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Sasha - Fundacion NYC Interview

from Ben Blue

Sasha has always been at the forefront of innovation in the DJ community. Following up his critically acclaimed Involver album, Sasha reinvents himself again with his custom-made Maven controller. He recently completed a national tour showing off his new mixing power which launched the recent release of FundacionNYC on Global Underground, his first CD showcasing how he has reinvented himself, yet again…

Ben Blue: I've just gotten the CD and I love it. Did it turn out as you envisioned it?
Sasha: They never really do actually - I had a couple of tunes lined up before I went into the studio that I definitely knew I wanted to use, but they kind of evolve and develop as you're working on them.

BB: You didn't make the CD in the traditional way; could you talk a little bit about how you did it?
Sasha: Well I mixed it down with my computer and my controller, trying to mix it as much like a live DJ set as possible by using the new software..

BB: How did you choose which tracks you were going to use, was it based on the Foundation residencies?
Sasha: Yes, there's definitely some tracks in there that have been relevant to the residencies; but there's also some stuff in there that I haven't really played at the residencies and that worked on that day. The thing about the album, it's just a snapshot of that moment. If I'd done it a month later I probably would have used a lot of different music, or a month earlier as well. Whenever you work on mix CDs you just tend to capture a moment, really.

BB: I understand.
Sasha: I've been bombarded with music since I finished the CD and there's definitely a lot of stuff that I would use if I was to record it now.

BB: Right, and that must be difficult…
Sasha: Yes, because you're always searching for that one track, you're waiting for something to show up. Maybe you're having a problem, trying to find somewhere in the mix to get a track to work with another track.

BB: With Ableton Live, I know you could be mixing even fifty tracks if you wanted to. Have you found yourself overwhelmed at all with those possibilities?
Sasha: Most time you have to stay focused. I've definitely had nights where I've tried to be a little too adventurous- tried to mix too many different styles across a short space of time and lost the dance floor. But you have to stay focused on what you're doing and know where you're going with it.

BB: Right, absolutely.
Sasha: I think it's a very powerful tool but in the in the wrong hands it could be a really messy experience.

BB: Very dangerous. When you were making Involver I remember you were using Live as kind of like a third table.
Sasha: Right.

BB: And just dropping over your sets with your CDJs.
Sasha: Yes. I snapped out of that really quickly, though; as soon as I realized what you could do with Ableton I just I ditched the vinyl. But it took most of last summer to get all my music recorded and chopped up and ready to use, and it took a big chunk of time working on my controller [the Maven] and getting that ready.

BB: Yes, I remember reading about it at the same time, you were talking about the need for a controller for Ableton and DJs, and it didn't exist…
Sasha: I went and talked to a few companies, I just got the feeling that nobody was really prepared to make an Ableton-specific controller. I think they were all sitting there waiting to see what happened and I knew if I sat around and waited for these guys it's going to be two more years until I get my hands on one, so I designed my own. And it took us about nine months, a lot of energy, and a lot of resources - but it's been fantastic. It really opens the program up being able to control it.


 
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