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.
Dubfire feat. Carl Craig and Kate Elsworth – Lotus OUT NOW on Crosstown Rebels
Balance Selections Q+A
Location: Washington, DC / Barcelona
Alias/Producer name: Deep Dish, DC. Deepressed, Dished Out Bums, Size TripleD
Labels affiliated with: SCI+TEC, Crosstown Rebels, Diynamic, Second State, KMS, Turbo, Senso Sounds, Spectral Sound, Moda Black, Drumcode, Mute, Novamute, Items & Things, Planet E, Hideout, OM Records, Quartz, Great Stuff, Get Physical, Rekids, A-Wave, Global Underground, Sino, Deep Records, Lot49, Surrender All, Cocoon, Minus, Renaissance…
My last 3 releases:
Dubfire feat. Carl Craig and Kate Elsworth – Lotus [Crosstown Rebels]
Chris Liebing feat. Aleen – No Regrets (The Friend Pt. 2) (Dubfire Remix)
Michael Klein – Dismantled Structure (Dubfire Remix) [Second State]
What music did you listen too as a child?
As a child most of the music in my household tended to be classical Persian, with many friends of our family who were musicians, coming over to play traditional Persian instruments like the Tar, Santur, Ney, Tombak, Daf, etc. Then when I came to the USA, it was mainly the music at the time which was on the radio. As I got older, I started to seek more alternative styles.
When was the first time that you realised that you liked electronic music?
Looking back it all feels like a natural progression. I think the very first album I ever bought was Ultravox’s The Collection, and I recall gradually getting heavily into New Wave and the EBM / Industrial sound which eventually led me to the then emerging electronic music coming out of Detroit, New York, Chicago and London.
When was the first time you saw a DJ in a club?
Back in the 80’s, there were two venues right next to one another called The Vault, and The Fifth Column. Both of the residents – Ian Cairns and Christian Wolff – were English, regularly making trips to the UK to bring back some of the most mind-blowing records – mainly promos and white labels – that I had ever heard. They would allow me into the booth to watch them work. There were other DJs at the time who had residencies at various clubs in the Washington DC area and I would always drop in to watch and listen to their individual styles, which was how I got educated in the art of DJ’ing.
Which producers/artists/acts inspire you?
Choosing a favourite amongst all of the genres of music I gravitate towards is damn near impossible but there was a particular show that I witnessed back in the 80’s that totally floored me with it’s sonic power. I had been a big fan of Adrian Sherwood’s reggae and dub productions on his legendary ON-U Sound label, and he was in Washington, DC to present his Tackhead project with a live show. It was basically 4 incredibly gifted musicians on stage playing your typical instruments but everything was running through Adrian’s mixing console and he proceeded to twist, bend and effect each instrument into an otherworldly sound. I couldn’t process what I was hearing, and at that precise moment I knew that I wanted to pursue a care in the music industry. Decades later, in 2014, I ended up booking Adrian to support my debut live HYBRID show in Amsterdam and over dinner I recounted this story to his astonishment.
What was the last album that you downloaded/bought?
That would be Gang Starr’s One of the Best Yet, which I was surprised to see recently after the death of Guru all the way back in 2010. But DJ Premier managed to piece together various old recordings of Guru’s voice, even bringing in the legendary rapper’s son on a few of the tracks.They have always been my favorite hip hop group and I was actually lucky enough to meet Guru when he was on a solo tour in Australia.
What is your current production and DJ set up like?
I used to be a gear junkie, hoarding lots of hardware. But when Sharam and I separated back in 2005 I wanted to built a simpler studio environment, using mainly DAW’s like Logic and Ableton as well as employing a host of plugs-ins, but keeping a few key pieces of hardware which had sentimental value. I’m quite happy with that decision as I’ve made close to 90% of all my music in this room and the results have afforded me a dream solo career.
My DJ setup on the other hand is quite gear-heavy in comparison to my studio and the hordes of USB DJs out there. I’ve got a MackBook Pro running Traktor and Ableton Live. That goes thru a top notch Antelope Audio audio interface and then into the Play Differently MODEL1 DJ mixer. I also use two Allen & Heath K1 controllers as well as Ableton’s Push drum sequencer. With 4 decks of music, push and all the effects that I have to manage it can get pretty complicated, but I’ve grown quite used to this setup over the years. The thing is that these days everyone has access to the same music. Gone are the days where if you didn’t own the physical vinyl record, you simply didn’t have that song to play. So DJs needed to find newer, more creative ways of how they reconstruct and program tracks.
What releases do you have on the horizon?
I’ve been quietly recording for most of 2019 and the fruits of that labor has started to make its way out to the public; beginning with the remix I did for my good friend Chris Liebing and the most recent collaboration I did with Carl Craig and Kate Elsworth, which was just released on Damian Lazarus’ Crosstown Rebels. Both are quite a departure from my typical sound but the reactions have been extremely good so it’s giving me the confidence to continue to explore the deeper end of the spectrum. I’ve got music coming out on Drumcode, a remix for Kevin de Vries which I just wrapped, collaborations with Kolsch, and Oliver Huntemann, a slew of harder, faster techno material, and work on a more indie-focused album, amongst other random projects I am juggling.
Where can we hear you perform?
As I write this I am buried in the studio, juggling multiple projects. But this weekend I’ll be back on the road to play a couple of shows in Brazil; most notably at Warung which for me is probably the best club in the world.
Tell us more about the podcast you made for Balance?
This mix is on the deeper end of things; similar to how I’d open the room during an all night set. Beginning with a bit of ambient music to set the mood and create the right atmosphere, then building the energy level gradually. For some reason, there were quite a few tracks from various Romanian producers that I wanted to include in this mix as I have become obsessed with their mastery of the all important “groove”. Moreover, I decided to included an unreleased gem from Faster, one of my favorite of these Romanian producers. ’Twisted Cable’ is one of 5 tracks i’ve signed from him to my SCI+TEC imprint. I also wanted to include a classic as I think it’s vital to always draw a line from the present to the past. Nu Groove was one of the most influential labels that emerged from the New York scene and Foremost Poets’ ‘Reasons to be Dismal is something that has always had a special place in my heart so I felt that it was good to include it in this mix for the younger fans who don’t have that history.
The top track in my DJ wallet currently is:
Scalameriya – Eidolon
If I could recommend only one of my tracks for you to listen to it would be:
Dubfire – RibCage [SCI+TEC]
If I could recommend only one track for you to listen to it would be:
The Jesus and Mary Chain – Upside Down
The last movie I watched that I really liked:
My favourite TV show:
Balance Selections 118: Dubfire
1. Max Richter – Space 21 Deutsche
2. Ada Kaleh – Valea Ancestrala
3. r.hitect – Masterplan
4. Vinyl Speed Adjust – Reflections
5. Faster – Twisted Cable ***UNRELEASED EXCLUSIVE***
6. Fildesh – Falma Sera (BRZ & Dragusanu remix)
7. Bodeler & Saenz – Quid Pro Quo (Remus remix)
8. Arapu – Back
9. Davide Squillace – Unit
10. Costin – About Space and Future
11. Vinyl Speed Adjust – Semantic Expressions
12. Nobody Home – Speglar
13. Valentino Mora – Hualien
14. Forest Drive West – Phaze-Shift
15. Foremost Poets – Reasons to be Dismal