Darius Syrossian goes from one big project to another. Having helped establish Do Not Sleep as one of the most exciting and essential new parties in all of Ibiza in summer 2015, he is now launching a label with the crew.
The first release is his own massive anthem ‘Hanns Trippy’ and there will be many more besides. The rest of the year sees him continue to do his no frills, tough tech house thing at clubs all over Europe as well as with Do Not Sleep in London and Birmingham. Here we catch up with the long time house star for his thoughts on the new label, his summer season and more besides including why his back to back sets with Sante and Sydney Charles work quite so well.
Let’s start off with hearing more about your ever-evolving musical background, please talk us through how you got from owning record shops to DJ to producer to label boss?
Well it was around the time when record shops were struggling selling vinyl to DJs, I’d done it for 14 years, but with digital downloads being ever more popular, it was a case of either get a normal 9 to 5 job, or stay involved in the industry and I knew music was my passion. So I turned to producing and after a year or two of concentrating on making music, I signed to lots of big labels and it helped me gain international recognition. Now I want to be involved in running parties and the label ‘DO NOT SLEEP’ alongside being a touring DJ.
Have you got any bits of gear of software that really define your sound and that you use every time you write a track?
Yeah, I use my Korg EMX1 a lot for my drums, and for getting some quirky synth stabs, but for bass I have various Roland kits. I find that Roland makes the best hardware for when you need that really good bass sound, but also I do all my edits in WaveLab, and I even use Fruity Loops a lot for my drum programming, and I don’t care what anyone says, the way I use it its fantastic for me to get that groove and raw sound.
Why have you started a new label with Do Not Sleep? What gap do you hope to plug?
No gap at all! I just wanted a label where we can let people know what the sound of the party is, what the sound of our crew is, and also to give a platform to some upcoming artists. For example, everyone knows what sound Fuse has, and I think with DO NOT SLEEP the label helps us get the sound we are about out there. It also shows we are more serious about the music, and its not just a party that we do. Music is important to us.
What are the key things to get right when running a label do you think – art, artists, visual identity, label parties, having a big crew, what?
Well, by far the most important is the MUSIC! Without a doubt. As I said in a previous interview, it is very important to make sure you stay true to your artistic values. After that, all the things you listed are important.
What labels do you always follow? What labels do it right for you? Any big inspirations of influences?
Haha! If I’m going to be totally honest, I don’t really follow labels. Honestly, if a track is GOOD then I don’t care what label it’s on. I know some well known labels have released stuff I don’t really like and I know some tiny independent labels that have released some absolute fire! So, for this reason, it’s good to just hunt good music. I think the point of a label is to represent a certain sound for the crew that owns the label, and that’s why we are doing it.
The success and strength of Do Not Sleep as a brand through the summer must have played a major part in the creation of the label, and with a loyal fanbase that’s been built through the Ibiza parties (Which I tried not to miss each week!) When did the point come that starting your own record label became something you started working on?
Well I was actually planning on starting my own label when I was at Sankeys. Parties really need a label to go with them to show they are serious about music, and not just come across as just a party. I offered to run this for them, but they didn’t show much interest, so I turned to starting my own label called Our Rhythm, this happened before I even started DO NOT SLEEP. Not many know this, but the first release – Hanns Trippy, was all lined up to be released on Our Rhythm, but then at the end of summer I had a change of heart, and thought why focus on two separate projects, so it made sense to bring the label into the mix with Do Not Sleep, and release all the music I have for the new label on DO NOT SLEEP.
Electric Ibiza loved this idea so now there are four of us involved, but myself and Neil Evans (my brand manager) will be focusing on the label day to day. The first release out and doing well on Beatport, but remember we are NOT only a digital label, every single release will be both digital AND vinyl formats. I wanted to keep it real and also press to vinyl as well. This is very important to me with 14 years background of selling vinyl in record shops such as Global Beat Records and Crash records. Its a personal reminder of how I originally got into this industry.
What’s the reaction been so far to the announcement of the record label?
Fantastic, a lot of people are saying about time, and it was always planned, but with now finally being part of a brand and event that I am a partner in, rather than me playing for someone else which was the case while I was at VIVa and even at Sankeys. I fronted a lot of their parties such as Tribal Sessions but it was never my party, so now that I’m part of DO NOT SLEEP, I feel I can really put my heart and soul into this label.
I know the direction of it all lies in my own hands and the people who I do it with, and we are all on the same page, which is MUSIC is more important than anything else, more important than money, more important than marketing, its all about the music. This is why a lot of people who know us personally are giving good feed back about us doing this project because they know it is in safe hands.
What do you think are the three top things to remember when running a successful record label?
Musical integrity is more important than anything else, also having strong moral and artistic values. Stick to these things and no matter what, nobody can take anything away from you.. Music is an Art so treat it that way, Art isn’t about money, and we will not treat this project in that way.
And as an artist yourself do you think you’ll face any challenges?
Yes of course! There are a lot of people that treat this scene as a fashion accessory. I’m not going to name any names, but there are certain websites I could mention, where the people on the forum talk about DJs, and talk about labels but these people don’t even go to clubs to dance!
Its almost like a fashion statement, they wanna talk about this artist nobody has heard of, or that label nobody has heard of, and turn their nose up at anything else. They especially frown upon anything that is related to Ibiza, but fact is, I don’t care about this nonsense, just as I haven’t ever cared about anything else other than keeping those people who DO like music and go to clubs to dance happy.
Which is why I have always said, the only people in the industry I care about are those on the dance floor! This is all we want to do, make people dance, and enjoy the music, our sound, you can still be underground but put on good parties, it doesn’t all have to be about obscure stuff nobody has heard of. What we do is about good music and making people dance, not keeping hipsters who see this scene as a fashion statement happy.
If you could award someone. What category would it be and to who would it go?
David Attenborough for being the most amazing guy in the world. Nothing to do with music, but to say he is in his 80’s but still giving so much back with his amazing nature documentaries. All these years he has been doing them….. so the award would be, BEST PERSON EVER haha.