HigherFrequency  DJ Interview


Deep Dish

What do Michael Jackson, the Rolling Stones and the Pet Shop Boys all have in common? Besides fame and fortune, they have all been remixed by the Grammy award winning duo Deep Dish who touched down in Tokyo during December to promote their album "George is On". It is an album that has already seen great success for the Iranian born, Washington based promoters with 'Flashdance' and 'Say Hello', two singles from the album, hogging the airwaves worldwide for quite sometime now.

When not producing original material, remixing superstars, or DJing to massive crowds Sharam and Ali find time to run the hugely successful Yoshitoshi label. Here they are responsible for the hopes and dreams of progressive youngsters everywhere as fledgling producers try everything to work their tracks onto the label's ever growing list of classic tunes. We were lucky enough to chat with the sleep deprived pair as they wound up their whirlwind Japanese tour.

* If you would like to view the video interview...Click here !

> Introduction & Interview : Nick Lawrence


Sharom : Oh, HigherFrequency, the first record we made for Tribal America, was called HigherFrequency !

HigherFrequency (HRFQ) : Don't sue !

Sharom : We don't own the trademark !!

HRFQ : Oh that's ok then. You guys played at Air and ageHa at the weekend, two very different shows, 300 people and probably a few thousand people. How was it, how were the gigs ?

Ali : Amazing, especially ageHa, it is a club that we have heard a lot about. It was our first time playing in both clubs and it was fantastic as well, to open the room and close it off.

HRFQ : So what were the differences playing in front of 300 people and 3 to 4 thousand people ?

Sharom : Well you know when you are playing a bigger crowd a bigger club, you can play bigger records. You know like there are some records we call 'em big room records. So you get to play more of those. Smaller crowd, you know it is more intimate, you play more housey, lower tempo, and you can change direction pretty fast.

HRFQ : And this is your release tour for the album 'George Is On', how long does it take to produce and album like that ?

Sharom : If you are really good and on it, it could take a month, if you are Armand Van Helden it could take a month, but if you are us, it takes two years.

Ali : It is not continuously, we are just extremely busy with other commitments, like gigging and doing remixes and mix CD's and things like that. So it is just a matter of finding the time to give it our full attention.

HRFQ : What has the response been like to the album ?

Ali : Fantastic..

Sharom : Great. So far so good.

Deep Dish Interview

HRFQ : If we can talk about the tracks for a second, 'Flashdance', huge hit, what goes into thinking up a track like 'Flashdance', how does it come about ?

Sharom : Well 'Flashdance' was a record that basically I grew up with while I was in Iran, the movie was one of the only forms of music that was available at the time, through bootleg, bootleg videos and so it was something I was influenced by when I was growing up, and it was always something I wanted to go back to. And the opportunity came and just one day and I go 'I gotta do this thing', so that's how it came about. And it came about really quickly, it was made in 12 hours, and that was it. And then with a record like 'Say Hello' it took like 3 months, then we were still struggling with it. So basically the whole album is about, are influences from various times of our lives or the present moment. Putting it all together and making one body of work.

HRFQ : Talking about influences, a lot of artists now are talking about the mid nineties, you guys were producing in the mid nineties, are you influenced by your own music from back then at all ?

Sharom : Yeah, when we listen to some of the stuff, we are like 'wow', it is cool to sample our own records now !

Ali : We had a different technique to making those early productions, that was when producers weren't doing everything on the computer you know. We still had a live mixing desk you know, we would actually go live to DAT, and you know now, everything is exported to a Hard drive. Well back then we had a DAT and would go live to DAT and we would do all our crazy delays and stuff live and if we screwed up we would have to like start all over again. So the process was different, and it yielded a different result. Now in music, you have a lot more control over absolutely every aspect of the production; and that is not necessarily a good thing, because mistakes are good.

HRFQ : So if it is not too much of a trade secret, can you tell us about your studio set up, do you use Ableton or....

Ali : Well all of our studio set up was listed in Remix Magazine, we were on the cover of remix magazine sometime ago and it is all listed there.

Sharom : We basically use logic as a sequencer and anything else really doesn't matter, to us equipment has never been a big thing, it is what you do with the equipment.

Ali : It is all about the ideas. It is not about what you have.

Sharom : You could have ten pieces of equipment, but you could not make the same music, [ with them], because of the individual and how you use them.

HRFQ : With your music, Ali you sang on the album is that right ?

Ali : Only for one track.

HRFQ : Was that something you have always wanted to do ?

Ali : It was something......I had a little four track, at home, back in the day and I would play guitar and sing in to it. I did a talent show once and I sang! And I was always in bands with friends that would last about a day so I was always into that aspect of it. And for that particular song we didn't have any other vocalist that could [do it], we didn't want to use Richard Morel 'cos his voice wasn't necessarily right for that particular track and I had a sort of idea of how we wanted to make the thing sound, so I just said "Screw it. I will go into the vocal booth'. I had to do a million takes but I got it right !

Deep Dish Interview

HRFQ : And another track off the album 'Say Hello', mentioned before, Paul Van Dyk did a remix. Who made the offer there, was it you guys or Paul ?

Ali : We have a mutual respect for Paul and we are also good friends and it was sort of like a swap, we remixed 'The Other Side' and he did 'Say Hello' for us.

Sharom : The timing was right 'cos we were both having new singles out that needed new remixes. When that happens it is a good, cool thing. And he brings in an element which we didn't have and we brought an element to his song that he didn't have. So it is a cool thing.

HRFQ : Is it good to get the chance to reach different fans that you might not reach otherwise ?

Sharom : That is the whole point of the remix you know, to take the song to a different direction that you normally wouldn't be able to go.

Ali : We'd always done that with remixes we have commissioned, get Dylan Rhymes to represent the Breaks scene, 'cos he is someone we respect, get Chus & Ceballos to do their tribal thing you know , get Paul Van Dyk to do his - well he doesn't like to call it trance - but his trance thing !

HRFQ : If we can talk about your label for a second, Yoshitoshi, what can young producers do, what are you looking for when you release a single on Yoishitoshi ?

Sharom : Think different, try to separate yourself from the average, the norm out there.

HRFQ : You have picked up a few Japanese artists like Satoshi Fumi, can you tell me anything you have noticed lacking from Japanese artists or what they have got that others don't ?

Sharom : They seem to be making huge progress, there is another producer called Osamu with some new fantastic stuff, and there seems to be more and more of them, obviously Satoshi Tomiie has been around for a long time.

Ali : And DJ Krush is someone I have always liked.

Sharom : The problem might have been that Japan is so far away from everywhere else like Europe and America, but now with the internet the gaps are not existing anymore, so now anyone with any talent can get their stuff heard, and anybody really good, make sure you send your stuff to Yoshitoshi first !! Yoshitoshi.com !!

Deep Dish Interview

HRFQ : On the internet, what are your thoughts or policy on digital downloads ?

Sharom : We offer them on our website for a fee. You know it is good that people swap music you know, but as long as they are mindful that the reason some of those producers are able to produce is because you know they have to be able to reap some of those benefits from it. They have to be able to make something out of it.

Ali : There are a lot of producers who don't DJ to make a living, and their whole job is on making music.

Sharom : It is like a clothes designer giving away, all the clothes he makes for free ! They'd go bankrupt, so music is the same way you know. You know you can easily download it [for free], but it doesn't mean you should.

Ali : Yeah...just think about it before you download you know.

HRFQ : Are you guys glad you started before this whole digital music revolution ?

Ali : Oh yeah. It was a completely different climate, we didn't have the internet, we had pagers, we didn't even have mobile phones. It was a totally different climate and not as many people were doing it as are today you know. We were fortunate enough to be able to stay in the game, stay one step ahead of everybody else.

Sharom : Today it is a lot harder, but by the same token, if it is done right, it is a lot easier. Maybe this is not a good example, but that frog song whatever that was, that is an example of how technology makes something so huge, through ring tones a song blows up you know. Ten years ago that would have been impossible. So again technology and advancement of technology is just a tool, obviously at the end of the day it comes down to the quality of the music and how you promote it.

HRFQ : And just to finish up, are there any Deep Dish releases or Yoshitoshi releases you can tell us about ?

Ali : For Yoshitoshi the easiest way to check it out is through the website, all the latest release are usually available for download and physical vinyl, on yoshitoshi.com and the Deep Dish front right now, the 'George Is On' album is the only thing right now. we just released 'Sacremento' our third single. In about February we are going to release 'Our Dreams' with Stevie Nicks, which we are looking very much forward to.

HRFQ : OK Excellent, we know you are very hungry and very tired, but thanks a lot !!

Both : Thank you.

End of the interview

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