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Australian-based producer spills beans on debut album

Last week we featured a video exclusive of 'Reset', a track from 'Speed of Life', the forthcoming debut album from Australia-based producer Dirty South (aka Dragan Roganovic). This week, we caught up with him to find out more. Like the fact that we won't be calling him 'Australia-based' for much longer, as he's moving to dance music's new mecca, LA.

Find out about his new band project Ruben Haze, who also feature on his album, who he'd most like to work with in the world and just exactly what the speed of life is (clue, it's multi-geared).

You recorded your debut album while on the road. Does this mean that the tracks have specific memories or association? Can you tell us about some of them?

“Yes, most of the tracks were recorded while touring. Some of them remind me of different cities I was in while making these tracks. For example, 'Gods', 'Until The End' and 'Your Heart' remind of Los Angeles. 'Sunrise', 'Super Sounds' and 'Champions' remind me of my home town Melbourne quite a bit. The initial idea for the last track on the album, which is also called 'Speed Of Life', was made in Las Vegas in only few hours, so this track brings back the memories of working there at the Palms Studios.”

The album is released on iTunes on March 5 but you'll also be releasing some tracks via Beatport. How will these differ from the album versions?

“The Beatport versions will be the extended versions of some of the more club oriented tracks on the album. These will be made specifically in mind for DJs to make it easier to mix in and out of the tracks.”

You've started up a band project called Ruben Haze. Can you tell us a little about this and the Ruben Haze track on the album? Does this mean there might be a Ruben Haze album too?

“Ruben Haze is band project that I've created with my buddy Rudy from Australia. It's a totally different sound from Dirty South. It's much more live oriented, but at the same time it's still produced in an electronic kind of way. There is definitely a lot of Ruben Haze music coming out this year. We have an album finished, so this will the next project I will launch after the Dirty South album.”

How does being based in Australia affect when and where you play abroad? It's a long old flight home so we presume you spend a lot of time on the road.

“It's definitely a journey when I travel to and from Australia. It's hard being away from home, so that's why I'm going to move to LA for a bit and reduce the travel time. This way I can be even more productive and have some family time.”

What were some of the highlights of your recent North American tour, the largest you've ever done? Does it feel like dance music is still growing there?

“My last tour was quite epic. The whole tour felt very successful on every level and I finished it off in Los Angeles at the Palladium. We had a sold out show and it was a perfect way to end the tour. Dance music is definitely growing there and it's a great place to be in creatively right now for me.”

You have a number of Vegas residences. How do you prepare for gigs where a lot of the people there might only be very casual EDM fans? Do you have to change your set compared to playing in Europe or even in the rest of the US?

“I kind of stick to my sound. Most places I can do what I normally do. At some gigs for example, I need to adjust to maybe playing a little more vocals or some other times, a little less vocals. I think that's a DJ's job, to stick to your style that you love and keep the crowd moving.”

You've worked with numerous other acts, big and small. Can you name one underground and one pop act who you'd still like to work with and why?

“I have one person that I would love to do something with on some level and that's Anthony Keidis from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Most of the other times, I like to work with friends I meet in the industry. It's super fun making music with friends.”

What is the speed of life and how many gears does it have?

“Speed of life is however fast or slow you want it to be. For me it's a balance of both, that's why on the album I have tracks that represent all different moods and energy levels. Balance is important, otherwise you will burn yourself out!”