Darius Syrossian is smiling at us from the doorway of his Ibiza villa, while brandishing a tray of cold beers and chopped fruit. It’s exactly what we need after a long day of shoots and interviews in the sweltering Ibiza sun, and Syrossian makes for an excellent host.
We’re here to interview the Mancunian DJ/producer about his touring party brand, Do Not Sleep, that’s gearing up for its second successful season on the White Isle. Syrossian has swapped out Privilege for Space this year, just in time for one last dance before the legendary club shuts its doors for good in September. Up on the roof of his hillside villa, the DJ/producer talks us through the idea behind his night, losing himself on the dancefloor and what else he’s got planned for 2016...
You’ve moved Do Not Sleep to Space this year, what’s the strategy behind that?
“We’ve had to think of Do Not Sleep as a nomadic party brand, so it doesn’t really matter where we are. It’s a no-frills party, so it’s just about the music, a dark room and a sound system — it could be anywhere! I think there’s a lot of parties that are very intertwined with the venue they’re in.
For us, it doesn’t matter so much — we did Vista Club in Privilege, Amnesia and Space last year, and they all had the same crowd. I think wherever we go, it’s our crowd — and that’s important to us. We had a few offers, but we went with Space this year because it’s the final year, and the Space team are amazing to work with!”
Thoughts on Space’s final year?
“To be honest, I was never really into the idea of VIP clubs. Ibiza was made off the back of the hippies. That’s part of the reason why with Do Not Sleep we aim to try and make it a party for the workers, for the clubbers who are not about the VIP. I actually banned VIP tables when we were at Privilege. A few times they tried to still do them, and I was like, ‘I’m not playing any more music unless you get rid of them’ [laughs].
“We haven’t been able to do the same at Space because of the layout, but I don’t think Space has ever had a massive VIP focus on the island. I think when it gets taken over that might change, and it will be a shame if it goes down that route. But to be at Space in its final year this year is such an honour, and to be a resident alongside Carl Cox — it’s incredible. If you’d said to me I’d be doing this, even five years ago, I would have laughed at you.”
And you’re doing some vinyl sets too?
“Yes, I’m doing a sunset gig on vinyl to celebrate the 27 years theme. I’ve had decks since ‘94 and I’ve been collecting music all of those years. And since it’s the last year of Space, Juan suggested I do a vinyl set of all the music from those years — kind of like a summary. The best bit is they’re opening the roof for it and it’s starting at 7pm. There’s two dates for it actually, one on the 7th of August and the other on the 4th of September.”
Tell us about the ethos behind the Do Not Sleep?
“I was inspired by the American house producers back in the day, people like Armand Van Helden and Derrick Carter, but also the techno side of it — Derrick May in particular. I’ve always found him to be very dancefloor-focused techno. I think that’s why my music has always been aimed at the dancefloor.
The beauty of this thing, of electronic music generally, is that there’s so many different styles and genres, but for me I’ve always been about the dancefloor. I’ve never hidden that, I’m proud of it and I think my productions really show that. For me, anyone who wants to make people dance is okay for Do Not Sleep.
“It can be deep but it can still be dancefloor — that’s the real aim of the party musically. It’s just no frills — we’re not interested in having dancers, ice cannons, all that stuff. No disrespect to people who do that, but we just want to focus on music. Not to say we’re super-serious all the time [laughs] but I think house is a feeling, you know? And when you just focus on the music, that’s when you can really lose yourself.”
Do you do that often — lose yourself?
“Yeah, I’ve had times when I’ve been on the dancefloor for five hours and I’ve come away feeling totally refreshed, reinvigorated. And that’s what it’s all about for us at Do Not Sleep.”
You’re taking charge of your own Balance compilation this year — tell us about what you’ve got coming up production-wise this year?
“I just today signed a track to 20/20 Vision in Leeds, plus Richy Ahmed just rang me up and asked me to do a remix for him. I’m stoked about that, he’s on fire at the minute! I’ve just signed two tracks to Nick Curly on 8 Bit, and I’m also working on a collaboration with Doorly.
There’s another EP with Josh Butler coming… basically in the winter I’m in the studio non-stop just grafting, and then in the summertime I come out here to the villa. I love the view here, I love that it’s rustic. I’ve also got a mini studio set-up here but I need to work in my studio, I can’t work just from a laptop.”
And finally, who’s on the line-up?
“I’m stoked with the line-up we’ve got this year. There’s Nathan Boratto, Alan Fitzpatrick, Hector Couto and Nick Curly all playing, plus more — we can’t wait to get started!”
WATCH DARIUS SYROSSIAN’S EPIC DO NOT SLEEP TOUR DIARY
DJ mag follows do not sleep resident on the road to Ibiza...
Posted by DJ Mag on Thursday, 21 July 2016