Photo by Andrew Rauner
Mass carnival Ultra aside, the Deep Dish Reunion at Miami's Ice Palace was arguably the biggest, most anticipated showcase on this year's WMC calendar. We're talking about the long awaited, don't-call-it-a-comeback-they've-been-here-for-years reunion of bona fide industry icons here. Dubfire and Sharam need no introduction on these pages. If you aren't already familiar with their history, you're on the wrong site.
And so it stands to reason that it would also be one of the most recapped events too. And nobody wants to read another routine one of those, do they? Cookie cutter event recaps share a special place in hell with Paris Hilton headliner DJ sets. Where's the imagination?
So I thought I would try something a little different. Instead of writing a typical review from my on-site notes, why not just publish them verbatim? In fact, why not go a step further and share them with Bullitt Agency co-owners and senior agents Arash Shirazi and Ryan Saltzman, and include their feedback for the world to see? After all, it's one thing to read the deranged musings of a THUMP writer and used-up rave enthusiast. But it's a whole other to get the straight perspective directly from the behind the scenes bosses running the show, who were more than happy to speak with us at THUMP about the night.
THUMP: It's not even midnight and the Ice Palace is already packed to the tits…
To think that one-year ago Dubfire was actively denying that there was any Deep Dish reunion in the works. That he and Sharam had gone too far creatively in separate directions…
I wonder if this is something that was inevitable or if it really did only come together in the last year…
Arash Shirazi: I was one of the key people behind the scenes trying to make it happen. Having been with Deep Dish at its start almost two decades ago, I've always felt deeply connected to it. Ali and Sharam had great success in their solo careers, but it was time to bring Deep and Dish back together, especially given how creatively staid dance music has become.
Ryan Saltzman: It was time to mix it up a bit and bring back that Deep Dish magic!
A: We were able to withstand the challenges that came along subsequent to Deep Dish separating in 2008 and we were integral in helping to reinvent their solo careers. I had bumped into Sharam at an airport a few years ago and told him I wanted to put Deep Dish back and that was the catalyst that prompted my putting the team back together. There was a lot of behind the scenes discussion, planning, and creative thinking about how best to reintroduce Deep Dish. Also, I've always felt a personal stake with Deep Dish as Ali is my brother and Sharam is like my second brother. We are family first, and so as the unofficial "third member" of Deep Dish, I'm very happy with how the "Deep Dish 2.0" has progressed.
R: We wanted to make sure that this was an organic process and that it felt right.
Hot Since 82 really heating this place up—as to be expected. But his set is really leaning more towards techno than usual.
I had questioned the logic of him being added to this lineup. His sound doesn't really gel with the classic Deep Dish one. This may have been a calculated move to give him the 'rub' from the buzz on this huge event. Same goes for andhim….
Probably safe to assume that's the case. Both are arguably the two fastest rising acts in dance music today, let alone on the Bullitt roster.
A: I hate to use the word calculated. Hot Since 82 and andhim, we felt, were best aligned with that Deep Dish 'essence', so they were a natural fit. Deep Dish is about being forward-thinking and cutting edge and these DJs best represent that.
Now Carl Craig is in the mix—on fire too.
Carl Craig has officially turned the Ice Palace into a vintage Detroit warehouse for the time being. The young ravers up front appear to have cleared the way for some O.G.'s to get good and close for the techno innovator's set. Interesting mix in this crowd...
Having Carl Craig on the bill looks to be a very clear nod at the older generation out there. Guys who experienced Deep Dish during their initial run. Very clear focus on past, present and future here…
A: Exactly. The younger generation and more importantly, the press that reports on "EDM", fail to mention some of the early innovators and pioneers who helped pave the way.
R: It's important for us to remind people and pay homage to the generation that preceded ours. And Carl Craig was an obvious choice as he was integral to Deep Dish as the nascent part of their career.
Dubfire is kicking it here. Half of these people want to bother him for a picture. Don't see Sharam though…
What is going through Dubfire's head right now? I ask myself this often. Probably something dark and twisted.
Curious if there has been any fear in this Deep Dish reunion, Dubfire and Sharam are both obviously thriving as solo artists. I wish I could ask them if there has been any jitters or concerns that their time has passed.
Or perhaps this is an evolved Deep Dish we'll be seeing in both style and sound tonight.
A: No concerns. Ali and Sharam have evolved musically over the years and experienced individual success. If anything, a Deep Dish reunion brings a renewed and refreshed perspective.
R: Also, given the rave reviews of their new single "Quincy", it's evident they're continuing the tradition of being innovative and ahead musically.
Also would love to know why they picked WMC for this 'official' reunion. It's clearly not the make-or-break week it used to be.
Deep Dish has now taken the stage after a goosebump-inducing Pete Tong introduction. I have never experienced this kind of energy for live house music.
Okay, I get it now. The eyes and ears of the dance music world are in the Ice Palace tonight. The real question I should have been asking myself isn't why WMC, but why not WMC...
R: Deep Dish was always a key headlining act during WMC. Their appearances and marathon sets at Space were legendary!
A: We wanted to bring back a little of that and also do something different and interesting for the fans and the industry.
Deep Dish is now blending the old and new. Remarkable. We're on a journey.
How rewarding this has got to be for the team pulling the strings. I bet it's business as usual. But to be the guys who put this together, it's got to be beyond satisfying.
A: There's always that bit of anxiety when you plan an event with a bigger production. But being with Deep Dish when Ali and Sharam were just local DJs starting out, and then seeing them perform to a 5,000 room crowd with the dance music industry supporting and rooting for them, was a special moment.
Why exactly am I still making notes on my phone during this once-in-a-lifetime musical experience? I must look like a true tool. That's enough. Time to dance. Over and out.
Follow Christopher on Twitter: @theCMprogram