Superstar discmaster and producer Sasha (often paired with pal John Digweed) never expected to make a career out of dance music, much less tour across America with live shows.
By By Vanessa Juarez
Feb. 3, 2006 - What happens when you squeeze a bunch of party animals and free booze into a small theater to watch a documentary about themselves? A lot of laughter, woo-hoos, oohs and aahs. That was the scene last week during a screening in New York of "Delta Heavy," a documentary about the 2002 Sasha & John Digweed tour, one of the biggest touring DJ events to hit the United States. It was a big deal for electronica, because the British DJ duo took their progressive house music out of the nightclubs (as in the old days at New York City's Twilo) and into concert halls with a full sound and lighting crew, making their performances feel more like rock shows. The flick, to be released on DVD Feb. 7, charts the travels of the spinners, who played to 85,000 dance-music lovers in 31 cities. Combined, seven Sasha and Digweed albums have sold more than half a million copies in the States-a goldmine for the dance-music segment. Sasha (born Alexander Coe), 36, spoke to NEWSWEEK's Vanessa Juarez about it all. Excerpts:
NEWSWEEK: You walked out of the "Delta Heavy" screening last week. Why?
I tried to watch it a couple of times but it just creeps me out. I'm really not good with cameras. They really had to twist my arm for me to even agree to do that whole documentary thing. I've been dragging my feet the whole way. [Laughs.]
Did you shoot any of it yourself?
Yeah, we went off with video cameras a couple of times and stuff, yeah. It just weirds me out seeing myself on the TV screen.
Why do you think it's so difficult to go on an electronic-music tour in the United States?
I think it's taken a long time for people's perception of what a DJ is, you know, when you're dealing with traditional rock venues, it definitely takes some persuading that this is going to work.
To persuade them that it can be as entertaining as a rock show?
Right, right, definitely. I guess we proved that you could do that. It was definitely a wild experience traveling across America like that, doing back-to-back shows. I'm definitely happy that the documentary is coming out because it documents a time on a tour that was really successful for us.
What were you expecting before the tour and did you feel differently afterward?
I didn't really know what to expect, you know. I'd done tours before-a month on the road going club to club. But the being on the bus thing and the way that you form friendships and the closeness with the whole crew that you're with is really, really special.
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