Interview: Darius Syrossian

So the team here at Turks and Underdog were recently given the opportunity to interview the Leeds based, prolific DJ/producer Darius Syrossian at Found Festival. Most of you will associate his name with the world famous Tribal Sessions. Read on to find out more about the man himself, his influences/future plans and most importantly the ‘Sankeys 20th Anniversary’ album which he produced and curated himself. It was released on the 27th July  and it’s a banger trust me. Stream CD 1 which was recorded live at Sankeys, Manchester now.

So Darius tell the readers and listeners at home a little bit about yourself?
I came to the UK around the late 80’s. Around this time I found that I discovered electronic music. My older brother was friends with bouncers at clubs that put on raves. So I used to sneak in when I was way too young haha. I remember thinking bloody hell I really feel this. At college I got some decks. Next thing I knew I was addicted. Ended up working at a vinyl-only record store called Global Beat and Crash Records for 15 years. When vinyl started going downhill about 5 years ago I turned my focus to producing. After that my DJn career took off as people could relate to the music and wanted to come and see me. And to be honest

‘Working in a record store and selling house music for 15 years taught me what people wanted to hear and I apply that to all my productions. This is why they work so well on the dance floor.’

Aside from the record store what were your biggest influences?
I’m from Leeds but I used to go to Manchester a lot. Sankeys was good to me in my younger days. Back To Basics was really iconic at a time when there was a lot raves playing piano anthems and cheesy stuff. They played stuff I liked that had a more underground aesthetic. The residents James Holroyd and Ralph Lawson influenced me a lot and that sound got me into music. Hard Times also came to Leeds which was a big thing. The label is coming back now.

‘Simon Graham and Geoff Oakes from Renaissance Recordings are looking after my album. Is amazing dealing with these people who I used to view as legends. If you had told me 20 years ago that they’d be doing so I would never have believed you!’

What about your musical influences?
The US sound whether it was house or techno. People like Masters At Work (MAW), DJ Sneak, Derrick May, Kerri Chandler, Danny Tenaglia and Junior Vasquez. I just wasn’t feeling the European house piano anthems at the time whereas the US sound was all about the groove. It’s just a shame how the US has been tarred with the EDM brush. The US gave us house music. Now all these young kids when they think of America they think of EDM. Let me tell you something for the record. EDM is total nonsense. It’s nothing to do with music. There’s no soul or passion put into the music. Because of the internet you can market any old rubbish and people go for it.

‘The original US sound is where it all came from and what influenced me the most.’

Some of my favourite labels came from the US. King Street Sounds, Henry Street Music, Nervous Records, Strictly Rhythm, Dance Mania, Trax Records. The list goes on. I was chatting to Chicane last month about this actually. We were having a proper bitch about all these ‘producers’ haha. Is there anyone who’s getting on your tits at the moment?

My press guy’s stood here with one ear open waiting for me not to answer this question. I’m not going to answer because if I do I’m going to tell the truth and it’s going to get me in hot water haha.

Have you done the Found Festival before?
First time today actually.

How did you find it?
Was really good. The sound, line up and organisation was on point. Played for them before on NYE. Got told my tent was the busiest today which is always good to hear. Had a bit of a disaster mid-set and had to change the mixers. But I didn’t complain. You just get on with it ya’know. Roll with the punches.

Tell us a bit about your upcoming album the ‘Sankeys 20th Anniversary’?
I started it around Christmas and finished it around the end of May. This was about 3 months after I left VIVa Warriors. However I wasn’t rushing to get it released. If the tracks weren’t right I wouldn’t have released it. I’m happy with every single one and proud to have played them all out. There are collaborations with Sidney Charles, Hector Couto and DJ Sneak and remixes of Green Velvet, James Barnsley, Todd Terry and Pierre Codarin tracks. It was a very big project. All 16 tracks on Disc 1 are my own productions/remixes recorded live at Sankeys in Manchester. Has all the crowd noises in the background which is great. Disc 2 has 14 tracks which convey the vibe of Sankeys and pays homage to the producers that made it what it is today such as Loco Dice, Argy, Kerri Chandler the list goes on. Just heard it this week and it sounds great. Will be coming out on the 27th July.

What’s your own personal favourite on the album?
It’s really difficult to say. I’ve put clips on my soundcloud for some of them. And haven’t for others on purpose. My favourite would probably be ‘Motivar’ which means Motivation in Spanish. Relates to my own feeling towards making the album. It has a techno vibe and goes a bit harder than the rest. I hope others enjoy it!

Where you looking forward to playing most over the Summer?
Playing B my Lake Festival in Hungary, Global Gathering in Stratford-upon-Avon, Isle of Dreams in Israel and obviously Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) in October.

Busy man!
Nothing can stop me haha.

Where you off to next?
Doing the Found after party tonight at The Coronet till 6am. Ibiza again to do Tribal Sessions on Wednesday. The circle just keeps on turning haha.

Any record labels or producers you want to give some air time to?
Sidney Charles. Done a couple of collaborations with him. The guy’s a genius and has a similar sound to my stuff. He’s a nice guy as well so it’s great working with him. If I feel somebody’s music and they’re a nice person I’m always up for collaborating.

What are your plans for the future of Tribal Sessions?
We’ve had lots of offers to go tour with it. But we won’t do that till after the Summer. Going to do every Wednesday for 20 weeks at Sankeys Ibiza. After the Summer going to do the Sankeys 20th Anniversary Tour. Different cities and festivals so Australia, America, everywhere really.

Give us a funny story from the studio.
Nothing that funny because I’m dedicated to making tracks when I’m in the studio. It’s all serious getting the music done. You know what though I was doing a radio show recently in my home studio and in the middle of a question my cat did the biggest MEEEEOW ever! That was pretty hilarious haha.

Think we’ll end the interview there for some more chats off the record. Thanks for your time Darius!

Are you bigger than Prince? If so buy the ‘Sankeys 20th Anniversary’ album on iTunes now!

Darius Syrossian | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud

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