Iranian artist Amirali, has received extensive recognition from the world’s top electronic musicians and key media outlets. He has also performed at some of the world’s most prominent venues, including London’s Fabric, Manchester’s Warehouse Project, and Berlin’s Panorama Bar, to name a few; Amirali has even provided an esteemed BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix in the past. Now with an upcoming “PINK” EP on his Dark Matters label, we sat down with him to find out what inspired the new release, and what else he has coming up for the rest of the year…
Hey Amirali, great to chat with you! How has your 2023 been so far?
Thank you; this year has been fantastic; I’ve been working nonstop on new dance materials in my London studio for the past 3 – 4 months. I probably finished about 30 tracks, but I handpicked about 15 of those that I believe are pretty powerful. After working on several avant-garde / leftfield projects in the last few years, it felt natural to return to making dance music. I haven’t been this driven about making dance records in years, and I’m having a great time in the studio. In fact I had missed producing dance music a lot, but I didn’t want to force it until it felt right, and here we are.
How much do you draw on your Iranian heritage when making music? Is it important to show that side?
Of course, I’m naturally influenced by my heritage as well as the music of our neighbours, including Turkey and the Arab countries, but I don’t actively think about it when I’m in the studio or make it my objective to write music influenced by my heritage; it’s just an instinctive reaction that strikes whenever it’s meant to. I’ve lived in and been to many different parts of the world since I was a child, and I’ve been influenced by a wide range of wonderful music. We should appreciate good music despite where it comes from.
Does making tunes relate to how you play as a dj? Is there a back and forth relationship there?
Definitely, and now more than ever, because the dance records I made in and around my first album ‘In Time’ were quite different from what I’ve been making recently, I couldn’t play those tracks in my DJ sets on numerous occasions because they are more “live-dance-music” with my own vocals and different types of instrumentation, and they were more “Pop” oriented than any other genres. However, I’m currently producing my own kind of Techno and House with a dash of Disco, which is something I’ve always wanted to do and am extremely excited about. Even though I make techno and house, I believe my music has a distinct style. I’ve been sending my current works to several DJs I know, and their reply has been that my music is different from anything else out there which is nice to hear I think and encouraging.
What inspired your new ep on your label Dark Matters?
I was heavily inspired by the sound of the late 80s and early 90s while working on ‘PINK’, particularly the Berlin Love Parade era; music and culture that originated in Detroit and NYC and spread throughout Europe served as inspirations for this release. There was something magical about that time period that still gives me a thrill just talking about it.
Where do you start when making a tune, always in the same place on the same key part or somewhere different each time?
It’s different every time; there’s no rulebook. With each project, I plan to try something new that I haven’t done before in order to keep the process fresh and interesting for myself, but it also depends on the genre of music I’m working on.
What gear do you use and does that define your signature sound?
I mostly use analogue synths like the Prophet 6, Voyager, and MS-20, although I recently bought the Super 6, a binaural analog-hybrid synth made in Bristol that I absolutely love. I also use a lot of great plugins, but nothing matches the warm analogue sound, especially when it comes to putting down the foundations of your production. Analogue instruments will add depth to your music, making it three dimensional.
How different is it writing a 12″ vs an album like you did, ‘Trial & Error’ in 2020?
I guess with an album you’re trying to tell a story from beginning to end, there’s a narrative, and it can take a year or two to finish it. [laughs] You can approach an EP the same way though, but I think the process of an album is just longer and it definitely takes you on a deeper level mentally and it’s definitely more painful [laughs].
Do you have any formal music training that you can draw on? Or are you just experimenting when playing synths?
I experiment constantly because I get bored easily, but I’m classically trained in piano, which has obviously helped me a lot during my career.
What else have you got coming up?
After ‘PINK,’ I’m working on another EP that will be released later this summer, as well as a couple of remixes. We’ve released a lot of amazing music on Dark Matters (darkmatters.fm) over the years, which is still my objective to grow, with a focus on discovering and showcasing new talent as well as releasing my own stuff. I’ve also discussed the possibility of launching label showcases in London, and we’re also planning a DJ tour.
Amirali’s “PINK” Ep is out on 31st May on Dark Matters