Breaking into the music industry is no easy thing, but the prominent Australian DJ Dragan Roganovic's—better known as Dirty South—wants to do something even harder: break out. Roganovic’s alias is a big name at festivals like Electric Daisy Carnival and Electric Zoo. What he wants is for his real name to carry weight in the film world.
It’s an achievable goal. David Bowie did it. Bob Dylan did it. Still, those guys were Bowie and Dylan respectively. Most of the time, critics pounce on anyone attempting to transition. They savaged Mick Jagger (for a reason) when Freejack came out and Iggy Pop after Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man debuted. When an EDM guy shows up, you know they’re going to have their claws sharpened.
“It’s like when an actor tries to become a singer,” he laughs. “I got a lot of the same problems. People aren’t taken seriously. But you just don’t know until you see the final product.”
Roganovic didn’t take much crap earlier this week, when the 35-year-old’s directing, acting, and writing debut hit iTunes. With You, a project that took four months to complete, centers on a teenage love story, focusing on the pain of adolescence and the (presumably) even bigger pain of being from another planet. The soundtrack is better than the narrative, but the film is original and worth watching. There is clearly more to come.
“The concept is pretty much identical,” he explains, referring to the similarities between making a film and making an album. “But, I think I can speak personally on this, when I make music, its me with one other person and then I finish it on my own. Making a movie, it was about 40 people. Making a film is much more intense than making an album.”
While Roganovic wasn’t completely winging it—an experienced team of directors, actors, and producers aided him during the operation—he admits that he learned as he went. Sixteen-hour workdays became the norm. The DJ says he could have made up to three albums in the time he made the film. He’s also open about the fact that the audience for his film is a subset of the audience for his music. The film’s tag line? “See the album, hear the movie.”
It’s a first step, but there are more steps coming.
“I’m used to music,” he explains. “But if I made two or three more films, I would feel more comfortable and confident. I found a new passion but I feel like it’s connected to music. I’m going to keep doing both.”
Photos by Jeff Lombardo / Getty Images