Darius Syrossian had an absolutely massive 2015 creating Do Not Sleep out of his split with Sankeys and have it be one of the biggest success stories of the summer. Now Do Not Sleep has expanded to a label, a festival stage, a radio show and a residency at Studio 338, which kicks off this weekend. We caught up with the main man to hear how he did it all and what he's got in store for 2016.
Hey Darius, how’s it going? How’s 2016 been so far?
Great, I've been working in the studio like a workaholic, and the new Do Not Sleep label has started with a bang, and had some great gigs in Europe and the UK, so couldn't be any better really.
Do Not Sleep has been such an amazing success, from the Ibiza parties to a record label, a radio show coming in the spring, a residency at Studio 338, and stages at Eastern Electrics and We Are FSTVL this summer. Is there one aspect that you’re most proud of?
The fact that myself and the other three members behind the scenes have worked so well as a team, it’s made it so much more enjoyable when you graft hard for something together and you get the results. Neil Evans, Lisa and Bones are fantastic to work with and everything from the label and radio show that is about to launch, as well as the party itself, it’s all been a big team effort.
What’s next for Do Not Sleep? Where can you take it from here?
Well we are literally on the verge of announcing something HUGE for Ibiza 2016, I can’t say anything at the moment but watch this space. And I am very, very excited with the launch of Do Not Sleep Radio, which is going to be syndicated to over 30 different countries on FM radio, and also on iTunes and SoundCloud too.
Has building your own brand changed your outlook on the industry?
No not really, I always only ever do this for the love of it. We have turned down some very big money things to do some quite commercial things, but that’s not why we do this, there is a fine balance in being professional but also staying to true to why you do this. Do Not Sleep will never be a big corporate brand. We will still do very small DNS parties in select small clubs that are proper underground venues, as well as the big festivals. Also the big $ offers to go play super clubs in China, because we are well known in Ibiza will get and have been getting a straight “no thanks”, and that won't change.
You’re playing London soon for the Do Not Sleep launch at 338, what have you got in store for the night?
Well Do Not Sleep has always been about no frills! The music is the main emphasis of the party, so I can say the answer to this is, pretty damn good new music. I’ve been working really hardcore in the studio over the winter months and have loads of new productions that I road tested last week at Albert Hall to two thousand people, as it had sold out, and they all blew the roof off. I’m looking forward to playing these also in London at Studio 338 on Saturday.
As always, you’ve got a pretty packed touring schedule, any upcoming dates you’re particularly looking forward to?
Yeah, I've got some great European dates coming up. In fact I just came back from Madrid and it was awesome, really clued up crowd and the energy was electric. There are some more in the diary like this that I'm excited about, also DGTL festival in Amsterdam, Summer Solstice festival in Iceland, and of course we have DNS at WE ARE FSTVL and Eastern Electrics.
I see from Facebook that you’ve been collaborating with Josh Butler again, is that project finished?
Yes, and both tracks have been smashing it for me, and I hear for Josh too, but we keeping a lid on it until we decide what label to release them on. Watch this space.
What’s the dynamic like when the two of you are in the studio?
Really good, we have the same kind of thinking, music that is about the rhythm and the drums and for the dance floor, so it’s always been a good experience with Josh in the studio.
And you’ve got a solo EP, Mischief Brew, dropping in April, what can you tell us about it? What was the inspiration behind the record?
Haha well, we were in Ibiza and it was the Do Not Sleep afterparty at my villa, Bones the character that he is, decided to make cocktails, and there was about 40 of us in the sun and around the pool, with no sleep of course, and he decided to get everyone on the rooftop and dancing to the music. Let’s say his cocktails did the trick, haha, so I've named it after him. But the track is something I made to play on my South America tour of Chile, Cordoba and Buenos Aries, Argentina. As I know the South Americans are very hedonistic, I road tested the track there and it went down an absolute storm! I’ve signed it to Material Records, which is the label of Mihalis Safras, and it’s coming out on vinyl and digital on April 1st.
New Production > Darius Syrossian 'Mischief Brew' Coming soon..
Incoming! > New Production!Clip from a new track of mine i played in Cordoba Argentina this morning as the sun was coming up, for the riot party.I have been road testing this the last few weeks and people keep asking me what it is, title is MISCHIEF BREW, Will be released in 2016 when i decide what label on :)Look fwd to spinning it at these upcoming shows > http://gigs.gigatools.com/user/DariusSyrossian
Posted by Darius Syrossian on Sunday, 8 November 2015
What else does 2016 hold in terms of releases?
I have a release on Swiss label Definition Music, and the track ‘Back to Truth’ features an ace Nick Curly remix. I have a vinyl only thing coming out on another Swiss label and the track is called ‘FunkFlex’. This is one of my productions that sounds like my older tracks, which had strong influences taken from Armand Van Helden vibes. And I mentioned Mischief Brew, that has a wAFF remix. All these will be vinyl releases too, and of course some more releases on my own Do Not Sleep label too.
You’ve made it very clear that the releases on Do Not Sleep label will all be available on both vinyl and digital – why is that so important to you?
Well I spent 14 years working in a vinyl record shop, I think to be a serious label, you have to release on vinyl too, stay true to the art of DJing. Of course we will release digital too, but I personally want to have the music we release in physical format for many different reasons, one of them being it will be good to look back when I'm 90 and show my grandkids the records haha!
You started out working in record shops way back when, so what’s the best record shop in the world?
Ahhh it’s hard to say. It’s a shame so many have closed down, but I have to say Phonica Records in London is great, also Rush Hour Records in Amsterdam too.
Where’s your favourite place to party in the UK?
It’s really hard to say, haha what a question! I have to say though I do have a soft spot for Manchester, remember I'm originally a Yorkshire lad and only recently moved to Manchester, but for years and years I've been DJing in Manchester and also used to go clubbing in Manchester when i was younger too. It has always had great connection with the acid house culture and remember in the UK, it is the place where it kickstarted it all along with London, and still to this day has a great vibe. So id say Manchester is one of them, but there are lots of places both up north and down south, and also Scotland and Ireland too.
Tell us something funny about you that nobody knows.
Years ago when I had only just started to make a name internationally and not many people knew my music yet, myself and Daniel Dubb from Toronto had finished playing a rooftop at a club in Miami called Nocturnal. Next door it was Space Miami and it was sold out with a huge queue about a mile long, we were a bit merry and decided to try blag ourselves in. So I said “if you grab your records and confidently walk up to the entrance past the queue they will step aside and let us in”, we were just fooling around, except the guys on the door were like, “hey guys welcome!” It was Miami WMC so there were loads of DJs playing, he mistook me for Tony Rohr and him for Alexi Delano. We got taken to a table, they brought us pretty much everything, and even at the bar where we were introduced to the girl to look after us, she was giving us free drinks and saying “oh you guys were so amazing!” Haha! Then we noticed the real Alexi Delano and Tony Rohr were about to appear so we quickly got out of there. If you are reading this Space Miami, I won't lie, I haven't laugh that hard in a long time. I don't think id be able to get away with that now though.
What song or piece of music changed your life?
Ah I could name at least 20 pieces of music, from as early as the 80s when I was a kid and heard Grandmaster Flash – ‘White Lines’ or Talking Heads - ‘Once In A Lifetime’, or when I heard electronic music like Human League or New Order, but I'm gonna say the first time I heard Joey Beltram - 'Energy Flash', I was like, “OK RIGHT! We can listen to this rave stuff and it doesn't have to be all happy anthemic stuff, it can be darker and hypnotic and music for the soul too! And still be rave music!” I was only 17 and gone to my first outdoor raves and this music wasn't all over the place like it is now, in fact there wasn't even any Internet yet. Haha, I'm showing my age now.
What one thing would you do to make the world a better place?
Not let huge companies 'sponsor' and bank roll candidates in presidential elections or general elections and so on. It means these huge corporate companies can pretty much pay for who they want in power, and it’s for this reason 1% of the world’s population owns 40% of all the world’s wealth, and thus lets there be extreme poverty and inequality throughout the world, which in turn fuels war.
Follow Darius on Twitter. He plays the Do Not Sleep Opening Party at Studio 338 this weekend.