Interview : Behrouz – You can come and be 60 or 21, grab a beer, and listen to the sound with a nice sound system, It’s almost like San Francisco meets Berlin in Miami

Behrouz is the man in charge at “Do Not Sit on the Furniture” a club Based in Miami with a unique vision for electronic dance music. He is a also a busy producer with 2 compilations released on Yoshitoshi, Nervous Records and a high in demand DJ with gigs taking him all over the world. We learned about a man who cried at Burning Man the first time he was performing there and who has gained respect over the years with fans in his hometown of San Francisco and Miami or even Paris…His “Do Not Sit on the Furniture” brand is expanding all the way to BPM Festival in Mexico and the SXM Festival in St Maartin, and of course we wanted to find out why such a funny name for a club. Perhaps some clubs are not about seating on a VIP table but more about enjoying music while dancing.

Miami resident and Decoded Magazine North America writer Emeric Daily sat down with Behrouz recently to ask about the club, his career, and his favourite food!

Hello Behrouz! Thank you for taking the time to speak with us here at Decoded Magazine.You seem to care a lot about acoustic music. Are there any particular artists from the past that are still in your mind today?

Danny Tenaglia. I have learned so much from him, Danny taught me how to play techno. After 20 years of experience it’s something from the past that I look at to be something to the future. His 12+ hours at Vinyl in NYC still stand out as some of the best sets I have ever heard, and they areaways so ahead of the time. He would take you on a journey from the past to the future, which is something I always have kept in mind in my sets as well.

I’ve been going to Burning Man for 10 years; I never intended it to be a place for me to get gigs. Burning Man was more of a place that I wanted to go and experience, and meditate, and it became part of our career because we kept playing music that was lower tempo and people’s minds were wide open, we could experience different things. Call it ‘desert music’, you have to know how to play and what to play. It was amazing because that movement, Burning Man, improved a lot of the scene in the USA and in Europe, and brought in completely different markets of people to listen to dance music which really helped. I am very grateful for that.

Your EP “Endless Summer” is out on Mathew Decay’s All Day I Dream imprint. How did you get into this project?

Again, on one of my Burning Man journeys about four years ago Lee Burridge told me about the label and that he was partnering up with Mathew Dekay. By the way, it was one of his best sets that year. Listening to his set, it was a reflection of what’s going on at Burning Man at the moment, all the  musical strings and watching the sunrise and the sunset that all came together in my head and the idea for Endless Summer: the strings, the pads, everything about it, the samples I used from the vocals, it all came from the Burning Man experience.

“Endless Summer” is your best selling song on Beatport. What kind of an impact has it had on your career?

I’ve had bigger records like ‘Safe from Harm‘ which was a #1 Billboard record. Believe me, I’m not one of those artists who sits in the studio and keeps copying the same elements, doing the same thing, sometimes I’m sad, sometimes I’m happy, it’s more about the experience. When I did ‘What We Do In Life’ it was about my dad who past away, and the line was “What we do in life echoes in eternity” or ‘Be Free’ was the time when I broke up with my girlfriend and I wrote the lyrics with those emotions at the time. So every one of those tracks was special and can still hear it now and it still makes sense. Everyone is different; I also did a track called ‘Lost in Translation’.

I’ve been around for many years, I’ve done most of the big clubs, resident in Iziba for many years, Pacha, DC10, can’t say it has had an impact, but it also rejuvenated me. That’s the key as an artist, you don’t want stay back, you always want to move forward, but then I can use something beautiful from the past that a lot of these new guys don’t know about. So yes it does, it always does have an impact, I don’t really care about that. I care more about what my feeling is as an artist, I always feel like you’re the captain of your own ship, and what drives you. To me, that inspiration comes from Burning Man, and then taking that and doing a residency at Boomers during the summer in Ibiza or playing at Watergate, so it’s great!

You’ve released 2 albums, 5 DJ mixes including a DJ set for Yoshitoshi records, and some +30 remixes. After all of these, how do you stay motivated in the studio? How do you continue to challenge yourself as a producer?

I’ve done 2 CD compilation for Yoshitoshi, One was called “In House we Trust” and the other one was “Yoshitoshi Ibiza” it was when we had a residency in Ibiza with Deep Dish and then I did “Renaissance Frontier” with Yousef, I did the “Pure Behrouz New York” compilation through Nervous records.

How do I keep myself motivated? No ego, that’s the number thing because ego kills creativity and when you think you are the s*it, you never grow, I’ve tried to learn from my surrounding, the people. Always try to travel to see what’s going on, the key to that is still loving music, music is the number one thing.

Is there a collaboration that you are most proud of, like someone you really wished you could work with someday and somehow it just happened?

There are lot people asking me to do something and I haven’t had a chance to do that, in the past I was really busy with DJing doing 80/90 gigs a year. Never had a chance, I got offered to do a lot of stuff but never followed up on it. I don’t know why, it just never happened. But this year I’m planning on doing that, I am doing a remix for Guy Gerber.

I probably will do something with Damian Lazarus, I never had that moment when I said to myself, one day I’m gonna make music with this guy. For those kind of things I’m shy, I’d rather have people ask me than I approach them, I don’t try to sell myself and if they say yes, then we can work on something. I’m gonna do something with Nu from Berlin, if it happens it was meant to be, if it doesn’t happen then it won’t happen. I’d rather do it naturally.

You are involved at WVUM, which is a local FM Radio. How important is it for you to be involved in the local community?

Very important, I moved to Miami 10 years ago from San Francisco and I never intended to open up a club, when I came here I was going crazy because but there wasn’t one place I could go to on the week ends, there were a few places but not that many. I lived here and I told myself, let me contribute, let me give this a chance. The reason I opened Do Not Sit is to contribute to something locally. I want to give to these guys, after working with so many people during all those years.

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I’ve been to your venue Do Not Sit on The Furniture. It sure is a special place! How did you come up with that name?

It’s really funny, I’ve been playing in Miami every year during the Conference since 1995 and played a lot of the clubs, used to have residencies at Space from the 2000s and when I moves here 10 years ago, I was going to this club called Sweet, which used to be called Liquid and at the moment it’s called Trade.

When I walked into the club to do sound check in the afternoon that couch is in the middle of the dance floor, I asked the sound technician. “Are you guys gonna move these couches?” He goes “No we’re not”. I told him “That’s the dance floor, you already have couches around.” He said, “No we put it over here because it packs the dancefloor and we sell bottles, people like this.

I was really upset because I thought these guys killed the dancefloor. When I openned up this club, I wanted to make sure to give to people something that’s funny and people remember it and people say Do Not Sit on The Furniture, a place for people to come to dance, not to sit down in the middle of the dance floor, it kills the whole aspect and culture of what we do as a DJ. That’s how I came up with the name. Sometimes you go to clubs and there is no place, no dance floors, and now by doing what we do we are sending a message and now they are opening the dance floors, you know so they are making room for that.

This venue has become an iconic place for the Underground Dance Music scene in Miami. Tell us the kind of feel you want people to have when they visit your club?

I wanted to create something since I am from San Francisco, I want to create something different. Outside Do Not Sit it is very broken down, you can’t tell nothing. You come in you see a lot of texture; I want to do something that if I have to invite my friends from Europe and I take them to the place, then I am not embarrassed. Also I wanted to create something that’s more about the sound, the vibe, and the music than anything else.

You can come and be 60 or 21, grab a beer, and listen to the sound with a nice sound system, It’s almost like San Francisco meets Berlin in Miami. I wanted to create a nice plateform to encourage young producers from here to do something nice, give them a nice room to play, something for people by the people, I am part of that, I am not a hedge found guy, this is all my own investment, my sweat, giving something to these people.

The concept of Do Not Sit, is a brand that I am building, if feel that every city needs a Do Not Sit, it is more like MTV unplugged. Here you would see Richie Hawtin who would get to play for a small room of 100 person, which happened during Art Basel, you would see Seth Troxler, Guy Gerber or a lot of these guys. Because a lot of us play in that big room big room big room, then the sound changes and it doesn’t have that soul anymore. It’s more about playing at peek time, you have to kill it. It’s great for DJs also to play in a small room like this, so they can go back to play what they really used to love to play.

Are there any DJs who played Do Not Sit that you are particularly proud of?

Many of them, every DJ that we book over here is a DJ that I like. Some of them come from the past, some of them are way into the future, because competitively I had to think outside of the box. A lot of the big DJs are offered more money at other venues, which we can’t do because we’re a smaller room and to me what I did is invest into the future, I brought DJs nobody knew and tried to build them up in this town, that was my goal and it’s working! These are DJs like me that play out of passion and the love of music, and not for the $$.

Every time we bring them, we have more people. I always want to be more creative. Unfortunately in Miami every time the competition sees something works, someone always want to copy it, but I am the opposite. Everyone we bring over here is special to me. When I moved here, I told all the club owners, I am not here to compete with you guys, I want to offer something different.

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I saw a video of you performing in Mexico during BPM, it looked great! I believe you were involved in several events including a Do Not Sit Showcase, can you tell me about that? How was it?

We started the Do Not Sit showcases 3 years ago when I open up the club, last 2 years I had the Romanian DJs like Rhadoo and Raresh, this year we did something a little different, I had Cassy and Maxi Storrs playing with us. It was more low key so next year we’ll take it to another level. This year, was in Santanara, it was great, it went really well. The second show I had was for Listed, also at the event was at Santanara with my homies from the West coast, Doc Martin and Halo from Hipp-E & Halo, and it was so much fun because we were all going b2b.

The third show I did was at Rumors on the beach at Martina beach, with me, Guy Gerber, Bob Moses and Chaim, that was fantastic. I did a little tribute to David Bowie, which worked out really well. I did my thing, now I’m looking forward to the next festival coming in the Carribean, SX Festival. I am also doing a showcase for that as well.

You often play at Wall at the W Hotel in South beach. What do you prefer, the high-end feel at Wall or the relaxed environment at Do Not Sit?

It’s funny because if you go to Detroit for Movement Festival, they always throw parties at places they never do and it gets special. The guys from Wall I know them and that’s the only time of the year I only do it during Art Basel and Winter Music Conference. It is our 6th year, Behrouz & Friends. It is a brand I created a long time ago before anybody was doing “anything friends” 7th year, it’s been working. Again these guys are my friends that I invite to play with me, its not about me. This year I have invited Dubfire and Bedouin to play with me on Monday, March 14th.

Let’s just have fun and enjoy this moment. People come, you get the models and bottles and you get the club kids, everyone mixes in a different environment, it works, I enjoy working with the guys, Karim and Nicolas. They’re good people. Do Not sit is my baby, playing here is completely different. Here I can write a book, as far as how much I love it, what I can do with the sound, the music, both are special in their own way.

In your opinion, which country has the best food?

It’s hard to say these days, it depends on the restaurant, I like some of the healthy stuff, but where? I like Java Juice down here. It’s a world food… man, it’s a hard question (laughs) I like Cuban food, but it’s not the one I love you know.

In case there is anything that we may have missed, is there anything else you would like to share with your fans?

It’s what I do at Do Not Sit, we’re growing a brand, we’re taking it on tours, a few shows around the US, a few outside the US in Greece, Italy, Spain, The UK, and hopefully in Ibiza, always pushing the boundaries and always from the heart.