Exclusive Interview With Dubfire

From global success in the commercial field, to equal accomplishments within the underground scene, Dubfire is an artist whose drive, talent and intuition have placed him within the top tier of electronic music artists in the world. He maintains this position within the industry with impeccable work ethic and focused determination to innovate, evolve and entertain. Whether it’s his involvement with Deep Dish, his solo performances at an extensive list of the world’s most influential clubs and festivals, running his label SCI+TEC, or simply his exploration of audio and visual technology, Dubfire is a class of his own and is resolute in his forward-thinking nature.

Never satisfied with the status quo, Dubfire spent two years crafting and perfecting a live show and that did not remain unnoticed. His HYBRID live concept has seen great success since it’s soft launch debut at Amsterdam Dance Event 2014 and the time has come for Dubfire to spread it all over the world with a special tour dedicated to this spectacular experience.

We sat down with Dubfire to find out some more interesting details around the show, and hear his own impressions of the first shows that already passed.

To start with, we would like to know what is the story of your new audio visual concept dubfire:live HYBRID, from the birth of the idea to the finished product?
Well I had always played in bands when I was a teenager and often did shows in front of an audience or at various talent contests; anywhere we could get away with playing. Later, the DJing for me sort of evolved out of that band scene that I was in as well as my constant search for new music, artists and cliques. So the “performance” side of my personality was always there; and after several decades in the music industry, I longed to get back to those roots; also because I had amassed such a large volume of original productions, collaborations and remixes. Plus the idea of re-interpreting my work in a new way, using the current advances in software, hardware, lighting, audio and visual technology was just too tempting!

It took quite a long time to fully develop the show as I had to find the team to help me do it! I began with the music of course, enlisting my good friend Cristiano Nicolini to help me with that as it involved extensive Ableton work and knowledge and him being an Ableton instructor made that decision very easy to make! I then met the visual design team at VOLVOX Labs in New York thru Jarrett Smith from Derivative who I originally approached to handle the visuals. Jarrett had done the Plastikman shows for Richie Hawtin and developed the Touch Designer technology that has become an industry standard; but he grew too busy to take on in the show. In the end, the team of Kamil Nawratil and Javier Cruz at VVOX did an incredible job. We had bounced quite a few ideas back and forth after I gave them the initial direction before settling on the man-machine HYBRID concept and narrative which we ultimately felt represented the music best.

I then worked with VVOX and Vartan Tchekmedyian and Hayk Khanjian at VT Pro Design in Los Angeles to design and build the stage pieces and concepts that we ultimately settled on. Once that was done, I locked in my Light Jockey and Sound Tech, BeMo and Andy Kayll, as I had worked with both quite a bit on my solo DJ shows. Rounding out the crew was Rosalya Ly, an old friend who had recently left her job and was looking for a new adventure. She was, and has been, the glue that keeps every element of the show together and I couldn’t have launched it without her help.

Can you give our readers some specifics on bits of both the audio and visual technology you used in that new endeavor called HYBRID?
The show is running on Ableton Live with full sync to the visual and lighting elements. We are using 2D and 3D visuals to create an immersive experience for the fans. I am also “immersed” into this environment in a very believable and visually striking way. The 2D element is via a large screen or high-resolution LED wall behind me and the 3D is comprised of 4 see-through screens, equidistant apart, with a rear-projector shooting thru them, creating the 3D effect. The lighting design frames the show and visuals in an equally striking way. I’m quite happy with the results!

The very first premiere of this live show was during Amsterdam Dance Event 2014. Why did you choose to do it during ADE?
ADE has always been a great gathering of industry leaders and colleagues so the choice to debut it there was something I had made quite a while ago. I knew that I needed to have a few test shows under my belt to work out any issues and make any tweaks but we really only had one rehearsal and the “test” show at Bonusz Festival in Budapest a week prior so it was very nerve-wracking! In the end I was extremely happy with the show in Amsterdam as well as the eclectic support artists who agreed to appear, specifically my heroes Adrian Sherwood and Carl Craig.

The HYBRID World Tour has just begun. The first show at Caprices Festival already passed. Can you give us your recap of it? Was that a proper kick-off to the tour?
We actually did 3 shows last year before the launch of the 2-year world tour at Timewarp in Mannheim on April 5th. After the Budapest and ADE shows, which went very well, I was asked to do it at Timewarp New York at the end of November last year as I wanted to see how American audiences would react. The reactions have been overwhelmingly positive, with many fans and colleagues saying that it’s either THE or ONE OF the best live electronic dance music shows they’ve ever seen. So that feels good:-) And we carried that momentum forward to Caprices and most recently, Time Warp Buenos Aires!

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