Dubfire - Deep Politics
Tuesday, 3 June 2008
Deep Dish haven't broken up. But Ali 'Dubfire' Shirazinia is having trouble conveying that to the media prior to his first Australian solo trek, following Sharam Tayebi's dates at the start of last year.
Tayebi has always come across as the (more) extrovert half of Deep Dish. Dubfire is reflective. Even with two hours of back-to-back interviews, the mild-mannered DJ takes it in his stride. How many times has Shirazinia answered the same question today-
'Not every question is repeated, but you definitely get the typical 'Deep Dish' question and some of the more obvious questions all the time,' he laughs. 'It's weird trying to figure out different ways of answering them.' Dubfire prefers to have a 'conversation'.
As to that Deep Dish matter- The official line from the Deep Dishers is that they're enjoying 'a creative break'. There's no reason to doubt that. After all, Deep Dish are still playing the occasional gig together. That stint apart has been important to them creatively.
'It's been really healthy, 'cause we were literally joined at the hip for 15 years together as Deep Dish. We never really had a solo career - even though when we'd met, we both had intentions of pursuing a solo career and making music on our own and DJing on our own.
'Whenever you're in a duo or a group situation, you make a lot of compromises 'cause the vision is always shared. So, after 15 years together, we grew tired of compromising,' he laughs. 'We wanted to do what we wanted to do and didn't want anyone to say anything about it. A lot of people were hoping that the split would be acrimonious and we'd battle it out in the press with one another, but the split was completely amicable. The timing was perfect. We're still like brothers.
'I think this year is gonna be Sharam's year - he's got a lot of stuff slated to come out. But he's happy for my success, and I'm definitely happy with what he's done so far and what he will do this year.'
The Masters At Work members have engaged freely in side-projects, as have Daft Punk. Dubfire admits that he was surprised by fans' reaction to Deep Dish's venturing out.
'We inadvertently divided our fans,' he says. 'We both gained some new fans and have lost some old fans. But, at the end of the day, you can't go against evolution. I mean, humans evolve, society evolves, and musicians and artists have to evolve as well. Even though it's good to look back on your past accomplishments and the way you've traditionally made music or performed or whatever, it's always a refreshing change to look ahead - and me and Sharam have both always been about looking ahead.'
They haven't diverged totally, anyway. Both DJs have issued Global Underground volumes, Sharam launching Dubai and Dubfire Taipei. Deep Dish have long exerted their influence on both sides of the Atlantic. Shirazinia befriended Tayebi on Washington's party circuit. They had similar cultural backgrounds, being refugees of the Iranian Revolution, and, beyond house, eclectic musical tastes.
If early on, Deep Dish, friends of the epic house pioneer BT, were identified with deep house, then they soon segued into progressive. As with Danny Tenaglia, not to mention BT, they pushed a Euro sound in the US. However, the pair downplayed any affiliation to prog. In 1998 Deep Dish offered an eccentric album, Junk Science. The duo developed a viable stable in Yoshitoshi Recordings. They also savoured mainstream success. Madonna requested a remix. They scored a Grammy for their reworki Tags