Posted Oct 21, 2010 in Events, Music | 1 Comment

The MUSICAL ANTICS of Darius Syrossian

As a producer, Darius Syrossian has been responsible for one of the biggest selling dance tracks of 2010 and has repeatedly hitBeatport’s Top 10 with various other tracks. As a DJ, he crosses the pond to join local phenom B’UGO for a night of musical mayhem at Montreal’s hotspot, Club U.N.

YourKloset (YK): Is Darius Syrossian antics, accident or design?

Darius Syrossian (DS): Definitely design.

Everyone says that ever since I was a kid I was always into music, but I was like obsessed with music!

I moved to the UK in 1987, but before that I would listen to 80s synth music like Human League, Yazoo, and stuff in my uncle’s car. I’d take his cassettes and when I got home I would record my fav tracks all onto one cassette with the dubbing feature on the double deck cassette player so I could listen to them all one after another… Ha ha… Then when I moved to UK I went to an outdoor rave in 1992. There were all kinds of people there – trendies, ravers, crusties, hippies – and everyone was loved up, but it was the MUSIC that mainly grabbed me, like totally grabbed me. From then on that’s what I wanted to do.

YK: How eventful has the journey been?

DS: Well a lot of people don’t know this, but I’ve been involved in the house music scene for a very long time, and it has paid my wages for around 15 years. I used to run Global Beat Records in the mid 90s, and this was before the digital age and everything was vinyl. There weren’t even online vinyl shops, and as we were one of the main shops I personally sold records over the phone to a lot of the big DJs, even Sasha would hunt down tracks from us. I even spoke with Paul Oakenfold a couple of times.

Toward the end of the 90s trance got big and I wouldn’t compromise my music, which was what I play now, deep, groovy, tough house music. So I put it aside and went to university to get my degree. I finished that and around seven or eight years ago I got back into it, this time running the dance section at Crash Records in Leeds. This time I got more involved in making music as well as starting up my own record label, Breakout Audio. A combination of both those things got me to the situation where I could sign to Steve Lawler’s VIVa MUSiC Label and do what I’m doing now.

It’s crazy, I used to go to clubs like Sankeys in Manchester 15 years ago to see Chemical Brothers, Mr. C, and Daft Punk, and it was Sankeys where I DJed with Steve Lawler and got the opportunity to show him what I’m about.

YK: How would you specifically describe your music?

DS: Okay, I don’t want to bore people here, but it’s very specific. IT’S NOT ABOUT THE NOISES. It’s about the rhythm and the groove for me. It doesn’t matter if it’s deep house, Detroit techno, or just house music, I will fit it all in if it has the right groove and the drum programming is right.

Also, the bass line has to have soul and feeling. I’m not into synthetic bass lines. The bass line is the soul of the track. That’s the main part of the track that has to be right, be it really slow low-slung funk or a Jeff Mills track on Axis records. Drum programming and a bass line with soul, that’s what grabs my attention

YK: As a pioneer in your own right, who have been your influences and inspirations?

DS: Haha, I wouldn’t say I’m a pioneer, honestly, but I can tell you what inspired me. 17 years ago I went to Back to Basics, one of the most respected nights in the world, let alone the UK. I was there right when it started at its first home. It’s now at its fifth home, and that club was totally different to a lot of clubs back then, and it heavily influenced me.

But in all these years, I’ve seen a lot of DJs who have inspired me. The names that spring to mind are Derrick Carter, Darren Emerson, DJ Sneak, X-Press 2, Doc Martin, Stacy Pullen, Derrick May, and Juan Atkins, who were all international stars. Locally, the Back to Basics residents, Huggy, Ralph Lawson, and James Holroyd were really my favorite DJs. What they played then you could play now easily. I remember I used to love this sound, but in those days most clubs were full of piano anthems, which wasn’t for me. Earlier on the DJs would play this stuff, and I’d always be on the dancefloor.

I remember one time my mates, who were all older than me, took me to Hacienda, and all I can say is WOW! It was this kind of music ALL NIGHT. Then in the mid to late 90s I heard Steve Lawler and people like Terry Francis, and Peace Division. I was at the very first night and opening of Fabric in London and I would travel down regularly to go clubbing there and at the End (Mr. C’s club).

As for Peace Division, all i can say is that these days people just get hyped up after a couple of good tracks, but Peace Division, and Justin Drake particularly, deserves so much more praise and respect than he receives, in my opinion. The music Peace Division brought out in the late 90s really did for the first time show Americans that UK producers can lead the way of a particular sound and not just follow it. That tech house sound and the tough house groove that’s all over right now is all copying what Peace Division started back then. Justin Drake for me is a real legend.

With regards to Steve Lawler, it’s great that I am now signed to him, because he was one of my favorite DJs about 10 to 12 years ago.

YK: What is your production/studio process?

DS: Okay well I don’t like to be too structured, so I’ll start with a bass line, try to get a rhythm with a bass line, and then have a kick drum. I try to make a bass line that on its own sounds good, after that it’s the drum programming that’s important. Once I have that, I try to find a lead to go with the track. The bass line is for the head and the heart, the rest of the tracks is for your feet, that’s how I see it.

YK: Biggest highlight so far? Besides being a top Beatport seller…

DS: In all the years I’ve been doing this, I’ve seen a lot of people come and go. A lot of the time it was due to people pigeonholing themselves and falling off the radar, and a lot of the time people gave up. But I was speaking to Steve Lawler recently, and he told me that if you’re passionate about something and keep working at it, you will eventually make it. There is only one other industry that’s harder than DJing and producing to make it in, and that’s acting. So many people want to do it, so I’m happy to be doing what I’m doing now and very grateful to be involved in my projects at the moment.

I can’t name one single highlight. I could easily say standing on stage at one of the big gigs I’ve done like Extrema Festival, or Moscow or Toronto and so on, but at the time you’re just getting on with the job, and it’s only afterwards that you reflect on it and appreciate it. Mainly it’s the little things, like when I did a small scale gig in Poland recently, and two guys came up to me who had travelled four hours on a train from Germany. They’d seen that I was playing and thought they would come. To know that your music is making that much of an impact on people ,it’s very humbling. It’s the small things like that that make you really glad that you worked so hard at what you’re doing.

YK: Anything cooking in your proverbial musical kitchen?

DS: Yes, I’ve got a collaboration that I’ve done with Paul Woolford coming out on Monique Musique, and another with Nyra on Monique Speciale. Then I have done a remix of Horatio & Denny K that has already caught Heidi’s attention and she played it on her Radio 1 show. The remix will be out on vinyl, as well as digital on Berlin-based Natural Rhythm label, and will also feature a Reboot remix. Plus there is much more stuff to come on many other labels. I won’t bore you with it all now, but keep your eyes (and ears) peeled.

B’UGO welcomes the musical ANTICS of UK’s Darius Syrossian at Montreal’s  Club U.N. (390 Notre Dame W, corner Ste Helene) Saturday, October 23rd, at 10pm.

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  1. Darius wanted to add that he just signed a MASSIVE TRACK to 2000 & one’s label AREA REMOTE LABEL!! Congratulations!

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