It’s been just over 5 years since of the release of his unanimously lauded debut album, Theory of Colours, but that doesn’t mean Dauwd Al Hilali (known mononymously as Dauwd) has been resting on his laurels. He’s just released another smash of an EP on his own label, Psssh, continues to co-helm the berlin based party African Acid Is The Future, and is prepping a whole new live show for this year’s MUTEK. Dauwd was kind enough to sit with us and answer a few questions about the projects he’s been working on and his excitement about the upcoming performance. It turns out that after nearly a decade, Dauwd shows no signs of slowing down…
>Be sure to catch him on Nocturne 4 with Koreless, Loraine James, Afriqua, and more…
Congratulations on the recent release of the Psssh 003! I believe this is the final EP in a trilogy of EPs kicking off the label — how does it feel to let this latest installment loose for the world to hear?
Many thanks, it feels good! Much like having released an album, but without all the fanfare. If you put the tracks together they would make an album, but I think it was nice to give the tracks their own lives this way. It’s not the season finale yet though so stay tuned…
It’s been almost a decade (in some cases over!) since your first records on labels like Pictures and Kompakt; has creating and releasing through Psssh been a freeing experience compared to those outings?
Absolutely, I often ask myself why I never did it sooner. At the same time, I learned alot from having worked with all of those labels in the past, and each one has brought a new audience and dimension to my music. I look forward to invest much of my energy of the next coming years into developing Psssh, and everything I have done in the past lends itself to this future.
Most recently, new and longtime fans alike have been able to catch you at events through African Acid Is The Future; in what ways has that project evolved since you first got involved?
When meeting Maryisonacid around 7 years ago and becoming part of her project, it was a very humbling experience. The vibe, the sound, the approach of presenting a party was so different to what I was familiar with before, but at the same so exciting that it changed everything for me. I had just released a 3rd EP on Kompakt and touring life at the time was very much drawn to that world, but AAITF was something very different and the two worlds could not exist in parallel for me. The project is very much the same since I joined all those years ago; we have experienced a lot, and traveled further than we could have imagined, but the philosophy is the same.
There’s a lot of rumblings across music journalism of a sameness or flattening within larger dance acts. Your output seems to work hard to counter that narrative; do you have any advice for discouraged artists looking for inspiration?
My advice to those who find themselves discouraged by this climate you are describing, would be to observe exactly what it is that seems to be flattened with sameness and avoid. ‘Do you’, if you are honest with yourself the likelihood of that being the same as the others is very slim. I think much of this sameness and flattening is existing in the mainstream, and that tends to dominate our screens, and then dictates trends. But, there are other worlds to occupy and exist in.
What has the process been like preparing for MUTEK this year? Lots of folks are excited about the new live show ‘debuting’ at the event.
I’m super excited to present the live show. It’s very much a presentation of the current Psssh records sound. With reinterpreted ideas of the past releases, with some tracks that will only exist in this live show. It’s a simple set up: drum machine, sampler, FX, Synths… It’s definitely one for dancing! It’s taken some months to get her into shape but I’m really happy where it is. I wanted it to sound good in the sound system, so a lot of time was dedicated to getting that right too.
Can you share anything about what’s next for Psssh on the heels of the completed triptych? It seems like an amazing platform for both new and established artists in your orbit.
I can’t say too much tbh. What I can say is that the triptych isnt quite over, you can extrapolate the rest of the info there yourself… And then after that all I can say is that there will be a lot of collaborative works coming through. A lot!
Can you share a bit about projects (music or otherwise) on the periphery of electronic music that you’ve been finding exciting at the moment?
I’m enjoying how tempo in popular dance music is moving up at the moment. One thing I learned from AAITF parties is that tempo is a tool not a road. There was a period of techno from late 90s to early 00s that was fast paced, very groovy, and percussive… referred to as ‘tribal techno’ (altho I’m not so into this name) there seems to be a resurgence at the moment. I think the modern stuff is missing something but I like the intention, as this sound and groove really has a sense of humor (even with the darker moodier bits) and I’m up for that. For the ‘otherwise’ part, I’ve been watching a lot of UFO videos online, I think it’s getting quite popular these days.
Interview by Dan