Since picking up nominations for “Best Breakthrough DJ” at both the 2004 DanceStar USA and Ibiza DJ Awards and a nomination for Best Resident DJ at the 2005 Club Awards, Yoshitoshi’s Behrouz, known for his sexy and soulful tribal house, has been travelling the globe, proving to clubbers worldwide why he’s deserving of such plaudits.
Having already released two mix compilations “In House We Trust 2” and “Yoshitoshi Ibiza” and a handful of releases and remixes on the Yoshitoshi and Shinichi imprints, RA caught up with Behrouz amid his recent birthday celebrations to find out what we can expect from him in the latter half of 2005.
First of all, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to RA.
No. Thank you. I always have time for RA. I love what they do and it’s nice to know that it’s all about the music with them!
Going back in time, how and why did you end up working with the legendary duo Deep Dish? There must be an anecdote worth telling!
I started working with Deep Dish a while back. I met them in Miami during one of the Winter Music Conferences. They came out to play in San Francisco and we quickly became close friends. I worked on getting them their first West Coast residency at Release at Club 1015, where I was a resident DJ at the time and we played together for a couple of years.
At that time Deep Dish were not as big as they are today and we would always share music and our thoughts about different tracks. At the same time they also encouraged me to work on producing / remixing tracks. From there on they picked up some of my tracks and started signing them to Yoshitoshi and Shinichi. Also when they created their DJ agency, Bullitt Bookings, they asked me to be a part of the roster and of course I signed on. It’s been inspiring working with Ali & Sharam in many ways. They are real innovators in the electronic music scene and are constantly paving the road for many other DJs / producers.
Your “In House We Trust 2” CD was such a huge success. Did you find “Yoshitoshi Ibiza” more of a challenge because of the success of the previous release?
Both were very challenging for some of the same reasons. I only had a couple of days to finish putting the mix together which included choosing the tracks, making sure the tracks all flowed with one another and then trying to work on it, all within my busy touring schedule, which is always crazy.
Also, it’s difficult to do a CD when you are confined to tracks from just one label due to not having a lot of choices. I was confined to tracks solely on Yoshitoshi and since they’d had all these other CD compilations out with most tracks already chosen by seven or eight other DJs, it was really hard trying to find those rare ones that no one else had used. At the end I was happy with the results and tried to do some edits of the tracks. I also did the mix live, with no Pro Tools (just two turn tables, two CD players and my Urei mixer).
With the recent release of “Yoshitoshi Ibiza” and your remixes for “Haunting Me” and “When the Dawn Breaks”, what’s cooking in the studio now?
Many projects are in the works right now. I am currently working on a new Renaissance CD that should come out towards the end of the summer and I’m very excited to be working on such a prestigious project. I’ve also finished producing a downtempo track for Paul Oakenfold’s Perfecto label and done a remix for Positiva (Poker Pet’s “Love In You”). I am working on some new tracks, for the summer, which I’m testing out at the moment.
Many music critics have recently stated that progressive house has changed for the worst; some are saying it might even be dead. Given that your style incorporates progressive sounds, what is your opinion about the direction of progressive house today, and how does that affect your work?
Well, to be honest with you, I don’t play one style of music. I like to play good music that has soul and makes people shake their ass! I also like to play sexy music and consider myself having an eclectic sound.
Also, depending on where I play, whether it is here in the US or overseas, my style varies from club to club. If I am booked to play at the peak time, I have to play peak time music and these days, to be a professional DJ you have to understand what is going on in each country and at each club and incorporate this with your own sound.
I can play deep, minimal techno, tribal, electro, progressive or whatever I consider good music. At the end of the day, I am a music lover and I think these days you have to play everything and not pigeon hole yourself to just one style of music, otherwise you will lose your fans.
As far as progressive goes, I think this type of mentality appears every three or four years, where you see a certain style or genre of music, come and go. People eventually get sick of the same sound and seek new sounds. Just like the fashion industry it keeps on evolving.
I think music and fashion always work together as is evident at the moment. The world is going through a depressing time right now but designers have incorporated bright colors into their designs. You see the same trend in the dance music scene with all the crazy electro tracks. It’s funny but true!
Although the technology used by DJs has evolved dramatically, some still choose to stick strictly to vinyl. What tools are you using right now and what would you do if the production of vinyl ceased?
I have always been a big fan of vinyl and still carry at least two record bags full of vinyl with me to every gig. There is nothing like the sound of vinyl on a sound system. But at the same time I carry a lot of CDs, new stuff given to me by DJs / producers. I like to use CDs because they’re easy to travel with and I can play some of my own edits at the clubs. Some of the tools I like to use when doing edits are my Lexicon Jam Man and cycle loop for sampling. I also use the EFX 500 and Dope Real for crossovers.
WMC 2005 was massive this year, and hopefully it was your best conference yet. How would you review this year’s conference?
It was definitely a great year for me this year. I know many people did not enjoy Miami this year compared to other years but overall it was successful for me. I played about five gigs – among them, Nikki Beach for the Radio One Party, Mynt for the Bullitt Bookings party, Space for the Yoshitoshi party and the Sullivan Room Party – and every one of them was fantastic.
Personally, I think Miami is becoming too expensive for many people to come to, in particular for those DJs that are just starting out. Hopefully next year the WMC will work out a way to bring down hotel / club fees.
The Conference pretty much launched the calendar year for electronic music. Which DJs would be your top choices to play with during the rest of the dance year?
I enjoy playing with some great Italian DJs out there like Flavio Vechi and Cirillo. I hope to do a party with Flavio next year in Miami during the conference and introduce his sound and skills to everyone. As in the past I would also like to play with my favorite DJs, Danny Tenaglia and Deep Dish.
You recently celebrated your birthday at Cielo in NY. What do you enjoy about playing in NYC? And what’s the craziest birthday you’ve ever had?
I come to New York quite often and have played at some other venues since my last gig at Cielo like the Sullivan Room, Crobar and Discoteque. In NY I like to play at smaller venues because they are more intimate and you can really take the crowd on a journey. Every once in a while, I like to play at big clubs. I really enjoy and look forward to playing at the crazy after hours club Discoteque for my friend Rob Fernandez of Rob Promotions.
I was in NY at Cielo this year for my birthday and I had a blast. We had a great party with lots of friends / supporters in the crowd and I always enjoy coming to NY. Then I had a second birthday party at Ruby Skye in San Francisco where I have my monthly residency ”Pure Behrouz”.
The craziest birthday I ever had was a couple of years ago when my favorite DJ and friend Danny Tenaglia played in San Francisco for my birthday, because I had been a guest DJ at his birthday party in New York at Vinyl. I was dancing my ass off on my birthday with a huge smile on my face for twelve hours.
Perhaps another of Behrouz’ birthday wishes has been granted again this year, having recently been confirmed as a resident DJ again at Yoshitoshi’s parties at Pacha Ibiza this summer.