EDMTunes Interview: Aly & Fila

Aly & Fila

2013 has been a special year for Aly & Fila.  They’re celebrating their release of a 3-year album project, “Quiet Storm.”  They completed their 300th episode of their long standing podcast, Future Sound of Egypt.  Fila (aka Fadi Wassef Naguib) has been on a festival tear.  They’re picking up new artists left and right for their label, single handedly carrying Egypt further and further into the limelight as an EDM powerhouse.  Oh, and they were just named to the top 20 of the DJ Mag top 100 for the second year in a row.

Good year?  More like best year ever.

Trance often finds itself split amongst many styles and sub-genres.  Many are “afriad of 138.”  Of those who aren’t, few are in the realm of a “beautiful 138.”  The result is a high energy, uplifting trance sound that has the ability to bring you to happy tears, while at the same time inspiring you to rage your face off.  Anyone watching a show replay on mute would be confused.  If you’ve had the honor of seeing Aly & Fila live, you know.

Although not as commonly known, Aly is unable to travel because of a medical condition, so Fadi does a majority of the tour stops. Although Aly was not present, he was surely missed.  Prior to Fadi performing Aly & Fila’s set at TomorrowWorld, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Fadi to talk about their accomplishments, touring, and what’s next for the duo.  One of the nicest and most humble artists I’ve ever had the pleasure of speaking with, here’s what he had to say.

1.) Your new song and Future Sound of Egypt anthem, “The Journey,” combines your talents with Fady and Mina, how did you go about choosing them as collaborators?

“We signed them a year ago to our label, and our label is called Future Sound of Egypt.  We found that they’re a really big talent from Egypt.  For us it’s great to show Egypt’s talents to the rest of the world.  Before we started FSOE, we had a hard time to get signed to other labels, and to get someone to lead us, and tell us what to do.  So we want to give this back to the new artists, and they will be a big talent in the future.  That’s why we show them.  Last year, we did the anthem with Bjorn Atkinson.  This year we have Fady and Mina.  Next year, we will choose someone else from Future Sound of Egypt.”

2.) What unique specialties to you believe that you bring to the duo (Fadi)?  What about Aly?

“Music-wise, I’m pretty good in the studio.  Aly is amazing in the studio.  We both work together in a very clever way.  We’re both producers.  So we split the work, and make it happen in a short time.  We finish production really quickly, and it’s easy for us.  When we work on an album, I come up with six ideas, Aly comes up with six ideas, and then we work together to finish them, which makes it easier for us.  It’s so much better than a single artist.  For me, I also do a lot of the Djing around the world, because Aly has the issue with his ear.  I’m trying my best to become a better DJ every year.  Every year, I learn more and think every year I become a better DJ.”

3.) So is he taking the lead on the producing because you are touring so heavily?

“It’s not about that.  We share the production, completely 50/50.  For sure Aly is in the studio more than me because I am touring on the weekend.  Sometimes, he gets more ideas than me.  If I like some of the ideas, I start working on them and finish it.”

4.) Quiet Storm is packed with a number of tracks that have satisfied both your old and new fans.  If you could pick one track that excited you the most before releasing the album, what would that have been and why?

“Exactly, that is what we were hoping for.  ‘First Sun,’ when we were working on this track, we were like ‘Wow this melody is going to stay for a long time,’ for the crowds.  We got a lot of great feedback about it.  I cannot say just one track though, because this album is very special for us.  We worked for 3 years on it.  I’m very proud of it as a product.”

5.) You recently completed celebrations for FSOE300, I’m interested in hearing more about the music scene in some places we don’t hear that many DJs visit, like Cairo and Prague, what were those scenes like?

“They are missing a lot to be honest.  It’s amazing there.  In Prague, Mexico, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Cairo.  The people appreciate the artists, and love the music so much.  When they see artists are coming there, they are so hyped for it.  You find that even a month before they are already excited about it.  You feel the energy from the crowd and it’s completely crazy.”

6.) So, how do the outfits of the American culture compare to what you’ve seen abroad?

“(Laughs) Well its different, with the American festivals and the raves, they like to wear all this colorful stuff.  The best part is that everywhere has its own ‘thing.’  This I like.  I like it.  I respect it and I admire it.  It’s a different atmosphere.  People aren’t attempting to imitate other cultures.  Every country has its own vibe and its own atmosphere.  It makes it very special for the DJ.”

7.) With a lot of DJs coming from the Netherlands and Sweden, you have the biggest representation from Egypt.  Do you feel like this gives you any kind of unique edge?

“That’s for sure.  One of our biggest keys of success, it’s where we are coming from.  When someone from America says, “oh where are these DJs from.  Wow those DJ’s are from Egypt.”  That’s kind of strange.  That’s cool.”  It gives us this edge.  It’s weird, and it’s different, and it’s nice, and with the history of Egypt with the Pharaohs.  It gives us this mysterious feeling.  I think it has helped us.”

8.) Where have you not played, that you’re really hoping becomes an opportunity in the future?

“Tokyo, I’ve never played there.  It is one place I would love to visit.  Even if I’m not DJing, I want to see it.  Everyone talks about Tokyo, like “wow, wow, we have to see it.” I absolutely have to see it.”

9.) What is one question, you wish someone would ask you, that you haven’t ever been asked?

“It’s a very simple question, but nobody has ever asked.  Who do you most like to do B2B sets with?  It’s John O’Callaghan.  I only do B2B sets with John, except for Full-On where I do 15 minutes with Ferry.  John and I do an amazing 3 hour sets together.”

John & Fadi

10.) Is it difficult to manage your styles back and forth?

“John and I are very close.  Our styles work very well together.  I’m more into the melodic side, and he’s more into the banging stuff.  Together our styles make an amazing combination.”