DUBFIRE had already achieved monumental success as one half of Grammy award winning, house music icons Deep Dish by the time his solo career erupted in 2006.
The Iranian-American DJ and producer, otherwise known as Ali Shirazinia had always been rooted in Techno and post Deep Dish his solo career as Dubfire took off with a slew of well received, intense dance floor moments.
This week he releases a comprehensive retrospective of his work to date: A Decade Of Dubfire. The 42 track collection is as much a celebration of how far he has come in ten years as it is a reminder of how important he is to the global dance music scene. The package comes complete with in-depth, track by track personal reflections from Dubfire which give a unique insight into the genesis of the productions and provides an intimate look into the last decade of the life of one of the world’s most iconic electronic music artists.
We caught up with him this week to find out more about the album and the possible return of Deep Dish.
How was your weekend?
My weekend was great fun actually! I’ve just returned from two back to back shows in SE Asia; Ultra Korea and Ultra Singapore, playing for the Resistance stage. Doing my bit to promote quality underground music in an otherwise commercial landscape!
It seems like only yesterday when you emerged from your hugely successful years as one half of Deep Dish. It must be satisfying to take stock 10 years later with your Hybrid: A Decade Of Dubfire album?
Very true; things have seemingly progressed quite rapidly for me over the past decade; perhaps it’s due to how busy I kept myself? Towards the end of the Deep Dish project I was teeming with creative ideas for what I wanted to achieve as a solo artist and it sort of played out and evolved over the past 10 years with all the music I made.
It’s a collection of 42 tracks which comes with extensive notes on each track. Do you have any particular favourite tracks or remixes in the collection?
They’re all like my little children and each was birthed under a different set of circumstances so it’s hard to single any particular one out; which is why I felt the need to reflect on every single one of them! But sure there are a few that really stand out for me like the “Spasticity” remix I did for Richie Hawtin, using only the original master since he didn’t have the parts for it anymore. That was a real challenge to do but somehow it came out much better then I expected.
As far as original material, I have fond memories of ‘RibCage” as that came together just as I had come back from a very inspiring Ibiza trip. And as I was producing the track, I felt closer and more connected then ever before to the musical statement I wanted to make.
Do you think that owning a physical product as used to be the norm for music fans is something that we can bring back? There has been a resurgence in vinyl in recent years for example. Or is it really something that is now reserved for collectors in this digital age?
For me, the ONLY thing wrong with the vinyl format is the difficulty in carrying it from gig to gig when you are doing more than 130 shows per year, not to mention needing enough space to store it all! So while I DO miss the look, feel and smell of vinyl it does not really work for me at this point in my career. But the hardcore fans and collectors, as well as the vinyl DJ enthusiasts have kept the format firmly alive and I’m thankful of that. It’s one of the main reasons I decided to do the special vinyl box set of the compilation. But yeah, I had many conversations with colleagues as well as my !K7 team about the need – or not – of physical formats for this release. As much as I am forward driven and a technology buff I DID agree that we needed something tangible to grasp in our hands, as opposed to just a digital file.
Over the last 10 years you have pushed the boundaries of technology as well as the extra sensory limits of the music not just with your productions but your amazing live show. Are you always on the look out for how you can take the next step with the music and the spectacle of performance? How much further can you take it?
The HYBRID show was a long-gestating creative goal of mine and I was really happy to see all those ideas eventually come to fruition. And it was quite fun to condense 10 years of studio work into a cohesive 1 hour show that accurately conveyed my core sound. So naturally I needed to use visual and performance technology to frame the music. While the possibilities are endless, especially with how fast the medium advances, I discovered that my limitations are solely financial and logistical. So it would be nice to see wether the technology – and more importantly being able to tour it – becomes more less complicated and more affordable.
Your music in the past has been described as jet-black polished chrome techno which is possibly the best description of your music I’ve heard. Would you say this is still a fair description still today?
That’s probably the most accurate description of my overall sound and aesthetic that I have ever heard! And a great example of thoughtful, professional journalism.
Jet black has also become synonymous with the music as a Techno uniform in the last decade. Do you and Richie take some responsibility for this trend?
I was wearing all black as a punk rocker and new waver in my teens so it has always been my uniform but I think Rich’s ENTER. parties created a new movement of like-minded individuals who felt really connected to not just the music, but the imagery and fashion statement we were all trying to make. In Ibiza’s sunny landscape we all stood out like an eyesore!
It’s also been 10 years since you launched your revered label SCI-TEC. Do you have plans to mark that milestone too?
Oh yeah I sort of kicked that off at ADE last year with the special Dockyards stage SCI+TEC hosted. I’ve done a production deal with the amazing team at Dub Video Connection for a beautiful stage design featuring a u-shaped LED wall, incredible new visuals and lighting. So we’ve been taking that to various locations around the world since then. There will also be a 10 year anniversary compilation from some of my label mainstays as well as me, featuring never before released music.
The global electronic music scene is one of the most positive influences for good in a world currently filled with enormous challenges. In light of recent events here in the UK and around the world what can society learn from our scene? How concerned are you that those who wish to harm us may target the parties and festivals which bring us together?
It’s something that we ALL discuss when the subject comes up and the thought horrifies us. Especially those of us who take in world news on a daily basis like me. I’ve even had some chats with various colleagues about banding together to do free, racially diverse events around the world for the public that promotes peace, equality and tolerance for one another. But it needs a leader to take charge and actually make it happen. Rest assured that it WILL happen.
Any plans to get back with Sharam in the future? Last time we spoke you were preparing for a sold out one of show in Brixton which was greeted with huge excitement in the UK scene which holds you guys in iconic status.
Despite our best intentions we simply couldn’t sync up our schedules to complete what we’d hope to be a new album. And we knew that the Deep Dish reboot would have to be music-driven. So we’ve decided not to tour together until there is new music. We also decided that perhaps a full album is a bit ambitious so we’ve taken away all arbitrary deadlines in place of finishing up to 3 to 4 of the songs we started, for an EP release before the end of the year. Fingers crossed!
HYBRID: A Decade Of Dubfire [2006-2016] SCI+TEC is released on June 16. Pre-order your copy here.