The Sherp caught up with Dutch trance virtuoso Dash Berlin before he kicked off his India Tour. Check out the delightful conversation he had with The Sherp…
Sherp: Hey Dash, welcome back to India!
Dash Berlin: Thank you very much!
Sherp: It’s good to have you here. What do you like the most about this country, since this is your third time?
DB: The fact that there is so much passion for electronic music, like you just shared in the small talk we had before this interviewis that it has grown so rapidly here, it’s incredible! Venues are not big enough anymore and people are just craving for more and more and I’m really happy that I can be part of that. [In connection to a conversation that The Sherp had with Dash Berlin just before the interview about how venues are getting bigger and bigger to accommodate the rising amount of electronic music fans] Besides, the whole cultural aspect of the country of India is amazing. There’s so much to see and I haven’t seen all of it. Well, at the least (laughs) so… I just hope that I can come back a lot of times so I can see more of India and the whole cultural aspect of India.
Sherp: You should come for a holiday sometime, it’s a good idea. Not to play, but just come to relax.
DB: Absolutely. It’s a good idea.
Sherp: Your new album #musicislife has seen some really mammoth success. How does it feel to have an album that’s gone so crazy?
DB: I’m happy that people understand the music which is on the album and eventually it’s all coming from the dance floor so people are, in a strange way of saying, they are listening to themselves, translated. And I’m the translator, musically. The feedback that has been continuously since the release of #musicislife – it’s truly overwhelming. It shows that music can do a lot to people and people are really passionate for the music that we produce and I can only say that I’m really really fortunate and happy about that.
Sherp: That’s amazing! What do you have in store for your Indian fans during this tour? Any surprises?
DB: Yeah, some surprises definitely. I mean, within the last time that I was here, definitely. Also, music has been evolving my sets. My sets have are becoming more evolved, musically. And I always try to adapt over everywhere that I go. And I haven’t been here for a long time, so I’m surprised what people think about the music that I play nowadays in my sets and I hope they will like it. And that’s what I try to obtain being a DJ, of course. It’s trying to please the fans and the crowd which is on the dance floor and that’s my main goal. I hope that we can at least have the same levels of craziness as the last time here in India which was amazing and also really inspirational for new music. And if not better, then I hope we’re going to top it.
Sherp: We’re sure it’s going to be crazier this time. So how and when did you get into electronic music? How did you get introduced to it and when did you start your journey with electronic music?
DB: For me, it was step by step. I’m almost considered a veteran when I hear myself talking! I started with dance music Djing itself around 1993 – that was after I got some mix tapes of my sister who was a dancer in clubs,and she brought me the tapes of the DJs who were playing that night on the night she danced. And my father used to be a drummer in a jazz band,and I got a drum kit so that’s where I got the 4×4 beat from. When I had those tapes of my sister, I eventually bought some records and tried to mix them along with a tape. And there was house music at that time, that’s how it started for me and eventually I started buying more and more records,eventually two records, players and a mixer.And it was until the end of 1999 that I was a really regular customer at a record shop and I bought so many records. The people were so crazy to see me so often that they actually offered me a job! They were like, ‘don’t you wanna work here’? And I was like ‘yeah! That will be crazy . that would be fantastic’. And at that time I just had a regular job at a supermarket, so for me it was a dream coming true. And while working there I expanded my musical knowledge in different styles and I helped different DJs, also bigger DJs who were regular customers in the record shop such as Ferry Corsten, Rank 1 and Marco V – that guys came into the shop and I always helped them personally. And they’d also really help me to find a way – what I wanted to go to musically. And also in that period I started to make music with a friend of mine. He was called Tim J. We first got a remix deal for Spinnin Records, which is a huge label right now, for a Latin house song which was called Alegria and it did great. Eventually we made quite a bang techno version out of it. For me that was also a little bit of a start of the producing side of things.
Sherp: That’s a great story. What inspired your music the most? Like all DJs have some inspiration. What is your biggest inspiration?
DB: My inspiration always comes from the dance floor, it’s always dance floor related so that’s what I just told you when people listen to #musicislife or #musicislife Deluxe, in a way, translated, they are listening to themselves because that’s where I’ll always get the inspiration from – it’s the dance floor. Never a day goes by when I’m not getting influenced by what’s happening on the dance floor because that atmosphere which you get we have a connection with people listening and dancing to music and bonding with each other and making new friends, having a good time, enjoying and also showing it – that’s what I’m trying to feed off from and trying to translate eventually into music when I got into the studio.
Sherp: That’s amazing, that’s a really great answer, avery unique answer. Most people normally say it’s the environment or something like that.
DB: Well, the people on the dance floor are part of it – of my environment. I mean, I travel so much all around the world – I’m at home for about 40 days in a year so there’s a lot of dance crowd in my environment, so in a way they are true too.
Sherp: Can you describe the entire ‘Dash Berlin unique sound’ in three words?
DB: Let me try. (thinks) Ok, cryptic. Rain Falling Up. It has to be three words, so there you have it! (laughs)
Sherp: What is your all-time favourite track that you’ve produced and why?
DB: It’s difficult to say all-time favourite because you never know where it goes to in the future. I’m very much inspired to do a lot of more production work in the future. We have a lot of things coming up, lined up as we speak so I’m really enthusiastic when it comes to the future,and it’s really difficult to, in a way, predict the future.You know theysay you’re as good as your last track – last track is Jar of Hearts which is absolutely doing great. But the most influential track I’ve made so far definitely has to be ‘Till The Sky Falls Down’ because it started everything for Dash Berlin. That’s just how it is,and that’s just how it will always be. So for me, even in a rework version as I play now because I play now as a 4AM version – it’s still super influential on the dance floor. People sing along to it, go crazy on it and it’s still doing great!
Sherp: The Netherlands is known to produce some of the world’s best DJs and some of the world’s best electronic music. Who is your favourite Dutch DJ?
DB: That’s a good question! I would say, to me, the legends of the Netherlands are my heroes,in a way. Because guys like Tiesto, Armin, Ferry Corsten, theypaved a way for DJs and producers such as me to do this, and to actually be sitting here with you guys here and talking about music and that kind of gave a spark to a lotinspiring young Dutch DJs and producers to do what they do nowadays and I’m one of them. And they are still going strong. So they have a fantastic work ethic.Besides, they are super passionate about their music,they are experienced in what they do and they are still super-influential in today’s music scene. That’s just great and a big compliment to thoseguys.
Sherp: Are you also going to be part of the upcoming ASOT 650 tour?
DB: I hope so!
Sherp: Do you have any idea where the ASOT 650 are going to be going?
DB: Yes, but I cannot tell you (laughs)
Sherp: Is India on that map somewhere?
DB: I cannot tell you.
Sherp: You’ve worked with a lot of great vocalists in the industry like Emma Hewitt and Christina Novelli. How do you know who is the right vocalist for which track?
DB: Because it has to be the icing on the cake. Sometimes, you have vocals from which you are thinking ‘Ok, these are really good. But is it great?’ If it’s not great it’s not good enough. Sometimes a vocal can be nice but, if it’s not completely in key or it’s not able to be sung perfectly, it’s not good enough. I think a vocal for a track really has to stand-out of a production. So that’s why in a way I think for instrumental tracks it can be really good but with a vocal on top, maybe it can be even better.
Sherp: What are your three favourite tracks that you will most likely be playing during your set today?
DB: Definitely ‘Till The Sky Falls Down’ – we just talked about it but that’s just like a sure thing in my set. Definitely ‘Steal You Away’ – my collaboration with Alexander Popov from Russia featuring the vocals of Jonathan Mendelsohn.And definitely Jar of Hearts together with Christina Novelli, which is my latest single. Those three are definitely going to be in this set for tonight.
Sherp: Sounds like tonight is going to be a great party!
DB: I hope so!
Sherp: So what can your fans look forward to next year? What is in store for next year, since we’re almost at the end of this year now…
DB: Like I just said, I think we have a lot of production work lined up. We have a lot of interesting collaborations going at this point. And I hope we can all finish that for next year’s event list, for the parties and I cannot wait to test it out on people actually.Because when you see something which is coming from the dance floor – to put that back on the dance floor and see if it works, that’s like a magical moment.Especially when it works, which is, luckily in my case, most of the time. But we try to work always to a certain point until we know for sure ‘this has to work!’ To give an example, with ‘Steal You Away’ we had three different versions and they were all good. And we looked at each other in the studio and we were like ‘This is it? No, it’s not it. We are gonna start over completely again’ and that’s when we finished the final version. So that’s how it goes sometimes with music. But it’s nice, it’s nice…
Sherp: Any interesting collaborations coming up?
DB: Yeah, absolutely. Definitely. I’m really looking forward to somethings which are going on right now. Unfortunately I cannot tell the producers involved yet, but I hope as soon as possible through Facebook or Twitter or dashberlinworld.com I can let you guys know who we are working with and what’s going on in the life of Dash Berlin!
Sherp: It’s probably more fun if it’s a surprise. Lastly, do you have any message for your Indian fans?
DB: I’m really happy with the support from everybody coming from India and it’s great to be back here. It’s really special. It’s sometimes even hard to put out in words. Even when I’m talking to colleagues we are so overwhelmed with the whole heart-warming feeling people give to artists coming to India – it’s amazing! And we’re only just like anybody on the dance floor – we’re only human and it’s great to perform for such an enthusiastic crowd as the Indian people. When you just asked me about ASOT 650 – if it’s going to be in India or not, I still cannot tell you but I think it would be great and I think it would be also a great honor to the Indian music lovers to have an ‘A State of Trance’ event here back in India, definitely.
Sherp: We would love it!
DB: Yeah, me too!
Sherp: We’re stalking Armin already to find out what’s happening!
Sherp: Thank you so much for a great interview!
DB: You’re welcome!