Friday, April 11, 2008

DJ Sasha and John Digweed return to Chicago after six years

DJ Sasha returns to Chicago on Saturday, April 12 at the House of Blues. He took a few minutes to discuss touring again with John Digweed, the music industry, and his passion for it all. -Anthony Regan

So how does it work on the decks when you’re both touring?
It all depends on the length of a set. We can go an hour each or after we carve it up, we switch every 30 minutes or every record. We always try to keep it fresh every night.

How fresh is the music on your tour?
I’m uploading and playing tracks on the tour bus before the show and sending back suggestions to the producers if I want tweaks, like if something needs more bass.

Touring hasn’t always been like this, right?
Today it’s an industry standard. 10 years ago records changed monthly. At the end of your tour, you pulled out the boxes of records and replaced them. Now it’s a day-to-day occurrence.

Will you pick plates out that resemble the sound here in Chicago?
The tour is getting a sound of its own. We won’t change the sound for the city. People can hear their local DJs; they do it better than us.

What needs to happen in Chicago to get out of town acts more frequently?
I used to worship the record labels from Chicago. The late 80’s defined what the sound was in the UK. The labels are long gone now. That Gospel dance sound, not sure how relevant it is anymore but back in the day, it was the ‘Soundtrack of Manchester 1988.’ It really didn’t evolve or sustain relevance though.

Why House of Blues? Wouldn’t you ever want to do something more underground, say Smartbar?
Oh yeah, sure! Never done House of Blues though, and it is important to do different venues. John is on this tour as well and it’s bigger, so this time our agents put heads together and HOB was the spot.

What do you find unique about performing in Chicago? And what about Chicagoans and their taste in music make them unique?
Every American city is proud of its culture. I’ve spent a lot of time New York, LA and Chicago. Everyone is different.

Is there a certain part of this country or world that provides excellent tracks?
I’ve got producer friends from all over the world and a lot of amazing music coming out of Berlin that is extremely influential. Many techno producers have moved there and it is extremely vibrant.

Over the years, what has “damaged” the electronic music industry the most?
The most damaging, in general, was reluctance by the industry to accept the fact that the internet was coming. The entire industry capitulated, and it cost millions. Smaller labels have felt the squeeze the most. Many are gone because of this.

What has made it healthy?
It is like Darwin’s natural evolution. It was bad before it got better. Now we have Beatport and iTunes, and certain labels have been reborn and are now thriving through all of this.

What was the most important decision you have made as a DJ to get you to where you are now?
I think in general sticking to my own sound, being bullish about what I play is what defines me. That’s the job as a do. Set trends; do not be a follower. Stick to the guns of your sound. You have to believe in your own sound.