Interview: Dubfire

From global success in the commercial domain, to equal accomplishments within the underground scene, Dubfire (aka Ali Shirazinia) is an artist whose drive, talent and intuition have placed him in the top tier of electronic music artists in the world.

He maintains this position within the industry with an unrelenting work ethic and a 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, his dubfire:live HYBRID show, running his label SCI+TEC, or simply his exploration of audio and visual technology, Dubfire is in a class of his own.

With 2016 marking another major year for this constantly evolving artist, Dubfire touches down in Kent, UK on 10 September where he will join the likes of Agoria, Ellen Alien, Laurent Garnier, Joseph Capriati, and more at The Social Festival. Ahead of this stellar event, I managed to catch up with the man himself to discuss everything from the summer schedule to US xenophobia to, of course, The Social.

“In the end it becomes the personal choice of each artist to share as much or as little of their world view with the fans as they see fit.”

How has your summer been thus far? With the rigors of the summer schedule, do you have a certain protocol in order to maintain health and mindfulness? What about after the summer season ends, do you have a “wind down” procedure?
It’s been quite a relentless year to be honest but unlike previous years, I’ve been very focused on keeping myself in good shape and healthy with a network of personal trainers around the world and a real focus on staying fit and eating right; loading up on berries, fruits and veggies has been really helpful in giving my immune system a boost, although getting enough sleep seems to be the constant challenge:-( Also as with every year, I typically do a detox in October at a wellness or Ayurvedic clinic and that cleanses and rejuvenates me for the fall / winter season.

What about regarding Ibiza? How much time do you spend on the island these days versus when you first started? What kind of things does Ibiza still do better than anywhere else? What kinds of things need improvement?
To be honest, in the 90’s and early 2000’s I was just flying in and out of Ibiza, rarely spending the time to really explore the island and get to know all it’s characters but that changed radically around 2005 when I started to branch out of Deep Dish. I was looking for inspiration and looked to Ibiza and the amazing DJs and club nights for that. Nowadays, I probably spend more time on the island then in Barcelona where I am based in the summers! And despite the escalating cost of everything, influx of VIP / bottle service culture and increased tourism, Ibiza is still that same magical place I and many others of my generation first fell in love with all those years ago.

We’re talking here anticipating your appearance at The Social Festival in September. Obviously, this lineup is pretty massive with the “return” of Sasha & John Digweed being of particular interest. I remember, being from NYC, the Twilo days, where you and Sharam had your residency, and S&D had theirs as well. Can you take us back a little to the days of Twilo, and what your impressions were on the space?
It was, and will forever remain one of – if not THE – greatest venues in the world and Sharam and I were very fortunate to have had an opportunity to play on that system on numerous occasions. In fact, the first time we played there it was still the Sound Factory and somehow, we were given permission to play from Junior Vasquez’s booth which also included an apartment on two levels of the club! I’ve yet to see a DJ booth of that caliber! Everything about that club was legendary; from the famous Steve Dash custom sound system to the dance floor, lights, atmosphere, crowd and of course the marathon sets that Vasquez, Tenaglia, etc. used to play. Our sets were almost always open to close as well since we really wanted to control the flow of the night.

Speaking specifically on The Social Festival, it is organized by Nic Fanciulli who, obviously, is a world renowned DJ in his own right. How would you gauge his curatorial skills? Have you ever considered getting into the curation and/or festival organization game?
Nic is a very old and dear friend and he’s done an incredible job of curating only the finest names of our generation for The Social. Which is why I don’t hesitate for a second when I get asked to play and I’m sure I speak for the other artists who feel the same way I do. Nic’s also been in the game for a long time and respects the older generation of artists who’ve paved the way for the new crop so I’ve always loved how the lineups are a balance between the two.

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