By Jacob Katel
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Nasdaq is not necessarily the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about dance music, but Sharam Tayebi -- partner with Ali Shirazinia in the Iranian-born, Washington, D.C.-based DJ duo Deep Dish -- recently told DJ magazine of his ambition to list their record label, Yoshitoshi, on the stock exchange. Was he kidding?
"Nope, dead serious," Tayebi insists, a few days after he christened the new SoBe club Spin. "We've always been hands on with the business side of this," he reveals. "We've gone through a lot of ups and downs, and we've learned a lot. But we're smarter because of it."
Since the October 2001 release of the two-CD set Moscow on the Global Underground label, the Deep Dish outlook has been decidedly up. Having quickly captured the house-music market, Tayebi and Shirazinia can look forward to long-term gains on the futures of sound.
Combining deep grooves and butt-shaking backbeats with nonstop touring and no-nonsense ambition, Deep Dish is poised to extend the reach of electronic music. "Just like hip-hop started in cities and then went all over the place, I see the same thing happening with this music," Tayebi predicts. "The more people are aware of it, the more they are embracing it. It's a slow process, but it will happen. The problem is the big record companies haven't figured out how to make money off it yet. Once they do, then it will be all over the place."
Making such expansion seem likely, Tayebi delivered a dub wild set at Spin that kept a packed house twirling until dawn. To keep up with demand, Deep Dish has had to split tour dates. Tayebi, who took the Miami date, explains, "We usually spin together, but because of the number of gigs we're asked to do, it's just not possible to do them all together. Which is good. We both like to play long sets, and it gives us a chance to do our own thing."
That "thing" has been the development of house dubs into modern song structure. "Recognizable songs is one of the things this music needs to grow," Tayebi argues. "People need to know the songs, and the only way that's going to happen is to have structure and vocals they can hum to. We've always been about that. Just throwing twenty tracks together that people won't remember is pointless."
That strategy came from a long apprenticeship. "When we started we listened to everything and played anything," says Tayebi. "For us it's all music, no matter the style. So we mix in down-tempo and trance with darker house and funkier grooves. You see it now with more house-based music instead of just elements. Our music may have gotten a bit darker, but it's got more of a groove now."
Deep Dish has plenty of pop experience, having remixed hits for the Pet Shop Boys, Everything but the Girl, Tina Turner, and Jackson siblings Michael and Janet, among others. But that doesn't mean they shy away from riskier ventures. "We hardly get excited about anything," Tayebi laughs. "To us [whatever we try] is just going to work. People around us seem to get more excited than we do. It's not that we don't care; we just have bigger ambitions and are always thinking about the future."