Retroactive with Sharam

Back on June 18th, I had the pleasure of sitting down with the legendary Sharam Tayebi, known to most as simply Sharam. This man has been in the game since 1992 – where he formed half of the duo “Deep Dish” based out of Washington DC. Sitting down with him and talking about the evolution of electronic music was eye opening! Below is my interview from June 18th at Ascend Boston.

LAedm: So originally you had named your album and tour a Warehouse, but within the past month you decided to take a new direction and name it retroactive. Could you shed some light on to your decision making with that?

Sharam: Um, I felt like the ‘retroactive’ name was a more fitting name. Subconsciously it was something that i was thinking about and then i had this sort of dream and this sort of name popped in (ha) and i woke up and said wow why didn’t i think of that before. so i sat on it for a few days and i was sort of convinced that that was what it needed to be. So i talked the guys at the label and we changed it and its a must more fitting name because of how the album came about and how I sort of sling my self back to the early influence to the time that I was getting into music and to today and use those influences for making every track.

I know you said you talked to the guys at the label, but did you talk to any of your friends and family and say ‘hey this is the direction i want to go in’?
Yeah, yeah, so I sort of tested it out and everyone was like ‘yeah, that is a good name.’ ‘its a great name, great name…but its to late’. and i’m like but…maybe not to late. maybe there is hope!

Awesome! So i also wanted to know a little bit more of the songs you chose for the album. I understand they were a collection of songs you have had for a while, that are from your ‘vault’ i believe is how your website refereed to them as, so specifically like why did you wait so long to release some of these songs? Did you re-do these songs or just take ideas from these songs or is it the original song that you have had?
Its a bit of everything! Some of them I just sort of sat on and i didn’t feel like, you know, that they would make sense if i released them on their own. Music goes through all these trends, and a lot of people ride the wave. some of these songs there is no wave, do you know what i mean? I didn’t want to confused people and have them say ‘where did this come from?’ I wanted to put them in sort of a concept. So some of them ended i fine tuned and some i felt like there was nothing more i could do so i kept them as is. I have a lot of songs like this, that i start and don’t finish and these 13 were the lucky ones.

That’s cool, very awesome way to release a new album. So going off that, whats the oldest track? How deep are we getting?
The Oldest track is fro 2007 and the newest one is about 2 months before the album went to productions.

That’s pretty cool to have such a range. What kind of emotions were brought up while preparing this album release, if there was any kind linked to each track?
Yeah, each track represents sort of a certain period. Not only a certain period when i made the track but also a certain period that i was drawing from. So they all have some time that you remember the circumstances of how the song came about and what led it to become what it is today.

How would you say your past experiences from yourself and being part of the legendary duo Deep Dish effected or inspire your new album?
I think its a collection of experiences, I don’t think its a conscious thing where you are like okay that particular thing did this you know what i mean? it becomes part of your DNA. you do what you do and you are who you are.

You have worked with this woman Anousheh, countless times. So besides her obvious talents as a vocalist what drives you to keep coming back to work with her?
She has a very unique voice, a very strong unique voice. she is also a great song writer. I am not a big fan of simpleton songs, i like a more abstract approach to songs and that’s what i like about her approach to song writing. i feel comfortable and we have developed a rapport. things come easier and communication is easier.

Would you say you have a pretty solid friendship with her? Because you work with her so much?
Yeah she is like my musical muse in a sort of way.

Is there a specific venue on this tour that you have played in the past or one that you are looking forward to play again?
I’m visiting a lot of cities I’ve been to over the years, it will be nice to see some of the familiar faces, and then discovering new places… like tonight for example, I’ve been to Boston many times but i have never played here at Ascend. I’m curious to see how its going to be.

Do you think your influences have changed over the course of your career and if so how have they evolved?
Absolutely. you are a product of your environment. The different places you go, djs you see, they all have an effect on you. some of them you are like immediately like ‘wow i want to make a record like that’ and other time you don’t even know that the effect is there.

Who is someone that you really want to collaborate with that you haven’t yet?
I get this asked a lot. its funny because i always draw a blank. I have already worked with everyone that i wanted to work with so, I’ve been one of the lucky ones. I don’t have anyone left on my wish list. I have a checklist and I’ve pretty much done them. I’ve done a record with Chris Martin from Coldplay, which is like great, it was a record we did called fun which he wrote. I’ve worked with dead people like Patsy Cline and that was amazing because she is one for the best singers ever. I did a record called party all the time that Rick James wrote, so I’m doing really well with deceased artist. haha.

Haha! Do you have biggest fan boy moment?
Mick Jagger! we did a remix for him and the rolling stones, which was another check mark!

You’re just checking them off all day!
When you get them you just have to.

Do you have a moment in time that sticks out to you most?
Every year something happens so I wouldn’t be able to tell you.

You won a Grammy didn’t you?
Haha, yeah and what i remember from that was that we were late. haha

Haha, that’s pretty rock star of you!
Yeah so that’s a moment that sticks out… they call your name and you’re not even there. haha

After your tour is done and you get to go home and relax, whats the first thing you want to do?
I’ve already got the next album mapped out so im going back to the studio. I’ve got all these ideas.

Right to the studio?
Yeah i’m very excited. when you do an album like this is very cleansing. you clean everything out of your closet.

What is the one thing that you have to have with you on tour?
My laptop!

Not equipment wise. something personal!
My belt! when you run to your flight and you have two phones and your wallet and your pants fall down. you need your belt.

I appreciate the time you took to sit down with me and talk about everything! See you on the dance floor! and before i leave can i grab a picture with you?

After the interview i got my picture, and headed on up to the dance floor. Sharam played an amazing set. the crowd loved it so much when the lights came on, he didn’t stop. the music continued for about 15 more minutes! it was a great night!

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Lee-Anna Winhoffer