DARIUS Syrossian is an example of what can be achieved in electronic music when determination combines with raw talent and passion.
Outspoken and honest with his attitude and with his music, the Tehran Born DJ moved to the UK as a 12 year old and has become one of this generations finest electronic artists over the last decade, overcoming obstacles in his path to success and bouncing back from set backs with an inspirational focus.
Darius is about to start his summer residency for Do Not Sleep at Amnesia in Ibiza next week and for the opening party he will be spinning alongside his old sparring partner Steve Lawler.
We caught up with his this week to find out more.
Congratulations on your residency with Do Not Sleep landing at Amnesia this summer. How are you feeling ahead of things kicking off there next week?
Great! Putting together the line-up for Do Not Sleep in our room, every Thursday, was a lot of work. We didn’t want to just book the same mainstream UK Tech House acts that seem to be playing all the same shows. We wanted to have some acts that the more discerning clubbers will like to see. Acts who have made a career on musical merit over anything else such as Robert Hood, Cassy, Martin Buttrich, Point G live, Guti Live, Josh Wink and so on. I can’t wait to get started now.
Residencies have played a huge part in your career from Tribal Sessions at Sankeys to VIVA Warriors and now Do Not Sleep. How important have these residencies been to your development as a DJ and do you think this pathway to becoming an all-round DJ in the UK is something that is in danger of being lost
Personally, I don’t think you’re being a true DJ if you are doing 1 hour sets and asking for big fee’s. It’s also not fair on people who pay good money to come and see you play. Not only are short sets not right, I also think every DJ at some point in their career needs to have some sort of residency. It’s easy just taking the guest slots, being a headliner, walking into a packed show where you are the main guest, playing to a full house, then taking the big pay cheque and leaving. With a residency you are the main anchor of the night, you get less praise but that’s not the reason I DJ. Personally, I feel more rewarded if I see a night I play for grow and grow and see the regulars come every week and the party build.
It’s so good to see you working with Steve Lawler again, a DJ that was pretty influential in your career. Back To The Future is a fantastic track released late last year. What other plans have you got working with your old mentor and sparring partner?
We were just talking last week about doing a new collaboration, this time to release on VIVA Music. We want to make something a bit deeper and hypnotic, something for example that Apollonia or Luciano would play.
Your decision to join Do Not Sleep after leaving Tribal Sessions a few years back was something you were advised against but something that has paid off for you in a big way. What was your thinking at the time? It’s inspirational to have seen you prove everyone wrong and succeed through the strength of your own conviction.
I like new challenges. Yes, everyone said I was mad but it’s really rewarding to see how far the night has come. That’s all I can say really.
Now that Do Not Sleep is well established and entertaining in such a big space as Amnesia, has the ethos changed as to begin with I understand it was just about a dark room, a good sound system and the music? With the success the brand now enjoys it has to be more than that even if those things remain at the core of what you do?
We have made a conscious effort to take the music a bit darker and deeper with more techno. This is reflected in the bookings and we also wanted to show that not all parties just want to book the same acts to fill a room and make money. This is our passion, myself and the rest of the DNS team, we are doing this because we love music. Our bookings show that there is a musical direction we have taken on purpose this summer, it’s more about the music this summer than it ever has been; good music and a good sound system. We are not interested in extra things like inflatables and confetti cannons getting people excited. We are a party about the music, if people want other things to excite them there are plenty of alternatives out there for them to go to.
You are a prolific producer as well as being one of the scene’s busiest DJs. How do you juggle production and studio time with touring?
Easy to answer, I’m a full-on workaholic. My manager is always pulling my leg saying what have I done today. He doesn’t know that I have just spent 12 hours straight, 4 days in a row, in the studio from Monday to Thursday that week, before I go away at the weekend to DJ. I make time because I enjoy making music. It’s not a chore, it’s my passion. In fact, if I don’t make music for more than a week I get withdrawal symptoms.
Can you let us in on some of the music you have forthcoming this summer which we should look out for in your sets?
Yes, my track ‘Hammer’ was made solely using hardware. It has just come out on Moon Harbour. Right now, too many producers are using sample packs to make tracks. I wanted to show that I can make tracks just using hardware, no computer in sight. I’m super happy with the outcome and its one of my favourite productions, I have ever made.
This summer I also have releases on 8 bit, a 4 track EP. Another EP on Hot Creations. That is coming out right at the end of summer, with a track entitled ‘Danzer’ that is a crossover of Techno and Disco; I’ve had so many people asking its release date. There is a remix for Matador’s label Rukus and there is the launch of my own label, Moxy Muzik.
The first releases on Moxy Music will feature music from great artists such as Doc Martin, Phil Weeks and Christian Burkhardt. Can you tell us how the label is taking shape, why you decided to launch your own label and the challenges ahead running a digital and vinyl imprint?
Well I just want to show that music for the dancefloor can also be quality and underground. Underground music doesn’t have to be made for listening at home or when you are driving, it can still work on the dancefloor. There is way too much generic music and mainly generic tech house out at the moment. This is the reason I am launching the label, the first few release are amazing and the remixes I have received back are absolute fire. I can’t wait to unleash it all when the label is launched.
I’m guessing they will all be getting a great run out and heavily road tested this summer by yourself and your peers? How exclusive do you like to keep the new music ahead of releasing them to the public to buy and/or giving the music to other DJs?
There are a few DJs I always give upfront releases to and they give them to me too. I’m going to use this summer to break lots of tracks, like I do every summer. The residences are a good way to check for any final minor changes you want to make.
Thanks for the chat Darius and all the best for a successful summer.
Thanks mate. If you are ever at any of my gigs this summer, come and say hello and we can have a shot of tequila or 5.