TuneAttic: find music, know music
TuneAttic: find music, know music
TuneAttic: find music, know music
TuneAttic: find music, know music
TuneAttic: find music, know music
TuneAttic: find music, know music

Sasha is a pioneering British progressive DJ and producer.  He has been voted as one of the world’s top ten DJs by DJMag readers every year since 1997 and remixes for the likes of Madonna and the Chemical Brothers.  Perhaps best known for his long term association with John Digweed, Sasha is one of the most influential DJs dance music has known. 

Sasha scales of success
Sasha timeline


(Deconstruction 1999)
'Renaissance: The Mix Collection'
(Renaissance 1994)
Residency at

Early Years: 1992 to 2001

Sasha started out as an acid house DJ in the north west England in the late 1980’s, playing at illegal warehouse raves around Blackpool and Blackburn in Lancashire.  These performances led to a residency at the Hacienda in Manchester, which at the time was arguably the most influential club in UK dance music.

In 1990 Sasha swapped his residency at the Hacienda for one at Shelley’s in Stoke-on-Trent where he began to forge a style that fused elements of house and trance.  It was during this period that Sasha released his first single ‘Appolonia’ (Union City Recordings 1992).  Despite its upfront Italian-House style piano riff ‘Appolonia’ has the complexity of arrangement and intricate effects and percussion that would become the trademark of Sasha’s future productions.

In 1993 Sasha became resident at Geoff Oakes’ Renaissance.  It was a career defining move.  By this stage his reputation was firmly on the up with magazine cover appearances.  Instead of accepting offers from London clubs Sasha opted for the new night in the north of England that strove to bring a focus on quality to the UK club scene.  Sasha further evolved his sound in his residency and in doing so helped shape Renaissances’ musical identify.    

Later in 1993 Sasha received a demo tape from a young DJ called John Digweed.  Sasha gave him a slot off the back of the demo and so began one of the longest running partnerships in dance music.  The two were kindred musical spirits whose styles were similar but also distinct enough to complement each other.  In 1994 they mixed the legendary mixed compilation ‘Renaissance: The Mix Collection’ (Renaissance 1994).

Over the next few years Sasha’s career went from up-and-coming UK DJ to international superstar.  Part of his success during this period was due to the dance music boom and rise of the superclub, with Sas ha becoming one of the poster boys of dance music.  But mainly it accompanied a peak in creative output as a DJ and as a producer. 

1996 was a pivotal year, including the first of the ‘Northern Exposure’ (Ministry Of Sound 1996) compilation series with John Digweed.  The series championed the progressive trance sound that the pair were pioneering in DJ sets across the globe.  A couple of years later many mainstream DJs would jump on the progressive bandwagon as a reaction to the increasingly commercial influence in mainstream trance.  But whereas these latter DJs were reactionaries, making a musical statement that resulted in an often dull and self-indulgent strand of progressive, for Sasha and Digweed their understated, complex sound was their true musical identity.

Also in 1996 Sasha released ‘Ohmna’ (Deconstruction 1996) and the vocal trance track ‘Be As One' (Deconstruction 1996).  Both tracks combine intricate melody with complex arrangement and carefully constructed soundscapes, creating the ethereal sound that was becoming increasingly associated with Renaissance.

Three years later Sasha released the Xpander E.P. (Deconstruction 1999).  The lead track ‘Xpander’ immediately established itself as one of the all-time trance tracks with its haunting melody, sweeping lead lines and arpeggios, and characteristically complex arrangement that leads the listener on an acoustic journey.

As the late nineties progressed Sasha remained at the top of his game, and along with erstwhile partner Digweed had even begun to break the elusive American market, most notably with a long running residency at the legendary New York club Twilo where the pair would play for the entire duration of the night.  But as the decade came to a close momentum began to slow.  The pair’s third Northern Exposure compilation ‘Northern Exposure: Expeditions’ (INCredible 1999) received mixed reviews.  Also, the superclub backlash was in full effect and Sasha’s strong association with the era saw him often portrayed as part of the problem of over commercialization of dance music. 

In 2000, after releasing ‘Schorcio’, his collaboration with Underworld’s Darren Emerson, Sasha closed his record label Excession records that he’d launched in 1997.  By May 2001 Twilo had succumbed to the superclub backlash and closed.

'Wavy Gravy' (Arista 2002)
(Global Underground Ltd. 2004)
Winter Music Conference 2008, Miami
Later Years: 2002 to present

Following Twilo’s closure Sasha and Digweed toured the US in 2002 with the Delta Heavy Tour.  The tour took in 31 cities and 85,000 people but was the last collaboration between Sasha and Digweed for four years.  Later in 2002 Sasha released his debut original artist album ‘Airdrawndagger’ (Arista 2002) which he produced with Junkie XL and Spooky’s Charlie May. ‘Airdrawndagger’ caught many by surprise with its rich ambient melodic textures instead of the progressive trance of Sasha’s mix compilations and DJ sets.  The album includes beautifully crafted melodies such as ‘Mr Tiddles’ that defies categorization as either trance or ambient.

In 2004 Sasha released ‘Involver’ (Global Underground Ltd.  2004), an album which blurred the boundaries between an original artist album and a mix compilation, to such an extent that the Grammy voting committee  discussed at length how it should be categorized for a potential nomination.  Sasha entirely reworked other artists’ tracks for the album, including his Grammy nominated remix of Felix da Housecat's ‘Watching Cars Go By’.

In 2007 Sasha released a film score ‘New Emissions Of Light And Sound’ (Globe 2007) for the surf film of the same name. The following year he teamed up with John Digweed again for an American tour, kicking off with a gig at the Winter Music Conference in Miami – a gig they have done every year since.  Later the same year Sasha released ‘The emFire Collection: Mixed, Unmixed & Remixed’ (emFire 2008), a collection of remixes of his tracks issued on the emFire label which he set up in 2007.

Sasha’s influential on dance music cannot be overstated.  Right from his early pioneering Renaissance sets and throughout his collaborations with John Digweed, Sasha helped create, shape and define progressive dance music in a way that continues to straddle the house and trance spectrum. Though best known as a DJ his highly skilled production skills have resulted in a number landmark productions, most notably ‘Xpander’.  Though less influential than during his late nineties peak Sasha remains an important figure in electronic dance music.

Sasha was a reluctant piano student as a child with his  stepmother insisting on him taking piano lessons.  Sasha lives in New York City but also has a house in London and he often takes his wife with him tours.