Days after the shooting at the BPM Music Festival in Mexico that left five people dead and 15 people injured, DJ/producer Sharam, who had played the event nights earlier, was still shaken by the senseless tragedy. "I was at the club at midnight. I was hanging out there late at night the previous days. I happened to be tired that night and went home and heard about the shooting the next morning. One of the security guys who died I'd seen many times over the years. Couldn't be a nicer guy.
"We hear about these shootings at clubs, and it always hits home," he continues. "Clubs are our playground."
Music has been sacred for Sharam, from the time he was a young boy in Iran. "I always had an interest in how music was made. In Iran, you couldn't get music. It had to be smuggled into the country on these Betamax tapes. I used to put them on cassettes for friends." While Americans would have considered Sharam's boyhood tastes mainstream, the music of ABBA, Kiss, and Elton John, by its illegal nature, qualified as underground in Iran.
When his family moved to America, a teenaged Sharam quickly fell in love with the diversity of musical choices in his new country. "It was a sponge bath. I was soaking it all in." He was especially enamored with dance music and the ways it could be manipulated. "I knew you could mix stuff, but at 15 I started learning about pitch control. After that, whatever money I had I spent on 12-inch records."
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Over the past couple of decades, Sharam has found success with his brand of techno and house, both as a solo artist and as part of the group Deep Dish. He's had the opportunity to work with megastars such as Shakira and Coldplay's Chris Martin, but there was only one time he would admit to being star-struck. It was after remixing the Rolling Stones' song "Saint of Me."
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"We got a note that Mick Jagger loved the song. Then we ran into him in a club in New York City, and I had never been more stunned in my life. We worked with Stevie Nicks and Madonna, and I'm usually calm. But Mick Jagger? I'm a kid from Iran. This wasn't supposed to happen."
To Sharam, that kind of ecstatic feeling is what going out should be all about. Whether in Iran, Mexico, or Miami, where he'll play at Trade for the very first time, clubs should be a haven where everyone feels safe to get together, appreciate music, and dance.