Worthy, co-creator of the Dirtybird party and owner of Anabatic Records, put out his genre-bending debut album Disbehave last summer, and now he’s back with a remix compilation of the album. The original album was an expression of “rebellion against the house producer’s status quo” and covered all grounds including deep house, future bass, downtempo and breakbeat. For Disbehave Remixes, Worthy enlisted some of his favorite artists, and he’ll be releasing the compilation off his own label Anabatic in two parts — the first was released just this week on February 24, and the second part will be released March 17th.
I caught up with Worthy himself for an interview, where he explains the concept and production process for putting together the remixes, talks about the creative freedom of having his own record label, and shares his thoughts on Dirtybird’s 7 IDMA nominations.
What was your concept behind a two-part compilation of Disbehave remixes?
My original thought was that I was going to do a single compilation of remixes. But I got back so many remixes that were amazing that I felt like it needed to be split in two in order for people to really take in all of the music. There is a point where you can overload the listener when you give them too much and they will not take be able to fully appreciate everything. So for this reason I decided that it needed to be split into two parts, and give each remix an opportunity to shine.
What was the process of creating the compilation? How did you enlist artists to remix your music? Did the artist have full creative control over the remix, or did you work with them to get a remix you both liked?
I started off the process by hitting up my producer friends who I have worked with over the years or just have a great relationship with, to see who was going to be up for doing a remix. I have been lucky enough to know so many amazing artists so I had a lot to pull from, and pretty much everyone I asked to do one was available and wanted to. From there I just let them all do their thing because I trust each one and know that they make great music. I wanted everyone to have the ability to translate my music into their sound. There were a couple of artists who did come back to me to see if I was into what they were working on. I told all of them to keep going and be creative. I really had a deep trust in their artistry.
Which remix (or remixes) is particularly memorable for you?
To me, each remix is amazing. Each is absolutely brilliant and it floors me to see the levels of talent who have come to do a remix. Having the Stanton Warriors whom I have been a fan of for so long come in and do one is pretty special to me. Another that stands out to me is the Yolanda be Cool remix; they tried to create a remix that would fit into a set that they heard me play out at Burning Man last year. Also having Matt Tolfrey who put out one of my first records almost 10 years ago now is really special. In a way, it brings everything back to the beginning for me.
The remix compilations are being released off of your own label Anabatic Records. You’ve stated that launching your own label was liberating — could you elaborate on that?
It is liberating to have the platform to do whatever you want as an artist. I don’t have to fall into the constraints or sounds of other labels. Anabatic gives me the room to explore sounds without having fear of not having a place for it come out, and lets me curate the sounds that I like and am inspired by to share with the public.
With Anabatic as a platform to express your creativity without any boundaries, how do you want to see it grow, and what kind of sound do you want your label to be known for?
I am working on trying to really bring the label out more to the masses. I feel like Anabatic has always been this super underground label that DJs know, but isn’t really exposed to the general listener. So I really want to bring the sound we do out to those people out there and excite them. The label has always been known as a house label. At this point we are trying to push some bass-heavy house music. This is the sound we are really excited about and want to keep on pushing forward.
People have the common misconception that you’re a co-founder of Dirtybird Records. But in fact, your association with Dirtybird pre-dates the birth of the label. To set the record straight, what is your involvement with Dirtybird?
Yes, I get that all the time. The four of us (including Justin martin, Christian Martin, and Claude Vonstroke) all started the Dirtybird party together. These were free parties that we used to throw in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. The record label came out of this, but it was started by Barclay (Claude Von Stroke) and he is the one who runs and financed it and was solely responsible for making the label into what it is today. Today I support the label by playing at the parties in San Francisco and whatever DB parties I get asked to play, as well as put music out on the label. My goal is to just keep on playing under the brand and to keep helping it grow any way I can. I am proud to be a part of it.
As a co-creator of the Dirtybird party, how does it feel to know that Dirtybird has been represented in 7 IDMA nominations?
It is an amazing experience to see how far Dirtybird has come since those humble beginnings in the park. If you told me back then that it would be such a massive force in dance music, I would have probably not believed you. It is really cool to see how far it has come and that it is being honored in the IDMAs the way it is.
You’ve mentioned the desire to focus on the visual element to your music and shows. How do you envision these elements to enhance the viewing experience?
I am working on creating a visual part of my show that would come along with me on the road. We are going to start it off with visuals that will come along with me that can just be plugged in and run easily in each city I play in when available. But I want a crazier visual component to my shows. I like the artistic aesthetic created by artists like Mars-1, who did the artwork for all my Disbehave albums. I hope to work with him to create the visuals for my shows. We have been able to create some amazing visual experiences so far at the Disbehave shows in San Francisco, it’s about trying to get that on the road in the future.