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[GDD™ INTERVIEW] Motez Celebrates 10 Years In Adelaide & Largest Original Release To Date | Musique Non Stop

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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

[GDD™ INTERVIEW] Motez Celebrates 10 Years In Adelaide & Largest Original Release To Date

Property of Gotta Dance Dirty

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The pathway to stardom wasn’t always been paved for the Baghdad born Motez, but uprooting to Adelaide certainly accelerated his curiosities and access to the dance music culture. With early roots listening to Jean Michel Jarre and an affinity for the abstract and out of the ordinary, Motez shaped his musical belief system on a rejection of predictability. His signature brand of dance music is a proper representation of his talents as a producer intent on leaving his own unique mark on the house music community. Currently celebrating 10 years of living in Adelaide, we recently got the chance to wrack his brain on the current political landscape plaguing Sydney nightclubs, how his tour setup is evolving, and what keeps his creative juices flowing.

GDD™: So you’ve just kicked off a new tour in Australia, you’ve put out your largest original release to date, how has the Tour been going? Are there any similarities between what it’s like touring stateside vs. back home?

Motez: There are a lot of similarities in the crowds in America and Australia but I think the main difference between the two crowds is that in America they tend to be a bit more respectful in many ways. I think that probably has something to do with the legal drinking limit being 21, and I think those 3 years really make a big difference.

One thing that I noticed that doesn’t exist in Australia is that you have super fans in America and I’ve had fans that go nuts for you and follow you everywhere and people that drive miles to come to your show. In Australia we have something called the “Tour Poppy” syndrome which is when people get to a certain level they start saying, “Oh it’s just him” you know, “It’s just whatever.”

GDD™ With all that is currently taking place in Australia and with the lock outs and strict regulations on nightclubs does that make a difference when routing a tour at the moment?

Motez: For me from a touring perspective we didn’t change our plans that much but I feel for people that are just starting out because there’s not much of a scene going on, particularly in Sydney, where much of the uproar is. There is this absolutely horrible politician who is dismantling much of the culture related to dance music in Sydney and introducing lock out laws and curfew laws that make no sense whatsoever. I see, when I travel to Sydney, that the laws have affected it a lot, it hasn’t affected me too much but the overall theme is that you have to feel for everybody and vouch for everybody and kind of stand up for the whole thing regardless of how big you are. When I was first coming up there was a scene for us to participate in and that’s where we got the Flume’s, the Alison Wonderland’s, and I think if they were to be getting their start now it wouldn’t be the same. I think it would have been really difficult for them to establish themselves.

GDD™: So what are some of these policies currently being installed in Sydney and what was the reasoning?

Motez: For example, you can’t buy any alcohol after 10:00 o’clock, no entry after 1:30 AM, and everything needs to shut down by 3:30 AM.

We had a couple of incidences unfortunately where people lost their lives because they got hit by a drunk person and that’s kind of what started this wave of anti-social behavior but at the same time the laws that have been introduced and the behavior by the local government, led by Mike Baird, make no sense. It is so disproportionate and Draconian. There was a wine bar where a Police Officer walked in to tell off the owner for displaying his menu in an anti-social way but it’s just a wine menu you know, it makes no sense.

GDD: So what do you think are some strong next steps to counteract these measures?

We need all of us to standup against what appears to be tyranny. I moved from Iraq to Australia for many reasons, one reason being I wanted to voice my opinion and I don’t want unfairness to happen for no explicit reason. And I find it really hard not to voice my opinion about that, and even though it doesn’t affect directly doesn’t mean I can’t say that something, because something has to give. The scene in Australia was, not that long ago, absolutely amazing, and there are a lot of hubs in Australia that are doing very well but unfortunately the main hub in Australia, Sydney, is not.

GDD™: Well we certainly feel for you and appreciate all the hard work that’s gone into building the Australian scene today. The dance music community wouldn’t be the same without it. Let’s talk a little bit about your new music if you will, I read that funk, and jazz, and swing, had a huge influence on this latest release. Where does all that come from?

Motez: I personally just got a bit annoyed by the predictability and the darkness in dance music these days. It’s almost schizophrenic in a way because you have these chords and break downs that hold an amazing melody and then this drop comes and it’s dark as hell. For me when I listen to house music it’s not necessarily happy, but it’s emotional and sensual, you know, it’s nice on the ear. I wanted to find that in my own music. For example in “Know Me,” and “Like You” I feel like you can hear a lot of my background in listening to soul, and blues, and jazz, and funk, and even some of the more abstract electronica, things other than dance music that I can bring to the four on the flour format I try my best to incorporate.

I saw this video of David Bowie talking about how he made it in the business, and he essentially said “don’t make music for other people, just make music for yourself.” Once you start making music for other people you’re wrong, you need to be just uncomfortable enough and you will see. You gotta have your feet just a little bit off the ground so you can be in the right zone. Once you’re comfortable and predictable it becomes boring and that’s what I’m trying to avoid.

GDD™: So are you going to give yourself some time to sort of, explore this sound on the dance floor and tour a bit? Or are you diving right back in the studio to keep the creative juices flowing?

Motez: Making music for me is a cathartic experience and I can’t, not be making music. The good thing for me when I’m home in Australia is that I can come home and keep making music. Touring over seas unfortunately doesn’t give me the same opportunity but you know, occasionally on the road I’ll be able to make music. For example the Vancouver EP was made on the road in Canada, and same with being in California and being able to produce with Wax Motif. I’m happiest, though, when I’m home in my own studio and writing. That’s my way of expressing myself and I can’t stop it.

GDD™ Would you say a majority of your producing takes place at home? What’s your studio setup like?

Motez: Yes definitely, I’ve got a studio that doesn’t necessarily have a lot of gear (which in my opinion I think is a good thing) it just has a couple keyboards, a really old early 80’s mixer and that’s pretty much it. It’s a nice little zone for me to do my thing.

Motez in Brisbane on his Australian Tour shot by: BCS Imaging

Motez in Brisbane on his Australian Tour shot by: BCS Imaging

GDD™: Nice! That’s awesome. I heard that you’ve been incorporating these keyboards into your current Australian tour. What is the thought process in making a decision like that? Do you feel any pressure to evolve your set into a live set?

Motez: Yeah I’ve actually been able to incorporate both keyboards into this Australian leg and the people at Roland have been very, very nice to me and have helped sponsor me. Which is amazing to be sponsored by a company like Roland. It’s actually been so amazing to play live and to have people see this more authentic side to ‘Tez. It kind of goes back to me wanting to avoid being predictable and I think it’s more because I grew up playing keys and making music, not DJ’ing. DJ’ing was always a good way for me to promote the music I was making so it’s cool to see it all come full circle in that regard.

I’ll say this next part carefully as I’m sure it might piss off a few people but nothing depresses me more than seeing three dudes or two dudes on stage with a massive setup and they’re just DJ’ing. That is so underwhelming. You go to all this trouble to build a massive setup and program an awesome light show and then you’re just going to DJ? That grinds my gears as Peter Griffin would say. I think bringing my keyboards on tour and mixing it with my DJ setup makes things more interesting for me and for the people in the crowd and it just comes back to this fear of being predictable and adds this element of surprise that really delights the fans.

GDD™: Well now that we know what grinds your gears, let’s talk a little bit about what doesn’t grind your gears. Who are some live acts right now that you think are doing a good job in incorporating a live aspect to their setup?

Motez: I remember seeing Madeon, I played with him in Indonesia, really great guy, he does the same kind of thing, and I think Lido does something similar. Perfect example, RUFUS DU SOL, Flight Facilities, and Odesza are absolutely incredible from a live perspective, also Hayden James. That is a really good sort of blueprint for a lot of people and I look up to these guys and how they are doing it.

Motez-The-Vibe

GDD™: It’s crazy how many of those acts are Australian! Tell me a little bit about these collaborations on your new EP, “The Vibe.” Are these all fellow Australians as well?

Motez: The first single that came out was “Down Like This” and it was done with my buddy TKay Maidza. Tkay is a rapper from my hometown, Adeliade, who’s been killing it and is easily one of the best acts in Australia at the moment. I produced a record for her on her first mixtape and she gave me these verses and I put them in a track I was working on and she came in and was like ‘OK’ let’s re-record the vocals and mix them for your track, and it feels really good to rep someone from my city try to expose them to new markets.

The second one was with a rapper from West London called Scruffizer. The track I’d made was 95% done but we realized it needed a featured vocalist and he was the one that came back with the best verses. He captured that tongue-in-cheek not taking yourself too seriously thing which is what I really wanted to go for with this track. In Australia we call it “taking the piss out of yourself” which is what you would call mocking yourself, in a certain way. I was really happy with the results here it’s easily become one of my favorite songs of mine so far.

The track with Wax Motif is called “Like You” which we actually recorded in his studio in Burbank. Waxxy is one of my favorite people in the whole world. He is an absolute legend. He’s such a great guy, I love him to bits. So many people would say the same thing, he’s one of the most genuine hard working people in the game and we did that track in a day. So always really, really good to be in his company.

GDD: Well thanks for taking the time to talk to us today! Good luck with the rest of your tour and we will catch you back in the states as your U.S. leg starts June 10th. You can purchase Motez’s new EP “The Vibe” out now via our good friends at Sweat It Out and to all our followers in Australia don’t miss the last night of The Vibe tour as it comes to an end in Perth on this Friday. Speak soon!

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