Initially pigeon-holed as deep-house producers though their blueprint for house music sweeps across trance, techno, and sub-basement dub, the Iranian-American duo known as Deep Dish produced a multitude of club staples during the 1990s while harvesting a stellar series of productions for their labels (Deep Dish, Yoshitoshi, Fast Food, and Middle East) by members of the ever-growing Washington, D.C. dance community. While most of Dubfire and Sharam’s productions have the epic, grandiose feeling that ties many a house track to its disco forebear, the duo’s knack for tight programming and genre-blending have carried them above many of their dance-chart compatriots.
Both Ali “Dubfire” Shirazinia and Sharam Tayebi were born in Iran, though their paths first crossed at a 1991 dance event in Washington, D.C.; both were immersed in the local DJ scene and working part-time at retail jobs they hated. They set up Deep Dish Records in 1992 and debuted with the production “A Feeling” by Moods. In 1993, an old schoolmate of Ali’s named Brian Transeau recorded “A Moment of Truth” and “Relativity” for the label; both singles spread the Deep Dish message on dancefloors, and a link with Detroit producer Carl Craig (with whom they swapped mixes) helped the pair’s street credibility. By 1994, Dubfire and Sharam were ruling as kings of the D.C. house scene, and had set up the sub-label Yoshitoshi for releases by like-minded compatriots Submarine, Satori, Alcatraz, and Hani. That same year, DJ legend Danny Tenaglia convinced Tribal UK Records to sign Deep Dish for its new Tribal America subsidiary, and the duo hit the dance charts with productions like “High Frequency” and “Casa de X.” Deep Dish also made their full-length mix debut in 1995, taking charge of compilations for Tribal America (Penetrate Deeper) and Slip’N’Slide (Undisputed).
The 1995 single “Hideaway” by De’lacy practically made Deep Dish’s career on a commercial and mainstream-dance level; their remix stormed the pop charts and earned them boatloads of additional remix work for Michael Jackson, Tina Turner, Janet Jackson, Pet Shop Boys, Kristine W., Everything But the Girl, the Beloved and the Shamen — Deep Dish even reworked Brian Transeau’s collaboration with Tori Amos, “Blue Skies.” Dubfire and Sharam added to their mix-album résumé with another Tribal America collection (1996’s In House We Trust) plus one for Deconstruction (Cream Separates) one year later. Just when Deep Dish appeared to be content with releasing a mix album or two each year, the duo recorded their proper studio debut, Junk Science, in 1998. Resuming the schedule, Deep Dish released mix sets in consecutive years: Yoshiesque, Renaissance Ibiza, and a second Yoshieque by 2001.
2001 also saw the duo earn their first “Remixer of the Year” Grammy nomination for their work on Madonna’s “Music” and Amber’s “Sexual (La Da Di)”. A remix of Dido’s “Thank You” won them the Grammy a year later, the same year their Global Underground: Moscow mix-CD won the Dancestar USA’s “Best Compilation” award. A third volume of Yoshiesque followed in 2003 along with three different editions of Global Underground: Toronto, one with the duo spinning together and one solo set each from Dubfire and Sharam. ~ John Bush, Rovi