CONCERT REVIEW Wild, Deep, and Danceable
Deep Dish’s Sharam Conquers New Sound Frontier With Get Wild Tour
Get Wild CD Release Party
Rumor Nightclub, Boston, Mass.
April 2, 2009
Album now available on Ultra Records
Sharam Tayebi of Iranian-American Grammy award-winning DJ and dance music production duo Deep Dish got Bostonian clubgoers to make some wild moves on the dance floor at his Get Wild tour and CD release party at nightclub Rumor last Thursday.
Strategically positioned between the club’s video projection screen over the small stage and the DJ booth, I scanned the scene: on my left, the multimedia producer’s digital self, in full cowboy attire, is enacting scenes inspired by his favorite movie, Sergio Leone’s epic 1968 spaghetti Western film Once Upon a Time in the West, which inspired his Western-themed Get Wild party and eponymous album. On my right, behind the decks, the real-life Tayebi, in DJ mode, head bopping, lost in the music, in short, having a great time. Before and all around him, Rumor’s room temperature is rising to southwestern levels as the dancing crowd shivers with excitement at each electronic crescendo. Cowboy-hatted go-go girls scattered across the packed club complete the picture.
Mixing the cowboy theme with irresistible beats, the independent-minded, genre-transcending artist who for well over a decade manned the turntables as the “harder-styled” half of the world famous pair of progressive house DJs and producers based in Washington DC, played his entire two-CD album, 21 original songs from Disc 1 titled “WildDish” and Disc 2 dubbed “SideDish,” to a pulsating, receptive VIP audience.
His verdict on the night: “It was great: there were lots of people, great vibes, great crowd,” he said in a post-performance interview.
“I think a lot of people are hungry for new music. I think a lot of people, a lot of folks in general, a lot of resident DJs, they don’t always do their homework, so you know, it’s like good and bad. It’s bad because people are not as educated as you want them to be, but it’s good because all of a sudden everybody is open-minded to listening to something new when a new act is coming to town. So a night like this, it’s like a chance to test, to show your muscle, what you’ve got in the bag, the new stuff that you’re offering.”
Offered on the double album is a series of creative collaborations: with Kid Cudi, Tommy Lee, Diddy, Nic Fanciulli, Anousheh Khalili, and Daniel Bedingfield on the love song “The One,” a club favorite which hit top twenty in many international markets and reached #1 in the UK Cool Cuts Chart.
“It’s me and collaborations,” said Sharam, who is taking a break from Deep Dish and his partner Ali “Dubfire” Shirazinia, with whom the duo rose to prominence on the world dance music scene with the 1998 release of Junk Science.
Like the pioneers who expanded the American frontier westward, with the new independent Get Wild project Tayebi is also pushing the musical limits of dance and electronica by exploring territories that few would associate with house music and its derivatives.
The album offers a musically taste-expanding array of cross-genred styles, from hard-edged techy cuts to smooth vocals-enhanced melodies and all manners of house, with unexpected long piano pieces and seamless mixes of techno and classical — such as in “Sweat” with Tommy Lee.
“I don’t play the trendy genre game. Music should be made, listened to, and played based on a feeling and the quality of the piece and not how it’s categorized,” Tayebi writes on his MySpace homepage. In an interview with Ibiza Voice earlier this year, he expressed his refusal to confine himself to ideas of “coolness” and genre-based categorizations, which he says creates divisions within dance music.
Appropriately enough, the album starts with “The Get Wild Theme.” Puffs of an approaching train introduce the song, just like in Sergio Leone’s film — a reminder of how central the railway was in the formation of the Southwestern United States. Western leitmotifs spring up here and there, both in the tracks and their titles, with “The Track With No Name” reminiscent of Leone’s “The Man With No Name” trilogy, and “Once Upon A Time in The West,” a direct reference to Ennio Morricone’s own characteristic soundtrack for Leone’s film.
And did I say that the whole thing is extremely danceable? I challenge anyone with a modicum of rhythm to stay put when listening to “Quarterback.”
“A club like this… You are getting the best crowd, the best sound system, the best staff, everything best, so you’ve got to play the best music. And so they are like, ‘entertain me!’ so they challenge you, and that’s always a good thing,” Tayebi said.
He knows what “best” is all about. In addition to swaying the world’s finest dance floors, both with Ali and solo, his and Deep Dish’s resumes are peppered with awards — most recently with a WMC Best American DJ 2008 nomination and first place in the International Dance Music Award in 2005 for Best House/Garage Track “Say Hello” and Best Progressive/Trance Track “Say Hello” and Ortofon Best American DJ Award. Get Wild too is already attracting attention, with the title song becoming Essential Miami WMC Tune of 2008, and the catchy techno-styled infused summer anthem “Texi” being hailed as one of the top Ibiza records of 2008.
Without a doubt, he has his finger on the pulse of dance music all over the planet.
“It’s different from how it is in Europe, in Ibiza and stuff like that, it’s quite the opposite. I’ve been fortunate enough, I’ve been doing this for a while, and I’ve experienced a couple of things. A lot of people have a hard time with places like student towns because you don’t get the radio doing the work for dance music like you get in Europe because of the fact that dance music is like a foster child. You know what I mean, everybody goes to like hip hop, everybody goes to rock, you know, to whatever the trendy gimmick in town is.”
The tour, which is more or less mapped out to go westward in the US, from the East Coast to Los Angeles, and includes shows abroad, will certainly test the waters for the album that was released in digital form on iTunes on March 31 and in physical CD format in stores on April 7.
Having seen him perform in the early 2000s and in 2005 at Klub na Plushshike and the elite club XIII respectively in Moscow, Russia, it is tempting to fantasize about what he would do with the Wild East theme, which could appropriately start with sounds of the Trans-Siberian railway puffing…
For now he has other plans. With a beaming smile that will surprise those familiar with his serious-looking album covers, he said “Future plans? ‘Future plans’ is right now, I’m pushing the album, that’s the future plans!”