Ahead of his set this weekend at the return of Jaymo and Andy George's Moda Black party series to The Warehouse Leeds we caught up with VIVa warrior and Leeds local, Darius Syrossian and talked; Ibiza, foody ambitions, arrogant DJs.
Check out the full interview below and buy tickets whilst they last for Moda Black at The Warehouse Leeds, Saturday 5th October, featuring DJ Sneak, Darius Syrossian, Jaymo and Andy George and Patrick Topping.
Thanks for taking the time to do this Darius, where are you at the moment?
I’m am sat outside my villa in the garden in Ibiza, today is chill day, I got back from Milan yesterday and the gig was brilliant. Tomorrow I fly back to the UK for 2 gigs on the same night and then back to Ibiza on Sunday to play the VIVa Warriors closing which should be a belter.
As an Ibiza veteran what have you made of this year's season?
It has been a great year for those that like Ibiza but are more of a fan of the underground stuff, I think people got fed up of Ibiza becoming more about the super clubs and the champagne table culture in clubs. Man, to me that nonsense has nothing to do with house music and what house music is about, all that Pacha stuff about ice cannons and champagne tables and VIP crap just isn’t appealing to real music lovers. But we have to take our hats off to Steve Lawler for being one of the figures who is responsible for taking it underground again with his VIVa Warriors idea and brand. Also look at some nights, they have booked people like Dixon and loads more REAL DJs have been playing on the island as opposed to the previous years which had just become a who's who of press agency DJs living off fake hype that was paid for.
You're one of the many DJ foodies out there. What's your dish of the moment?
Haha am I? Ok, well Ghormeh Sabzi. It's an ancient 2000 year old recipe of stewed lamb with kidney beans and 7 different types of green herbs and it is stewed with dried limes and then served on a bed of boiled rice, its an old Persian dish and it's mentioned in times dating back to the days of Xerxes and Alexander The Great. Ghormeh is actually an old Indo European word that means Gourmet, and Sabzi means greens, Gourmet Greens, next time you are in a Persian restaurant try it out.
Have you ever thought of getting involved with a food or restaurant venture like Seth Troxler has done recently with Smokey Tails?
Absolutely, I have said this many times, way before my DJing took off really. I wanted to have a kind of North African or Middle Eastern style bar serving traditional food but kind of have crazy things happen like movie nights but we would only show quirky International films, something different. I’m saving all my money for actually doing this, I really am but might be in about 7 or 8 years from now. Loving what I am doing right now too much.
You've worked in a record store in the past and if you weren't DJing/producing now or perhaps in the future, what role could you see yourself filling the music industry?
Well as far as music is concerned, I just want to enjoy what I am doing, and keep going like I am. I haven't done an album yet and the main reason for this is because I make dancefloor tracks and they are made purposefully for tearing up the dancefloor, but when I do an album I want to make more musical stuff so that it.s good for listening at home or in the car. But for now I don’t want to confuse people by suddenly brining out this totally different album. So album next, then long term I could possibly work on the label side of things and publishing. But these are all ideas in my head, right now I am fully focused on DJing and producing. It's crazy, I’m getting 5 or 6 requests to play every weekend, and the traveling is insane, I don’t know if I am coming or going half the time. I am fully focused on the right now, and it's great, it's what I have worked hard to be doing and I am doing it now so everything's good.
The last few years have been a real purple patch when it comes to producing. What do you owe this to?
Well mainly down to being focused. Remember I spent many many years running my vinyl section at Crash Records (Leeds, UK) and Global Beat before that, but when we had to finally close the vinyl section due to everyone turning to buying music digitally, I turned my attention to producing, and it has paid off. Also, I think spending all those years selling house music and listening to it every single day at work helped me really understand what it is about house music that makes people tick, so I apply all this to how I put my tracks together.
Your ties with VIVa are strong now but you also used to run your own label, Breakout Audio. Is running your own label again in your future plan?
Well possibly, but I stopped Breakout Audio because it served it's purpose, which was to give me a platform to showcase my kind of music. This was how I hooked up with Steve Lawler initially. I’m so busy with touring, radio shows, producing, and I don’t do anything unless I give it 100%, so therefore I stopped that project, but I am proud of every release, and we pressed vinyl for the releases too.
Over the past year of so there have been some crazy DJ bust ups on social media. Your ethos and outlook on it all is always so refreshing and (alongside your music) is one of the main reasons we sought out this interview. Jane Fitz once said the two most important attributes for a DJ are great tunes and no ego. Would you agree?
Well yes, the problem is now, a lot of DJs and especially the younger ones think DJs are pop stars. We are not, in fact in the old days when I first went raving, it wasn’t even about the DJ. For example, at hacienda you couldn’t even see the DJ, he or she was on a balcony to the side, but people danced and loved it and it used to be more about the party than the DJ. For example, different crews that people would call sound systems (as in a collective of DJs who go around with a sound system and throw parties) were what people followed. DIY Sound System for example as one, if people saw that on a flyer they would go, now when you see how some DJs behave, and the arrogance from some who have only managed to be a DJ because they use their parents money to put on events in the city they went to study its almost embarrassing.
I am on Paramount DJ agency, the same as Carl Craig, Nina Kraviz and lots of big names, and the actual paramount rider form that goes to promoters has lots of things in it, such as the DJ can only be picked up in a Mercedes S class, and lots of other fancy stuff. I immediately asked that to be taken out of my rider, also for drinks mine just says a bottle of tequila and a big ass smile is all I need. It is funny though, the DJs that actually accuse the others of being arrogant are normally THE MOST arrogant themselves.
You recorded your debut Essential Mix this summer, that must be a huge tick off the to do list... Do you have any other specific goals set for yourself?
Yeah it was exactly 20 years after I heard my first Essential Mix too, it was a great feeling doing that. Other goals, well because I make dancefloor tracks I have not done an album yet, this is because when I do an album it wont be just dancefloor cuts, but right now I don’t wanna confuse people by bringing out and album that will have downtempo tracks, tracks with loads more melody, and chill out and ambient too. But this is something I will be doing in the next couple of years.
Finally, imagine their was an inter label/brand 5-a-side league and you're picking the VIVa Warriors team... Who makes your starting squad?
Me on the right side, Steve Lawler can be midfield General, Detlef on the left side, Sante can be in defense, and the Anek girls can alternate either half in goal. Haha would be funny that.
Catch Darius Syrossian playing for Moda Black at The Warehouse Leeds, Saturday 5th October, featuring DJ Sneak, Darius Syrossian, Jaymo and Andy George and Patrick Topping. Tickets on sale now.
Interview by Alex Ogilvie
Images courtesy of Paramount Artists