Featured artist: Behrouz
Veteran DJ Behrouz is known as the DJ’s DJ – a well-earned tag for the warm and caring soul, who honed his craft in San Francisco, has travelled across every inch of the globe, forged long-standing relationships and residencies in Ibiza and has become an integral part of Robot Heart community at Burning Man. Known for his musically expressive sets and for encouraging artistic expression and creativity, Behrouz recently switched his renowned ‘Do Not Sit on the Furniture’ Miami concept to ‘Do Not Sit on the Beach’ for BEACHOUSE Sundays.
Tell us about your musical background?
I grew up in the heyday of San Francisco, when it was amazing. I had just graduated from finance and gotten my first job at an investment company when I decided I didn’t want to be old and wish I had gone after music. I taught myself how to play and make music and started with a residency at a couple of clubs when I met two fairly unknown guys known as Deep Dish. We started to play together once a month and I started putting records out on their Yoshi Toshi label. From there I went on to hold residencies at DC-10, Pacha and Space Ibiza. And it continues, as I’ve always evolved with my music.
What’s your earliest musical memory?
The first time I bought a record. I had ‘that’ moment. It was Supernature by Cerrone. I would close my eyes and listen to that record so many times, you know? That was the point. It’s tough because dance music is always evolving and you always have this experience. You have to move forward and you always have to inspire yourself. Whenever you do, you’ll have one of those moments.
What has been the most influential part of your musical journey thus far?
I’ve been going to Burning Man for 11 years now and I remember after my first time playing there I cried, because it was just one of those experiences. The movement of Burning Man has played a significant role in my career. I feel like being in the desert, in that moment, people’s minds are so wide open and as an artist I can really express myself – it’s been amazing. It’s shaped me and taught me as well as rejuvenated the music scene. It brought in the lower tempo, deep and super sexy music that’s happening right now. I go every year for myself, but I just happen to be very involved as well.
Which do you prefer – city, desert or island?
I like the desert because I feel like we are always in a concrete jungle and when I’m in nature I get to meditate and think about myself. It shapes me and matures me – something Burning Man taught me. It’s funny because I lived in San Francisco with a beach, I’ve spent a lot of time in Ibiza on the beach and I now live in Miami. I think I need all of them.
As a creative, where do you look for inspiration?
The energy of people. What happens in the world. I recently had a friend pass away… you find that thing and your music becomes it. It can be very beautiful and sad or it can be happy and inspiring. Your music takes on its own story when you go and see different places in the world and when you meet and experience different people.
How do you feel about being described as the DJ’s DJ?
I paid my dues! Nowadays you get these DJs and they make a hit record and they put them in a big room or a big festival to play and the guy’s never played anywhere or held a residency. The difference is back then when I played my weekly residency, that was my training ground. It shaped me. You get to know how to control a room. It’s music with planning, programming, concept and intention.
What do you listen to when you’re not making music or in a club environment?
There is so much incredible music. Jazz, classical and silence; yeah that’s good too. My choice of music is not just one genre. I like going back and forth.
Is there anywhere on the island that is particularly special to you?
I think BEACHOUSE Ibiza was a great addition to what’s going on in Ibiza. I started playing there two years ago with Guy Gerber and I felt when I played there, I could bring some of that old Balearic sound that has melody and sexiness that’s not so intense. Everything is so aggressive these days. There’s not too many places anymore with that sexy, dreamy vibe and beautiful BEACHOUSE Ibiza gave me that. And I love to watch the sunset at Sunset Ashram. It’s a cool spot too.
What direction do you see Ibiza growing in from here?
It’s already grown so much. I can’t say in a good way or bad way, you know? Musically, I can say it hasn’t. I think money and ego have played a huge part in what’s happening in Ibiza. So much money comes through this island and it dictates which way things have to go, and most of the time it’s not a good way. The people that are involved aren’t really artistic people, they’re here to make money and these people are calling the shots. People who don’t know anything about music are making decisions as far as who plays and what they play. Everyone is afraid to really do what they want to do. Instead of expressing yourself, people are afraid to experiment.
Ibiza Sonica Radio is always pumping amazing music and that gives me hope. When you turn on the radio you can listen to some good music. They kept the integrity of the Balearic sound that in itself is beautiful; they understand that. Burning Man gave new life to the music scene and the guys that are getting into the much deeper, melodic and sexier sounds are taking risks. And girls are filling the dancefloor, which means guys are too! There’s only a handful of people that would try that in a big room here, because people are afraid to shock!
What are you working on right now?
I started a label called Do Not Sit on the Furniture and our first release will be in October from a local Ibicenco artist named Valentin Huedo. I found him on Ibiza Sonica Radio; he passed me a record and I really liked it. I want to inspire people to bring in new talent. I felt with this, I could give something to Ibiza because the island has given me so much. I feel like a lot of the locals are forgotten because of all the international names that come in – this is a good cause.
What imprint would you like to leave on the island this summer?
Beautiful, sexy music. Good music is good music, it doesn’t matter what style. I want to bring the vibe of my nightclub in Miami, ‘Do Not Sit on the Furniture’ to Ibiza. You can be the change in any environment you’re in. Big DJs in a small room with a good sound system where artists can express themselves freely; like an intimate session. After opening the club in Miami I learned a lot about dance music and more about the people. All it takes is that one person who wants to be different and if you do it, you’ll make it.