says fun-DASS-eeon, I say fun-DAY-shun. But we called the whole thing off when I talked to the internationally
adored and revered DJ in advance of his final Fundacion night at Avalon Hollywood.
Not only is the man wrapping up his first ever bicoastal US residency, but he's
giving us all a party favor to remember him by in the form of the mix CD, Fundacion NYC
in stores on June 21st in the US. I caught up with Sasha in London to querry him about
New York City, his protégés, and of course, Beyoncé. He plays Avalon
for the final Fundacion in Hollywood on Saturday
ZEL McCARTHY: We're
talking in this particular instance because you're getting ready to do the final
Fundacion in Hollywood, and the disc is about to
drop. Everyone here in LA is excited about it. We've been enjoying your visits.
been a real success. I've been blown away by the response, really. The idea
to do a residency in the first place was something I was always a little unsure
about, you know? Up to now I've never come on a regular basis, so it was definitely
more of a gamble than the New York show. It's been tried and tested in New York,
but both of the residencies have been phenomenal. New York has been great, it's
my home city right now, for this part of the year anyway, and it's great to
be there with my friends every month. The response around the LA show is different,
but I've just been going from strength to strength and I'm sad to see both residencies
end. The idea of doing it in short bursts and having a big beginning and an
end – it leaves it open to come back maybe in the future, but it also makes
it more special, I think.
Z: And you're always
welcome in Los Angeles. But as for that NY/LA thing, the new disc is Fundacion
NYC and not Fundacion LA. I have to ask, why LA got dissed?
didn't get dissed! This is going to be a series…it's just the first in a series
and I had to pick one city and New York is home at the moment. All the cover
art was shot within a block of my house. It's a really personal album and a
lot of stuff on there has been really big in the New York club. And I really
like the idea of messing up the New York graffiti vibe and having that as the
cover rather than the normally really slick artwork. There will be Fundacion
LA at some point in the future.
Z: Well, I should
hope so! But in the meantime this album is excellent, it's very electro at times,
too. You've got a diverse selection from Goldfrapp to M83 to Swayzak. How did
you go about choosing these particular tracks?
at home and playing around, seeing what works. Definitely there are tracks on
there that are real parts of the residency – like the Behind the Wheel track
and the James Holden stuff – that have definitely been signature records for
the residency. I wanted to capture one of those nights and allow me to flex
my muscles a little bit in a DJ style rather than how I did with Involver.
Even though it was a compilation, we approached it as a production record. Whereas
this album really kind captures what you can do from a DJ point of view.
cover art was shot within a block of my house... I really like the idea
of messing up the New York graffiti vibe."
Z: Did working on
this make you hungry for your next artist album?
We really want the next Involver album to push the boundaries of that mix/production
hybrid album even further, and for the tracklisting to be even more diverse.
I've definitely called on a lot of electronic tracks and a lot of friends like
the Luke Chable track and the Felix and stuff like that. I think the next album
is going to have a much more diverse tracklisting in terms of the source of
the records. I've already got about half the album mapped out in terms of what
I want to use. That's going to be a fun project, when it comes together.
Z: When do you think
you'll have time?
I don't know. Depends on what comes up, you know? I've
got a lot of different things. I've got this album, I've done the music for
TV with CSI. I've got a few different things this year. We'll see what
Z: What was CSI
was great. I just provided them with loads and loads of raw material, little
ideas, about 45 second bursts of music that we composed for them. It was really
fun to see it come together.
Z: Had you watched
the show before working on it?
they just mapped out what the show was going to be about and the intensity of
it. The production schedules for TV shows are so quick. They turn around so
fast. So it was really just a case of vibing with the music supervisor. It was
the first time I had done a project like that and it's definitely something
I'd like to be doing more of.
Z: I'll alert the
people out here.
we'll be doing a press release when we find out what date the show will actually
be airing and stuff like that.
Z: To go back to
Fundacion for a bit… last month you yielded much of your time to Steve Porter
and then you guys did that amazing spin-off at the end. I had actually talked
to Steve a few months before that and he had said how wonderful of a support
you've been for him in the past few years.
a good guy. I love Steve.
Z: He's so cool!
a nice fuckin guy. He's got such a great energy. It's really a two way street
when you talk about the support I've given Steve and people like James Zabiela
because I get such a buzz DJing with Steve and James and people like that. So
even though I help those guys out they energize me as well.
Z: Have you thought
about doing a collaboration with him?
Yeah, I'm sure we'll get together at some point.
Z: When it comes to collaborations,
fans are always asking and speculating if you and Digweed are ever going to
recombine for a remix or something?
definitely going to be getting back into remixing. The Involver
project, that's ten remixes in one go... but I just did a mix for Faithless.
don't know. We're both so busy, we've both got our own mini empires on the go.
I'm sure we'll get together at some point, but I don't know when.
Z: Every time one
of you comes to town – he's been around with Liquified, and you've been doing
the Fundacion – people are always wondering.
I know. In fact, because we do play together so rarely these days, when we do
come together it really is a special occasion.
Z: Being on the
road so much, do you have any touring rituals?
I'm a complete foody. My ritual is logging on to Zagat's
or getting a local food guide and finding the perfect meal in every city that
I go to so I can recommend places to eat to my friends. I really spend a lot
of time finding the perfect meal.
Z: And you never
get fat either!
don't know… my beer belly is definitely starting to come a bit as I'm getting
older. I really need to get down to the gym a bit more.
Z: Hopefully there's
a good one in your hotel. Speaking of the gym, well this is totally a change
of subject, but I read not too long ago that Beyoncé has an onstage persona
that she calls Sasha. I don't think it has anything to do with you.
didn't know that! I have an onstage persona called Beyoncé.
Z: That's what I
thought! But seriously, are you like another guy when you play? A bootylicious
definitely in my own world. When I'm DJing, when I'm locked into what I'm doing
I definitely go to a different place in my head. It's definitely a higher state
of functioning. It's not black and white like a complete Jekyll and Hyde situation.
Z: What part of
yourself have you been bringing to the Fundacion experience?
never really hosted a night before and it was something I was really keen to
do. I always play for other people's nights, and it was a chance to bring my
friends to DJ with me, and for it to be my thing.
Z: How do you go
about picking people to work with?
people I buzz off really. Just DJs I respect, people I have fun with… all of
Z: When it comes
to collaborating, a lot of non-electronic music fans got to know you from your
work remix work. Do you still fancy doing any of that?
definitely going to be getting back into remixing. The Involver project,
that's ten remixes in one go. So that takes up a lot more time. But I just did
a mix for Faithless and I did a mix for Cirque du Soleil, but those are sort
of random tracks. It's not major label stuff. But as I said before I've got
my fingers in a few different pies, you know? And projects like Fundacion and
CSI – they take up a lot of time.
Z: Who are you listening
to these days, electronically or non electronically?
me see… always a difficult question.
Z: It is because
it's a shout-out you've got to be wary of.
actually got a little playlist of stuff on my iTunes. I definitely like that
Egg album that came out, I can't remember the title of it because I had it on
promo. There's an album by Gonzales called Solo Piano. It's like an
acoustic piano album, and it's just so beautiful I keep playing it at home,
it's really peaceful music. I've been watching that Chris Cunningham thing as
well, Rubber Jonny. That thing is fucking insane.
Z: You've seen the
DVD collection of his work, right?
actually have that. Somebody sent it to me and it ended up in my storage unit
and I never got to actually watch it.
Z: The whole series
is great. You mentioned iTunes… are you an iPod person?
That's how I stay up with my music now. I've got FTP service up in London and
wherever I go I just log into the server and people upload music for me there.
It goes straight onto my iPod. I really should have two, one for music to listen
to and one that has all my club music on it. My iPod gets full all the time
with club tracks.
Z: I read a few
years ago that you were dissatisfied with where the music industry was at. Do
you feel like, at least for the dance scene, it's headed in the right direction?
I know that's a very general question.
it's a big question. There's been a reality check, you know, within dance music.
It got to the point going up to 2000 where people really thought the dance scene
was going to take over the Top 10 of the American charts. I mean, I could never
see that happening. The American music industry just works in such a different
way. I mean, the difference between dance music and everything else is that
people go out expecting to hear new music all the time. They could sit in the
club for six hours and not know one record that you're playing and that's what
they're buzzing off – this new sound the whole time. When you go out to see
a rock band you ask them to play the classics. You don't want to hear David
Bowie's new album you want to hear Spiders From Mars. That is definitely
one of the exciting things about dance music, is that people want to hear that
new tune. And tunes have a shorter shelf life, and the thing about American
charts is that it takes so long to get music up the charts and things have to
be played for weeks and weeks and weeks. Dance music is moving forward all the
time and very rarely do you have a tune that will last and last. I guess that's
the beauty of it, and I guess sort of the problem.
||"It got to the point going up to 2000 where people really thought the dance scene
was going to take over the Top 10 of the American charts. I mean, I could never
see that happening."
Z: Does it matter
to you when you chart well? You've had some good success.
always a surprise and it's always fantastic. It's always a buzz to get something
on the charts. But it's not something that I ever really thought, “oh, I want
to make a Top Ten record,” though maybe it's something I will do in the future.
Z: You know, you
a real art, making great pop music.
Z: Making any kind
of great music, whatever genre, is an art. It takes skill, Sasha, not just the
pop stuff. You're a skilled artist yourself.
Z: On that note,
is there anything you want your Fundacion fans, especially the Los Angeles ones,
I'm just going to miss them basically once I'm gone for the summer. I'll be
thinking of them when I'm hosting Space in Ibiza with Fundacion.
Z: We'll miss you
too, but you're always welcome to come back!
sure I'll be back.