Electronic Music Duo: Dirty Vegas

 Electronic Music Duo: Dirty Vegas

It was the video that had everybody talking – a man dancing, to bring back his lost love, to a hypnotic beat that you couldn’t get out of your head. Even today, more than a decade after it released, Days Go By is Dirty Vegas’ most famous song. Steve Smith and Paul Harris are the duo that makes Dirty Vegas come back to India in November as part of The Exchange.

How cool is Prince William’s admission that he plays Dirty Vegas while feeding Prince George? That’s a royal stamp of approval!

It was a shock when we read this news. To be honoured in this way is nothing short of amazing. HRH Prince William is known for his taste in music, so to be included in that is special for us.

Did you foresee dance music taking the world by storm the way it has? DJs are bigger than rock stars today. Agree?

In a way, yes. With the internet, there was always the chance that electronic music would spread to many fans. But I don’t think there are many that would have thought it would become as large as it is today with the EDM scene. There is still a divide between fans of the more commercial world of EDM and the deeper cooler music that seems to have a growing fan-base.

What are the three big changes the music industry has gone through over the past decade, that have affected artists?

Hmm, I guess the first one would be the way music is heard. Nowadays a song can be mastered in the studio, and be downloaded by fans right after. The second difference is the income an artist earns. With the ever-growing ‘streaming’ sites like Pandora and Spotify, the income from a single piece of music has dropped significantly. Thirdly, the internet. A song can be made in the middle of nowhere, but still be heard by millions of listeners if it catches fire, over YouTube or social media.

There were three of you when you founded Dirty Vegas. Then Ben Harris left the group. How did that affect the dynamics of how you made music? 

Ben was always a key part of the writing process, but we spent so much time together that it feels like he’s still writing with us. Paul and I are very excited about the music and production that is now our sound. We still work with Simon Duffy who has produced and mixed everything since 2010, so we feel our music is as strong as it ever was.  

You guys are pretty accustomed to producing music apart, over emails than working together in a studio. How does this kind of arrangement work?

We tend to always start ideas when we are together, then we take those ideas and develop them remotely. The songs that we feel are the most promising, we ping pong between us until we feel they are fully ready to record. This gives us space and time to craft them into what they become. So, by the time we are together in the studio and ready to mix down, the songs have had an organic process of getting the music, production and arrangements, feel right.

The Setting Sun video. Take us through the idea. We got the yoga on the beach bit but the end had us baffled.

Haha! Yes, the ending! It’s kind of a visual metaphor, that in a very funny way reflects on the fact that some people ‘disappear’ into their own world. French directors, Surrender Monkeys, came up with this brilliant concept of the Yoga Master and student acting out the impossible body movements.

Are there some things you have on your bucket list to do in India? Do you like the curry you get in India or back in the UK?

Growing up in the UK, the curry was a very special part of our lives. So when we are in India, we always try as many dishes as possible. The problem with touring is that you are never around long enough to see certain things. But I would love to visit the Kanheri caves one day and, of course, the Taj Mahal.

What is the biggest perk of being a DJ and a musician?

We get to travel to wonderful places, and after 12 years of touring the world, we have many great memories and made many wonderful friends.

Why call yourself Dirty Vegas? What’s the story? 

You’ll have to come to Vegas to find out why!

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