An international traveller and selector, Behrouz is a veteran DJ who is often aligned with the sounds that emanate from the desert at Burning Man. Of course, he is a lot more diverse than that, bringing an assured vibe to every party he plays, making sure the crowd are kept happy and lively while also delivering his own musical vision. In a few days he will be spinning here in Switzerland at the legendary Hive Club, more info here. Ahead of his gig we spoke to man himself about his summer, his experience of playing in Switzerland and, of course, Burning Man...
Firstly, summer is over now, how was it for you? Any highlights? Any low moments at all?
It was an amazing summer for me. There are always challenges in this world, nothing is easy and you can
always learn. It went by so fast. This summer I decided to get my own place and stay in Ibiza all summer and invite my family to Ibiza, without them I am nothing. My week started on Thursday for my own residency at Heart which was wonderful, with so many great DJs as my guests for 17 weeks, so you can imagine you get tired. It was our first year and almost every week would start on Thursday and then I would leave Friday, Saturday, Sunday, sometimes even Monday and Tuesday touring around Europe and I would get back to my place in Ibiza and start the week again. The highlight, every gig was special and I met so many wonderful people.
The low moments were caused by Vueling Airlines with flight delays and cancellations almost every weekend but I still kept a happy smile on my face and didn't let that bother me. I just did my job and focused on my music, my gigs and my fans.
If you’re ever feeling low, how do you cheer yourself up?
By looking at the world and seeing that I'm so blessed and fortunate to do what I do and love doing it and making so many people happy and meeting so many wonderful people and also for being healthy - that to me is everything. I thank GOD every day for what I have. So whenever I am upset I look at the good side of things, my family and good friends I have around me and focus on the positive things in my life not negative stuff. Always try to look at a glass half full not half empty.
Tell us a bit about your experience with Zurich, can you remember your first time here?
You know I been in the music business for a long time and the first time I played in Zurich it was at Q club with DJ GO GO in 2004. I always loved Zurich, the city, the people and Zurich had an amazing place to pick up vinyl so every time I came to Zurich I went to the Panthers record shop.
What have been some of your personal highlights in Switzerland?
The people, because you get a mixture of French, German, Dutch and Italians all in one place and the beautiful cities, it's always amazing.
Have you managed to see much of the country outside of clubs? If so, any places of interest that have left an impression on you?
Yes, every time I'm on the train. I would love to come here and stay for a month and experience what I see on those journeys.
What’s your opinion on the scene here in Switzerland?
I think at the moment the scene in Switzerland is going through some changes but it's always special.
How was the Ibiza season? What did you get up to there, besides the residency?
For me it was amazing because we managed to do our thing even though the market in ibiza was down 40% because of the prices and that really needs to be fixed because I think lots of people could not afford to come to Ibiza.
This year you had your first run of Do Not Sit parties at Heart, how did it go? Any standout moments?
I have been going to Ibiza since 1995. It has always been a special place for me. Ibiza has been giving me so much and this year I wanted to give something back. I really wanted inject love into the scene and bring back to vibe that was there before. Our line up this year was very diverse and I wanted to make it not about just one sound and give me something little different. We had guys like Lindstrom, Robag Wruhme, Cassy, Martin Buttrich to some Nu-disco sound like Marvin & Guy and Moscoman and some Berlin heroes like Mira, Nu and Mathias Meyer and some old school legends like Sasha and Hernan Cattaneo. We can't forget about the past and also look into the future. We also had an amazing team doing our production and that made it super special.
It was amazing, We learn a lot about how the business runs in ibiza and how you need your own team and it all about building things. Honestly every night was a standout moment. We always started our night with a ceremony with our live show and that's how we began our nights.
How was Burning Man this year?
I have been going to BM for almost 14 years. It has always been a special place for me. I learned so much about myself and the people around me. BM is a way of life and if you can apply that into your real life you will be happy. The weather this year was fantastic that made it super special and the camp I was at was really nice.
Any particular art, or sets, or experiences that really stood out for you?
I have been doing Robot Heart for the past 11 years from the first year when they started. I really put in a lot of work into those sets, very emotional and different. It's almost cinematographic set with a message. BM is a not festival and you have to play different. First you need to understand BM. You can not come to BM and play like you are playing a typical festival. BM is a way life. It's about respecting the earth, respecting the people and being humble and leaving you ego to the side.
The Temple at BM is very special and spiritual. It's a place that reminds you to be human. Every time I walk into the temple I could not stop myself crying from the messages I saw on the walls.
How did you first get involved with Burning Man?
I grew up in a hippy town called Santa Cruz and later moved to San Francisco where I played for 16 years at two clubs before I started traveling the world. During my time in SF I was attending full moon parties and being involved with the scene.
What was your first experience like?
My first experience was magical. I had no expectations, I went there as a free bird just searching. It was not so much about music back then and it was more about people sharing and doing their things. First time I played at BM I notice people minds are wide open and there is no shield because you have no cell phone, no money in your pocket and no one cares who you are and you can't buy anything, people simply become nice and they are really listening and as a DJ you can really get into their heads. So I started playing in a lower pitch and tempo and I felt like people are patient, they didn't have to go any where. It felt so good. That's how I came up with 'desert music'.
There’s a magic in the air there at Black Rock City that can’t be explained – if you care to speculate. What do you think is responsible for the mystical atmosphere?
The location and people who started. They are the one that made it special and all the artists with the art they install at BM.
Burning Man seems to bring out the best in most of the artists who perform there, why do you think this is?
It's a magical place and to this day I always try to understand more about it. Just the fact that for one week you don't use your phone, money or computer and we go back to basics in our life and that is love, caring and respecting the Earth and the people who lives on it.
The sound that emanates from the Playa, Lee Burridge, Bedouin, yourself, Robot Heart… it’s a sound that has struck a chord around the world. How would you describe it?
It's a music that relates to people, it has a great harmony and melodies and very nice groove. It brings people together and it's not aggressive and the most important thing is that it gets the girls dancing. It also depends how you play it, it can work during the day and night, if you know how to play it. It has not age preference, it's about people and it's just about love.
Why do you think BM has captivated so many people around the world?
It's a place that that attracts people from all over the world and they come to experience this. Where else in the world do you see people go to a festival and you go to a temple where you feel like you are getting closer to God and your feelings? You are in touch with your feelings and at the end they burn the temple and you release yourself from your sadness. The best sunrises and sunsets, the likes of which you never forget for the rest of your life.
Any tips for someone going to Burning Man for the first time?
Go there with no expectation, 20% of it is driving there going through the mountains and the road to BM - and preparing yourself, buying things to survive for the whole week. 30% is the camp you are staying at and people you are with and 50% is letting yourself go and meditate, thinking about what you want from life because it's a magical place - and what ever you wish for it will come through.
Catch Behrouz at Hive on 29th September, more info here.