Tracing one fan's borderline infatuation with linking Dubfire, The Shining and The Overlook Hotel.
A picture speaks a thousand words. So rather than trying to explain this connection, passion and borderline infatuation I've developed with Ali "Dubfire" Shirazinia and his music over the years, I'll just show you.
See the photo above? Taken at East Ender in Barcelona, amongst the enthusiastic Spanish crowd captured with their feet stomping and hands flailing. You may notice a single face dead center—in the matching black V-neck, conveniently positioned between Dubfire's raised arms—looking on with a mix of awe, bewilderment and bemusement. That would be me. And there's no other way to sum up my curiosity about Ali Shirazinia and his career other than using those same three terms: Awe. Bewilderment. Bemusement.
'Awe' and 'bewilderment' because I've followed this man since he was DJ Ali from Deep Dish playing uplifting house right through to his transformation into the Dark Prince of techno. Every step along the way has continued to blow my mind. Be it how he walks the line between live performer and DJ in his sets. Or how I've long classified his pulsating use of hi-hats as the dance music equivalent of punk music. Or his whole never-ending supply of black t-shirts and the fact that he seems to be the most beloved guy in the industry.
'Bemusement' because, well, for the last couple of years I've pretty much relentlessly forced Dubfire into an inside joke that makes all the sense in the world to me, and apparently him too.
It all began on a loopy Monday afternoon in Toronto after having watched Dubfire lay waste to the Echo Beach Stage at Digital Dreams, where I found myself half-conscious listening to his Essential Mix from May 2012. Muted on my TV was the Stanley Kubrick masterpiece The Shining. And much like the genius who discovered that Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon synced perfectly to The Wizard Of Oz, I discovered just how appropriate Dubfire is over The Shining.
Furthermore, my bizarre imagination concocted the notion that perhaps The Overlook Hotel was a place that Ali Shirazinia had spent a fair amount of time in his past. After all, where else on earth could this dark, depraved style he's perfected have been birthed?
It has resulted in the following interactions:
Listening to @dubfire. Y'know, I'm starting to think this guy was raised in the Overlook Hotel from 'The Shining'. Really makes sense.— Christopher Metler (@theCMprogram) December 9, 2012
D: You never know:-) RT @theCMprogram Listening to dubfire. Starting to think this guy was raised in the Overlook Hotel from 'The Shining'— Dubfire (@dubfire) December 9, 2012 January 11, 2013 February 25, 2013 October 23, 2013 December 31, 2013 December 31, 2013 March 15, 2014
A good sport, Dubfire almost always favorited, retweeted and personally responded.
Why am I telling you this story? Because it all came to a head during WMC. Despite seeing the guy on multiple occasions across different continents, I'd never actually had the chance to meet Dubfire. Maybe that was for the best. Because I always knew that whenever I did, the first thing out of my mouth would be that I was the guy humoring (or tormenting, depending on who you ask) him with all The Shining references.
Cue the Clevelander Hotel for the Bullitt Agency Mixer. I've just finished up my interview with andhim and I'm headed back to the stage to catch their set. Who else do I find standing alone at the entrance other than the Man in Black himself.
Resisting all urges to just leave the poor guy alone, I betray all my better judgment and dart for an introduction. What followed was a blur really. All I remember is the big smile on Ali's face when I revealed my true identity and his acknowledgment of how funny he found it all.
These are the kinds of meetings you relish. When you connect with a musician over something that goes way beyond the beats.
So Dubfire, consider this story my message in a bottle to you, my favourite DJ and a chief subject of my odd techno delusions. Should we cross paths again, here is hoping you'll recognize your number one fan and continue to play along. I'll see you in the Overlook.
Follow Christopher on Twitter: @theCMprogram