The average American might not have heard of Dirty Vegas, but it's likely he or she is familiar with at least one track from the Grammy-winning British house-music trio. The mesmerizing hit "Days Go By" took the world by storm after being featured in a commercial for the Mitsubishi Eclipse (remember the funky chick dancing with her seat belt?). Well, after a break, Dirty Vegas is back with a new album, "Electric Love," and new gigs at this year's Winter Music Conference in Miami. Singer Steve Smith talked to Miami.com about the group's wild ride.
Are you excited to get back to Miami?
I'm in minus-5 degrees here in Massachusetts right now. It's bad. So for more reasons than one, I must say yeah. We're definitely excited - it just seems to be a really good time for us at the moment. The record's coming, and shows are coming in, and it's nice to be doing it again.
So you're performing Thursday night at the Setai - what can we expect from the show?
The party at the Setai - Winter Music Conference has always been something that we've attended and respected and stuff, and our event that we're playing with our label Thursday night is almost like an intimate celebration of, like, "Look, here we are, we're back, we're about to embark on releasing new music, remixes, everything that goes along with what we've done in the past. We'll be playing exclusive new material and remixes from the new record, and having some fun, basically.
How would you describe the new record? "Electric Love"
I think the title says it - it's fairly electric, there's a lot of energy. We were kind of bursting at the seams to work again and write and record, and there was a lot of energy at that time going into the songs. So it's not just electronic-based - there's guitars, there's percussion, and just a real sense of energy about the whole record.
Are you performing anywhere else during WMC?
Yeah, because we've alwyas come from an electronic background with revolving DJs and revolving musicians, we're playing a special one-off at the Guess store on Thursday, which will be a DJ set and an exclusive acoustic performance.
How about in late March, during Ultra week?
Yes, we also have a very special show that we're really looking forward to, March 24 at the New World Symphony, with a 30-piece orchestra. We've been working with a composer, and so far, because obviously we have to submit the tracks that we're gonna be playing live at the performance - it's just sounding really special, let's just put it that way. And it's not just a DJ performance with an orchestra - it's an experience of the senses. There's gonna be one of the guys from Cirque du Soleil doing the visuals, and just a whole bunch of stuff.
Did you know right away that "Days Go By" was really special?
If I'm honest, no we didn't [laughs]. At the time when "Days Go By" was recorded, there wasn't many vocal dance music tracks around that had that traditional songwriting approach of a verse, bridge and a chorus. And little did we know that once we'd done it, then we started to see a reaction from DJs, and certainly from audiences when we played the track out. But at the very beginning, in the studio, it was great for us, but I don't think anyone expected to see what happened eventually come around.
You guys are British. What inspired the name Dirty Vegas?
Well, when we were young, growing up, America and Americana always just seemed an absolute universe away from rainy, miserable England. And, you know, Dirty Hollywood didn't sound right, and Dirty Manhattan, Dirty South Beach [laughs]. We just came up with that name and it just fit the music we were making, kind of dirty beats to the production, and the name stuck.
You're performing in both early March and later during Ultra week. What do you think of WMC splitting from Ultra?
I think the whole situation there is a shame. It's always been very concentrated in Miami in the past, and everything happens, and I think there's a bit of confusion there.