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Sasha talks Ibiza season, music and future projects

The veteran DJ discusses his current and future endeavours lined-up ahead of Privilege opening and Ibiza 2018.

Sasha has seen and done it all – or so it might appear. Well into his fourth decade in the business, few of his fellow contemporaries have remained as relevant in a lightning-paced industry. Incredibly, the evergreen DJ and producer is still finding opportunities to tread new ground. It's a testament to his longevity.

Still riding the wave off the back of his Late Night Tales album Scene: Delete and the subsequent Refracted: Live tour it sparked, this is arguably the most creative period of his career. Inspired and back in the studio writing new music, Sasha talks about his next project and looks forward to the Ibiza season ahead.

With plenty of dates this summer, he'll be playing the mammoth Privilege Opening Party with Kölsch, as well as being back alongside John Digweed for RESISTANCE once again. Going solo, Sasha also has dates at Pacha, HEART and DC10, with maybe one or two surprises thrown in for good measure.

A legend who needs little introduction, we discuss his Ibiza plans, what he's working on at the moment and what makes a good back-to-back partner.

First of all, huge congratulations on the Refracted: Live project. After the success of these shows, will we be seeing you revisit this format again in the future?

Yeah. We've got some plans for some shows at the end of the year and next year. We're working on new music that's gonna fit the show, so it's an ongoing project, for sure. It's very complex – very expensive to put together. Lots of moving parts.

There are 35 people involved in the show, so it's a bit different from me just turning up with a USB stick and DJing. It takes a little more preparation, a lot of time to pull it all together. But it's given me such a fantastic buzz doing it.

The feedback has been amazing. So we're just in the process of working it out. It's not as simple as just putting some dates in the diary and showing up.

How does the show evolve from here?

We're working on new music at the moment, trying to find music that fits. There's still some material from the back catalogue we haven't looked at yet, which could fit into the live format. The Refracted show as it was – the first Barbican shows – was pretty much based on the Scene: Delete album.

The last two shows at The Roundhouse and Bridgewater Hall featured more music. I think it's going to be a constant evolution, really. You know, new tracks coming in. Working out what fits where. A lot of it depends on what happens in the studio over the next few months.

Is there any desire to move the live show in a club environment? Or are you happy to continue doing these concert style shows?

I want to keep it a separate thing. I don't think it would work in a smaller clubbing environment. It's about the big show.

Has going through that process – relearning keys, working alongside other musicians and an orchestra – made you reconsider your own studio production techniques?

Yeah, I'm spending a lot more time sitting at the piano writing now, instead of sitting in front of a computer screen. I'm definitely writing more musical ideas. It's been really liberating in that way. I changed the whole set-up of my studio. It's much more focused on being able to capture live performance.

Your style has always been melodic, although the tempo has slowed in recent years. Of course, Scene: Delete was slower still being a downtempo album and now with the live performances, there's another facet to your arsenal. What direction do you see yourself heading in next?

The last few years – doing the live show – have been really inspiring: to see how records like the collab with Poliça go down in the live show, the hook, the vocal, the reaction from the crowd.

I think over the next few months we're really going to focus on my big moments, which are going to work in the club and the live show as well. Through this whole process, I'm sure we're going to write some material that's more in the Scene: Delete vibe. But those big moments are the focus at the moment.

We understand that your next project is something else dear to your heart – your contribution to the fabric series.

I'm very happy with the mix. It's something that came together quite quickly. I tried not to overthink it too much. I started getting people to send me stems and samples of tracks, so I could start re-editing them. I started going down the route of turning it into another Involver, but then I stopped and said, this isn't what this record is supposed to be out. It's supposed to be about me trying to capture the feeling of being at fabric at 4:00 on one of my nights.

I got loads of music together than I thought would really fit and started playing live mixes. From there I started working out how I wanted to programme the set. I actually ended up going to the main booth in fabric and recording it there, which was really special.

Wow – so it has an authentic feel to it. We found it hard to believe it's taken this long for you to submit an entry, but when we checked back, it was not actually so. You've been synonymous with that club for decades.

Yeah, I know. Whenever I was asked before, I always had something else on the boil. It just didn't happen. But when they talked about closing the series up, I was like, I've got to do one.

Looking ahead to the Ibiza season which is nearly upon us. Obviously, you're involved with the giant Privilege Opening party. How did the B2B with Kölsch come about?

We've played back-to-back before and had a really great time. Since then we've talked about the possibility of doing it again in the future. It was suggested by the club and we get on really well. So it was kind of a no-brainer, really. It's gonna be really fun.

We can definitely see your styles being suited.

Yeah. We played together at a festival in Bristol. It was pretty seamless.

You're certainly a DJ who adapts well to the b2b format. What makes a good back-to-back partner?

Sometimes it works. Other times you can end up pulling in two different directions. When it's flowing, it can be a lot of fun. It's really just feeling the moment. I've had b2b sets with DJs where it's really worked well. Then we've played together again a few months later and it didn't go in the same direction.

I think it's important to listen to what the other guy is doing and feel that state. Do your own thing, but keep that vibe going in a shared direction. There are certain DJs who you just bounce off each other. It really, really works.

Sticking on the subject of collaboration, we loved your release with Alan Fitzpatrick on his label earlier in the year. Are there plans for any more collaborations in the foreseeable?

I've just done something with La Fleur. That's going to be seeing the light of day fairly soon. There are a couple of other things in the pipeline. I don't know how far off they are. I've always got an eye for working with somebody. But the La Fleur one is finished. That's going to be coming out this summer.

You're back at Resistance with John this summer. We're especially looking forward to those Vista dates. The debut season was a great success so we suppose it was a no-brainer to say yes to year two?

Yeah, of course. There were a lot of people online last year that were a little upset that our sets were so short, you know. Part of the reason why RESISTANCE worked so well last year is that they treated each date like a festival. The line-ups were really stellar. Much like a festival, you're only going to get a couple of hours to play.

There were a few people disappointed that we hadn't played for longer. So the Vista shows are really going to allow us to play a longer, extended set. We're still doing a couple in the main room – the opening and the closing, and then some in the Vista as well, so it's going to be great. I'm looking forward to it.

Us too. You're also playing for Labyrinth at Pacha and Paradise at DC10. Is it important that you spread your dates over several venues?

Yeah, I mean doing a residency at one venue for the entire summer is something I've done in the past, and it's really tough. The season can be brutal. Especially if you start soon like Jamie (Jones) is and go all the way through to October. I take my hat off to anybody that does the full season like that.

I'm happy to spread the dates around at the moment. I've got some gaps in the diary reserved for family time, so this summer I actually not working quite as mentally hard as previous years. I'm very happy about that.

Over the hundreds of times you've played on the island down the years, is there any one event – or maybe season – which stands out as being the best?

It is hard to pick out any single event, but Space to me was the venue and the parties which meant the most to me down the years. You know, playing in the main room at Space was always my favourite gig of the year – especially the opening parties. I've had some really memorable dates there – playing the Sunday parties, playing for Carl. That has always been really special to me. I haven't been able to bring myself to go to Hï yet.

Finally, can we expect any other sunset sets at Kumharas this summer?

There's something else in the pipeline, which if you're into that thing, then I think you'll be happy about. We haven't worked out dates yet. But there will be at least one in the middle of summer where I'll be doing the sunset thing.

Sasha plays back-to-back with Kölsch at the massive Privilege's Opening Party on Friday 25 May. This is one party you've got to see to believe.

See below for further information and tickets.

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