Dubfire

Dubfire

It’s a fading memory, but there was a time when musicians could expect to make some serious cash through record sales. In that bygone era, certain artists refrained from performing live and chose to focus entirely on studio work. This is becoming less and less of a realistic scenario, which means those who can’t endure masses of touring have limited options for making a living out of music.

However, even though constant touring is now crucial, round-the-calendar gig schedules aren’t anything new. Electronic producer and DJ Dubfire (AKA Ali Shirazinia) started his career in the early ’90s as one half of the progressive house production team Deep Dish. Following a tremendously successful 15-year run – which saw Deep Dish enjoy chart success and win a Grammy – Shirazinia kicked off his solo career in 2006, pursuing a tougher techno sound under the Dubfire moniker.

With both projects, relentless touring has been one of Shirazinia’s primary tasks. And he bloody loves it. “I’ve been on the road ever since I can remember, so I got over that hump mentally and physically many years ago,” he says. “It’s like second nature. I quite enjoy seeing the world and I have pockets of friends in every corner of the globe. So it’s like coming home to an extended family member that you haven’t seen for a while.”

You’ll often hear musicians explaining how the 90 minutes onstage each day are what redeem the jagged nature of touring life. However, even though countless hours are spent in transit, there’s also plenty of time available for indulging in other activities. Dubfire’s been touring for more than two decades, so he knows how to make the best use of his time. Over the years, this has led him to become a food buff.

“Experiencing something that represents the local culture, their cuisines and so forth, sometimes that’s a window into where you are,” he says. “In order to feel settled, as far as having arrived at a particular place, it’s important for me to have that connection to wherever it is I am and the people who’ve invited me there.

“Because I like to eat, after so many years of doing it and recommending restaurants to friends and connecting with chefs who like music, I’ve grown into this food connoisseur who’s very well connected to chefs all over the world. That also makes it more interesting to travel, because now I can look forward to seeing a chef who I haven’t seen in a long time and maybe he’s got amazing new dishes or ingredients.”

Perhaps this seems like an incongruous passion for someone so inextricably associated with dark nightclubs and tinnitus-causing sound systems. But Dubfire points out the symmetry between the work of great chefs and musicians.

“When I started to really appreciate the technical skill that it takes for chefs to do what they do, especially really gifted chefs, [I realised] it’s no different in the music industry. We have so many people making music but we have a select few making really interesting, incredible, timeless music. With the chefs out there, a lot of people can say that they cook, but how many can serve some of the plates that you’ve seen in cookbooks from Noma or those types of restaurants?”

As well as the sensual delights, sitting down to enjoy some quality tucker helps get Dubfire ready for the gig ahead. “I can’t go to sleep and then wake up and go straight into that club environment, where everybody’s been drinking or doing whatever for hours and hours. I’ve got to go have a nice meal, great conversation, nice wine or sake or whatever and then I’m in the mood to give my best performance.”

Before the year is out, Dubfire will pop over for a brief Australian tour, stopping in at the Greenwood Hotel to headline the latest Code party. He’s been a regular visitor over the last couple of decades, so it’s no surprise he knows a thing or two about the local dining options.

“Everybody knows Rockpool, Neil Perry’s restaurants,” he says. “Tetsuya’s in Sydney is another unbelievable restaurant, by a Japanese chef who was trained in French technique. Really, every time I’ve been to Australia I’ve always had nothing but incredible food, and amazing wine of course.”

In other news, after an eight-year silence, earlier this year Dubfire and his Deep Dish partner Sharam Tayebi got together to work on some new material. In March, they delivered the eight-minute epic ‘Quincy’, and Dubfire says Deep Dish will become a full-time concern in the months ahead.

“This year we kind of wanted to get our feet wet. We wanted to reconnect creatively to see if we still had that magic formula together. Next year we’re going to make Deep Dish a focus and spend pretty much all of February in the studio together to see what happens.

“It’s interesting, our solo careers and the way they took off,” he adds. “Mine went in a more underground, back to my roots, techno direction, and Sharam went in his typical pop direction. Coming back together, it’s going to create an interesting dynamic that we’re trying to tap in to. Right now we’re just trying to pick up from where we left off. We want to really go in and finish the story and also see if there’s a new chapter.”

Catch him with Space Junk, B_A, AboutJack, Micky Price, Ed Wells atGreenwood Hotel onSaturday December 20, tickets online.

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Dubfire

“It has been a pretty wild ride this year,” says Ali Shirazinia – AKA Dubfire, a name associated in EDM circles with deep, meaningful production talent as well as a superb ability to read a crowd from behind the mixer. “I’ve had a pretty punishing tour schedule in 2013 and started a bit of a new project which is the Dubfire live show, so getting that process hatched has been a big focus for me”. In an earlier life, the Iranian-American producer found notoriety as part of Deep Dish with partner in crime Sharam Tayebi – and the Dubfire incarnation promises the best of both worlds.

“It’s basically going to be a one-hour show of the most recognised productions, edits and remixes I’ve done in my career. What I’ve done, though, is taken those things and rearranged them for a live audience. With that, I’m also going to be working on a visual show to match the visual onslaught.”

Logistically, the setup will include Ableton, live controllers, iPads, control modules as well as anything else that might take Shirazinia’s fancy between now and then. “I’m really keeping my ear to the street to get a feel for what’s in the background,” he explains. “The idea was actually to launch the new show at the Future Music Festival, but based on what’s involved I’m wondering if I’ll be able to launch it by then. If I do get it up and running shortly afterwards, I promise to get back to Australia to do some gigs!”

Inevitably too, our discussion turns to rebooting Deep Dish – not just for themselves – but also to deliver some love back to their long-time fan base. “We have seen that ball gaining some traction,” he admits. “To start, we have been talking about putting together a retrospective box set that covers off on our career together. We have many releases that didn’t see the light of day and to preserve the legacy that was Deep Dish – something that was important to both of us but to so many passionate people as well – and to do some shows and tracks; that would really mean a lot.”

With the time that has passed since Deep Dish went on hiatus, the boys have come to understand more than ever that they had a unique musical vision and talent. “Looking back, there was a lot of infighting between us about who was doing what – but that was a typical part of a group who was passionate about what they were up to. We always questioned each other’s motives and skills, which in the end was a positive outcome for us. And when we get around to doing things again, it will no doubt facilitate the creativity and drive that we so enjoyed when we worked together.”

Regardless, Shirazinia remains focused and committed to his current pursuits too – particularly with his SCI+TEC imprint, with a release schedule that’s pretty much full until early next year. “The label has really been an opportunity to seek out and nurture new and exciting artists. I’ve really gotten behind The Junkies, Carlo Lio and Shaded – these guys are doing great and exciting things; I learnt a long time ago that I can’t take on everyone, so with the label now I’m trying to zero in on the ones that have the drive we’re looking for.”

Finally, Shirazinia shares some thoughts on getting back to Australia again for a series of dates with Future Music Festival in 2014. “Some of the best memories I’ve had were at Future Music Festivals – particularly with Sven Väth at the sideshows in Melbourne and Sydney. We weren’t just hanging out together but also with other artists generally, and that’s what I love about those types of festivals. I wish that happened in the United States; travelling from city to city, you’re always meeting with producers who are at the top of their game. All sorts of things always come of that, too.”

BY REZO

Dubfire plays Future Music Festival 2014 withDeadmau5, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Phoenix, Hardwell, Rudimental, Eric Prydz, Kaskade, Porter Robinson and more at Royal Randwick Racecourse on Saturday March 8.

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