy with your wife and children, enjoying creating, managing and playing music - it seems you are finally in charge once and for all?
"Pretty much yes. I'm enjoying it here. I still have my place in London and love the summer in Ibiza, my management is over here and it's all going well."
And how are you feeling with your DJing these days?
"I know where I am in the food chain in 2012. My sound has changed a lot and who I get inspired by has also changed. Although the States has been taken over by a lot of commercial music, I think I am still relevant. I pick and choose my gigs very carefully and I know where I will fit in, how I align with it all. It's a different world out there now, a lot of it reminds how in the acid house days we all rebelled against all the people going to clubs in shiny shoes and shirts by wearing messy clothes and trainers. There is a lot of commercial stuff going out there right now!"
Glad you mentioned Ibiza, what's the latest for you over there this year?
"The last two years at my 'Never Say Never' party down at Ushuaia have been great. We have some offers on the table this year so we'll see what happens over the next few weeks."
Did you get approached to take over from Swedish House Mafia on Mondays down at Pacha?
"No I didn't, Tiesto has taken it over hasn't he? No, my sound wouldn't be able to fill Pacha on a weekly basis, I love Pacha but to fill that club needs that big commercial sound which isn't me at all."
A massive new record coming out…the 'Bring On The Night EP' with James Teej, the Canadian producer who has had releases on the likes of Rekids, No.19 Music, My Favorite Robot Records and Rebirth. Have you ever actually met?
"We haven't no. I had been playing a lot of his records so I knew his stuff. I was toying around with about 40 or 50 of my own tracks which I couldn't get finished on my own, so I started to look for people out there to collaborate with and James was one of the producers I sent some to. Anyway, straight away he sent me this amazing vocal back for the Night track and I jumped into the studio, totally reworked the music and within two or three e-mails we had the track nailed. It was an amazing process, not like me at all! We didn't hang out in the studio or anything and we're actually working on a couple more tracks as we speak."
What did you make of Skrillex tearing up the Grammy's?
"Skrillex has brought electronic music to everyone's attention now over here in a massive way. I have known for years it was going to kick off in the States but I have to admit I did think it was all over around 2000. It's been a huge delayed reaction to be honest after all the work a lot of people put in before then but now it's completely different thanks to people like Skrillex and his huge sound and also in the way that all of the electronic artists have collaborated with huge R&B stars. The other thing about Skrillex is, is that he hasn't been influenced by the rave scenes in Manchester and London like all the European artists and DJs were back then. He has found his own sound and is a pure home grown talent which is cool."
We had all of the big dance bands leading the way in the 90s…
"Exactly! We had people like Leftfield, Underworld and The Chemical Brothers taking festivals by storm. In the US all they had was Rabbit In The Moon who were huge and no big homegrown DJs, just international DJs flying in to tour. I see some definite parallels with what is going on right now in regards to dance music to what happened in the early 2000's just before the bubble burst. Fischerspooner signing their album for a million quid and singles being signed for 700 grand. It kind of feels like dance music is starting to strain the balloon again and it will reach a breaking point like it did in the UK in the early 2000s. Not sure when, but it will burst and the 'underground' will remain."
Miami up and coming. Is it still the most important date on the dance calendar?
"Things are never as cool as they were when they first got going - when it all felt underground. And Miami is still relevant especially now that electronic music has taken over the States. WMC is now absolutely massive and is the reset date for so many DJs, labels and producers when they have to have their music ready."
You are doing 3 parties at Miami this year, down at Shine at the Shelborne and the annual boat party with Magnetic Recordings. You looking forward to Conference this year?
"I am actually. I've done Shine a few times and love it there, it's a nice dark space and we have spent a lot of money on our event this year. The boat party is always a real highlight, a really exclusive little party for 400 people and I'm playing with James Zabiela and Damian Lazarus which will make for a great afternoon. I'm also doing the DJ Mag party before those two which is always the party when you bump into people you haven't seen for ages from all over the place, especially all the northern hemisphere people with pasty legs after a winter hibernating!"
Does the amount of music you are sent increase Miami time?
"You could say that. On a normal week I get something like 75 - 100 tracks sent to me, heading up to WMC I get 50 - 100 a day, easily. Everyone uses Miami as the time to step up to the plate and get ready for the summer."
What are your thoughts on the Dennis Ferrer 'Mansion' Miami club story - he was basically kicked off the decks for not playing commercial enough...
"I heard last night that another big Miami promoter is getting sick of the commercial sound and is starting to book much more underground DJs again. Maybe a corner is being turned? It's not just Miami though. Most of the clubs are playing the big room commercial sounds now. More and more club owners are paying stupid money for these douchebags to play to the champagne crowd. It was tough on Dennis."
Miami week you all seem to really raise the game...
"It's true. We all play our hearts out at WMC, we all usually play our best sets of the year because we know the world's eyes and ears are on us."
What is the current top 10 you are spinning…
1. Hot Chip - Flutes
2. James Zabiela - The Healing
3. Photek - Aviator
4. Thomas Smith - Retina Scan (SCB mix)
5. SCUBA - July
6. Human Woman - Delusional (Gus Gus Remix Instrumental)
7. Guy Gerber - The Mirror Game
8. Ohm Harouni - Kuri Kuri (DNYO Remix)
9. Midland - Placement
10 Sasha and James Teej - Night Track (MANDY Remix)
Dave Seaman just starred at a Shelleys reunion in Stoke, Quadrant Park are coming on strong all over the shop and The Hac nights have been going on pretty much since it closed. There are rumours circulating clubland that you may be part of the Happy Mondays reunion tour…maybe in Ibiza?
"We've been talking about it but nothing has been decided. As I said, I'm still finalising my own Ibiza plans before looking at any one off shows, we'll see…"
What are your thoughts on the IMS in Ibiza? Last year was fun..
"It was, I created 'Cut Me Down' with Burn Studios which was pretty intense but I really enjoyed it. It was a case of get the work done and then have a bit of a party!"
Have there been any new territories in the last year that have excited you?
"Not really, I have just got back from Australia where I did the Metro club in Sydney which was the best club show I have done for a long time. I always enjoy South America, Buenos Aries and Brazil with clubs like Warung where the club has kept their music policy and not got suckered into going commercial is always great. I'm obviously looking forward to a summer of festivals."
What are the plans for Last Night On Earth for the rest of the year - the aim was it for to be your home for supporting exciting new electronic music talent and your new solo productions…
"I've got seven releases all lined up which is mad. People are taking notice and submitting music to us which is great. I want to do this the right way, I've got some very cool people on the label and I never thought I'd be actively A/Ring tracks myself, but I am."
And what's coming up next from the label?
"Well as you mentioned, my tune with James Teej is out now and we've got the great Thomas Smith track 'Retina Scan' out as well. Coming up in April we've got Ghosting Season and 'A Muffled Sound of Voices' which includes remixes from Ed Davenport, Luke Abbott, Bubba, Jack Dixon and Jamie Funk which is the release before their album 'The Very Last Of The Saints' which will be out in May. It's a busy time as there's the new My Favourite Robot EP coming in June and the new track from Michael Nyman 'Secrets, Accusations & Charges' with some Max Cooper remixes. It's all looking good."