Interview: Dirty South @ Beyond Wonderland 2011
Dirty South is officially a household name in the EDM scene and has already been nominated twice at the Grammys for “Best Remixed Recording.” His first Grammy nod came in via his remix of Kaskade’s “Sorry” in 2007 followed by a second in 2010 for his collaboration remix of Temper Trap’s “Sweet Disposition” with Axwell – an impressive feat for a relatively new arrival to the DJ scene.
“It doesn’t just come from the Gods, it needs to be inspired by something.”
The humble Aussie sat down with Dancing Astronaut after his banging set at Beyond Wonderland 2011 to offer some insight into his craft, influences, and future plans.
Dancing Astronaut (DA): This is JT reporting live from Beyond Wonderland in San Bernardino, California where Dirty South just threw down an amazing set.
Dirty South (DS): Did you really go to it?
DA: Yes! Honestly though, I was kind of back and forth between the audience and backstage to prepare for this interview.
DS: So it wasn’t good enough to suck you in and keep you there all the way?
DA: No, we were just too excited to meet you is all!
DA: Alright, so your remix of “Sweet Disposition” with Axwell was amazing. Do you have any plans to collaborate with other DJ’s? Perhaps with Harris for a “Better Day” follow-up?
DS: Well Paul [Harris] is a good friend of mine, an old friend of mine. He’s a good guy and we worked awhile ago on that record. Honestly, it’s all been too crazy. He’s busy, I’m busy. But even now, we might! In the meantime I’m working on a new record with Axwell, so that’s the next collaboration.
Temper Trap – Sweet Disposition (Axwell & Dirty South Remix):
DA: Awesome! We also wanted to know if there were any up and coming DJ’s we should be watching out for.
DS: Well I don’t really have time to watch other people play. I am always busy in the studio or playing live myself. I don’t really have time to be honest.
DA: That’s fine. So tell us about your new “Phazing” label, particularly what inspired it and what your plans are to grow it.
DS: <laughs uncontrollably>
DA: Am I the fifth person to have asked you this today?
DS: Haha nono, sorry I’m just in another place right now. <motions hands in the air>
DA: Haha, I wish I were there with you.
DS: Phazing is my record label. It’s kind of a young child – it’s only been like…not even a year? So we only have a few releases and we just did a really cool collaboration with Interscope records. We did a remix for Diddy called “Coming Home”…
Diddy & Dirty Money ft. Skylar Grey – Coming Home (Dirty South Club Mix):
DA: …which you played tonight! It was banging, I was there for that!
DS: Which we played tonight, yes! So that’s our first collaboration with Interscope Records. I’m really excited about that.
DA: So do you plan on doing more pop or hip-hop collaborations?
DS: That wasn’t so much a collaboration, I guess, but more like a remix of the track. It’s blown up so much that it has all evolved as far as PR to get it out to all of Diddy’s fans. And as far as collaboration you work with different people so I don’t really think like “Oh, I have to work with this label!” this and that, it’s just whatever it feels like.
DA: Yeah, I think Skylar Grey’s vocals on that song are very good and fitting for EDM.
DS: Yeah, she sounds amazing! I always thought she did.
DA: And she writes it all too.
DS: I need to find her and make a track with her <sly grin>
DA: Do you like DJing or producing more?
DS: I like both. They are basically connected. You need to be able to do one to do the other successfully. When you DJ you can gauge the crowd and see what they like so that you can put that into your production. All of a sudden you have something, you produce it and you play it back out. It’s all interconnected.
DA: Awesome. What would you say is your favorite festival to date?
DS: Today? Well today my favorite festival is this one. <laughs heartily>
DA: More specifically, what would you say is your most euphoric experience at a festival?
DS: Well they’re all different. I did Coachella last year and it was very intense as far as energy. I did Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) and it was intense as far as intensity of the people there. It was…the amount was just enormous…10,000, maybe 20,000? Ultra Music Festival I did three years in a row – it’s like a ritual, which I’m breaking this year so that I can play with some other talents. But that’s the thing: it’s really exciting, just a bunch of shit, man, just so much stuff, it’s not fair to pick one, you know, because each one is special. Like tonight, it was very special.
DA: Got it. So in terms of plugins, what are your favorites and what do you recommend to aspiring DJs?
DS: I can only tell you about what I use, so that is what I would recommend. I could talk to you about Ableton, which I don’t use – not to say it sucks, it’s great. What I use is Logic and I swear by it, it’s quality. It’s very much what you put through it first. If what you put through it first is good, Logic will make sure the output is also good. There is some software out there that will take something you put in that’s good and something happens along the way and it comes out sounding like shit! So I use Logic, Macs – Mac is the heart of the studio. I would recommend getting a decent pair of monitors and a decent pair of headphones.
DS: At least have a different couple of sources you can check your music with to make sure it’s always sounding good because you can have a pair of speakers that sounds good – maybe the manufacturer enhanced the bottom end and your track sounds fat and raw. But then you play it on your grandma’s little radio and it sounds like crap. So you need to be able to check your sound on different speakers.
DA: So true.
DS: In terms of plugins, Logic itself has a lot of plugins. You just need to dig deep and work them out. As far as outside plugins go, Waves is one of my main things and Universal Audio. I just got my UAD card and it’s one of the most exciting, nerdy things I’ve gotten in the last 6 months.
It’s also going through records and spending time with the records that you like and being inspired by them. Don’t copy them, just get inspired by them. Just starting off, it’s very hard to say “Okay, I’m going to play an A minor chord.” It doesn’t just come from the Gods, it needs to be inspired by something.
DA: So what were your main inspirations coming up?
DS: When I was first starting to produce house music, I was inspired by Kid Creme. Heard of him? Slamming funky house producer. He was amazing. I don’t know what happened to him, but he should come back with some productions because he was amazing. I love Stardust, Daft Punk, I love all their songs. I also love French House – French house was very influential with the whole one bar loop. All of these different things inspired me, other things came along, the whole thing just evolves.
DA: Finally, I just wanted to ask offhand: For the sweet disposition song, did you hear that song before or after watching “500 Days of Summer?”
DS: I actually didn’t even know the song before we were asked to remix it.
DA: So the Temper Trap just came up to you?
DS: They just asked us to remix it and we liked it and that was it. We remixed it and they didn’t like it.
DA: Wow. Well we’re out of time, but thanks so much, Dirty South, for joining us today.
DS: <thumbs up>