October 21, 2014

Dirty South: Strictly Banging

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Dirty South may not be as well-known as EDM stars like David Guetta or Swedish House Mafia, but upfront club jocks the world over always keep an eye out for his work. Why? Same reason those very EDM stars love to work with him—Dirty South makes rough, banging beats that fire up a dancefloor.

Yes, the Serbian-born, Australia-based DJ/producer—aka 33-year-old Dragan Roganović—has collaborated with the top names in clubland, but he’s also charted himself with hits like 2007’s “Let It Go” and his current fave, “Phazing.” And his remixes have included floor-burners for acts ranging from Led Zeppelin (“Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You”) to Diddy-Dirty Money (“Coming Home”)—plus, his 2008 mix for Kaskade’s “Sorry” was nominated for a Grammy.

We caught up with Dirty South this summer, as he made a tour stop at The Ocean Club near Boston.

DJ Times: You have a really cool real name [Dragan Roganović]. Why did you choose Dirty South as a professional handle?

Dirty South: I don’t know, I guess I didn’t feel the same way you do about my name—not that it isn’t cool. I always felt I should have an artist name, so I just made one up and that’s when Dirty South was born.
DJ Times: Here in America, “Dirty South” kind of refers to that crunk/ hip hop from down South. Is it the same in Australia?
Dirty South: No, I actually had no idea about that when I made the name up. I had no idea that genre even existed like a version of hip hop in America. I think two or three years down the track, I worked that out and thought it was too late to change. People get the difference anyway. People know my stuff. They know it’s different from the hip-hop sort.
DJ Times: You travel the world, so I was curious at what latitude does your name change? If you played Canada, for instance, would you become Dirty North?
Dirty South: It’s always dirty either way. It doesn’t matter the space, time, geography… it’s always dirty, it’s always banging. That’s the stuff I play—big energy.

DJ Times: Tell us about your new mix, Strictly Dirty South.

Dirty South: It’s a new compilation I did for Strictly Rhythm. Basically, it’s a two-CD compilation. The first is more like my old-school stuff I grew up with, my inspiration. It’s really house-y. It’s old-school, like I said, so people need to understand it’s not the newest music. The whole idea is to have a balance between the old and new, and to show what inspired me in the last five, 10 years. There are a lot of edits in there where I’m trying to merge new a cappellas with the old tracks and [back and forth between] new edits and old edits. The second disc is all brand-new stuff, all the current stuff I play in clubs. The way it’s structured is just like one of my sets: edits, my stuff, stuff from the Size, Refune and Axtone labels… all the hottest I’ve played around.
DJ Times: One of the hot records on there the Diddy-Dirty Money “Coming Home” record. The reaction I see every time this is played is amazing. There’s a clip on YouTube of you playing it in Miami at the Masquerade Hotel on the beach that is just insane. Tell me about that record: how it came to be and what it’s like playing for people.
Dirty South: It came from the Interscope label. They asked me to do a remix. I loved the original hook to begin with and, usually, if I like the song, I’ll take it on and remix. I think I did it in 24 hours—it was a one-day job.

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