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A final piece of the puzzle falls together inside my mind when I hear Sahar Z’s myriad talent. His Dj sets and productions have simply distinguished himself from any pack. I believe, that music first and foremost should inform, educate and then simultaneously entertain….and Sahar is all that and more rolled in to one sparkling performer.
Plus there is no question about his royal presence in Israel’s vibrant night life scene, and is spoken off with much excitement and love. Sahar has always been in the fore front of club doings in Tel Aviv, except now his uncompromising talent and musical repertoire is pushing itself to the rest of the world with great speed and fanfare.
And I’d like very much to take the onus up of introducing the electric focus of Sahar Z to our Indian shores, cause he’s with it…

 

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Sahar 🙂 Tell us how you’re journey began in the initial days of you starting as an up and coming Dj?-

SZ- From when I was 8, I remember coming back home from school every day straight to our living room where my Dad’s Turntable and vinyls collection were kept, I used to pick the same one every day that was ”Cerrone – “Supernature” and without fail hypnotized from the first analog synth arpeggiator I’d ever heard. Since then my desire for music, new sounds and new beats just grew from day to day. I used to go to school with my big double Tape Cassette, waiting for the breaks between classes to play music to my friends who were my very first audience.
When was it you realized that being a DJ/Producer is what you were meant to be?-

SZ- When I saw and heard the way people reacted to my sets and music.
Who were the early influences, the artists that you were growing up listening to that may have made an impact on you’re young mind?-

SZ- Cerrone – Pink Floyd – The Doors – Led Zepplin – Giorgio Moroder – Kraftwerk – Art of Noise – Run D.M.C – Depeche Mode – New order – Steve Wonder – Joy division – Duran Duran.
Israel has made a deep undoubtedly huge impact on the dance music scene, predominantly because of it’s Psychedelic Trance heavy artists, making their way around the world. Having come from such a background, how did you get in to the Progressive/Techno circuit. Is there a fair following for the latter sub-genre, what made you choose this sound?-

SZ- In my opinion to divide music in to genres is not really a productive thing, for me there is only music that I like and music that I don’t like.
Tell us mainly what got you going in to producing music, and is a large amount of you’re time spent tinkering in the studio. What piece of music equipment is your prized possession and do you play any musical instruments?-

SZ- A big desire to translate the way I think about music into something real that I can play and share with others. I played the Piano from age 8 till 15, my favorite equipments in my studio are: Elektron Analog Four & Virus Kb that I use for sounds like arpeggiators ,pads, chords,bass lines and fx, for drums programming I like to use the Maschine by native instruments.

 

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Can you share with us your experiences of the residency at one of the top clubs in Israel, ”Haoman 17”, what’s the current status with it?-

SZ- The Resident DJ degree is a crucial significance in club culture. He or she is unlike artists hosted occasionally, DJing regularly at the same club develops a deep and intimate relationship with the audience. It is a powerful contact to making the degrees of a club experience to a higher level of spirituality. I did it for 12 years and in 2007 the crowd started to change in the club and I’d started to feel like a stranger in my “home” which made me decide to leave, to look and create a new one which is the Cat&Dog.

 

What’s your take on having won the Dj of the Year award, 3 consecutive times as hosted by one of Israel’s premier dance music magazines. Has life changed for you with these accolades?-

SZ- Personally I’ve stayed the same like I was before the win. The only things that changed is the fact that I have become the most popular Dj in Israel. I’ve started to tour the country from South to North playing every weekend. Sometimes in several clubs in the same night. For me it has been a challenging time. I was away from my “home”, from my regular audience that knew me and my music perfect. I needed to play to a new crowd that has never heard my style of music, but they’ve heard my name from the newspapers or from friends that came to parties at Haoman 17.
What made you open one of the most prolific dance clubs to come out of Tel Aviv- ”The Cat & Dog”. Could you share the ideas and vision you had to be part of this as a Dj and club owner. Do you take part in day to day activities, aside from featuring in you’re residency?-

SZ- In Tel Aviv at that time there were only bars playing a mix of all kinds of music and some mega clubs that is too mainstream and relevant to the young crowd.The good old and the new generation of the underground electronic people and music lovers were missing a place to hangout in that will fill their passions and needs. The cat&dog club was opened to fill this empty square in the club scene. In the day time I’m taking part with what is related to the music policy in the club – line ups – Djs and of course my residency.

 

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Sahar, you are collaborating with some of the most respected record labels such as Bedrock, Lost & Found, Renaissance to name some. Happy to be part of such giants… do you suit your sounds with the requirements of the labels, or if you can fill us in with what exactly the process is behind these partnerships?-

SZ- In the studio I focus only in music – I’m not trying to suit it to labels requirements. What comes out in the end stands for itself. The process after is to contact a label you like and respect, that is releasing music in the similar sound and vibe. After the first/second release it’s normal to start a partnership/ relationship with the label if you both are happy with the result.
Do you enjoy remixing work of fellow Djs, as much as making you’re own tunes?-

SZ- I like them both but prefer originals. In remixing other Dj’s music I do enjoy translating their music and vibe in my way and to give the listeners another way to experience that track. As far as my own tunes go, it’s more personal. You don’t need to use other producers parts like in remixing, here everything is born in the studio influenced by your own feelings at that time and not limited by any genre or style.

 

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The name of Sahar Z is synonymous with the other demi gods of dance music namely Lost & Found label owner, Dj/Producer extraordinaire Guy J and of course the Progressive behemoth Guy Mantzur. Can you tell us of how you guys met, got together and decided to collaborate in music. Could you give us a peek in to the specialty of the relationship you 3 share?-

SZ- I met Guy J and Guy Mantzur years ago, each one in a different situation and a different period of time. In both cases we started to hang out and share our vision of music, a subject that immediately led us to play back to back in some clubs and to the studio to make music together. After I met Guy Mantzur, I introduced him to Guy J and from that day we’re like a family and Lost&Found is the home base. What makes this relationship we three share special is that there is no ego here, it’s a friendship that grows beyond music, just pure respect and love.
To a layman this side of the world, how would you describe the sort of music you play currently?-

SZ- It’s music for your head and not only for your legs, what I’m trying to do with my music is to transport the crowd through a journey of atmospheres and moods ranging from hypnotic beats to deeply vintage synthesizers, with melodic sounds and fresh electronica to the harder yet soulful Techno edges.
Let’s talk about an important question that comes to many a mind. That of quality music…I personally don’t feel there’s much of great productions out there nowadays. Do you think dance music in general has become sort of stagnant? Boring? Monotonous?-

SZ- Yes I agree with you that the current electronic music market is flooded with lesser quality music than in the past. Today the ability to create music is accessibility for everyone because of the new technology rise. In this digital age to open a records label doesn’t require mortgage any more, you can release tracks with costs that are minimal. Take these two things, put them together and there’s the reason for that amount of non-quality music flooding the market. But there are still super amazing producers out there old and new ones… one just needs to really dig deep beneath to find the quality ones..
I’d like to know you’re thoughts on the annual Top 100 Dj poll?-

SZ- It was never relevant to me and I’m sure that in the last few years more and more colleagues and underground music lovers feel like me.
To hit the high notes of you’re production sensibilities; what are the elements or sound scape that you like to present in your music work. And if I were to ask you, to choose one tune that you are especially proud of having created, which one would that be…?-

SZ- I like to create a groove that will hypnotize you, it will be deep and warm but still a bit junkie and twisted, on the top one will always hear a deep atmospheric melody that gives my raw sound a human face, to make it less cold. If I had to choose one it has to be the remix I did with Guy Manztur for one of my tracks that came out on Renaissance Records- “Beyond Detroit” (Sahar Z & Guy Mantzur after-hours remix)-ITS A FUCKING MENTAL JOURNEY INTO YOUR HEART AND MIND!
How’s 2013 been for you on the whole, you seem to have peaked with much of you’re work being show cased by many a top Dj. Happy with your musical achievements?-

SZ- Yes, I think 2013 was a great year for my music , I had some great collaborating with Guy J – Guy Mantzur – Chicola and Khen (with more to come in 2014) that’s got some really good feedback, but also it was the year that I found my independence in my studio productions and I finally came out with some solo projects.
In the current day and age of fast rising names and flash in the pans, what according to you are the main stays of a great Dj/Producer who can stand above the rest in terms of longevity?-

SZ- First and foremost it’s important to make your own music, your own productions whether they are originals or remixes, you need to be unique and fresh so it can stand above the rest of the music out there, and there is a lot out there!! Secondly knowing how to use it properly and in a clever way all the new medias out there like: Youtube – Facebook –Soundcloud –Instagram for your own promotions. One can create their own group of followers from all over the world, it’s crazy…Thirdly, use technology to re- create your sound and sets.
What can we expect from the ”The Cat & Dog” club brand in the near future. Any plans to expand and or promote the project in a bigger manner in the rest of the world?-

SZ- We may go global in future, but for now our goal is to keep up with our vision and to keep entertaining the crowd with our music and keep the fun experience one can get when one walks in to this amazing club.

 

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The varying forms of technology remain the topic of conversation now. How much of it do you use in your Dj sets?-

SZ- As much as I can. In this day when music is accessible to everyone, one needs to find a way to be a bit different then the rest and technology can help you do that. One can re create others music the way you like and make it exclusive again, you can bring an entire studio into the Dj booth in a size of an Ipad. Future technology allows you to do things you can’t really do in the classic way of Dj-ing.
Lastly, I honestly have not come across even one track that you’ve made that I did not absolutely love, I’ve always found your music deliciously haunting and dance ready. Can we expect any album or compilation release in 2014? And thank you for talking to us at length about everything Sahar Z and the music you bring 🙂

SZ- My future plans are to start working on my first solo album. It’s something that I must do for myself. My goal is to keep making music that entertains me so it can keep entertaining the crowd.. Thank you and big love..

When you wake up to the musical sensibilities of Sahar Z, you know you’re connecting to cutting edge music, fierce vision not many performers are gifted with. Undoubtedly that itself is enough to leave a pretty damn inspirational legacy…

A kaleidoscope of his tunes, and one turns in to a Sahar Z fan forever…till then I’m hopping like a bunny for his magic to hit India sooner than later!! Cheerioo munkeys 😀

For all his news, views and gig updates around the world, visit- Sahar Z Facebook

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Goodie bag section- get your hands on this sick mix, the latest in from the musical man at Tel Aviv, for Coalition Music…

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The golden boy of electronic dance in India hardly needs an introduction. Having paved the way to a path that is full of intelligent musical sensibilities for many years, not for one minute has the trade mark twinkle diminished. It totally explains why he is such an incredible success story not only as part of the hugely celebrated Electronic act Jalebee Cartel; Ash holds his own even when he is appearing solo.

Dancemunkey caught up with him while on his Europe tour doing what he is known to do best…sing a song, ride the percussions and play out dj sets worth Red Rackham’s treasure…hehe just joking 🙂 (an imaginary character, while Ash is as real as it gets)…

Meet the soul behind the ultra cool music man-

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DM- Ash Roy, you are a supernova of the Electronic dance music scene in India. Tell us when and how did the Djing bug bite you?

AR- Well I was always fascinated with Turntables and the idea of playing records while I was a kid. I started off playing for parties  in 1995  but on cassette players since that’s what I could get my hands on. Then later on in 1996 I got the opportunity to play at Anticlock; one of the first few nightclubs in Kolkata. The day I was hired as a resident dj at Anticlock there was no looking back. I fell in love with what I was doing. The whole process of mixing music just got to me.

DM- You have an illustrious and envious catalog of residencies and gigs from as early as the 90’s, happy with your beginnings?

AR- Yes, very happy with all my residencies and gigs. It’s because of all those experiences I had as a Dj which has got me to where I am today.

DM- Any artists back in the early days, who may have influenced you with their music sensibilities?

AR- Pink Floyd, Depeche Mode & Underworld.

DM- Growing up in Kolkata your home town, a musically rich back ground?

AR- Kolkata has such a strong musical background from Indian classical to Blues, Jazz,  Rock & Roll. It’s because of me growing up in such a rich back ground of music I got into Djing and to producing and performing. I got formal training in Tabla from the age of 7. If it wasn’t for Tabla I wouldn’t be playing all those percussion’s in our LIVE sets. So yes growing up in Kolkata has been inspiring and has been an integral part of my life.

DM- Was veering off from Progressive House a conscious decision, as your early days smacked off those sounds to what you are doing now?

AR- Quality House music was something I fell in love with the day I heard it. Yes it was a conscious effort cause there a lot of other sounds like Tech House & Techno that were being played all over the world ….specially in Europe. All Record labels were signing more Tech House and Techno tracks. So I decided to produce Tech House & Techno. This way I got the opportunity to play these genres to the Indian audience. You have to keep evolving. If you keep playing the same stuff and producing the same stuff then you get boring. You need to move on…and so I did.

DM- How did the explosive collaboration with fellow musicians from Jalebee Cartel happen?

AR- It happened when I shifted to Delhi in 2003 and teamed up with Arjun Vagale and Ashvin Mani Sharma.  Later Madhav Shorey and G. Arjun joined the team and we just hit it off not only as fellow Dj’s/Musicians but as friends. We enjoyed each others company and every moment of producing and playing together.

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DM- Your role in the band with vocals & percussion’s, as a collective…can you think of any one element that has made Jalebee Cartel the most successful of all time?

AR- I think everyone’s effort in whatever possible way has got Jalebee to where it is. It’s the people that make a nation and it was us together that made Jalebee Cartel successful.

DM- How did the singing and playing of instruments take shape, did you get formal training for it?

AR- I got formal training in tabla when I was a kid and I used to sing for the school choir. When we formed Jalebee we wanted to take dance music to another level. I wanted to make it more interactive. So I sang and introduced a lot of different percussion’s in our LIVE sets.

DM- Does your productions have any one quality you like to represent?

AR- It represents me. Most of my productions have a lot of percussion sounds in it and I like to keep it groovy.

DM- Describe yourself in 5 words.

AR- Emotional, Funny, Dreamer, Ambitious, Story teller.

DM- You travel pretty much all around the globe, how do you find time to get stuck in the studio?

AR- Well I normally play on the weekends. I find time in the studio on weekdays.

DM- What is your favorite Dj setup?

AR- I always loved playing records so it was 2 turntables and a mixer, but since it’s easier to carry a laptop, Soundcard & a Midi controller so I made the shift.

DM- Do you think the dance scene in India is plodding a bit, as compared to the massive party attitude prevalent in the rest of the world?

AR- There has been a huge change in India. More and more people are listening to Dance music nowadays but looking at our nightlife situation in the country just makes me sad. New rules coming in and Night Clubs shutting early plus some clubs shutting down completely. If it continues this way then it will be difficult for the scene to grow. Besides this I think we in India have a great audience and have the same energy compared to any other country abroad.

DM- Any gig that you will never forget?

AR- Fusion Festival, Germany 2010. We played on the main Techno stage called Trumbuhne. We had nearly 10 – 15 thousand people dancing to the music. It was phenomenal.

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DM- A crazy fan request?

AR- This happens a lot in India ” Can you please play some songs “

DM- Vinyls, would you play on them now?

AR- I would love to play Vinyls, but playing through my laptop with a sound card and midi controller is more convenient. We don’t get vinyls in India plus most labels have gone digital.

DM- Give the latest news on any upcoming releases this year?

AR- Well as of now I have a 2 track Ep called ” Hour Glass ” which is soon to be out on Kasey Taylor’s ” Vapour Recordings ” and another 4 track Ep called ” Smell.S.D soon to be out on Elektrotribe Records Berlin, plus a few remixes.

DM- Your project with another member of the band member Ashwin, ‘Crash & Boom’, how’s that going and where are you headed with that?

AR- Crash & Boom is a project Ashvin and I started just for the love of Psychedelic Trance. We have quite a few original tracks. We have been producing and performing just for fun.

DM- Any collaborations with labels, we need to know of that’s big news?

AR- Releasing on Vapour Records is a good sign.

DM- What’s your summer looking like, we know your headed to Europe. Anything that you are especially looking forward to in the upcoming tour?

AR- Yes a lot of gigs lined up and looking forward to playing in Fusion Festival again.

DM- If you were stuck in the woods with Ritchie Hawtin, Josh Wink and a console?

AR- Hahahah….well I’d play them a set and then tell them to come and play with me back to back 🙂

DM- Your personal favorite club or festival?

AR- Fusion Festival, Germany.

DM- How do you handle the fame & adulation that’s come your way?

AR- I try and be humble.

DM- As one part of a successful band; do you prefer to play out at live performances or Dj sets, a leaning towards one or the other?

AR- I enjoy playing alone as well with the band. 

DM- How different is it to you performing solo to when you are performing as a collective of Jalebee Cartel?

AR- When we play LIVE as a collective then i do vocals, Percussion’s and then Dj, but when i play alone I Dj and throw in a few percussion’s.

DM- Lastly, any tune that you have produced you may be especially proud of?

AR- Well the 2 new Ep’s to be out soon are the ones I’m looking forward to.

The dynamism of Ash Roy is on glorious display here in India and internationally. If someone were to ask me what makes Ash Roy special, I would reply- origin unknown…

As usual in my goodie bag section a special mix set by Ash Roy full of luscious candies and I can’t wait to put it on real loud!!

Download Get set, Go set- Ash Roy

I want to sing sing aloud…. ‘Outside its pouring rain but inside my heart the weather is fine’…..la la laala a

Dance music gives us such genius, in times that is throwing up run of the mill dj sets. I witnessed an Electronic music behemoth when the man toured India in the earthly form of U-Recken! Take a bow, sir…

Dancemunkey pays full respect to a mortal who plays like a godly being. Not since the gob-smacking sets of John Digweed, Dave Seaman, Carl Cox and James Harcourt have I come across such abandoned fun & frolic. Trust me they are far and in between too.

The tour unfolded with the spectacular U-Recken in Pune alongside the heavy-weight presence of Helium Project in a sweet opening set that featured tracks by artists like Psycatron, Mutant Clan, Alex Di Stefano & Sun Control Species, and a monster closing set with indecent amounts of banging booty shaking gems from Ankytrixx.

I have to say that 1 Lounge in Pune left me cold, because the venue is quite the place to be, but the sound left a lot to be desired. Reports of the Guy J tour of India was fantastic as he is a Dj par excellence, but sound was petered down to a measly tinkle at this aforementioned venue, I wonder what may have been the reason behind that. Quality sound that 1 Lounge can’t boast of, in this of day and age of superior equipment that is easily available with simple planning for it doesn’t make a hole in the pocket of anyone, this is hardly enchanting.

Blue Frog, Mumbai was another story; this night U-Recken made it his business to enthrall us with magical music. Cutting to Ankytrixx this fearless bundle leaves no doubt in anyone’s mind that he is a power house performer and a star, quick opening & closing sets put the buzz in to everyone of us munkies. He had us eating up bombs from Azax Syndrome, Mad Maxx & Space Tribe to name a few. We could only just about move around at break-neck speed with the tornado in between. I, for one nearly asked for mouth to mouth resuscitation by the time Ankytrixx ended the night on a crescendo.

To keep things tight- U-Recken was epic; his selection of candies was monstrous and euphoric; something crumbled, humbled and transformed in each one of our musical soul.

Mainly playing his productions, I was fascinated by the audacious fierceness of the sounds rumbling out from his console. I charged head long in to the soaring textures, melodic samples and ripping bass lines.

As I sign off, a word of advice to lovers of electronic dance music, you have no excuse to miss the GU World Tours with Progressive House giant Dave Seaman-India edition coming up in the month of September. Check Facebook event page for listings of the cities and clubs he is slated to perform at. Unless I electrocute myself on some live wire, I should make it for this one…ha!

Do make sure you check out the man U-Recken himself and his take on music and his future plans for the coming year, in my following post…

Cheerioo me munkies!!