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Feature: Alinep [Interview]

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“Deepsomnia” by Alinep is a word that not only defines his style and sound but also represents his true passion for the music he plays, by which he has succeeded in becoming a DJ, Producer, Label manager, Radio Host and a Promoter. In just a decade, Alinep has released his music in numerous record labels and headed his very own, Asia Music – a 13 year old record label based in Manila that has been a stepping stone for upcoming local and foreign local music producers and artists based in the region. 2020 is promising for Alinep for he is launching Deepsomnia as a techno label with an EP entitled “Moving Forward”. We had a chance to catch up with Alinep on the cusp of the release, we hope you enjoy the interview.

Hi Ali, thanks for joining us today, tell where in the world you are and what are you up to? What are your plans for the week?

Hello Mitch and the Progressive Astronaut Family!

I am from Manila, one of 7, 107++ islands of the Philippines. I was up early for a run and now i’ll be starting my day with my AR work for Asia Music and Love Da Records – Philippines.

After, I will preparing and uploading my recent recorded sets from my China gigs – Guanxi Club, The Window and my recent set from Vulan Tinukib Festival – oh man, this festival is ace! Its in an island with no signal and all and its just full of beautiful people, music and nature <3

Tell us more about your story. How did you discover electronic music and what led you down the path of wanting to be a producer and Dj?

It all started from home. My Mom put me in piano and organ classes when I was 8 and I competed in the World Technics Organ Championship in japan. When I was in high school, I played the bass guitar for high school band. Everyday was a sound trip and I used to go and watch my brother’s gigs in his acid jazz band – he plays the guitar.

I discovered electronic music when I was in college. It started from collecting mixed CDs to attending and raving in DJ events. Manila has a small scene and I think I never missed one event. My favourite was Sasha in 2002 in World Trade Center.

And yes, it was one summer day in Boracay island I was listening to Danny Tenaglia’s GU 11 London and that changed my life and I told myself I wanted to be a DJ like him.

Name five tracks that were most important in your musical development and why are these pieces so significant for you.

1.The Return – New Day

2.The Brand New Heavies – all of their songs

3. Ken ishiiSunriser

4. The Rurals – Sweeter Sound

5. Cocteau Twins – Heaven or Las vegas

Tell us about growing up and living in the Philippines, how has it affected your musical taste?

The Philippines is so much influenced by the West. Majority listens and supports Pop music, rock, alternative, hip-hop, r&b and more because this is what they stream in local radio stations and view in Television. Good thing i always looked and loved the different, the unique and the underground.

Who are some up and coming artists to look for from South East Asia?

I see Apsara from Jakarta and my co-homegrown Samantha Nicole will be getting much music and audience abroad. I see them evolve more than just DJs who are just in the booth – i see them releasing tracks in different labels and taking it patiently one step at a time. 

Hadiid from Malaysia is also a promising producer. He’s wicked!

The industry and how fans discover new music has changed dramatically in the last 10 years or so. How do you discover new music nowadays?

It’s quite sad yet fascinating how technology took over the world of music and djing. I’d say its way easier now to be a DJ because of music applications that can easily give you the titles and you can just easily download them over the internet unlike before you need to dig and know your records. And yes, it was so hard to buy records and it was so expensive to send them here in the Philippines long time ago

You took over Asia Music a few years ago if memory serves, but you’re now about to launch a new label ‘Deepsomnia,  What led you down the path of wanting to start a new record label?

I took over Asia Music in 2011 and partnered with my good friend, Pav Parrotte in 2012. This 2019 i solely run it to continue the vision why the label was created and that is to be a record label for non-commercial music artists who wants to introduce their music to the World. Asia Music is turning 13 years old and im happy to say that it is still growing.

Deepsomnia will be a techno only label and I am aiming to release all of my work in this label this 2020.

In terms of sound how will it differ from Asia Music?

Deepsomnia will be a techno only label. I feel my individual sound has changed alot since i first started producing from deep house and house and with the new VSTs ive started using they have influenced my productions more towards techno.

So the first release has just come out, tell us a bit about who release is from and why this particular artist and track felt right to start the label’s journey.

The first release of Deepsomnia will be a two track EP from myself entitled “Moving Forward” EP. This will be out this January 17, 2020. I am so excited to share this with all of you.

 

 

In terms of DJs and artists who would say are the biggest sources of inspiration for Deepsomnia?

Oh man, I have a long list of artists that inspires me. Darren Emerson, Nick Warren, SLAM, Dave Seaman, Luke Fair, Jimmy Van M, Josh Wink, Quivver, Xhin, Secret Cinema, Silicone Soul, Nadja Lind, Ramon Tapia, James Zabiela, Guti, Dirt Crew, KiNK, Satoshi Fumi, Dubfire, Nic Fanciulli, Osunlade, Re.You, Kate Simko, Ken Ishii, Evil Eddie Richards, Danny Howells, John Acquavia, you&me and many many more. Im lucky to have shared decks and deejayed with most of them during my residency at Time in Manila.

What advice would have for an artist hoping to sign their music to either Asia Music or Deepsomnia? Both in terms of presentation and stylistically, what are you looking for from a new artist on each label?

Don’t be an artist that sticks to pre-set sounds on a synth or VST, it is very common and doesn’t go unseen. Take your time and play around, get involved in the shape and structure of a sound itself.  

Do you have a special spot to listen to demos? Outside of the studio I mean, a place where your mind resets a bit and you have fresh ears in a way.

I personally listen to demos and any new music in the morning – always on fresh ears I’d say and then re-listen to those i took interest in later on in a different environment.

What is your biggest pet peeve about receiving music for the labels?

Make sure you listen to past releases to make sure your style is in line with the label, we have got demos from genres no where near our vision. I don’t know why, its very easy to listen and do your research into what labels best suit your sound.

What are the best and worst things about running a digital record label in 2020?

The best thing is purely the support you are able to give others to showcase their music.

Worst i guess is that everything is digital so there is so much stuff out there its become never ending and lets face it, even though vinyl sales are on the way up its still a cut through business of merely breaking even. 

There are a lot of factors which affect the perception of a label other than just the music these days, social media for one, how much emphasis do you put on stuff like this? and what are your thoughts on the current state of the industry?

The music industry is fast and always evolving. Talent shines more now with the use and the mileage of social media. I think it’s important now to promote the music and reach wider audience. It’s all part of technology.

With the launch of Deepsomnia, my goals are to become more active on social media for the label so the music will reach more audience.

You’ve played all over Asia, what are some of the most memorable gigs and experiences you’ve had?

The World DJ Festival 2012 in Seoul, Korea was a memorable one. Not only that i saw Josh Wink backstage hehe It was memorable because it was my first big gig abroad.

I would add my upcoming gig in Epizode festival will also be a memorable one because it was hard work and patience for me to be added in the roster. It’s quite amazing for a Filipino Artist to be in the same flyer with electronic music icons like Ricardo Villalobos, Moodyman, Ben UFO and many many more. I’m so excited! 

Which do you enjoy more writing original material or remixing? And what do you look for when choosing a remix project?

Always prefer writing an original, although it can bring the biggest headache and risk of getting stuck in a loop. Remixing a track the ideas are already there, I dont really look for something particular when remixing, it depends on the tracks, there may be a good bassline, lead melody or a vocal that jumps out at me and my brain wires something together. 

How much of an influence does music outside of the electronic spectrum have on you?

It has a lot of influence and it will show on your taste in your deejaying, production and even the way we speak about music. 

Current five favourite tracks?

My upcoming tracks “Moving” and “Forward” are on top of my list now since I’ve been playing them out for awhile – its nice to see the crowd reaction and movement with the tracks.

Ken Ishii’s upcoming album “Mobius Strip” has alot of gems. his collaboration with Jeff Mills is definitely a masterpiece.

Herb Cabral’s original track “Osmium” is nicely done too if you’re into melodic techno.

Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

My little girl Elica (she’s a beauty) and my wonderful wife, Mica who is also DJ/Producer – she has been supporting me since day 1 and yes, my wife makes better tracks than me!

and oh, I love football – it made me finish school

‘Moving Forward’ is out now on Deepsomnia, you can purchase the release here: https://bit.ly/3agYDGA

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