Darius Syrossian is the very embodiment of DO NOT SLEEP, his party that took Ibiza by storm last summer. He’s a DJ, producer, talent spotter, mentor, engineer, promoter, label boss. He does… well, pretty much all you can. And he loves it!
DO NOT SLEEP Ibiza returns for a second year at its new home Space and he’s just wrapped up hosting his own stage at We Are FSTVL in May. We managed to grab five minutes of his time to discuss whether he actually sleeps, how Mother Nature inspires him and his future artists-to-watch in 2016.
Where have you come from?
“Just got back from playing a little back-to-back thing with Eats Everything, Bones and a few more at the Ushuaia magazine launch party at Ushuaia tower last night. Was a good little party: Eric Morillo and Pete Tong turned up to play some too!”
Where are you right now?
“Just back at my villa with a few friends, it’s the calm before the storm. It’s looking like there’s a big season ahead, you can feel it in the air. Lots of excited people in Ibiza right now.”
You launched DO NOT SLEEP parties last year. Can you give us a brief roundup of the experience?
“Basically the people behind DO NOT SLEEP are the founders, Neil Evans, the infamous Bones, and also Lisa Baraclough – they are very much behind the scenes but between them have so much history in the industry, stretching back 15 years! I was just a DJ for them last summer, but just before Christmas they invited me to become the fourth member of the team! THEY are [the people] behind the party, there is so much more to it than just the DJs.”
“When you do a party there are things like organising venues, organising sound systems, promotion, artwork, billboards, booking DJs, make sure they’re looked after, deal with the press! So, so much! I am now onboard in both the DJ capacity and as an actual promoter alongside Neil, Bones and Lisa.”
“It’s looking like there’s a big season ahead, you can feel it in the air. Lots of excited people in Ibiza right now.”
Can you talk us through the line-up selection for DO NOT SLEEP 2016 and your excitement for the party moving to Space?
“Everyone we have booked has been hand-picked carefully – there’s been a lot of thought gone into the bookings. It’s easy to just reel off all the obvious big names who do the festival circuit but then all you’re doing is cut-and-pasting line-ups from other parties. DO NOT SLEEP has a musical identity and this is why the artists we’ve picked are ones that have made a name for themselves on music merit, such as Harvard Bass, Matador, Guti, Dusky, Deetron, Kölsch, Derrick Carter and of course our residents and regulars like Nick Curly, Hector Couto, Nathan Barato and Alan Fitzpatrick. Regarding moving to Space, it’s a dream come true! To be asked to be a weekly resident in its final season is such a big honour, I can’t describe it really, but I’m raring to go!”
The label started at the tail end of 2015 with a couple of releases and a sampler. What’s the ethos behind it and the plans for it this year and next?
“We’ve lots of good music on the way – artists like New York legend Harry Romero, also Steffen Deux, Hector Couto and Leon from Italy. The ethos is about good music that can be either house or techno, or even deeper, but good underground music that’s aimed at the dancefloor. We want to make people dance! Not sleep!”
Your track ‘Beetham Tower’ caused a stir recently. It’s a quirky story behind why you made it and how you were inspired to make it.
“Well I love Manchester, I love its people and I love the place and I’ve always had amazing gigs there. There was some really big storms last Autumn, one that caused the whole city to hum when the wind from the storms was hitting the tower! I sampled this to use on a track like a synth and also used the wind to make some percussion sounds. It was done especially to play at my upcoming Manchester gig at Warehouse Project. I was very pleased with the outcome, the feedback and the response.”
“I sampled the sound of the wind blowing through Beetham Tower in Manchester especially to play at Warehouse Project.”
You’re well known for championing unknown and upcoming artists. Why is it important to you?
“Because it’s these artists that are hungry and want to push themselves to the next level so you get 110% from them. I’ve always been behind upcoming artists and will continue to do so. For example, Sidney Charles I first brought to Manchester two years ago, his fee was tiny – you would almost be better off doing a 9-5 office job. But I believed in him and spent the next couple of years inviting him to play more and also produced tracks with him and featured his music on the Sankeys 20th Anniversary compilation. I got him a residency at Tribal Sessions and he’s now a world superstar. It’s great to see you’ve helped people achieve a dream, he’s massively talented!
“But sometimes there are a lot that have the talent but don’t get the platform to show it. It took me years to work my way up to show what I can do so if it’s possible for me to help, I always will.”
“It took me years to work my way up so if I can help I always will”
What are you methods for finding and highlighting talent?
“It can come in any way – you can randomly come across their music when it’s given to you, or you can be searching for music and find it, but there are so many amazing upcoming artists out there, obviously I can’t help them all.”
Who are your top future up and comers for 2016/17?
“Luca Donzelli, Mirko di Florio and Ronnie Spiteri. Nyra is back producing music again – amazing underground music! He was producing for Secretsundaze for a while but became a professional cyclist. He’s back on the music now and mark my words, this guy is talented!”
You’ve just hosted a stage at a WeAreFSTVL. How did it come about? What’s your experience with the festival?
“Two of the the DO NOT SLEEP team – Neil Evans and Lisa – have been involved in promoting parties and festivals for years. They only work with professional outfits and made sure that we had a stage at the amazing WeAreFSTVL. I’ve seen how professional the guys are behind the whole thing and it’s great to work with people like that.”
One last question: What are you doing after this?
“I fly back to UK in the morning, to finish off a track I’ve signed to Nick Curly’s 8-bit label, and to master a track I’ve signed to Ralph Lawson’s 20:20. also to do episode 004 of my DO NOT SLEEP radio show. then i have these four gigs at the weekend! Bring it on, it’s the start of a great Summer, hope everyone out there has an awesome one and if you come to any DO NOT SLEEP parties, it’ll be great to dance with you all!”