There’s no question that Dash Berlin has been one of the most recognizable names in dance music over the past decade. However, some complicated and unseemly business deals have obscured who Dash Berlin really is. The touring member and essential front man of Dash Berlin has been Jeffrey Sutorius ever since the group’s inception in 2006. However, following a lengthy legal battle that played out starting in 2018, Sutorius and the other members of the group began their separation.
Forging out on his own since then, Jeffrey Sutorius has carried on the Dash Berlin mantle and continued to produce and perform the progressive house and trance that Dash Berlin has been known for. However, personal growth is to be expected as an artist. Unleashed as a true creative force, Jeffrey Sutorious has continued releasing a steady stream of tracks on his own label BODYWRMR. Following the release of his massive festival banger, “Sink or Swim” with Mexican producers ANG, we got the chance to sit down with Jeff and have a lengthy conversation about his musical endeavors, advice for upcoming artists, and his take on the state of the industry. Check out the exclusive interview below.
Hey Jeff, thanks for chatting with us. Tell us what you’ve been up to to wrap up the year, and what can fans expect as we head into 2022?
“I’ve been hanging out in this vinyl room, no, just kidding. I’ve been hanging out a little bit since I got back. The year started really, really, super great for me personally. Started a very extensive, and intensive, tour in China. So I’d been there for half a year, got back in June. Then did a few small shows in Egypt before going to Mexico and America. Came back after that, I did another tour that went to Canada and America, and I just got back from that two weeks ago. And, yeah, if you consider the time we’re in right now, I’m the last one that can complain about anything, so I’m not going to do that.
I’ve been extremely fortunate with the situation that I got in. I still got to meet some of the fans, even with the name change. Obviously that was a little bit of a setback in the beginning of the year. But, that’s already so far behind me. Again, I’m very comfortable in where I am right now, and what’s going to be on the agenda for 2022. And, that’s going to be a new album, in the early stages of 2022. I would say 98% is done, I’m still finishing up the last tracks. I’ve tested out a couple of tracks in China, which did surprisingly well. You have to imagine Chinese, the majority probably don’t speak English that well. The majority of my vocals are all English. When I played a brand new song that nobody heard before, ever. And they closed their eyes and were holding their hands out, then you know that you’re on the right track.
Just recently I did a show in LA at Exchange. Jonathan Mendelsohn, he joined me, he’s going to be featured on the album as well, brand new release. So, that’s going to be very, very exciting. We’re going to work on more material than just only that song, so that’s going to be super exciting too. Because I think Jonathan is one of the most talented guys, singer/songwriters, as well as performers out there. That’s been received very well live, I also played some other new songs off the album at Exchange and they did very well. I got a lot of feedback on that on my socials, like, hey what is this, or, can you tell me about this song? And, usually when that kind of stuff happens after a show, especially nowadays where everything happens so quick, when people actually stop and ask what is this? Usually, that’s a really good sign. So, yeah, quite exciting! There’s going to be an extensive album tour in 2022 also. So, yeah, there’s a lot in the works at the moment, I can’t complain.”
Tell us about your latest track “Sink or Swim” with ANG? I love the harder edge to the track, how did you all come up with the track?
“Actually, I’ve already known ANG for a long time. We met each other a long time ago during Miami Music Week, and they actually just barged into one of the parties during the day, and we got in contact from there on, and funny part is they handed me this USB drive that I still have, that’s still floating around here on one of my old backups. And I see ANG with all the information on it and all the tracks that they released, it’s really funny. So, fast forward, we started working on Firefly, on which they made incredible bass, they’re super talented. We had some contact back and forth, they’ve been working with a lot of people, working on a lot of collaborations. So, they are really into merging ideas to see how you can get the best out of a track without just taking it all to yourself. And to see what kind of extra influences you can have to add to something you may have started with.
So that’s how we started, consequently, they made a setup for ‘Sink or Swim’. And that was very, very strong again, and for the collaborations I was interested in, I was very interested in working on that. Sarah De Warren on vocals did really, really well. And, the cool thing with this track is that people see it as a hard clash of future house and future trance. And, also for this track when I started road testing it, people were instantly, almost shouting, like ‘Hey! What is this!?’ and they’ll hold out their mobile phone. It’s a little bit of the same story for the album material, when people do that, it’s just a really good sign.
Yeah, it took a couple of months before it was scheduled for release, now it’s out, and it’s doing really, really great. It appeals to people who like EDM, it appeals to people who like big room, it appeals to people who like trance. And, in a way, it’s an anomaly, in a good sense. And since the start of working on my own, I’ve been working on more material that can be interpreted in multiple genres. And I don’t know why that is, it just happens, but I think it’s a very cool consequence of making music that is suitable for multiple artists in multiple types of sets in multiple genres. And I see that as a very big plus, but I have to tip my hats off to ANG because they’re really on a roll. I think they’re one of the biggest Mexican talents out there at the moment and I’m doing a lot of support of Mexican talent on my own label BODYWRMR.
So, I have BSNO, who is a big one, big growing guy as well in Mexico. I recently signed Karasso and Lans Palm on BODYWRMR as well. And I have another one Hajj, it doesn’t sound Mexican, but also Mexican, so yeah, it’s nice. It’s been a time, you know, waiting for new talent to emerge from Mexico. And now it’s that moment and I’m very happy that my label BODYWRMR is able to support some of the guys, and maybe even in the future, some of the girls. It’s a great, great privilege to do that. But, anyway, ANG, it’s doing great and maybe something more for 2022.”
You mentioned next year is going to be pretty extensive touring. Do you know which big festivals you’re going to be doing?
“Of course, Ultra, in March. When I say extensive tour, we have to keep everything in perspective, let’s say the world is turning a little bit normal again, everyone’s vaccinated or boostered or what not. But, in whatever form, we can pick up the pace again. Like normally touring, then yeah, I’d say it’s going to be extensive. And absolutely the big one for me, which I’m super happy about, is Ultra Miami. My head’s been working overtime in thinking about what I would like to do on a stage like Ultra. I’m really thankful for the whole Ultra family in having the belief in Jeffrey Sutorius, and kind of reaffirming that support and reaffirming that faith in what I do on stage, and in the music that I’m making. So, that’s really, really cool, and I’m going to give 110%. Let’s just hope that everything will be more back to normal and that people will have an amazing festival experience, throughout the whole year. I think everybody’s patiently waiting to be out again, safely or with good measurements that people are comfortable with, and yeah, then we can just pick up our lives again.”
At the Exchange show, you had the ceiling lighting rig coming down, are you still going to have that setup for the smaller club shows?
“It kind of depends, it’s part of a new show that we developed together with Visual Artform. They definitely have a hand in this as well, so they deserve credit for that, absolutely. The initial idea kind of originated in Marquee, where I’ve been a resident for almost 10 years already. And, I wanted to revitalize the show. And Visual Artform wanted to do that as well. So, they started working on the laser cage, and, when everything was confirmed and ready to go for Exchange, I really, really wanted to see if we could get that special feature for the show on the road. Because it’s something that’s never been done before in Exchange, and it kind of freshens up the place in a way, and kind of connects also with other lasers that are going. So, it’s not only about lasers, it’s about giving a new edge to the show and I think it worked really well. It gave it a really cool look, a really cool atmosphere. And obviously working together with Visual Artform, timing is of the essence of how you do that, when and where. And they know perfectly what they’re doing. So, I’ve been working with them for a very long time, and Visual Artform is the perfect partner for me to kind of re-develop the shows in a way. So, if there’s the possibility to bring that to a smaller venue where it’s actually adding something to the show, we have to see if I would play a smaller show with a smaller roof. The last show that I did before coming back to the Netherlands was at Soundcheck in Washington. But, a concept like the laser cage would never work there, so we’ll have to see about it from venue to venue.”
As a veteran artist who’s been around a long time, how often do you find that you need to update the visuals and change the set around?
“It’s constantly. I’m not a one trick pony and there’s no reason for it. There’s so much good music coming from established artists, emerging artists, new talent, you name it. And, if the setting is right to test out some new stuff where I can in a way also educate people about things that are coming, besides my own material obviously. I think that’s one of the cool things about being a DJ, being in control of that moment, and to keep people in the right atmosphere, the right vibe. And, sometimes, it’s hit or miss, and that’s part of the game. So, sometimes you try something out and it doesn’t lend as well as you’d expect. And, sometimes it double does that, so that’s all in the game. And, I really don’t believe in making one show, the whole show, the whole year around, you know what I mean? Like, you have to come to a Jeffrey Sutorius show, it’s going to be amazing visuals and laser cage and the whole stuff, and what you’ve seen is what I do every week, it becomes a one trick pony. It becomes boring, and it’s unnecessary, it’s unnecessary for the crowd, it’s unnecessary for the fans, so for me, there’s no reason for that.”
As someone who’s been in the industry for a long, long time, what advice do you have for young producers trying to get into the industry? And, for you, how have you managed to keep it fresh and relevant for so long?
“It’s difficult to answer that question in a really simple manner, so I’ll try and keep it as brief as possible. So, there’s a difference between DJs, artists, producers, and everybody in the whole line of the electronic music industry. When you specifically say producers, the only thing that comes to mind for me is try to be original. Try to do something that people aren’t doing or try to be surprising. But, at the same time, that’s super hard, because that’s what everyone is trying to do. Even for established producers, they’re trying to find a way to…like a DJ, not to become stale. You want to move forward with what you’re doing, and that goes very quickly nowadays.
When I started with ‘Bad Days’ and ‘Nothing Hurts Like Love’ with Jonathan Mendelsohn. If I look back at that period, and I look at what I’m doing right now. I can see like two levels in difference of quality, because it goes so quick and there’s so much to learn. So, if you don’t invest time to learn new ways, new methods, new plugins, how to enhance or reshape your sound, it’s going to be hard. At the same time, the problem of nowadays, society, time, who has time? Nobody has time. That’s the whole freakin’ problem, nobody’s going to listen to a whole record anymore. Like from A-Z and hear everything. No, everything has to be short, it has to be clean and simple to follow. And, as a producer, you kind of have to appeal to that as well. With vocalists or singer/songwriters, so it’s kind of a lame answer, but it kind of stays the same, because you have to be original and doing something that other people are not doing. And then over time, if you’re able to do that, and you find the right labels that are supporting that or you’re being with the right family.
Then, it comes to the second part. Are you actually happy with what you’re doing? Do you want to be that producer, and are you happy being that producer? Or, do you actually want to be on the stage and have that spotlight, and you want to have the so-called glitter and glamour, and the girls and what-not, which is highly, highly overrated. Because, people underestimate, the artist life is not that easy, it’s not that simple, there’s way more to it. So, what is it? What do you really want? So that is another question that comes to the light when you’re asking what do producers need to do nowadays? You also really need to know for yourself, what do I want? Do I want to be a producer? Do I want to be an artist? Because the answer to that question is already giving kind of two ways where things might head.
Because if you really want to be an artist and you want to focus everything on an artists’ career, then it’s going to be harder to be that really hardcore, cool, re-developing, re-shaping, forward-driven, experimenting producer that everyone is talking about. And, the other way around, if you want to be a producer, it’s going to be harder investing all the time and knowledge and effort into those new tracks in becoming that artist in the spotlight that everyone wants to see.
And, I always make a lot of comparisons, to make it understandable for people, to soccer. Soccer in Europe is very big, it’s been big for a very long time, it’s a really professionalized industry. Over the years, so let’s say the early 90s is the start for the dance music industry. So, over the years, kind of the industry has evolved and professionalized, and we are well now at that point where somebody wants to kind of step into the industry and be a producer or an artist, you already have to kind of fix the backup questions that you have in order to have the right career path. And, who are really important in shaping that? That’s management or the agencies nowadays because they eventually have to bring that hot producer with a limited amount of shows, or that hot new artist with cool music as well, to the right amount of shows. So, it’s not about only what the person wants, being that producer is also in how you will be…you need to be accompanied by the right people.
There’s a lot of people coming to me with questions about that, especially when you look at my recent background in how do you make the right choices? I’ve spent a lot of time explaining what happened to me, but helping to prevent other people from making the same mistake. And that’s difficult, it’s difficult to have the right 100% answer for that because everybody’s will, drive, time, character is different. You have to connect the dots, it’s a lot of dots, and when you get them connected they have to be connected to the right people or person who can help you further in the direction you want to go with your career.
There’s also with soccer, there’s people, and I believe this is the same thing in the electronic dance music industry, there’s people who are less talented but are willing to work harder to eventually achieve something. That is absolutely in line with soccer 100%, there’s more people who make it in soccer. You are less talented but are willing to put in the work, going to training, going to practice, and going and going and going and investing the time, eventually being the best that you can. On average, they’re less talented than the fortunate, given ones, and some of them make it and they become huge, but the majority, they have to work for it. And you have to invest time, invest time in yourself, learning, I’m learning every week. It’s one of the reasons why I’m not doing like a production masterclass, because I don’t consider myself a master, the learning never stops.”
And, any last words for the fans?
“Well, the fans have to wait a little bit longer, and I hope it’s all worth it, I do think so. Now is a really good time where you can really catch up with what they’ve been doing in the studio, or pushing out new music, or developing new talent, or finding new talent and sharing it with everybody, or streaming for that matter. But, I really think that eventually there’s an end to all of this misery we’ve been in the past couple of years. I think the end is in sight, it’s coming soon. That’s what I believe, I don’t know if it’s going to be true. But, I think it’s going to be like a gigantic explosion of euphoria that will have a Woodstock type of epicness to it, when you go to the bigger festivals. Like Ultra, EDC, Mysteryland, or Tomorrowland. So, for the people who like electronic music in whatever shape or form, I think everybody’s going to super enjoy that. And, of course, for my sake, I hope I’ll get to be a part of that, as well.”
Check out the latest from Jeffrey Sutorius & ANG, “Sink or Swim” featuring Sarah De Warren, out now on Revealed. Stay tuned for more info on Jeff’s upcoming album and tour dates.