2016 was quite the year for Darius Syrossian.
His DO NOT SLEEP brand held a residency at Space Ibiza, he delivered a compilation for the esteemed Balance Series, and later in the year he also delivered an Essential Mix for Radio 1 - all of this while continuing one of the more hectic international touring schedules. On the eve of his Australian tour we caught up with the DJ/producer for a quick chat…
SR: You’ve been to Australia a couple of times now. This time you’ll be making your debut at the infamous Revolver Upstairs (where your good pal Doorly just visited). What have you come to expect from Australian crowds and what have you got planned during your stay, for your shows or otherwise?
DS: Last time I was in Australia I met some amazing people, this time I have come a few days earlier to hang out with the people I met. Regarding the gig, the music will be amazing haha. To give you a taster, listen to this live recording from the Albert Hall in Manchester on New Years Day when I played to 2000 people, the atmosphere was unreal and I can't wait to bring these vibes down under.
SR: You recently put together an Essential Mix for BBC Radio 1, what does the Essential Mix mean to you as an artist? You mention that it’s not ‘full of anthems’ but takes the listener on a journey. Do you try to keep this theme constant during your live sets?
DS: Well, I remember listening to my first Essential Mix when I was 16, years ago, and it’s one of most the iconic things in UK dance music culture, to have now done two means a lot to me. And yes, when you are playing in a club, you are reading a crowd and applying your sound to that particular audience, but when it's an essential mix, you have a blank canvas and it's great to be able to be creative and go on a particular journey. I always try to take the dance floor on an adventure when I'm djing.
SR: As a self-confessed workaholic, what do you like to do when you have a little down time?
DS: Haha yeah I have to admit, I am a massive workaholic. In my spare time I love to cook, also I've sold paintings in the past, I have a degree in art and illustration, so I’d probably be doing that if I wasn’t involved in music but I loved it too much to not pursue it as a career.
SR: Do you find yourself writing on the road a lot or do you manage to get studio time? What are some of your studio essentials?
DS: I make lots of ideas on the road, especially on flights, which is the best time to work on ideas but for the actual producing I need to be in my studio at home really.
SR: After being in the scene for your entire adult life, what are some of your fondest memories? In a parallel universe, what do you think you might be doing?
DS: Ahhh too many, my first international gigs on the road with Steve Lawler, were great memories. Recently playing Space Ibiza closing on the main stage was something special, also our own Do Not Sleep party closing at Space was great. Regarding a parallel universe, well probably all the things I don’t have time to do much anymore, like cooking and painting, or even playing football.
SR: You’ve mentioned a few times that you’re not in it for the money and you just love throwing a good party. As an artist, promoter or label owner, what challenges have you faced that you’re super proud to have overcome?
DS: Recently my manager had wanted me to stop doing the party I had worked so hard to start up, Do Not Sleep. He wanted to place me in more commercial, one-off parties, as they pay more. Being a resident for your own party isn't as financially rewarding as playing other parties and being the main guest, but I decided to leave him and get a manager who understands me more! Money isn't the priority, I already do well enough traveling the world getting paid well for doing what I love, and I don’t want to be greedy. First and foremost, I want to enjoy the music!
SR: Coming off the back of the last question, what would some advice be to your former self?
DS: I'm proud of everything I have down and it’s made me who I am today, so I don’t see myself in this way, a former self and a new self, I'm still the same me as I have always been. That’s how I see it so I cant really answer that question haha.
SR: You’ve been quoted saying “it’s all house and techno, I’m not interested in fads”. As the scene and music has changed, what have you seen come and go that really should have never come in the first place? Are you happy with where it’s at right now?
DS: Well, every fad that’s come, has come for a reason, because some people have started something new and quirky that’s made people sit up and listen and think, wow this is cool! But with that there is always loads of cheap imitations of that new sound, and this is the crap that always ruins things, but house and techno is always the base of any new fad and will always be relevant and remain. I think where it is at right now, I’d say now so many different styles and sounds can co-exist because of the Internet, people can search for themselves and find what they like. Nothing is forced on people anymore.
SR: Finally, if you could take Do Not Sleep to any venue in the world with any lineup, where would it be and who would be playing?
DS: I've always said this; Do Not Sleep is a nomadic party. We can take it anywhere and still have our sound, because it’s about the music, not the place its played, all we need is a good sound system, a dark space, good DJs and music lovers!
I've always said this; Do Not Sleep is a nomadic party. We can take it anywhere and still have our sound, because it’s about the music, not the place its played, all we need is a good sound system, a dark space, good DJs and music lovers! In Ibiza for example we have already done parties at Vista, Amnesia, and Space. We can move around and still keep our vibe, as the people who come to the parties know the vibe of the night.
I have a saying in life, it’s not where you are, it’s who you are with that’s important, with Do Not Sleep, as long as the people who enjoy the music come, we can have a great time wherever we are!
Friday 13th January: Revolver, Melbourne
Saturday 14th January: Open Air Session @ Home Nightclub, Sydney (Day)
Saturday 14th January: Zoo Project, Sydney (Night)
Sunday 15th January: Barmuda, Queenstown NZ
Interview by Stefanos Mak