The DJ pair of Sasha and Digweed is synonymous with dance music the world over. Together they have engineered the evolution of house music, trance music and even basic techno styles. How they joined forces is one story, but their individual tales and accomplishments are just as significant.
A Little about Sasha
Sasha was born as Alexander Coe in Bangor, Wales England in 1969. He spent most of his youth in a town called Penarlag. At 17, Sasha began classes at Epsom College, but left early and moved back to Bangor with his dad and stepmom. While living there, his stepmother forced him to take piano lessons, which he hated. Later, however, this would prove extremely relevant to his music career.
Through his early years, his main musical influence was surprisingly top forty and pop music. In 1988 at the age of 19, he discovered a genre known as acid house music and fell in love with it. He purchased dozens of acid house records and began to teach himself to mix. He ran close to broke and started working raves.
Sasha then began learning new techniques like beat matching and key mixing. He mastered these in short order.
A Little about Digweed
The fellow we all know as Digweed was born Thomas John Digweed on New Year’s Day 1967 in Hastings England.
Not a whole lot is recorded on Digweed’s history, but we do know that he began DJing at the young age of thirteen. After many years of mixing, DJing and playing at raves and parties, he took a gig at the Renaissance Club in 1993. Sasha heard his demo and the duo was born.
Sasha & Digweed
Now that these two powerhouses were together, what would they do? Each had a select set of skills to add to their music. They focused on developing their selection of tracks and mixing techniques that whole first year. Then, in 1994, the duo released their first mix CD called Renaissance: the Mix Collection. They had gotten themselves signed to Renaissance Records, an all trance label.
Two years later, in 1996, the release of Northern Exposure skyrocketed the dynamic DJ duo to super stardom. This album was produced by the world renowned record label, Ministry of Lights. The following year was a big one for Sasha & Digweed as their ’96 album Northern Exposure was released in the United States AND they released Northern Exposure 2 in the UK and Europe.
The international tour that ensued was amazing. Throughout the middle and late 90’s, Sasha & Digweed’s powerful mix style and DJ techniques helped to shape the techno, trance and progressive house genres. In essence, this movement brought the rave music of Europe to North America for the first time ever and it was received with welcome, open arms.
In 1998, both DJs released solo works on the Boxed label’s notorious Global Underground series. Around this same time, Sasha & Digweed began a regular stint at the Twilo club in New York City. They also toured the United States heavily and released another mix album, Communicate, in 2000.
The Delta Heavy tour in 2002 was the last collaborative effort as a pair for six years. They have appeared together on occasion, but no new releases have been in the works. In 2008, Sasha & Digweed announced a second North American tour as a duo. The remastered version of their original Renaissance: The Mix Collection was released in 2004, though.
As a pair, Sasha and John Digweed have been as instrumental to the development of their genre(s) as Metallica has been to heavy metal or Cat Stevens was to folk music. Their complete devotion to trance music, techno, and progressive house has been unflinching. The pair continues to wow crowds everywhere they go and fans of their style of mixing and beat matching and beat management clamber to see these two perform live.
So when you hear anything about trance or rave music, you can bet that these two blokes from England had a hand in it somewhere. Sasha and Digweed’s influence is widespread and has been seen in bands like Linkin Park who blended mix style, DJ beat management and rock music very successfully. Also, a few years back, Christian band DC Talk did the same in their genre with Sasha & Digweed to thank for the idea.