The Artist Feature is a new series by Yoshitoshi aiming to tell the story behind the music, to get in touch with what lies at the core of each artist’s creative ethos in three pictures: The Roots, The Studio, The Club.
Label owner Sharam has been a driving force in dance music since the early 90’s when he founded Yoshitoshi with then-partner Dubfire. Despite giving countless interviews over the years, we wanted to touch base with Sharam about his beginnings in DC and his approach to his artistry. Sharam’s new single “Lobi” is out now on Yoshitoshi.
"I was born and spent the first few years of my life in Iran before emigrating to the United States. In Iran, western music was essentially banned but there was an underground culture of trading bootleg tapes that I got involved in. Once I was in the US I remember being so amazed and overwhelmed by how much music I could suddenly consume. It really laid the groundwork for my becoming a DJ. When I realized that you could mix two records together with turntables and a mixer, that was it. I knew what I wanted to do."
"In the studio, I usually start with a sample. Sometimes I’ll start a track with a synth melody, but usually, it’s an idea from a sample. I get inspiration from samples. Once that happens I’ll start laying down some drums, and that’s when the track decides whether to go in a more house or a more techno direction. I’m susceptible to both, but lately, it’s been more on the techno side of things, and a lot of times I completely take the sample out. Other times I leave the sample in like on my new track Lobi. I felt like the track had more character and soul to it that way. I can usually get the basic skeleton of a track done in a day or two, but the fine details, tweaking, and mixing can take me anywhere from a few weeks to a few years. I’m not joking."
"For me, my DJ sets are a combination of playing all the new music I've been sent or bought, as well as new Yoshitoshi signings and demos, mixed with some tried and tested records. I'm happiest and actually more inspired when I'm playing new music which helps me create that musical ‘journey' for the night. I rarely have a pre-programmed set. I believe in organic DJing. I like not knowing what should come next and relying on feeling the crowd and getting inspired and using that to put on a show using their reaction. A DJ set to me is like a short story. You have to have moments and create ups and downs an aim for a memorable and cohesive story with a beginning middle and end. I also use my DJ sets to test out my new material that I'm working and to see how they stack up with the finished, polished music from other artists I'm playing. It’s kind of like a laboratory for me. I take all the input from the crowd and feedback I get and make those changes on my laptop on my flight to the next destination. Then when I’m back home I hit the studio with a fresh perspective."