An Interview With Dirty Vegas
Dirty Vegas have contributed significantly to the international electronic scene during the 2000s. Their work has helped establish the popular dance music market currently present in the United States and Europe. With a distinguished and lengthy career, Steve Smith and Paul Harris have played at live shows in numerous countries including France, Spain, and Russia. They have released various number one hit tracks in the U.S. Nevertheless, they have not simply rested on their laurels. Even with their prestigious past, which includes winning the first Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording in 2003, Dirty Vegas have hardly stopped influencing and innovating. They will release their fourth album, ‘Photograph’, later in 2015. The Hippo Collective had the privilege and pleasure of speaking with Mr. Smith and Mr. Harris about their careers, the new album and plans for the future. Enjoy!
How did you all meet and from where does the name ‘Dirty Vegas’ originate?
We all met through the UK club scene of the nineties, we all started out as Dj’s/Musicians playing in clubs like Milk Bar, Ministry of Sound and Bagleys. The natural progression was to then get into the studio, and then we finally got round to working together in late 2000. We were releasing a few tracks as Dirty Harry, but when ‘Days Go By’ started to gain attention, we were asked by Warner Bros to change our name. One late night in a London Casino, the name Dirty Vegas was born.
What did that 2003 Mitsubishi ad and subsequently winning the first ever Best Dance Recording Award at the Grammy’s later that year represent for your collective artistic vision and career?
Well we certainly were not expecting anything like a Grammy nomination, let alone winning one. So it was certainly overwhelming, but gave us a wonderful chance to make our music careers.
How did this success allow you to be on the forefront of promoting and introducing electronic and house music to a more mainstream audience?
Electronic music has been around for a long time in UK/EU, but when we first toured the USA in 2002 things were very different to how it is today. We toured with Moby back then, as there were only a handful of Electronic artists breaking through. We were labeled a Techno band, but we did our best to represent our genre and push as much forward as we could.
After DJing and producing since 2001, how has your style changed and how are you still influencing the way global audiences perceive electronic music?
Our creative process hasn’t changed much over the years, but technology has certainly changed and sped things up. We constantly listen to new music and artists coming through, so that gives us inspiration to keep up with certain styles. Back in 2002, we had many people say that they we opened their radar for credible electronic music that has traditional songwriting.
How does your fourth album ‘Photograph’, which you will release later in 2015, reflect this progression?
The new album certainly reflects our journey of the last 14 years; we really have had an amazing ride and feel honoured to be doing what we love.
Which musicians would you most like to collaborate with for future projects?
So many! Of course, all the legends like David Bowie, Nile Rodgers, Sir Paul McCartney etc. but from today’s artists we’d love to collaborate with Disclosure, Major Lazer, Future Islands, George Fitzgerald, and Bob Moses would be cool.
Which Dirty Vegas songs should new fans listen to in order to acquire a complete understanding of your sound and the group’s progression throughout almost two decades?
Never been asked this, but I guess start with ‘Days Go By’, ‘Simple Things’, ‘Walk into the Sun’, ‘Little White Doves’ and ‘Let the Night’. That should give you a scope of what we’ve been doing.
What advice would you share with young musicians just starting out?
Honestly, its cliché but follow your heart. Following trends is fine but use them to spotlight your true self and your musical talent.
On a final note, they ask ‘that people support the artists that they like, by buying the music or the T Shirt, something that gives to the huge financial burden it costs to record and tour music.’
The Hippo Collective would like thank Dirty Vegas again for taking the time to speak with us. The group has been a driving force in the electronic music world for nearly two decades. They certainly do not have any intentions to stop any time soon! You can check out their music on their SoundCloud page (I highly recommend their SXSW ‘Out on the Patio Mix’) or on their Facebook page Their new single is available to stream on YouTube. Happy listening!