Vancouver is a very dynamic city that is always growing and its taste is always evolving. One such change the city has seen in recent years is the growing demand for places to dance and listen to electronic music. To accommodate this, a few production companies have risen to the challenge and have managed to put together weeklies at various clubs and successful one-off events. One such of these is You Plus One Events, which was started up by one of Vancouver’s most interesting and prolific DJs, DJ Siavash.
Siavash Ashrafinia was born in Iran and moved to Madrid, Spain at a young age where his interest in music began at age 8. Being raised by two deaf parents, he had never really been exposed to music before, so it was quite a revelation to him. However, he eventually became annoyed with the constant pauses in between songs on records, so once he got a tape recorder, he took matters into his own hands.
“I actually started DJ’ing before I knew what a DJ was. I actually thought for a while I invented DJ’ing and I called it the ‘Non-Stop Mix.’ Eventually I found out there were thousands of people around the world doing this,” says Siavash with a laugh from his apartment in Vancouver. “I would make mix tapes, and what I would do was I would record samples from film bits, like Scarface, or TV, like the jingle from Jeopardy, and before the sample ended, I would start the next song.”
Siavash eventually wound up in Vancouver with his parents. “I wanted to move to the East Coast, or somewhere in Europe, but I do have two deaf parents who I am very close to and need my support. They are amazing people.”
So Siavash decided to make a go at being a DJ in Vancouver and has had resounding success. He also plays Mexico City four times a year, is a resident DJ at an underground club in Guadalajara, Mexico, does yearly tours throughout South America and has toured Europe, Japan and the United States extensively. All of this accomplished through steady DJ gigs in the city for the better part of the last decade.
“This is a touchy subject for me” says Siavash when asked about his thoughts on the electronic music scene in Vancouver. “Let’s just say, Vancouver is a small city, and it reflects on its scene. Don’t get me wrong, the scene is great, but it’s small. We are bringing Richie Hawtin to town and he is playing Celebrities, which is about a 500 person capacity. When I played with Richie Hawtin in Mexico City, he drew 20,000 people. The scale is just not the same”.
With all that being said, Siavash is ecstatic about the reaction his new weekly at Shine Nightclub has received. Called ‘Plus Fridays,’ and put on by his production company You Plus One Events, the event happens every Friday and each week they try to feature at least one touring DJ and at least one local DJ.
“I was waiting for something to come up, and nothing was. So I had to put my foot down. It was a challenge getting it started, but Shine was very helpful. I love the fact that Shine is exploring new avenues and they are just an incredibly good team of people to work with.” says Siavash with an excited jump in his voice. “Our slogan is ‘We Want More House and Techno’ and it’s been pretty effective. We have people chanting it throughout the night. It’s awesome”
Catch DJ Siavash and his You Plus One Events team every Friday at Shine Nightclub for Plus Fridays.
By Joshua EricksonBC, British Columbia