Dubfire aka Ali Shirazinia has won many accolades over the past two decades in the industry and is now proudly in a position where he can use his name, his label and now his iPad/iPhone app to help give new producers a step up into the industry he has made home. Having in his time played at almost every dance music event or festival worth mentioning, he shares some of his favourite experiences with Pulse from the last 12 months, including The BPM Festival (that he has only recently returned from) which saw him play an epic 'Click 2 Click' set with long time friend Richie Hawtin. FInd out which hot new acts are inspiring Ali and getting booked on his SCI + TEC label for 2012 and more here.
Pulse: You recently played at Mexico's BPM Festival. What were some highlights? Dubfire: BPM was amazing. One of my favourite events. I'm involved with it every year and I have been every year except for one. It was bigger than ever this year. It's a real nice vibe, it always feels sort of new still, as if it's on the verge of blowing up into a really large festival or music conference and yet it still maintains its charm.
BPM appears to be almost a who's who of the entertainment industry, would it be a networking highlight of the year? People do network but it's not so much business focussed. It's more a way to catch up after new year and relax with friends and talk about ideas. I wouldn't say people go down there to get any business done it's more a great place to catch up with industry friends with a back drop of amazing weather, amazing food and amazing talent. Time to recoup and reminisce about all the crazy parties and what happened the previous year.
This year more than previous years you could party every minute for about 10 days if you wanted to. The minute one great party would end another would start. You could party around the clock if you wanted to. It was pretty exciting and exhausting. A lot of people end up going to Tulum for a week afterwords to actually relax and recover kind of like a vacation from the vacation. I had too many ideas going through my head. Needed to get back in the studio.
There's some great footage of you playing B2B with Richie Hawtin, who you've worked with recently on releases for his Arkives collection. How do your styles complement each other? We have been friends for about 20 years, even when I was in Deep Dish and he was still waving the techno flag very proudly we always kept in touch. So when I went solo and went back to my roots we ended up playing the same events and rekindling the friendship. We have a lot in common musically. It was around the time that tech and house were merging and creating new genres and an exciting time. The real catalyst of it all was the Exit Festival set that we did it was really just an experiment though infront of about 30,000 people.
It was really quite an amazing experience, we weren't sure what it was we just knew we'd created something, that something special had come out of it. That set coined the whole 'Click 2 Click' concept of playing with all the technology that we both bring. From there we would constantly play the same events so we did some releases together on his label and a few more Click 2 Click events. Then Rich happened to be at BPM as well. They were celebrating 5 years this year and my good friend is the co-founder of the event and he had a chat to us and said I'd really love to make this happen. I spoke to Rich and he said yes. We got through it and had a great time. You never know we might be doing that in OZ soon, you never know...
That would be great. Please do. Any chance you recorded your BPM B2B set...can we have it? Actually you just reminded me to check up on that I'm pretty sure it was recorded. I will need to chase that up.
Your touring schedule was packed tight last year - what was your favourite event last year to attend, and why? There was so many. Obviously the first real event and highlight for me is always Time Warp. I also did a gig at Warung in Brazil during Carnivale and that was an incredible set, I don't know how many hours I played. It's in my top clubs of the world and that set off the year really well. Then there was Time Warp, Sonar, the off Sonar parties, then Ibiza. Ibiza is always a real highlight for me. I did a number of Circoloco gigs, a Cocoon gig with Rich, then a gig with Carl Cox. I must say even including the Deep Dish days I would say last year that gig with Carl was the was the best night I've seen at Space. Ibiza is always every year something I go back to and reminisce about.
Who's inspiring you at the moment with the music they're making; who's challenging the boundaries? Well there's so many. Like some of these producers I'll get one or two tracks from that are amazing then I won't hear from them for a while, if ever. So for me really specific tracks stand out. There is some like Carlo Lio and The Junkies that because they've made the music I gravitate towards I end up signing with my label SCI + TEC. I've been behind Lio for years and now The Junkies who are part of his crew I've now taken onboard to.
There's a guy I discovered from Mexico who's recently moved ot America named Xordo. There's SHDWPLAY out of the OC in California whose music sounds quite like Gaiser. So if you like Gaiser you'll like SHDWPLAY.
I'm really trying with the label to push as much new talent as possible, because when we started out we really needed people to support us and get our music out and they were supportive, which is why I am in the position now to be able to help others. Because of the success I've had people are paying attention to the label so it gives new producers the opportunity to use the label as a spring board.
What else is coming up for SCI + TEC that you're excited about? In a few days an EP from Macromism, two guys from Italy that are really really young guys, they looked like 14 or 15 when I met them.
Did you check them for ID? No I didn't [laughs,] they were in the club so i presumed they were of legal age. They're a couple of guys that I've been really into what they've been doing so I signed an EP from them and a few other tracks. There's also the Junkies debut EP dropping the end of February and then another SHDWPLAY. The reason I know this is I had a Skype meeting with my label manager today where we mapped out a release schedule for the year and we're pretty much full. We're releasing two releases a month untll November. There's heaps of music we'll be releasing.
You're on your way here for the Future Festival soon. This isn't your first Future Tour - what are you looking forward to this time around? The crowds. I love playing the tour; Sydney, Melbourne, Perth even Brisbane. I had a great time all round, Brett and all of the guys that run the festival are really accessible and make sure we have everything we need. We have a good time. Also looking forward to playing again with Sven (Vath). We're reuniting. We had a crazy, crazy time last time and now with Jamie Jones, Oliver Hunteman and Aphex Twin.
The biggest party will be behind the stage? Exactly... Well on stage for sure. It's a fantastic line up. I'm really proud and looking forward to playing alongside such great talent.
Tell us about the live set up you'll have for the Australian Future Festival Tour? I'm actually tweaking my DJ set up now. I should be road testing a new controller from Native Instruments. They should have a prototype ready prior to me heading out there. So hopefully I'll have that, my laptop and heaps of other external hardware and toys. Hopefully there's no computer issues that's the main thing. There's nothing worse than a piece of technology cutting out in the middle of your set. Though we've learnt how to play it off real well by now.
The ADE Dance Event this year outed you as a foodie. Is there anywhere you're looking forward to eating on the Australian Tour? There is actually, one of the chefs at a restaurant in Melbourne Vue De Monde invited us to come out to dinner last year because I guess my reputation precedes me now and they knew I was a foodie. We had some great wine and great food there. Sydney also has some amazing restaurants too, I'm sort of compiling my list now of everywhere to visit.
So is there anything else you want to share with us that's happening for you currently? Yes I want to mention the Remiix competition we ran for my iPhone/iPad app will be decided upon on February 10th and the winner is getting a release on SCI + TEC. It's a remix that everyone had to do on their iPad or iPhone using the app that was released last year. I'm really looking forward to announcing a winner and sure that the entrants are looking forward to finding out if their remix is getting released.
So it's in the deciding stages? Yes. It was a really difficult thing to ask people to do. Most people would want to do that using sequencing equipment in the studio or on their macbook. Though we wanted to box them into the confines of the equipment and even the playing field and see who could be the most creative using that app. These days you can find a way to get your music out there without really any upfront money, so the time is right for budding producers to step up if they've got ideas and put them forward.