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Dirty Vegas: “Live strings and dance music are a match made in heaven”

Paul Harris, one half of the British electronica group, talks about the changing world of electronica and what’s next for the band

Jessica Kilbane Nov 07, 2014
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Paul Harris and Steve Smith of Dirty Vegas

(L-R) Paul Harris and Steve Smith of Dirty Vegas

When Dirty Vegas first formed in 2001, they changed what it meant to be an electronic dance music group. Pioneering the use of instruments rather than just turntables, the three-member group comprising Paul Harris, Steve Smith and Ben Harris, released their debut album Dirty Vegas and eventually won a Grammy award for their viral hit “Days Go By” two years later. It’s been a busy few years since then, between several world tours and the group disbanding, but they’re back with a clear vision of where their music is headed. Says Paul Harris, “We like to do whatever is right for the music that we’re interested in doing.”

The group, which reformed in 2011 without Ben Harris, released their last album Electric Love the same year which achieved a significant amount of success. With Harris based in London and Smith based in Boston, the duo make time for writing music when they meet for shows and work on their songs via email. Says Harris, “When we first started making dance records, you had to be in the studio and you had to have expensive equipment. The rate at which technology has evolved means that now people can make music without even playing instruments ”“ and I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing.” With their release of their latest EP Let The Night, Dirty Vegas have made a clear shift toward making dance music that resonates with their core fan case, while appealing to younger audiences as well. Says Harris, “It’s a mix of live and electronic music. I think a lot of the big clubs are still playing that big room sound, but the smaller clubs around the world are definitely playing deep house so more and more people are getting into that sound. Though I’m sure there’s something new in the wings that’s coming through.” They are currently working on a new album which will feature heavy use of guitar and songs such as “Northern Town,” slated for release early next year

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Performing with a 30-member orchestra at New World Symphony Hall in Miami last year, Dirty Vegas continue to demonstrate that pushing the boundaries of electronica is what drives them. Says Harris, “We were approached by a company that wanted to fuse an orchestra with electronic music and the idea sounded amazing. Live strings and dance music are a match made in heaven, really. It evokes such emotion. [English electronic duo] Above & Beyond have done it recently too.” This March, Dirty Vegas became the first electronic artists to be inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame. Adds Harris, “That was pretty special.”


Catch Dirty Vegas at “The Exchange:”
November 7th, 2014
The Lalit, Mumbai

Watch “Let The Night” by Dirty Vegas:

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