Aussie DJ Dirty South: Global Citizen of "City of Dreams"
Unlike certain genres that dominate the airwaves here in the U.S., EDM is a global phenomenon. That's not to say that there aren't rappers and country singers in other parts of the world, but very few of those acts become stars here.
EDM is something completely different. If you're heading out to see the latest and greatest in dance music, that person may call the U.S. home, but there's just as good a chance that they're from Europe, Russia, Japan or, in the case of Dirty South, Australia.
2012 has been a big year for the DJ/producer. He's currently in the midst of his biggest North American tour so far, hitting the road behind his track "City of Dreams," which hit No. 1 on Beatport earlier this year. Rocks Off caught up with him during a moment of downtime on one of his rare studio days.
Rocks Off:The City of Dreams Tour is the biggest outing you've done in North America. How's the tour going?
Dirty South: It's been amazing, it's been crazy, it's been nonstop. We've been hitting a lot of cities -- some cities that I've never been to before. We just did the Roseland Ballroom in New York a couple of weeks ago and it was huge sellout show. We have a couple of more weeks to go, finishing off in L.A. in two weeks. It's been pretty good.
RO: Speaking of L.A., there's a contest going on that's going to let the winner open for you at the L.A. tour stop. How'd that come about?
DS: It was an idea to give a bit of love to the young kids that are starting out. You know there's a lot of people coming through with mixes and new tracks. I think it's really cool to be involved with that and give someone the chance to be part of what we do.
RO: On the whole, is the culture of EDM different in other parts of the world?
DS: I think the culture is now the Internet. Everything is coming from the Internet. The kids can find the music so quickly regardless of where they are in the world. You can be in Asia or North America or Europe, and when an artist releases a track people can immediately get it.
I think it doesn't matter where you are. People are really educated with music and they know what's up. It's more or less the same everywhere.
RO: You started working on music when you were 13. When did you decide to try and make a career out of it?
DS: I think it was around 2002. I had a regular job -- a 9-5 day job -- and I wasn't really into it. I kept thinking about music and what I really wanted to do. And I think my boss wasn't really happy with me and my daily performance. I ended up leaving that job and just really saying to myself, "You know what? I'm just gonna do music and see what happens."
RO: You collaborated with Alesso to release "City of Dreams." It ended up being a big hit for you guys. How did the song come about?
DS: "City of Dreams" started off as a Ruben Haze track. Ruben Haze is my side project with a guy called Rudy from Australia. We've been working together forever. He's been featured on a lot of my tracks in the past- stuff like "Open Your Heart" and "Phazing." We decided to do a side project that's sort of a indie/alternative/electronic project.
One of the songs on that project is "City of Dreams." While I was touring Australia with Alesso he really loved the original version so we decided to rework it into a house version, and that's the version everyone is hearing right now.
RO: Is there more Ruben Haze material in the works?
DS: Ruben Haze as a project is more or less finished. We have a whole album finished, we're just putting the final touches to it and then finding the right home for it. Ruben Haze is a project that I would love to make sure people hear real soon.
RO: What are your plans for the new year?
DS: I'm working on a bunch of new material. Maybe a couple of EPs that could possibly turn into an album. The Ruben Haze stuff as well. Lots of touring.
It's creating a balance between production, touring, and my side project as well. There's gonna be a lot of new music.
Dirty South plays with Surain and Bobby Blyss, 9 p.m. Saturday at Stereo Live, 6400 Richmond.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.