One of the big stories of the year in international dance music circles has been the reunion of Deep Dish – Sharam and Dubfire.
The pair were a crucial part of dance music's development in the '90s, shining with a slew of progressive releases, and during the noughties they maintained their position as one of the biggest — yet still credible — dance acts around.
Towards the end of the last decade, Sharam and Dubfire decided to go their separate ways to explore their own solo careers. But now they're back together again — playing gigs and recording new material.
DJ Mag caught up with Deep Dish ahead of their first UK gig together since 2008 — at the Brixton Electric on Saturday 25th October.
Hi guys, what was it like getting back together again after a few years apart?
Dubfire: “Well, it was well more than a 'few years apart'! LOL! It was a pretty slow process with lots of stops and starts along the way.”
Sharam: “Correct, but the slow process can be attributed to our busy individual schedules which prevented us from spending a consistent amount of time in the studio. So now we're learning to use technology to our advantage and collaborate without actually being present in the same room.”
Had you spoken to each other much in the intervening period?
Dubfire: “From time to time, yes. But with me being based in Barcelona and now LA and both of our punishing tour and studio schedules, it made it virtually impossible.”
Why did you reconvene?
Dubfire: “That's the million dollar question, eh? In short, we had gotten past all of the negative and creative aspects which contributed to our separation and felt as if we simply walked away from Deep Dish without really finishing the story, or deciding whether and how to continue it.”
Sharam: “Truth is, we accomplished everything that we had set our minds to accomplish with Deep Dish up to that point, and felt like it was the right time to explore the solo path — given that we are both individual DJs and producers with our own constantly morphing styles. So we wanted to explore that aspect of the creative process as a new challenge. The other thing is we got tired of hearing 'Are you guys getting back together again?' Hahaha.”
Ali, how has the Deep Dish reunion worked alongside your own solo live show that you’re developing?
Dubfire: “It's been incredibly 'challenging', to put it mildly; juggling the Deep Dish reboot alongside my already relentless touring and studio schedule AND the big HYBRID live show, which at the time of this writing I just tested at the Bonusz festival in Budapest. But it had been in the works for a year prior to when we decided on the Miami Deep Dish show in March, so I couldn't put it on hold. But to be honest, I have such an incredible team who made sure I stayed on course that I somehow was able to manage it. In many ways I feel like I just gave birth and now comes the fun part of tweaking the show, one gig at a time.”
Sharam, what else were you up to in the intervening period before the Deep Dish reunion?
“I'm constantly making music but don't necessarily release all the music I make because, 1) I'm a perfectionist, almost to a fault, and 2) I'm not a fan of releasing music aimlessly. For me, it has to be part of a bigger project or has to have a special sub story — like when Seth Troxler and I were talking about playing 'interesting music'. That conversation resonated with me and I gave him a track I had made called 'Tripi', and after playing it for a year or so he contacted me and said he wanted to launch his new label with it.
“I love doing organic projects like that. I'm of the mind to challenge myself, which led to me making a double album called 'Get Wild' — my first solo original production post-Deep Dish. I did a live tour around it which kept me busy for a while, as it can be a very time-consuming process — as Ali is finding out right now with his live show. But for the past couple of years I've been working on a lot of music that is shaping up to be my next album, which I'm almost finished with. So there will be an influx of music coming out in the next 12 months. I'm also pushing to finish this project fast so I can concentrate more on Deep Dish.”
How many new Deep Dish tracks have you recorded?
Dubfire: “We've recorded maybe 20 or so in various demo stages and are diving into the studio together in February to begin polishing some, discarding others and coming up with new ones. There's no reason to rush it.
“'Quincy' happened very naturally, as did the Essential Mix we did, in that they both combine each of our unique approaches — so we were very happy about that. And some of the nicest compliments we got were from colleagues who commented that it sounded like vintage Deep Dish, but with the current modern and future sound of electronic music.”
Sharam: “I'm looking forward to putting the gloves on in the ring. We are at our best when we don't necessarily agree, and push each other to think differently or to make compromise.”
Are you looking forward to playing together in the UK again?
Dubfire: “Very much so; some of our best memories are rooted in our gigs there. From playing The End, Full Circle, Bugged Out and Hard Times, to Shindig, Sankeys, Plastic People, The Hacienda, to all the early Cream club and festival events. We have always had such an incredibly enthusiastic and loyal fan-base in the UK that we're equally humbled and excited to reunite there again.”
Sharam: “I'm excited just like I was when we travelled to the UK for the first time to play at Cream.”
Anything else you want to tell DJ Mag readers?
Dubfire: “Thank you for the MANY years of support — not only the magazine, but that the UK fans have given us. Stay Gold…”
Deep Dish play the Electric Brixton on Saturday 25th October, their first UK performance since 2008. More info and tickets here