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Sasha
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Position: 
5

Questions Top100 DJs 2007 - admin - 2015-06-30 17:27

Style: 
Techyproggytrancybreakytechnoprog
Best known for: 
Always being on time.
Tune of the year: 
Kevlar 'The Mongoose'
Producer of 2007: 
Gui Boratto
Breakthrough DJ/Producer of 2007: 
Scarlett Etienne
Your musical inspiration: 
The Hacienda
Best festival on the planet: 
Bestival. But the best for me this year was Bonnaroo, USA.
Best bit of kit: 
The Maven. Duh!
What tune makes you cry: 
Ce Ce Rogers 'Someday'
Naughtiest thing you've done this year: 
I DJed in front of 5000 people wearing women's knickers.

It's been a period of change for Sasha. One of the world's most widely travelled DJs, he cut back on his club activities during the first half of the year to spend more time in his studio in New York.
"It was my first time back making music in a few years, since I did 'Involver'. It was good to be back with my crew and it was very fruitful," he explains. "It took some time to get the wheels greased and it meant that my summer touring schedule was shorter than usual."

Sasha launched his own label, Emfire, recently, as an outlet for his new music. He's already got three EPs primed for consecutive release in November, December and January.
"A lot of people who were making screaming trance not so long ago are making minimal now, but Emfire won't be just another minimal tech-house label," he explains. "I've always leant toward fluffy keys and melodies: first single 'Coma' is a deep club track but I hope that it's still got my touch," Sasha adds.
At the same time, he admits that his music hasn't been immune to minimalism and feels that it has had a profound effect on contemporary electronic music, both negatively and positively.
"There's no doubt that it has infiltrated electronic music: the sound of Germany has had a huge influence, but I'm not a big fan of the ultra-stripped back, purist stuff," he says.
"There's a lot of confusion about minimal. Some mind-blowing music has come from Ricardo Villalobos's studio over the past four years, but a lot of minimal is self-indulgent music for people to wank off to, and I've been to parties where the DJs are meant to be playing minimal but all I hear is an update of progressive house."

While Sasha's involvement will generate more interest in Emfire than if it were run by a lesser-known DJ, surely the current, fragmented climate dictates that it's not an ideal time to launch an independent imprint?
"Signing a deal with a label makes no real sense any more and we already have a good relationship with Beatport. I'm not releasing commercial music and I don't feel that I need a huge machine behind me to promote what are really deep club tracks," he explains.
With so many 'digital-only' operations springing up, it has become more difficult than ever for new labels to get noticed. However, Sasha, one of the earliest users of digital DJ formats, has committed to releasing Emfire material on all formats.
"I still buy a lot of my music on vinyl and encode it - Boomkat is my favourite online shop, I spend hours on it - and we're going to do one-sided vinyl releases with Emfire," he explains. "The vinyl will be beautifully packaged, with clean, minimal artwork by Insect [a collective who collaborated with guerilla artist Banksy] and a laser etching on one side.
"I believe that vinyl will survive and turn into a collector's item because anyone who goes to the trouble of doing artwork, pressing up vinyl and getting distributed really cares about the music and so do the people who buy it. Vinyl has become a real labour of love, whereas it's much easier to churn out some MP3s - digital formats have become an easy route through which a shitload of bad music is released," he believes.

Sasha's other big project is completing a follow-up to his 2004 mix compilation 'Involver'. Originally scheduled for a release this year, changes in the DJ's personal life mean it's been put on the shelf until next year.
"My wife is pregnant - we're expecting a boy in November - and this blew the release date out of the water," explains Sasha.
However, he admits that he's happy that the release has been postponed.
"I feel that if we had rushed it through, it wouldn't have sounded that good, and it was worthwhile to stand back and listen to it from a fresh perspective," says Sasha.
Promising "more guitars" and a similarly unpredictable tracklisting as the first 'Involver', the new compilation is due at the start of next summer. Sasha also says that he'll be touring extensively to promote 'Involver 2' and is looking forward to spending a lot more time in the UK.
"I'd love to do something regular in the UK again. New York has been my home for a while, but I miss England, especially the countryside!"

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