As half of the Grammy-winning duo Deep Dish, Sharam chats about his debut solo album, the "Get Wild" live show, and DJ technology.
Your new album, Get Wild, will be released April 7, and you’re supporting it with this live tour. What can we expect to see at Rain?
Basically, the tour and the show is all based around the album, so I’m only going to be playing material from the album… I have a show that’s two-and-a-half to three hours… based on material from the album. I have performances by people that I’ve collaborated with on the album. It’s quite interesting and different and I’m really looking forward to it.
How about a hint as to who might be performing with you?
Right now, confirmed, we have Anousheh Khalili, who is the voice behind “Say Hello” and “Flashdance.” We’ve got Mario Vazquez [featured on the album’s title track] and possibly Morel. Some of the higher-profile artists that I’ve collaborated with [Diddy, Kid Cudi, Tommy Lee] might show up as a surprise.
Where did the Western theme for the album and show come from?
From the “Get Wild” single. I was doing the artwork for it and it was screaming at me—this artwork has to look something like the Wild West. It sort of manifested itself from the single into an album concept. Instead of trying to put it together in a half-hazard way, we decided I should basically reenact the part and create that world in the album. I’ve always been a huge Sergio Leone fan—everybody knows about his spaghetti-westerns and the phenomenon he created. So it’s sort of like a play on my influence and on the title track and I just wanted to do something different; I didn’t just want to be another DJ/producer that just appears on the cover for no rhyme or reason. I wanted it to be a concept album, have a story to tell and have visuals and a show and performances that all tie in together.
The album isn’t even coming out until next month, but the title track, “Get Wild,” seems to be played quite often in nightclubs. How long has the track actually been out?
I first starting giving it out to people last [Winter] Music Conference. Technically, it’s been being played for about a year. In America, it had its run, but it had a resurgence in the past three months where I’m hearing from all the club DJs and people that they’re hearing it everywhere. It’s sort of having its second life in the U.S. and was a big record overseas. I’ve just finished the video for it that should be out in about a couple of weeks. It ties in together with the whole album concept, which is the spaghetti-western, Sergio Leone vibe. Following that up with the next single, which is a song that I’ve done with Kid Cudi and a Patsy Cline sample.
You’re known for your work with Deep Dish, but what’s different about this solo project?
I’m trying to entertain people and educate them with music at the same time. It’s just a different take on what I’ve always done, which is to push new music, push the boundaries of music and try to make dance music bigger in America and across the world and make it more relevant.
Obviously music formats for DJs have evolved and it’s rare to see records these days. Your music labels still releases 12-inch vinyl, correct?
In Europe, in limited format only on certain releases. It’s a dying breed.
What are your thoughts on the evolution from vinyl, to CD, to programs like Serato for DJing?
Technology is inevitable. There’s no stopping it. You just have to embrace the new technology and go with the flow and make it work for you. Fortunately, all the innovations have enabled myself and many fellow DJs to do a better job at their craft and be more organized and be more nimble. Before, we had to travel with two vinyl cases—you had to basically have a chiropractor on hand all the time just to fix the problems. But now, you basically just take your laptop.
What type of live setup are you currently using on tour?
Right now, I’m using Traktor Scratch Pro. I used to take some CDs with me, but I stopped doing that. The computers are pretty stable and the software is pretty stable. You rarely ever have any problems. That’s the way to go.
Is there anything else you’d like to add about the tour or album?
The way that I’ve crafted the album, I’ve tried to do some stuff for the regular people, you know, the people that are used to listening to radio and whatever big compilations that are out there. Then also there’s the side that’s catered to the DJs who are more in the now and the know of the intricacies of dance music. I’ve got to keep it balanced between the two, so hopefully people will like it.