Fans of Scottish singer-songwriter Darius of Pop Idol fame (we know you are out there!) look away now. The only Darius we are concerned with is of the Syrossian variety. Nominated by us for Breakthrough Producer at this year's Best of British Awards, he's had his biggest year despite knocking around since 2004 with raw house cuts on Steve Lawler's ViVa, Breakout Audio and Area Remote. October's warehouse bumper on OFF alongside Hector Couto – 'Metal', with its grimy, industrial clang and swinging garage bassline – signalled Darius coming of age, just a month or so after dropping ballroom banger, '10 Miles from Lima' on Klangkultur Schallplatten. Upping his stakes, Darius has gone from solid producer with a deft knack on the wheels of steel to one of the meatiest, most exciting producers out there, scoring DJ sets everywhere from Watergate to Ibiza over the past six months.
This December, a fews days after his set at our Best of British Awards 2012 at Cable, London, where he'll hear the results (fingers crossed!), he's been snagged for Gist's End of The World Xmas Party at Hooga, Chelmsford, so we caught up for a chat...
So Darius, where you been, what you been up to?
“Erm... in the last month I have played at Watergate in Berlin, in Zurich, Ireland, London and loads more places. Since I got back from Ibiza it has been non-stop but I like it like this, work hard play hard and all that. Ha!”
What's been your highlight of 2012? Apart from your nomination for Best of British, of course!
“I found out about the nomination when I woke up in a hotel one morning after a gig and I had a mad weekend of gigs ahead of me, so it hadn’t really sunk in. Then the other day I was in the supermarket then it sank in, actually, shit, that’s quite a big deal! Hahaha. It’s great to be recognised because was tired of seeing reviews where I was referred to as an 'often over looked' and so on, but with regards to other highlights of 2012?
“Playing the Sankeys Ibiza residency with Steve Lawler for VIVa Warriors, and some great clubs I have always wanted to play such as Watergate. And also one moment I’ll remember is actually mixing the VIVa Warriors compilation. It took months and months to prepare, as all tracks had to be never before released and were exclusive to the mix. So I had to source new tracks and so on, and then I mixed it all in one take, no laptops or computers. But about four tracks in, it hit me what I’m actually doing! I am mixing a compilation that will be out on CD in the shops, and I’m not embarrassed to say, I got a bit emotional - I had to whack myself and pull myself together (laughs)! I did the mix at the first attempt too, and I’m very proud of it. It is nice to be somewhere in the world and seeing it on the shelves in a music shop was amazing to see. I worked for years and years and to get an opportunity to do a cd comp of my own.”
Are you looking forward to playing Gist Chelmsford?
“I look forward to all gigs everywhere always, I just love performing and playing my music!”
Have you ever played in Essex before? If so, how was it?
“Actually I played last summer for the KLIK guys, and one other time down there too. There is a big big scene in Essex right now, isn’t there?
“I don’t know where it’s come from but it’s great to see. In fact, I have said it in a lot of interviews recently, there is a great scene all over in the UK now, especially with the younger generation. I played four midweek gigs since I got back from Ibiza. Leeds for Teknicolor was rammed, but that always is, but I also played Liverpool, Newcastle and Nottingham, all midweek gigs and all were packed and with a really good up for it crowd… Very refreshing to see!”
What can we expect from your set?
“Really jacked up bass-injected tough house music with a lot of energy and groove. There will be some old school gems on vinyl, as well as really upfront promo's and new bits from me.”
Talk us through how your sound changed over the years.
“You know what? I’m not lying, it hasn't… Everyone says my sound is old school, and that's not because I’m trying to sound old school, its because it’s what I like.
“I have always liked the really tough Chicago sound, but with darker deeper Detroit elements in it. But even the UK stuff, yeah of course you move in and out of playing a bit more this or that, but the basis of my sound has always been the same from day one. Even when I went to raves as a youngster, I was never really into the Italo house piano anthems. I was always in the side room or the other room to listen to the more US house sounds that were being played as an alternative.”
You've been making tunes for a while, but it feels like things are going next level now. How would you explain your recent success?
“Well, when myself and Nyra split from being a duo I had the freedom to make what I wanted and when I wanted. Art can’t be controlled, so I just made what came out from inside me, you know from my heart, and the first track I made really was 'Stay Up Dancing Get In Monday' and that was a success and I never really looked back. I found my own sound and I’m always hungry to make the next track. I’m thankful i have this hunger for it, even after doing it so many years, if you try force this kind of thing you won’t get good results, but when I’m away DJing, sometimes I look forward so much to getting back in the studio.”
When is your next tune going to drop?
“My latest track 'Metal' EP has just dropped on OFF recordings. Reviews have been amazing, I noticed yourselves at DJ MAG put it in the Killer Reviews section, so thanks for that! But the next one is a track that I have been getting literally message after message about on Facebook, and email asking for the release date. It’s a track by myself and Hector Couto, and it’s called 'Here We Come'. We have sampled a vocal from The Fugee's – so we are waiting on sample clearance from EMI before we can release it. It’s great you asked this question because now I have answered it for everyone ha ha! Also there are other projects coming out and one is a track I have done for the VIVa MUSiC 100th release which features loads of other artists too.
What else can we expect from you in 2013?
“More productions of course, I’ll be starting 2013 in Jan spinning at BPM festival straight after my New Year’s eve gig in Edinburgh and new years day gig in Cardiff. Then its non-stop. I have just moved to Paramount DJ agency and my diary is full up… but my VIVa MUSiC radio show starts up again. There is talk of South America tour and an Australia tour, and VIVa Warriors for next summer is already being planned, so lots really. Nice and busy, but that’s how I like it.”
GIST END OF THE WORLD XMAS PARTY
VENUE: Hooga, Chelmsford | DATE: Friday 21st December | TIME: 8pm – 6am | £7+
Darius Syrossian | Gav Rayner | Adam Saville | Discreet Soundsystem | Mono 4
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