“The Aussies are so energetic, they’re so well educated when it comes to music. They really know what they want to listen to. They know the music and demand the artists come out with the best they have. It’s such a strongly produced festival. I think Australian crowds really get their money’s worth.”
Dash Berlin’s DJ and frontman, Jeffrey Sutorius, is all about moving audiences physically and emotionally. He’s part of Stereosonic this Saturday-Sunday, November 29-30, at Claremont Showgrounds. ZOE KILBOURN reports.
There’s something a little soft rock about the Dash Berlin sound. The trance trio have relentlessly delivered songs rather than bangers, and although their work is grounded in the pulse and production values of main room EDM, there’s an almost Hillsong sincerity in every tune.
The Coldplay touch is tangible in We Are: tracks such as Underneath The Sky’s Chris Martin vocals and Earth Meets Water’s Scientist progression.
“My respect and admiration for Coldplay is not unknown,” Jeffrey Sutorius says. “I’ve been a fan for a long time. I have every album on my iPhone and I enjoy listening to them – I went to one of their concerts at My Corner in The Hague. I look back at that concert with great, great pleasure. I think it’s one of those rare bands that stand out almost through history, I would say, and is able to push itself with every album release. Ever release pushes something fresh out there, but is still Coldplay. I admire that very much. I look forward to the day we can work together.”
Given that Dash Berlin operates in a similar way to most mainstream rock bands, maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise. Sutorius is the public face of Dash Berlin, and although he’s as invested in the production as the DJing, there’s a two-part powerhouse hiding in the Hague wings: Sebaastian Moljin and Eelke Kalberg.
“We’ve formed a band, in a way,” says Sutorius. “The guys I work with, they put aside their egos and they said, ‘We know you’ – we’ve been friends for long before Dash Berlin – ‘We know you really enjoy DJing. What if we work on the music while you’re on tour?’. That’s what we started out with, and that’s turned out to be a very powerful working method for us, and for me as well, to stay productive while touring.
“Back in the days, you did a lot of studio work with people. Nowadays, a lot of artists are incredibly busy with hectic touring schedules. It’s almost undoable to do that while actually in the studio – most people work online, sending files back and forth. That’s how we work – that’s how I work – and I have to say that it works out perfectly for us. It really feels productive, and it drives me to get something done, because you want to put stuff out there while keeping the best of both worlds.”
While keeping up his regular North American DJ circuit alongside stints at superclubs and Tomorrowland, Sutorius released the first half of a double album, We Are, in August.
“It’s definitely a new highlight for Dash Berlin,” he says. “It’s a new start. It’s like being born again, but you already have your background. I’m very, very happy with them, and the fact that the album went straight up into the charts of iTunes’ main charts, went straight to number #1 in I think 10 or 15 countries world wide. It just shows that there’s a lot of support for Dash Berlin music, which is exciting.”
Ranked at number 10 on InTheMix’s international DJ charts, Dash Berlin get more than a lot of support. While resisting the bassier tropes of dance music, Dash Berlin move audiences on an enormous public scale as well as an individual, intimate one. There’s almost a ‘personal Dash Berlin’ element to We Are.
“From my perspective, our music is something which is not being thrown in your face,” Sutorius says. “You’re not being forced to listen to Dash Berlin music. It’s something you have to discover. Which is interesting, because you just have to discover it bit by bit, and that just goes by word of mouth or a little bit of internet research or your friends point it out, and then you all of a sudden discover Dash Berlin and what it is, what it stands for. That’s the point where people are being connected with the music at first, and then enjoying the show. I enjoy shows as well. I see myself as one of the biggest party animals on the other side of Europe. That’s where you connect again – I think what people see on stage, when I’m performing, that’s genuine.
“With Dash Berlin, to give a sum-up – it’s a genuine way of listening to honest electronic dance music. Nowadays, I’ve kind of formed a new genre to complete all the others, because I’ve been saying a lot ‘Dash Berlin 2.0, Trance 2.0’. I’ve kind of rephrased that as ‘PEDM’ – I pronounce it P-DM – and it stands for ‘Powerful Emotional Dance Music’. That’s what Dash Berlin is all about. That’s what it stands for.”
Dash Berlin are taking on a main stage at Stereosonic for the third time this year. Sutorius is beyond keen.
“Stereosonic is definitely one of the highlights of the year for me,” he says. “It’s funny, while talking, I actually just looked at a Stereosonic rugby ball I got in a gift package two years ago – it’s in my main room. Travelling around with the Stereosonic crew, with so many DJs and artists, it’s sort of like family. It’s one of those rare opportunities where you can catch up with everyone and sit down to have a chat with everyone while doing amazing shows.