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Interview with Aly & Fila by Shaina Chambers

IMG_4422When I saw Egyptian trance duo Aly & Fila on the main stage of EDC back in 2009, I instantly fell in love with the 140 style that Future Sound of Egypt had to offer. Three and a half years later, I found myself face to face with the opportunity to interview Fadi (Fila) before his gig at Ruby Skye. Fadi is a very sweet and genuine individual with a lot to say about life in general. What he cannot put into words, the music speaks for him. Enjoy!

 

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First of all, we’re so happy to have you back in San Francisco. What is your favorite thing about playing for San Francisco crowds?

It’s always great to be playing here. The crowd is always brilliant and amazing and every time it’s getting better. I think this time is the third time this year playing in San Francisco. Three times this year.. that’s really good. I’m happy that I’m doing a third time. Now it’s Thursday so it’s 18+ so you can get even a different kind of crowd. Like the younger crowd which can’t normally come to my shows, they will be able to come tonight so I’m happy for that.

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Fantastic. 2012 has been a huge year for Aly & Fila. Like you said, this is the third time playing here in San Francisco for the year. What have been a couple of your favorite gigs? Or some of your most memorable moments from this year?

From this year, I have to say.. I can’t choose. To be honest, all the gigs this year were amazing. If I have to choose, one very special one was the back to back set that I did with John O’Callaghan in New York. This was an unbelievable show. People who missed it really missed out because it was really good. And then we’re doing it tomorrow night in Los Angeles at Exchange. We have like.. three hours back to back together. And I hope soon we do it in San Francisco!

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I hope so, too! That would be awesome. Definitely something worth flying back home from Vegas for! So.. what advice do you have for anyone I guess.. trying to make a name for themselves in the industry?

In this industry, it’s kind of difficult right now. It’s either too difficult.. or too easy. Because I see people who do a track and become famous because of one track and that’s it. And a lot of people who are doing really quality stuff.. are stuck. They can’t make it. It depends, you know. If you do something different, and really good, you have a very good chance to become famous or do well in the business or whatever. But it’s a very hard equation actually to do something really different than what it is right now and be successful with it. Very difficult. So you have to work a lot, to be honest.

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Yeah definitely seeing more of that recently. What is the most influential piece of advice that YOU have ever received?

Advice? No one’s ever given me advice! No.. I would say my father always told me “do what you feel. Never do something that you don’t believe in”. That was his advice to me always.

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That’s great advice. Aly & Fila as a duo.. you guys seem to really live by those words. You guys stay true to your sound when everyone else seems to have been transforming theirs to fit more into the commercial sound. I think that’s been a huge part of your success.

I believe in that SO much. I believe that people appreciate us because either they like us or not, but one common thing that can be said about us is that we stick to what we believe in. Either you like it or not. I don’t want to change my style to make other people like me. Why? You know? I have a message.

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Very nice. Good point! Any skills or anything in particular you guys look for when drafting new members to ‘Team 140’ and/or the Future Sound of Egypt label?

We’re always looking for new artists ESPECIALLY for the 140 style, which is what FSOE is really known for. It’s really hard to find someone these days who is really.. fresh. Like this guy from Ukraine called Photographer. He’s doing really amazing stuff. He’s new now, but doing amazing stuff. I’m really looking forward to check what’s coming up with him and maybe (HOPEFULLY) get him to FSOE or something! These kind of people who make these tunes.. it’s different than the other 140 stuff. And that’s what we’re looking for. Not people copying Aly & Fila style. That’s not our best option because we are already there. We want people who do their own thing. We don’t want people to copy us just to release on our label, you know?

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Great advice, good to know! So with this year coming to a close and 2013 right around the corner, what hopes do you have for the coming year? Both personally and also as an artist?

To be honest, seeing what’s happening in Egypt, I hope that very soon it will return to being stable again. The economy is not doing good.  Hope that will be good again, people will be united again (because right now they are more divided).  So I hope this will finish. It’s not the Egypt I’m used to. I’m used to.. very united. This is my most important thing because when this is happening, I will be depressed.. down. Because I live in Egypt, you know? So I get depressed whenever something like that happens. As artists, our goal is to finish (as soon as possible) our new album. Definitely looking forward to that. It’s really good at the moment. It’s nearly done, just need to finalize some stuff: some vocalists, some sound mixing, and then mastering all the stuff. It will take I think two months or something hopefully.

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I see! So when can we expect that album to release?!

April or May. We need some time for promotion and stuff before release.

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Of course! Well I’m VERY excited, really looking forward to that. Lastly, what can we expect from your set tonight?

The set tonight.. I have some new stuff from the album, but I won’t ID it. Ahh.. what else? A lot of new tracks actually. And a lot of classics. Depends how long I will play. Normally I play from 12-2 but I think tonight there is someone closing after me. So hopefully I can push it a bit.

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You can push it. As long as there are still people dancing, they’ll let you keep playing.

Maybe just a half hour. We will see.

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Awesome! That’s all I have for you. I’m really looking forward to your set tonight and thank you so much for the interview!

Thank you so much!

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