Feature photo: Jeffrey Delannoy
By John HoodAAsheville, North Carolina might be the last place you’d think to meet a superstar DJ such as Sasha, especially if you’re from Miami, where he headlines everywhere from LIV, Mansion and Story to, of course, Ultra. But Asheville happens to be the town where synthesizer inventor (and theremin peddler) Robert Moog spent the last three-plus decades of his life, where the wizard’s eponymous Factory and Shop continue to crank out his wily gadgets, and also where his acolytes host a most robust electronic confab known as Moogfest.
Yes, as you by now have guessed, Sasha was indeed one of Moogfest 2014’s more revered guests, so ADANAI made a point of chatting him up about the haunting (and haunted) hamlet up in the Smoky Mountains and the heroes who’ve come to herald its most famous racket-maker.
ADANAI: First, do you know the whole story about F. Scott Fitzgerald in Asheville?
SASHA: No, do tell.
Word is he came here to take what was called “the beer cure,” which was supposed to rid him of his need for gin.
The beer cure? I bet it didn’t work.
You’re right, it didn’t. That’s like taking morphine to kick heroin.
Fitzgerald’s wife Zelda apparently wasn’t doin’ too well either (as usual), so they had her committed to Highland Hospital, where she eventually perished in a fire.
She died here?
She did. But long after Fitzgerald had died out in California. Anyway, he stayed at this stone fortress called The Grove Park Inn, which is haunted by the ghost of a woman who jumped to her death from the 5th floor.
Yep. When checking in I told the front desk clerk I couldn’t wait to meet the Pink Lady. ‘Would you like that room.’ she asked me. I said I only wanted to meet The Pink Lady, not sleep with her!
I lived in the Chelsea Hotel for a couple years, so I’m very familiar with ghosts. I also know enough not to get too intimate with them.
Is the Chelsea really haunted?
It is. Every floor has some kinda something lurking about.
Wow. I was just at The White Horse Tavern where [infamous Chelsea resident] Dylan Thomas hung out; that’s supposed to be haunted too. Though when I was there it was filled with a load of Welsh people.
Why were they there? For Thomas?
They were shooting something for the BBC; I’m not sure what.
I love that place. Has it changed much?
They’ve added a jukebox, but other than that the old place seems the same.
Oh really? They’ve finally entered the 20th century?
Speaking of 20th century sound, is it true you toured with [Moogfest headliner] Kraftwerk?
Not as their DJ, but on tour with them, yes.
Like following ’em around?
(Laughs) No, a lot of these electronic music tours will book the same big acts for the main stage — like say in Australia, there’ll be an electronic music festival touring the country and we’ll both play all the dates. I think I’ve seen them live more than any other band.
The influence that Kraftwerk and Giorgio Moroder [another Moogfest guest] have had on what’s become the soundtrack to our lives goes just beyond. The kids making music these days have no idea — they were revolutionary.