They’re an iconic duo from the early norties of electronic music that have stood the test of time. Yes, we’re talking about none other than the UK’s Sasha & John Digweed. Often revered by the music industry and fans alike for their technical mixing abilities and incredible mapped out shows, these legends of dance music are hitting Australian shores for a select few shows, more specifically in Sydney this weekend.
To set the mood for the impending long weekends spectacular, we caught up with Sasha and spoke retrospectively about dance musics evolution, his favourite moment touring Australia and asked him for his recommended eats in Sydney!
SR: Compared to some of the famous pop and rock bands that were around when you started, you guys are arguably as relevant now as you were in when you began (based on your constantly happening tour schedule). What do you think has made you both stand the test of time?
Sasha – We’ve spent a lot of time on the road together but also had decent breaks from each other as well. I think us both being very focused on our solo careers has made the partnership very strong when we do get together. Especially now that we’re not touring relentlessly and we’re cherry picking shows; it means every time we get together it’s for a special event, and then we’re going off and doing our own thing. Thankfully we’ve both had strong careers outside the partnership. I think that’s the thing that’s always kept it going and kept our excitement there.
SR: Can you describe the mood of the electronic music scene in the early 2000’s to now?
Sasha – That was a strange time for music – a lot of the big British super clubs were starting to die out, they’d had their huge moment leading up to the millennium and people’s music tastes started to change, especially in the UK, a lot of record labels started to go under… When you went out to bars, especially in 2002, 2003, you’re hearing hip hop and RnB everywhere, whereas before that it would have been house music. The thing about electronic music is it’s always reinventing itself. Right now, there seems to be a huge number of artists. People do seem to come and go much faster than they did earlier on in my career. People will have their big record, their year or two of smashing it with gigs then someone else comes along. The competition is very fierce, I think maybe we had it easier back in the day, but the scene was a lot smaller then.
SR: What would you say is the biggest change in the way you make music from when you started to now?
Sasha – Now you’ve got access to everything at all times. It’s almost overwhelming how many sounds you’ve got access to. You can open up a piece of software and you’ve got perfect bass sounds, perfect synth sounds.. whereas at the beginning you had to make all that, and work hard to get your own sounds and find great samples. It’s the same with DJing, you’ve got access to everything at all times now, but it’s about how you focus yourself. Now it’s better to go into the studio with an idea in your head with what you’re going to make then just noodling around, because that can be quite overwhelming.
SR: What’s the difference between a Sasha solo set and a Sasha and John Digweed set?
Sasha – John and I have always brought something out of each other. It’s more than 1 + 1 + 2. I always play very differently when I play with John than when I do on my own – it’s difficult to explain and I can’t put my finger on it, but it’s some magic that happens when we play together.
SR: Can you give us one of your favourite memories from a show in Australia?
Sasha – I think it was one of my first shows in Australia, I played the Hordern Pavilion, and it was actually one of my very first international shows. I remember it being so incredible that I was on the other side of the world and there was this huge crowd in front of me. Future Sound of London ‘Papua New Guinea’ had just come out that year and was one of my favourite records, it’s perfect to end a set with. I remember playing that track and the whole place melted! I really have that memory seared into my brain.
SR: Can you give us some of your favourite places to eat in Sydney?
Sasha – I mean, I can’t go to Sydney without going to Icebergs at Bondi, the location is one of the best places to eat in the world. Sydney has so much great food, the first thing I usually do is get a copy of Time Out, check out the food guide for the year and see who’s smashing it this year. The Momofuku guy from New York has got an incredible restaurant there which I’ve eaten at a few times. Tetsuya’s is super pricey but really good, I usually go by est. as well. Acme is a great place; I love the whole fusion of Asian food with other styles and tastes which happens amazingly in Sydney. I always try to go to Bills in Surry Hills for breakfast, it’s a classic but always great to stop by. I love Billy Kwong in in Potts Point too.
Photo credit: Harley Lunar