Blending Man & Machine with Dubfire's New Live HYBRID [Interview]

Dubfire shares insight into his "dubfire:live HYBRID" performance, along with SCI+TEC news and musical outlook
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Dubfire shares insight into his "dubfire:live HYBRID" performance, along with SCI+TEC news and musical outlook
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With over twenty years of experience under his belt, Dubfire has developed a reputation for his futuristic techno style. However, twenty years doesn't mean he's slowing down. In fact, it's quite the opposite. Just two years ago at ADE, Dubfire debuted his brand new live show: dubfire:live HYBRID, a brand new concert experience that combines 2D and 3D animation with live audio and production. Now he's taking the experience on a full world tour and is continuing to push the limits of live performance.

"HYBRID explores the continued convergence of man and machine, delving into the realms of science and technology and their connection with music."

With his face fresh off the cover of DJ Mag's March 2016 issue, the Iranian techno veteran is leading a worldwide takeover with his dubfire:live HYBRID World Tour. While, Magnetic was off at SXMusic Festival and enjoying the sites of Sint Maarten, we had the pleasure to meet up with Dubfire and talk more about his ten year celebration and the new tour. 

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You have come a long way over the years, can you tell me a bit about your upcoming celebration?

I was actually just answering an email about the party and it's going to be a celebration of ten years as a solo artist as well as my 45th birthday at the same time on April 19. We will have an industry shindig in LA, nothing crazy, no late night DJing, afterhours DJing, nothing like that, just a good time. I'm flying in a lot of my core team who have been with me and have been instrumental in the success over the last ten years. It's an opportunity to thank them one on one and for all of us to reflect on the last ten years. We will also be looking towards achieving more great things together for the next ten, twenty years, hopefully.

I understand that you launched Hybrid in 2014. For those who are not familiar, could you tell us more about it?

Yes, it's something I wanted to do for a long time. Ever since I played in bands when I was in high school I always wanted to perform and I think DJing in front of people was an extension of that. But it's not the same. I played in bands where we played original music, and DJing is mixing together other people's music. I am also used to playing long sets, so it's not like giving a one hour performance of your own material. 

So, I finally got the team together, I had the concept, and I defined the look and stage design. There are four members in my team and we officially launched last year, but we did three test shows the year before. There was a test show in Budapest and one during ADE in 2014 which was a huge success, and then we did one as a favor to Stephan Charles. We regrouped with the whole team after that and looked back at everything that went right and wrong. We tweaked the show to great extent and kicked it out officially last year in Mannheim. We did 13 or 15 shows and we'll probably double that when this year kicks off. It will begin in Birmingham at the end of this month. I am definitely excited to see the team again.

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What experience are you trying to deliver with this new show?

I am trying to give everybody an hour of the Dubfire sound. Obviously there are visuals and lighting attached to it. Everything is perfectly aligned, so it's a 2D or 3D show that encompasses my core sound and tells a loose story about a futuristic world where there's a man and machine, a Hybrid. Futuristic humans give birth to a machine and at first they are unsure where they fit within the scope of society. They don't understand the machine and the context of where they fit in the real world. At a certain point they have to conform to plug into the machine. In a way, it's a loose story about conformity set in a futuristic world. We haven’t specifically defined the story, but that's basically the core idea.

Sounds like the story is up to interpretation for those who are there to witness it.

Yea, I mean it's there, we haven’t defined it too much because we don't want people to not understand the idea and what it's about. We want everybody to take what they can away from the experience and come up with their own ideas.

Your label SCI + TEC, has a distinct atmospheric techno sound. What has been the most rewarding part of having the label be so successful?

The label is purely a format to give upcoming artist a platform for their music. If I didn’t have others supporting me when I first started I would not be where I am today. So the label is purely to allow other people that I think are talented to get their foot in the door of the industry. It wasn't my intention to have it be as big as it's been, we are reaching almost 200 releases now, and celebrating 10 years of the label next year, so it's gone way beyond my initial intention. 

A lot of people think there is a specific SCI+TEC sound as well, and producers submit music all the time that they are making specifically for SCI+TEC. So that's been great, it's been sort of a byproduct to my original intention of just having a label to allow other people to filter through it.

Where did you get that desire to blend the two SCI + TEC? Where did that come from?

I was reading a book or an article and I saw the words science and technology together and I thought that might adhere to what I do. There is a lot of science and there is a lot of technology that goes into make this style of dance music. I like to think there is a sci-fi element that I give to what I do as well. 

Was your sci-fi sound a pre-meditated decision or did that just become a part of your style organically?

I knew I wanted to make music that was sort of out there. I guess it was always in the back of my mind to experiment with sounds to such a degree that it made it seem like it's not of this planet, it's coming from somewhere else. In many ways that style stuck with me because it formed the back of my philosophy to the way I go about making music.

Dubfire and his new HYBRID show are touring this year and you can check them out at both Coachella weekends and Detroit Electronic Movement Festival in May, among other dates listed below. 

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