Sharam is taking over The Surfcomber this Thursday for his annual Yoshitoshi showcase. Magnetic Mag met up with him to reflect on his first years at the WMC and his predictions for the future of the scene.
The Grammy Award winner has a few stories to share, including his 18-hour trips from DC to Fort Lauderdale, his admiration for Todd Terry and his encounter with Mick Jagger. This was during the days when Sharam’s Deep Dish duo was just landing on its feet in the world of dance music. Miami Music Week has already started and Sharam is eager to share his new tunes on a danceflloor near you.
What is that you like best when coming to Miami in March?
For me it's always been about new music. There was a time in history when DJ's mostly played just fresh, unreleased tracks. You came to Miami during WMC, as it was then called, to hear what would dominate the clubs for the next six months. Once EDM broke it became all about DJ's playing their big hits. Every gig became pretty much the same. There was a period when WMC/MMW lost its foundation as the hotspot of new music. Fortunately that's changing again, and DJ's are once again focusing on tastemaking. That makes it easier to get inspired again.
Of course, MMW is also a chance to catch up with your peers and friends in the industry and check out some other DJ's that you don't get to see play often. It's also a chance to find raw talent that you've heard about but never heard play.
What should we expect from Sharam at the Yoshitoshi showcase?
The Yoshitoshi showcase in Miami has always been about featuring raw, amazing talent; whether that be legendary acts or new up-and-comers to watch out for. This year we have Steve Lawler, who should get his own plaque in the dance music hall of fame. He is one of those DJ's that has always inspired me. Even when things got bleak a few years back, and there was little music being made that was inspiring me, I would make it a point to check out Steve's sets and he's never failed to amaze me. So I'm super happy to have him on the lineup. We also have some heavy-hitters like Shiba San, Sacha Robotti, Uner, and Yoshi veteran Anthony Attalla, who is having a great year. His new record "Close" is going to be one of the key Miami records I think. We are also featuring some cool up-and-coming talent with Miami locals Wolf Story, who will release some stuff on Yoshi soon.
How was your first WMC like? Anything exciting happened?
My first WMC - Ali and myself drove in my Dodge Colt for 18 hours from D.C. and stayed at my friend's house in Ft. Lauderdale. We would drive to Miami daily, go to the conference itself, and check out as many clubs as we could get into. We'd soak up some inspiration, drive back to my friend's house late and get up in the morning to do it all over again. Five days straight we did that. We left Miami charged up and spent the next year making records that we thought those great DJ's that we looked up to like Master at Work, David Morales, CJ Macintosh, Toddy Terry, and Murk Boys could play at their parties. A few WMC's in we got the hang of it and never looked back.
I remember we went to a club called Warsaw which was the spot to be at at the time. I think it's now a burger joint (Lol). We saw Todd Terry in the booth about to go on and he had lost his record bag, so he didn't have anything to play. All of these people were handing him promos they had brought to Miami - back then you brought your vinyl promos and handed them out to people, and would try to get as many promos as possible to take home with you. So Todd was just playing promos that he had never heard before and it was mind blowing. Then other DJ's started handing him Todd Terry records from their boxes to play. Todd was known for playing only his own music; everyone knew that. I never forgot that moment. You have to be a master to just drop records that you don't even know and make it work - that's why everyone called him God.
How do you see the WMC in 10 years from now? More underground or more commercial?
There will always be both. Commercial stuff is inevitable because people are coming for Ultra, and there are tons of mainstream and crossover acts on that lineup. But the core of MMW will never change. It's a place for people from around the country (and the world) to come for a week and listen to as many DJ's as humanly possible. Let's face it, nowhere else will you have so many DJ's performing in one week. Imagine if they opened the Oscars to regular people and said, "go see as many actors/actresses/directors as you like." Miami will mutate into different things but the basic appeal will never go away - for both punters and pros.
What did you say to Mick Jagger when you met him?
I sent him a bottle of vodka. I was so starstruck I couldn't speak.
Sharam will be with Steve Lawler, Shiba San and more at the Yoshitoshi Showcase Thursday, March 20th