Sasha: re-Fracted (live) at the Barbican
20th and 21st May (sold out)
Sasha’s first ever live performance, and at the prestigious Barbican, London, on 20/21 May 2017 has his fans at fever pitch of anticipation. The second show was added after the first sold out in mere minutes, becoming one of the fastest selling events of its kind at the venue. He will deliver a highly anticipated special performance of his latest album Scene Delete as well as a reinterpretation of previous tracks and will be premiering some exciting new material.
In re:Fracted Sasha performs live on piano and electronics, alongside an 8-piece string section, an orchestral percussionist and guest vocalists, as well as his core production team (long-time collaborators Charlie May/Spooky, Dennis White/Thermal Bear, and Dave Gardner), giving an entirely new perspective on his music, re-imagined for the concert hall in a wholly immersive experience.
Scene Delete, out in 2016 on long-established label Late Night Tales, already saw the seminal UK producer-DJ take an audacious musical left turn.
‘If I don’t have a challenge in front of me, something in my life that’s really all-consuming, then I can get quite restless. I love a challenge like this; it’s the kind of thing I thrive on. But at the same time, this is a big mountain to climb, it’s a massive undertaking that I’ve set myself.’
Scene Delete will be condensed and reworked, making it punchier and more dramatic for the live setting. Some tracks will be extended or morphed together, while others will be kept close to the original. There will also be some exciting new material for audiences to hear for the first time. The second half will feature performances of some classic tracks, though as Sasha admits himself: ‘I never really thought this music would work outside of the club environment – but once we started pulling some of the older stuff apart, we were pleasantly surprised. These music hooks I’d written so many years ago actually really work in this new environment, so I’m really excited to see how it turns out.’
Sasha has committed to an intense personal journey: deconstructing his own music and artistic identity, taking up the piano again and learning music theory. Amidst his enduringly relentless touring schedule, he’s been regularly up at 5am to Skype with his music teacher in Australia, diligently working on his parts.
‘When DJing I can usually disconnect and turn the noise off from inside my head just by zoning out to the music. But the thing about performing on the piano is that you need to be very, very laser-sharp focused on your method and the technical side of things. So it’s almost like two opposite ends of the spectrum. I’ve never played piano in front of people before, so this is a massive step for me.’
So the challenge has been a psychological as much as a technical one, for a music industry titan long used to playing to crowds of tens of thousands. It has completely changed his approach to performing and writing music – which he confesses will never be the same again.
‘Maybe if the first live thing I’d taken on was more of a club event I might have approached it in a different way, maybe an easier way; but the fact that it’s the Barbican and having seen someone like Nils Frahm perform there and blow me away, I felt like I had to do it in a way that would honour the venue.’