Sasha Details His New Mix Compilation, LUZoSCURA

We talk to one of the scene’s most legendary figures, Sasha, about his all-new mix compilation, LUZoSCURA, as well as his 2021 gig plans.

10 min
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May 7, 2021
Chandler Shortlidge

Few figures in electronic music have had a wider impact than Sasha. From his early days as the original superstar DJ to his headier days mixing and producing breakbeat infused compilations like the Involver and albums like Airdrawndagger, to his modern day incarnation at the helm of the widely lauded Last Night On Earth imprint, he’s done it all and seen it all.

Well, almost. Few could have prepared for what happened in 2020. But like the rest of us, Sasha adapted to our new reality by eschewing club bangers for more introspective, home listening cuts on is LUZoSCURA playlist. Now he’s releasing a mix compilation based on that playlist, which features artists like MJ Cole, Just Her, and three new tracks from Sasha himself.

We caught up with Sasha to hear more about what went into the compilation, his evolving gig plans, and what his winter lockdown was like.

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How’s your year shaping up so far? Do you have any gigs on the horizon?

I’ve got quite a few gigs on the horizon. I think everyone’s being a little cautious about this possible loosening of restrictions everywhere; a lot of festivals are not committing as it’s so much work for them to put on if it cannot happen. I’ve got the LUZoSCURA gig at Ally Pally at the end of the month, a couple of shows there — sat down socially distanced. Then, hopefully, at the end of June, I’m playing an unrestricted event in Liverpool — big fingers crossed for that. After that, I got Brighton, fabric, Leeds, maybe a Dutch festival in Aug. September onwards is looking healthy, though!

How was your 2020? I believe you live in Ibiza — were things a bit less intense in terms of lockdowns there than they were (and still are) in big cities?

The lockdown in Ibiza was really intense. I live out in the sticks, though, so we had a very peaceful quiet time. We’re very lucky to be in nature, my friends who live in the city were not allowed outside. So we felt so lucky to be able to enjoy nature and the outdoors. I baked a lot of bread — put some weight on! Then I started running and put some weight off… I had a few cheeky friends over in the basement studio on the lockdown nights. Having a basement was great! I spent a lot of time with my family and friends, which I just wouldn’t normally do, and I’m grateful for that. However, enough’s enough, and I’m ready to get stuck in again now and connect with people.

You’ve recently mentioned that you’ve realized how intense going on tour as a DJ/live performer often is, and that you want to “hold onto new lifestyle patterns” that you’ve discovered during lockdown, and continue those when you’re back on the road again. What are some of those patterns? And how do you see your tours changing once things resume?

I don’t know — it’s all good saying I’m going to hold onto this new healthy lifestyle, but you know, being realistic, I’m not going to turn down gigs because I cannot wait to get back to it. What I am going to try to do is put my touring into chunks so I can spend more time at home with my family. It’s just really hard to turn down amazing gigs… and after all this time off, I’m going to want to say yes to everything!

Many artists have also spoken about how mentally, physically, and emotionally unsustainable the kinds of touring DJs often do seems in hindsight. Do you think we’ll see any widespread changes in the way things are done because of this?

The thing is, when you’re in the zone of it, and you’re playing every weekend, you almost get this extra burst of energy from it all. It’s almost like you don’t want to step off the treadmill because you’ll lose your momentum and speed. When you do the sets back-to-back, your sets flow really well, and you get really deep into the music so that it just becomes your existence. It’s hard to dip in and out, and it’s very addictive, a very intoxicating lifestyle, though. I really think that people will want to go bonkers for a while before wanting to come out of that again…. that energy from the crowd is what gives you the energy!

I understand the COVID lockdown was actually the genesis for LUZoSCURA. Did you find most of the artists featured on the compilation over the past year or so?

I’ve actually been working on the LUZoSCURA playlist for a couple of years now. I set it up with my brother in law who really helped me focus on it and helped contribute. We started getting momentum with it, and then the pandemic happened. During lockdown, I found it very hard to listen to techno. Normally I would be listening to it to fit into my sets I had coming up, so when I had no gigs, I got stuck into my LUZoSCURA playlist and really started to discover music and diving into artists that I did actually feel like listening to. I did some live streams from Ibiza just playing this sound and really enjoyed it; it was perfect for the time. So yes, some of the artists I discovered in the past year but also some before that too.

You also said that “the LUZoSCURA project is a wonderful stepping stone into what the next phase of my career is going to be.” Can you elaborate on this?

I don’t know what the next phase is going to be, but it just felt like the right time to make the project, that sound, and the vibe. The great thing about IG and Twitter is that it helped me keep track of all the artists we added to the playlist. So when I reached out to them, they were already aware that their music had been added to the playlist. But saying this, I’m really ready now to make some club bangers! LUZoSCURA will most certainly live on, but currently, I’m ready to get back to making club music now that there is some light at the end of the tunnel.

You produced three original tracks for the compilation —” Corner Shop,” “I’ll Never Change” with Franky Wah and “HNDI.” Did you have more time to produce over lockdown? And do you feel like your production output might increase with regards to your new outlook on life?

I had a lot of downtime during lockdown, and I had a lot of writing down of ideas, but those three tracks actually came out of a big burst of creativity I had one weekend. I was having a bit of a crappy day and felt a bit low, so I decided to take myself down into my basement studio, and I ended up writing down ten ideas that night. It was all melodic and breakfast stuff. I wasn’t very consistent in the productivity department, but when I did have it, it was really great.

Finally, what’s next for you and your label, Last Night On Earth?

We have a big project planned for the end of the year — some collaborations and other fun things. The label is turning ten this year, and so we have quite a few ideas in-store around the anniversary. Stay tuned!

Check out the full LUZoSCURA compilation below.

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