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Skazi: “Deadmau5 is killer”

The Israeli electronica artist, who performs at Frost Bite Festival in Manali next week, on what brings him back to India every year

Rolling Stone India Jun 21, 2013
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Skazi

Skazi

Asher Swissa, better known by his stage moniker DJ Skazi, has been living the life of an EDM superstar. Like most EDM stars, he has no inkling what ”˜off-season’ is all about. The day we call him at his residence in Israel is probably one of the rare occasions when he is home. “I have a busy schedule this month,” he says, “I’m coming to India for 24 hours. I’ll be coming in after a concert in Zurich and then going on to Australia from Delhi. From there I have to go to the half moon party in Koh Phangan (Thailand) and later tour Europe and Brazil around the end of the month.”  The guitar wielding trance musician isn’t complaining. “Hectic is my middle name,” says Swissa, whose trance project Skazi also includes longtime bandmate Assaf B-Bass. 

Skazi, who is performing at Manali’s Frost Bite Festival next week, may have some serious rescheduling ahead of his India trip. The Frost Bite Festival recently announced that the event was postponed by a day, to June 24th and 25th respectively. Skazi tells us that he has performed at some pretty unusual venues”” at the foot of Mount Fuji and in front of the Mayan pyramids. And though playing at an underwater party is on high on his wishlist, next month Skazi plans to outdo himself by taking the rave to the sky. “It’s actually this idea for a special late night show I host. We give presents to viewers such as holidays in Greece, but this time we are giving away tickets to Greece with a Skazi party in the plane,” says Skazi, who besides producing music, is making time to host a local TV show as well as appear in commercials with his model girlfriend. 

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Over the course of 15 years, since he traded his punk rock roots to make psy-trance with a rock riffs, DJ Skazi has become a household name in India. Not surprising, considering the artist has performed in the country on over 20 occasions. “A quarter of my fanbase is from India. I think electronic music and the new generation of Indians, who are always on Facebook, are growing very fast,” says Skazi, who has over 3,50,000 fans on social network.

However, for an artist who made his entry into the scene back in 1998, Skazi is faced with an unusual quandary. “When I started out, only rock and pop existed. Today, my music is called commercial music, but it’s acceptable in clubs etc now so it’s amazing seeing the world moving towards electronica. Honestly, I didn’t know I was getting into psytrance. There was no title. I knew it was electronic and I put rock on top of it,” he says.

While fans of his 90s crossover style haven’t taken to Skazi’s newest work too well, the trance musician is hopeful that his older fan base will return: “My next EP will be very dark electronica. It’s because I’m daring to this stuff”¦ because as the crowd gets bigger, you can experiment more,” he says, adding that his EP will release by September this year. “I will surprise again with this one I think.” Last year, Skazi found himself displaced from the DJ Mag Top 100 DJs list, appearing at 122. Though Swissa says he hasn’t been a fan of DJ rankings, he adds that he’s always looking out for the newest party starters. “I don’t deal with that (rankings) anymore. I’ve been ranked in DJ Mag many times. Sometimes 67, 32 or 83, but I don’t care. You cannot rank music y’know. You can rank maybe a car, but not art- that’s a matter of taste,” he says.  Among the current chart toppers, though, Skazi confesses he’s fan of Skrillex and Deadmau5. “I love them. Skrillex is my friend and I’m a fan of his work. I met him a few years ago before he got so big. Back then, I saw him and I knew this was the new sound of the time. Deadmau5 is killer too,” he says.

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While Skazi plans to play his older hits such as “Hit And Run” and “I Wish,” the producer also promises to showcase some of his newest material from his upcoming EP when he visits. “I’m not expecting anything. I’ve never been to Manali, I don’t know, they say it’s cold there but for me, India and cold isn’t even logical. But I expect smiling faces, beautiful Indian people and the good vibes that they used to have all these years. I don’t want anything to change,” adds the artist, who will also take over the console for a solo set at Frost Bite Festival. 

DJ Skazi performs at Frost Bite Festival 2013 at Mopheus Valley Resorts, Raison, Manali on June 24th and 25th, 2013. Tickets (two days) Rs 3,000. For more details, click here.

 

Watch a teaser of Skazi inviting entries to his sky party:

 

 

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