After a year apart, Sasha
& Digweed rejoin to bring the club experience to America's
By Robin Sommers
and John Digweed are the DJs that people who donít know about
DJs know about. They were MTVís first pick to spin at a post-New
Yearís soiree. Theyíre prominent in mainstream music media,
even ranking in Spinís Top 40 in 2000. And they manage to
maintain fervent devotion in the underground, having toured
the world, and created legendary nights out of their monthly
residency at New Yorkís famously defunct Twilo. While it seemed
that their early success would render them inextricably linked,
2001 proved different. Sasha fell off the DJ-ing circuit to
produce an album. And Digweed seemed to take the world over,
remaining at the helm of his massively successful Bedrock
label, releasing single after single and compilation after
compilation, and taking DJ magazineís coveted DJ of the Year
crown, knocking none other than Sasha into the second spot.
But at the close of the year, the two felt it was time to
regroup. They kicked off their first US tour together in years
at San Diegoís 4th&B.
I enter the hotel room just two hours
before showtime. Apparently, Iíve just missed room service.
Sasha greets me with a kind smile as he leads me to his dinner
table, which contains asparagus and a hearty, blood-red steak.
As I watch him eat and we talk, Iím somewhat surprised at
how relaxed he is. It would only be an hour after my departure
that he and the quieter Digweed would take to the 4th&B stage.
As the two are electronic music pioneers, we discuss where
the music was, where it is, and where itís going, with the
clubs of the world as a backdrop.
How is it that youíve managed
to achieve such staying power in an industry where everybody
and their mother is becoming a DJ? Can fame dilute passion?
Ha! I donít think fame dilutes passion, I think overworking
sometimes can. You can get burned out a little bit when youíve
just been touring and touring and touring. Itís very rare
that happens though. Most of the time, as soon as you walk
into a club and everyoneís going nuts, you get that buzz.
I think that the fact that both myself and John have been
in it for as long as we have, there are probably some things
that have given us staying power: the fact weíve always chosen
our own route with the music, tried to push our own sound,
really believed in what we were doing with our sound, stuck
to our guns really. We didnít cheese out. Iíd have no idea
what to do in my life if I wasnít doing this Ė so you know,
itís not about having staying power. Itís about, ďThis is
my life!Ē I donít have any other options, really.
I guess itís just that we started before it was ever really
so fashionable. Iím in it because of love. Iíve always wanted
to be a DJ; always loved the crowd.
With all of our talent stateside,
America still seems to always lag behind when it comes to
electronic music. You started the American touring DJ set.
itís interesting. You know, house music came from Chicago,
and underground clubs in New York, but Europe, and Britain
especially, the countries that really embraced it, had built
a culture surrounding it. A whole acid house, dance music
culture. Yeah, it did take a few years for that culture to
come back to America, and I guess it was something to do with
DJís coming back to America with their interpretations of
what dance music was, bringing it back to the states for that
Everyone always thinks that the grass is greener on the other
side. Perhaps there is just greater enthusiasm [in other places].
do you find the best parties and scenes today?
The [Winter Music] Conference is fun, but I think itís over-subscribed.
Itís just really hard for everyone to get into the clubs and
see the DJs you want to see. There are so many people there;
thereís just not enough room in the clubs on South Beach.
I think thatís definitely a problem. It is a great week. Itís
a good chance to see a lot of people. With the whole industry
coming together, I get to see a lot of DJís I donít get to
see for the rest of the year. I really miss playing at Twilo.
You know, LA has really blossomed in the last three or four
years. Itís turned into a really great clubbing capital. Outside
of there, South America is absolutely blowing up at the moment.
Buenos Aires, Uruguay, Puenta del Este, Costa Rica, Lima,
Peru. So I think thatís a market thatís really going to get
fun over the next few years.
Speaking of Twilo, how do you
feel about the closing? And now that it has, will you continue
to seek out big venues, or are you going to stick to the smaller,
more intimate venues such as those of this tour?
Iím real sad. It was one of the best clubs in the world. I
have lots of special memories from there, with some very special
This tour, Iíve been out of the loop for so long, I just wanted
to get back involved in the clubs. Next spring weíre gonna
be doing a lot of big venues. I really miss playing those
big rooms. Twilo really inspired a certain kind of music to
come out of me and John. There were certain records that just
really worked in that big room. I really do miss having that
outlet for the music. And to play for eight hours at a time!
Weíre basically intending this tour to be a kind of teaser,
an intro to the tour weíll be doing next spring. Itís gonna
be big Ė arenas. Hopefully it will bring the Twilo experience
to the rest of America.
Youíve accomplished so much.
With the superstar designation youíve been awarded, maybe
once this gets printed, based on your word, South America
could blow up even more. How does that feel? Are there still
things you strive to achieve?
I would think our goals to be similar to any regular bandís.
Yeah. To be honest, this year, Iíve had to put my DJ-ing to
the back of my mind, working on an original artist album.
Thatís my immediate goal, but once that happens I donít know
where it will take me, possible to another area? I donít know.
But once my record is finished, Iím looking forward to actually
being able to go back on the road and use all that energy
that Iíve been devoting to writing music and spending time
in the studio. I want to devote that energy back to DJ-ing
again. I feel that Iíve had to let my DJ-ing take a bit of
a backseat this year, and Iím really looking forward next
year to just being on the road. I canít wait to get back to
South America, back to the Far East, to be in America on a
regular basis. You know, this album has just really pulled
me away from DJ-ing, but itís been a great experience.
What do you like about playing
in a duo, and what is gained or lost versus playing solo?
I enjoy vibing off of each other; the buzz. We really enjoy
challenging each other with the different mixes.
just a great experience DJ-ing with John. We have a trust
and a respect and a comfort with each other that we donít
really have to worry about where each otherís heads are at.
It just feels right. The same way that sometimes Iíll DJ with
somebody, even though itís the same kind of music, it might
not flow. With John it just flows, even when we havenít DJ-ed
with each other for months and months. We get on the decks
and it just works. We support each other. I canít really put
it into words. Thereís just something there.