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Darius Syrossian: All About the Music

Tribal Sessions resident goes back to his roots, discusses real house music and bringing a slice of the UK to Ibiza…

If you're a resident of the UK or have been in Ibiza over the past two years, you won't have gone very far without hearing the name Darius Syrossian. Darius began his music career by running a record shop in the mid-nineties whilst discovering his own sound and honing his production and widely regarded skills as a DJ.

In the past few years alone, Syrossian has released many hit tracks and has never been one to stick solely to one label, instead choosing labels that promote a certain sound and have a genuine appreciation for the music they're putting out. Such labels have included Hot Creations, VIVa Music, Get Physical and many more. However, Darius has recently been brought into the limelight not least for his very different take on house music and his originality in production, but also for his close relationship with British club Sankeys. This relationship provided the stepping-stone to Syrossian's input in mixing the Sankeys 20th anniversary album and his very own weekly residency at Sankeys Ibiza. However, rather than create something new, Darius and Sankeys owner David Vincent decided to revive the club's legendary Tribal Sessions party and go back to the roots of both Sankeys and house music. A risky move, but one that has certainly paid off judging by the quality of Tribal parties so far this season, not to mention the waves of clubbers that head to Playa d'En Bossa every week for the Tribal Sessions ‘community' feel that you just don't get at many of the bigger clubs on the island.

Spotlight caught up with Tribal's main man to discuss the history of Tribal Sessions, line-ups and how house music has changed over the past few years…

To the new generation of ravers coming to Ibiza, Tribal Sessions is a brand new night for Sankeys. However, the original Tribal began in Manchester way back in 2000 and ended in 2010. Can you explain the thinking behind bringing back Sankeys' classic legendary party and taking it to the white isle?

"Well, its simple really, we just wanted to go back to the roots of REAL music played by REAL artists. That is what Tribal Sessions always used to be. If you go back and look at some of the very very early flyers of Tribal Sessions and looked at who played you will instantly see what the party was about. And why Ibiza? Well last summer I went out to a club for the line-up one night, and it was clear 90% of the crowd didn't care who was playing, and the atmosphere wasn't right, so this year when we were planning Tribal Sessions we deliberately chose Wednesday for our party in Ibiza because we knew whoever came to Tribal Sessions is 100% coming for what we are about. We are a new night and only the people who KNOW what we are about will come, the rest will go elsewhere. I have always said this, I don't care how anyone dances, as long as they are dancing, as long as they come to hear good music. We don't want bad attitudes; the bling-bling R&B crowd attitude has no place in house music. We want to be a haven for those that want that old school mentality when they are partying, and it's half way through the season now and every party has been great because the attitude and atmosphere of the people in Sankeys on a Wednesday has been brilliant, super friendly, and has a great energy."

How does it feel to have gone from playing by the bar at Tribal in Manchester to being the weekly resident in Ibiza for Tribal's revival?

"Well I started off playing the bar but after a year I was main resident at Tribal Sessions in Leeds and played with pretty much everyone from real techno acts like Jeff Mills, to live acts like Trentemoller, and in Manchester was opening the main room like Jozef K does now. Then of course I left when I was touring globally, but Sankeys is close to my heart and I always wanted to return and be a resident in the way I am now. Programming the events with David Vincent is a dream come true, as far as promoters go, not many have done what he has - look who he has worked with! Hacienda, Ministry in its glory days, and Sankeys for so long, not many promoters can boast that on their CV."

MIX | SPTL139: Darius Syrossian. Available to download.

Tribal Sessions' slogan and music policy is ‘Forward Thinking Music Without Prejudice' – Can you explain?

"There is way too much divide now in the scene, so many people jumping on bandwagons and thinking they are better than someone else because they like a certain type of techno than the other person, its all nonsense. EVERYTHING comes under the umbrella of House and Techno, and Tribal Sessions welcomes it all, under one roof and there is good music from all the genres."

The line-ups for Tribal this year are among the most diverse on the island. Is the season line-up a reflection of the diversity of your own music taste, or are you trying to provide ‘something for everyone'?

"No no, to be honest we have taken a gamble, who would say kids in Ibiza would want to see Dave Clarke? He is a true techno legend, as is Jeff Mills but, let's be honest, does the music press ever talk about them? Not really. Should they? HELL YES! They really are pioneers, but now you get someone who made a track and it went to Beatport number 1 and the press hump on them and tell everyone they should see this person. It's not really right, so we know a lot of people in Ibiza probably don't go for these kind of line-ups, but the ones that do, then they are REAL music heads and we welcome them with open arms. Personally, from running a vinyl record shop from 1995 to 2009, I sold everything from techno to house to jazz, to disco, to down tempo, to old school hip hop. I just love good electronic music, and for me, it's nice to be able to now be part of a party that can book more diverse stuff because it genuinely is what I like."

You've been a resident at Sankeys Ibiza for two different parties over the past two years (VIVa Warriors and Tribal Sessions), what is it about Sankeys Ibiza that you love?

The ethos behind the people who own the club, David Vincent & Andy Spiro (Andy being the man who also used to be behind Bugged Out). They are real promoters who do it for the right reasons through and through, not to make a fast buck, also the venue is just made for a good party. The low ceiling, the sound system, the lighting, it's just made perfectly for a bloody good underground party!

In many ways Sankeys is the odd club out on the island, with a very dark basement, no frills, English approach to clubbing. How do you think this compares with the rest of Ibiza and why does it belong?

"It belongs because it is a haven for those that want to party in a venue like this, we don't believe in champagne tables in a club, if you want to drink champagne, go to a wine bar and let those who want to listen to house and techno lose themselves without having to dance and be watched by some people who think they look good because they paid big money to have a table and a bottle of champagne. Hahaha seriously, house music is about losing yourself and feeling free, not about posing to the rest of the people in the club that you have a lot of money!!"

How did you feel when you were asked to mix the Sankeys 20th Anniversary Album?

"SERIOUSLY MOTIVATED, in fact one of the tracks I made for the album is named 'Motivar' which means motivated in Spanish."

Given that the first CD is a mix full of new tracks by yourself, were you 100% in control of the creative side of the album or did you discuss track selection with David Vincent and the Sankeys team?

"DISC 1 is totally 100% my own work and is 16 productions of my own - so totally my own work. Actually to be honest disc 1 is in effect my debut album. DISC 2 on the other hand is made up of tracks that are produced by other artists and that have been a big part of Sankeys over the last 20 years, kind of Sankeys classics, so to speak, and were chosen by myself and David Vincent, then I had to mix them together."

Do you feel under more pressure to keep the Tribal crowd happy or do you feel you have more freedom to play music you love?

"Absolutely not, we don't play big anthems to keep people happy, people who come to Tribal Sessions know what we are about, that's not what we do, for example I did a 3 hour back-to-back closing set with my bro Hector Couto last week, we just totally had the freedom to do our thing. Low slung house music all night long, plus we moved in and out of techno here and there, and the crowd was just not leaving when it came to close. It's such a joy to play and have people want to hear you do your thing like that."

How does constant touring over the summer affect your production?

"Haha, well it doesn't because I am a workaholic, and there is no way I would allow ANYTHING to affect my music production. I love being in the studio and it is never a chore so it is all good."

In the past few years, you've played all over the world and enjoyed releases on Get Physical, Definition:Music, 8 bit, OFF Recordings and VIVa Music to name a few. Where do you plan to go from here when the Ibiza season is over?

"Well I have never given much importance to labels, as long as my music is released by a label that releases for the right reasons, it can be a small independent label and I'll go with them. I think too many artists are hung up on what label they release with, I'll just continue to release my music on big labels but I also give smaller labels a chance, some of my biggest tracks have been on very small independent labels and it feels good to help out these, because I find the way the system is now with the internet, it's harder and harder for the smaller labels to get a look in."

You have remarked in the past that to get where you are in your career now, you started out by working in a record store and slowly worked your way up. Would you say that house music's rising popularity has changed the way that producers and DJs gain recognition?

"Yeah I came from the old school side of things where I know 95% of my fans are genuinely into my music because they heard my tracks or my mixes and like it, not because I got a good manager and press agent and I was hyped up and people were told to like me - I made sure I never went down that route! If I did it just wouldn't feel right.

I was approached so many times and was told they could take me to the next level, but deep down, would it feel right if you were out there doing your thing and you knew the people coming to see you are not REALLY your fans but are the ones that follow hype? Those are the fans that are the first to jump off the bandwagon too when the next thing comes along, I believe it's best to grow organically and slowly."

What advice would you give to new DJs and producers who dream of one day having a residency of their own in Ibiza?

"STAY TRUE TO YOURSELF. Whatever it is about house or techno that you like, follow it, create your own sound for your DJing and producing, and remember life is not about a destination, it is about the journey. So follow your dream and be happy doing what you love, and when you have a positive attitude like this real people and the right people will gravitate to you because they can see you are doing what you do for the love and the passion."

WORDS | Janson Goldberg

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