After Dark: You spin me right round...

Click to follow
Indy Lifestyle Online
Top DJs equal capacity crowds; and despite some ups and downs, Sasha's ability to pull the punters across the country sets him firmly at the top of the pile

When I meet Sasha, he looks burnt out (after returning from his US residency) and badly in need of a holiday. His punishing schedule means he's homeless at present and crashes with friends until he has time to find a place. Lifestyles of the rich and famous? Hardly, but it doesn't take long to work out why he allows facets of his life to remain in such flux.

"At the end of a night when you're working and everyone's going crazy... I can't describe how good it feels," he says.

Playing in huge venues is a far cry from earlier days in Wales and Manchester. "Acid house was new and exciting. This guy down my local pub in Manchester was looking for DJs. I had about 30 records and no decks but he booked me anyway."

From earlier bangin' sets with northern promoters, Renaissance, to his present deep, ambient sets (in tandem with Northern Exposure partner, John Digweed), clubbers couldn't get enough.

His popularity with clubbers has naturally brought increased scrutiny from the dance music press. After recent appearances at Tribal Gathering 97 and the Hacienda's 15th Birthday, Sasha's performances were the subject of some feverish personal attacks.

"Of course the criticism hurt me. After I got back from Australia, I felt out of my depth because I'd been away for three months. My first gigs were Tribal and the Hacienda; high-profile nights with two boxes of records that I hadn't listened to properly - it was a scary feeling.

"I didn't perform at my best but some writers only present one side. They said I cleared the dancefloor at Tribal but that just wasn't true and there was no mention of the appalling sound problems we had."

But the people who count are still voting favourably with their feet. Sasha's penchant for announcing gigs a couple of days before the event, and without a confirmed address, regularly sends scores of clubbers scouring the city asking "When?" and "Where?".

For a DJ who regularly plays to thousands at a time, it's the smaller, underground gigs that seem to make him more relaxed and provide the platform to indulge his more creative side. "We didn't sell out the last one, but everyone was talking about it for weeks afterwards. I'm interested in the people that get to the party, I want to make sure that they have a great time.

Sasha's reputation is built on long sets and "new" music. Clubbers don't expect to recognise all of his tunes but they do expect to be uplifted.

Most punters agree that the first time they see him play, they leave amazed at the euphoric frenzy he generates. It's not uncommon at the end of the gig for the crowd to refuse to leave the dance floor until he plays another 30 minutes.

Deep, melodic, trance-like house has become his trademark and followers will not be disappointed with his new Northern

Exposure 2 CD. With drum'n'bass and break-beat currently influencing him, Sasha's musical evolution looks set to continue.

A desire for more time in the studio may mean less appearances at massive gigs (he's ruled out playing Mount Universe on this New Year's Eve despite substantial cash nducements), yet the pull of smaller gigs remains too strong.

"Playing small clubs gives

you an intimate vibe that I

can't describe... the crowd are

in the palm of your hand. As

long I can get that response

I'll never turn my back on it."

`Northern Exposure 2', mixed by Sasha and John Digweed, is currently on release. See

competition, right


The CD charts the evolution of the Northern Exposure sound, with harder, more bangin' tunes complementing the duo's traditional melodic/ambient vibes.

Send your details on a postcard to Alister Morgan on Clubs, Exposure Comp, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL, by 7 Oct