No Sleep till Ibiza: Darius Syrossian Interview

UK house DJ Darius Syrossian can’t get enough of Dublin, it seems. He was only here a few months ago for the Strictly Deep Christmas party at Hangar, and he’s at the Wright Venue in Swords this Friday, going back-to-back with his pal Josh Butler, with support from fellow UK star Breach and local heroes Dan Stritch and Kaily.

The Do Not Sleep resident is taking a mini time-out from his Ibiza season, where he’s planning a 16-week Sunday residency at Space. It’s a big upgrade from Do Not Sleep Ibiza’s last year at Vista — but he says he’s on it.

Darius has been playing and producing house for all his adult life, with releases on Get Physical, Viva Music and Hot Creations, for starters. He also spent 14 years selling vinyl in a record shop — an apprenticeship well served.

The last time we chatted to Darius before Christmas we got his take on his influences, “true house music”, the annual bitch-fest Resident Advisor polls, PR spin and fakery around the vinyl revival — so this time we’re just catching up with his latest releases, his new radio show and summer plans.

It’s not so long since your last Dublin gig in December — you must be doing something right here! Was it suitably messy as it was the last weekend before Christmas?
It was a great show as it always is in Dublin, the atmosphere was electric, I’ve said it many times, the Irish are one of the best crowds to play to, alongside Italians and Argentinians. And yes… we did have a little after-party too!

You said on Twitter you’re dedicating this week to the Celts, with Portrush, Dublin and Glasgow on the agenda. How was Lush!/Kelly’s at the weekend?
Fantastic and full of such hospitable people, Huxley was a bit worse for wear at the after-party, but I managed to get him back to the hotel and put him in his room! It was a long way to travel with two flights from ibiza and then a two-hour drive but the gig was great so it made up for it.

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We saw photos of you checking out Space in Ibiza, preparing for Do Not Sleep in the summer. Any hints of guests you’ve got lined up?
Well I’ve just seen the artwork and it’s amazing, I wish I could spill the beans but we have a few more guests to confirm, then the announcement will come any day now for our sunday parties at Space Ibiza this summer. All I can say is though, because we are moving on from the three residents [Darius b2b Sante b2b Sidney Charles] taking up all the space every week format to a new format this summer, there is more room for lots more guests and its looking very very tasty! Every time I look at the artwork I get psyched about the summer ahead.

What’s it like preparing to upscale to Space for the summer? I guess ‘Do Not Sleep’ also applies to late nights on logistics and behind the scenes organisation?
You know there is so much that people don’t see that goes on behind the scenes, all the production, the sound system, the line-ups, the night in question needs to feel like Do Not Sleep. And although we are more about the music and have said a number of times we are a no-frills party there are still things like video mapping, lights and other production that needs sorting, but the team we have are all fantastic and we are making sure every detail is perfect for our parties at space this summer.

You said last year it was a risk throwing a Sunday party at Vista, up against real heavy-hitters on the island. Is there any point you thought that you wouldn’t pull it off?
No chance! He who dares, wins! Even my own tour manager said, ‘Darius, honestly bro, don’t do it, its a new party, in a club that has struggled for years and nobody really has been going to, you are up against Luciano at Space, Lawler at Sankeys and Solomun at Pacha.

On paper we should have flopped big time, but the messages of support I was getting in my inboxes on social media from people saying, ‘Just say where you are playing and they will come’ gave me confidence, I have to thank everyone out there who supported us. The energy at our parties was unique, because everyone who came, was there for Do Not Sleep. We didn’t have tourists as they didn’t even know what or where it was! Which was kind of a good thing. We had all the music heads come along.

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You’re going b2b with Josh Butler in Dublin, but you said recently you don’t want the three-way b2b with Sidney and Sante to be too much of a gimmick, but you seem to buzz off playing with others.
Well I actually said, if it’s every week, it becomes a gimmick. Me, Sidney and Sante spoke in the new year, we were saying, it could very easily start looking like we are the new Swedish House Mafia or something, we don’t want that. Of course Appollonia are amazing as a threesome, but they don’t throw a party every week. I love seeing them do one-offs, and it’s amazing, so back2backs should also be one-offs. Josh is a close mate who lives near to me in manchester, we go for food regularly and have been in studio a lot recently, the opportunity came to do one together and so we gonna do one, although he’s not playing for us at Space this summer because he has his own residency elsewhere. I think it’s always good to mix things up.

You’ve just said goodbye to the UK to hit Ibiza for six months — does it take a while to get used to the transition?
Haha no! I spend my whole life travelling, this will actually be my fifth summer living in ibiza and it is starting to really feel like a second home. I love it here in April, it’s so peaceful.

You’ve recently started presenting the Do Not Sleep Radio podcast, does that go hand in hand with your A&R work and DNS label?
Yes absolutely, it’s all part of each other, and it’s all about bringing our brand of music to people out there who like our music, simple as that really.

You had Anja Schneider on DNS Radio episode 2, how did the hook-up come about for Beetham Tower and My Expression on Leena Records?
I have played with Anja before and she always seems to support my tracks as she said in an interview on her own radio show. She had heard my Beetham Tower track and wanted to sign it, she is one of the best at running labels as she also runs Mobilee so it was a no brainer, it’s fantastic to have this release with her. The tracks I have signed to her are out the day before I play the Dublin gig if I’m not mistaken.

Can you let us know much about your compilation that’s coming out on Balance? Will you be playing any of its tracks in Dublin?
Yes I will, basically its a 2CD compilation, I think alongside the Fabric and also DJ Kicks series, the Balance mixes are up there as one of the most respected and have had some huge artists do them. I’ve produced four original tracks that will feature on the two mixes and are exclusive to this project. I’ve been road testing them and they always do the damage so I’ll defo be playing them in Dublin.

Any other productions or other news you’d like to tell us about?
There is the release on Leena Music, feat Beetham Tower & My Expression, that is out just before the Dublin show (on Beatport, below). Then I have a release out on Yousef’s Circus label, called My Favourite Riot, followed by a collab track I have done with Doorly that features a Mirko Di Florio remix. After that I have the tracks that are part of the Balance compilation, throughout winter I’ve been locking myself away in the studio, and now that summer is here, it’s time to not sleep!