Continuing their policy of investing in white-hot, breakthrough talent, Toolroom Records enlist Australian DJ/producer Dirty South to provide a mix for the prolific Toolroom Knights series. After efforts from label boss Mark Knight and Radio 1 DJ Dave Spoon, the series is quickly garnering a reputation for cutting-edge mixes that push the boundaries of House music.
It would be difficult to name a new artist who has had more impact on the scene over the last couple of years than Dirty South aka Dragan Roganovic. It was 2006 and Dirty South’s killer remix of Evermore’s ‘It’s Too Late’ that his career really began to skyrocket. The remix was easily among the year’s biggest tracks in clubland and in addition to being licensed to over 30 compilations worldwide, the track was nominated for ‘Best Alternative Dance Release’ at the International Dance Music Awards in Miami. Since that pivotal moment Dirty South has gone on to remix countless world renowned artists such as Depeche Mode, Mark Ronson, Tracy Thorn, Snoop Dogg, Tiesto and Roger Sanchez among many others. By no means purely a remix specialist, Dirty South has produced an impressive number of high quality EPs and singles. ‘Let It Go’, ‘Open Your Heart’, ‘Minority’ and The Doors sampling ‘The End’ have been all been club-smashing anthems that have received support from right across the board.
The strength of this double disc release lies with a carefully selected array of floor-destroying House tracks that have been hand-picked from a vast array of production talent from across the globe. There is a cunning blend of classic US sounds, techno and electro-influenced cuts and Dirty South’s own releases that bubble together in a mammoth, musical melting pot.
CD1 begins in epic fashion with Kemistry’s remix of the Buzzin Fly classic ‘Insomnia’ by Rodamaal. There is an early theme of melody-rich numbers that includes Studio Apartment’s ‘I’m In Love’ and Gui Boratto’s ‘Anunciación’, which both set the tone perfectly for the introduction of the more full-on club bangers for which Dirty South is famed. As Samuel L Session’s remix of Jerome Sydenham’s ‘Ebian’ rolls into the picture a little later you can feel the pressure being gradually ratcheted up a couple of notches. Dirty South’s own track ‘Minority’ blazes into the mix around the halfway point, keeping the intensity levels stoked as it does. Skylark’s Miami-conquering remix of Xpress 2’s ‘Music Xpress’ and Solomun’s ‘Deadman’ sit back-to-back in the home- stretch of the mix and serve as an insight into what anthems sound like past and present. The versatility of the mix is epitomized by the closing choice of James Holden’s remix of Nathan Fake’s ‘The Sky Was Pink’ with its neo-trance synths and glitchy flourishes of white-noise.
Conversely CD2 is more of a straight-up peak time affair that is laced with occasional vocal numbers and accapellas that keep the flow fresh and always interesting. Kicking off with Dirty South’s recent Axwell collaboration ‘Open Your Heart’ the mix immediately moves through darker musical shades than on the previous disc thanks to Dubfire’s devastating remix of Booka Shades’s ‘Charlotte’. Toolroom boss Mark Knight’s remix of Dave Spoon’s ‘88’ is cleverly layered with an acappella version of Paul Harris & Dirty South’s ‘Better Day’; a deft touch that takes an already thrilling track to another level. There is an abundance of contributions from the influential Swedish House Mafia with Sebastian Ingrosso & Laidback Luke’s ‘Chaa Chaa’, Steve Angello & Sebastian Ingrosso’s ‘Partouze’ and Steve Angello’s ‘Gypsy’ all being weaved into the mix. German producer Tocadisco turns in a show-stopping interpretation of ‘The End’ to round the disc off in frenetic fashion!
Here’s a peek into the world of Dirty South, in a short interview that gives an insight behind the scenes of his superb Toolroom Knights CD…
What was your overall approach to constructing a Toolroom mix?
The tracks for this compilation were selected on the basis of tracks I was into and what I was playing at the time of selection. It also features some Toolroom releases and of course some of my productions. I keyed all the tracks and mixed both discs with Ableton Live.
Do you feel that you’ve achieved what you set out to with the mix?
I am really happy with this mix. I would say it is my favourite compilation to date. I think I achieved exactly what I intended with it.
How would you describe the sound of the mix?
The sound of the mix varies throughout both discs. Disc 1 is little deeper, weirder and sexier, where the second disc is more big room sounding.
How did you go about selecting tracks for the mix?
It was a mixture of tracks that I have been playing out, tracks that I really liked, some Toolroom releases and my productions.
Would you say your musical policies as a DJ are accurately reflected?
Disc 1 sounds like something that I would play if I was to warm up for myself, and the second disc reflects more what I would actually play like in a dj set.
You’ve been commissioned remix work for some big names in recent years, had a dance music award nomination, and a heap of singles released. Has there been a definitive career highlight for you so far?
I think being nominated for a Grammy would be up there for me - along with many other happy moments in my life!
Can we expect an artist album to be released in the coming years
It is possible, but for now I will concentrate on singles and also starting my own label very soon.
What do you feel about the house scene at the moment in terms of the quality of musical output?
There is a lot of music out there and it can be hard to find the secret weapons and new/fresh tracks because everyone with a laptop can make beats and sometimes that’s not a good thing for the quality of music being released, but its every dj’s job to be on the hunt and lookout for the best tracks they can find…
On the back of the Toolroom Knights compilation release, how packed is your DJ schedule looking?
The schedule is looking full on, with a European tour finally finishing end of September after being 4 months long. After that is the USA tour which will be followed by Australian tour.
Are there any upcoming shows that you’re particularly looking forward to?
Im really enjoying my residency at Pacha, Ibiza with Subliminal nights and I have two more so I cannot wait for that. Also doing one of my favourite clubs in September, Ministry of Sound London for Steve Angelo’s Size party.
Preferred method of mixing: Vinyl, CDs or laptop?
All-time favourite club to perform in?
Ministry of Sound London and Pacha (New York and Ibiza)
Favourite producer of the moment?
I like what the Swedish House Mafia are releasing, Tiger Stripes and Funkagenda at the moment.
Secret weapon in your record box?
I always make new edits and bootlegs, plus I just finished a new track with Axwell called ‘Open Your Heart’.
What’s your worst experience behind the decks?
I never have weird or uncomfortable moments when I’m playing, but the main thing that sucks for me when I’m playing is if the crowd are not there for the music.
Toolroom Knights Mixed By Dirty South 2XCDs of the world’s finest House Music, including tracks by Dirty South, Axwell, X-Press 2, Gui Boratto, Booka Shade, John Dahlback, Dave Spoon, Mark Knight, Steve Angello, Sebastian Ingrosso, James Holden, Tocadisco and more…
OUT MONDAY 15th SEPTEMBER!!
AVAILABLE ON CD OR MP3 / PREVIEW & DOWNLOAD AT: http://www.toolroomrecords.com or http://www.beatport.com!