Dirty South Talks Beats, Bikinis, Fireworks, the Fourth of July, and "Coming Home"

You've probably heard Dirty South's remix of Diddy and Skylar Grey's "Coming Home" being dropped by one of the ever-rotating superstar DJs on the Beach. Or maybe you've heard it straight from the man himself, as he frequently makes the rounds of Miami.

Either way, the Australian DJ-producer is back to party with us for the Fourth of July. And he'll be opening for Fatboy Slim at the IndepenDANCE Weekend closing party at the Surfcomber Hotel today.

Crossfade spoke with Dirty South about beats, bikinis, and fireworks.

Crossfade: Fourth of July weekend is a pretty big deal in Miami. It's like a mini WMC. How do you feel to be headlining alongside Fatboy Slim at the biggest party this weekend?

Dirty South: I'm really excited. I always love coming back to Miami. It's one of my favorite cities to play. And Fatboy Slim is a legend. It'll be cool to be playing with him.

You just released "Strictly Dirty South", a two-disc compilation on Strictly Rhythm. Can we expect to hear some of those tracks at the pool party today?

Definitely. There are two CDs, one old-school house and one new-school house, of course. The new-school house is what I play now, so I'll definitely be dropping some of the tracks from that compilation. The old-school disc is my influences and the stuff that I grew up with. I don't really play that stuff anymore, but I wanted to show the people how I grew up to house music.

What was your first big break into the music industry? And how have you changed since then?

The key moment was probably when Pete Tong started playing my stuff on his radio station. It was back in the day when I did a track called "Too Late" with a band called Evermore. Pete was the first to support that. Everybody else started taking notice after that.

You usually stick to progressive, electro and just straight house. Is that all you listen to as well? What else can we find on your playlist?

I don't really listen to house music apart from playing it or when I'm buying new music. I like indie-rock. I like everything actually. I like a lot of different styles of music -- hip-hop and R&B. I like Led Zeppelin, the Doors, Pink Floyd. I always like to go back the old stuff like Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley.

Your record label Phazing Records is fairly new. What do you hope to make of it? And what kind of artists will you put out?

Phazing is kind of like a me-and-my-friends label. It's tracks my friends send to me. They need a vehicle to release them. Every now and then I get a track from someone I haven't met before, and I think it's cool when I put it out. It's mainly a vehicle for me to put out my music, and maybe some cool tracks from my friends.

Are you working on anything at the moment? Any collaborations we should know about?

I'm working on a couple of new releases and an artist album. It's going to be called "Dirty South and Friends." I have a lot of collaborations undergo with different artists, and they're all friends. That's the whole concept.

Your remix for Diddy Money, "Coming Home" has been getting a lot of play here in Miami. How do you pick songs to remix? Or does the artist come to you?

A lot of the times, the artist comes to me. But there are a lot of aspects that are involved in me choosing a song to remix. Obviously I have to like it. "Coming Home" is one of the tracks I really like. I thought the hook was strong, and I really saw potential. I had a quick idea and I did the whole remix in a day. It really came quite naturally.

Wow. That is quick. But then again, how long it takes to remix something?

Sometimes you can work on a track for a week. A month. And sometimes you can do it in a few hours.

So Diddy came to you?

The label came to me, yes. Once I finished the remix, Diddy loved it so much, he gave me a call and thanked me. He was inspired, so he did some extra vocals just for the remix.

Did "Coming Home" have any sentimental meaning for you? How often do you actually get to go home?

I guess it makes sense. I never get to go home, so it's kind of special when I do go home. The song does mean something to me in that sense, because it is quite rare for me to be going home. I'm on tour now, and away from home for two and a half months -- just to paint a little picture of it .

Many people were heartbroken to hear that "Sweet Disposition" didn't win the Grammy for the best remix of 2010. How did you feel when you found out?

Me and Axwell both attended the Grammys, and I would say we were also a little heartbroken. You can never tell what's going to happen and you can't expect too much. We felt, "This could be it." If any of our tracks at that point were going to win it, maybe it should've been that one. It would've been nice, but it doesn't matter. The track is still very special for me. I still play it all the time. It's one of those tracks I can't stop playing.

In Miami, we have tons of upcoming DJs and producers who are really determined to make it. Do you have any advice for them?

The whole point of working hard is to get somewhere. Stay true to what you do. It's good to be influenced by other people, but at the end of the day I think it's really important to work hard on being yourself.

-- Gaby Izarra

Dirty South with Fatboy Slim and Funkagenda as part of the IndepenDANCE Pool Party. Monday, July 4. Surfcomber Hotel, 1717 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. The party starts at 11 a.m. and tickets cost $55 to $75 via Visit

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Miami New Times staff