Behind The Beat | Aly & Fila Interview
Aly & Fila have one simple wish for the music they produce: that it will provide their fans with happy and positive energy. From the moment I sat down to interview Fadi Wassef Naguib (or Fila, if you will), I felt the warmth and passion that only accompanies those that deeply believe in the work that they do. Although Aly (Aly Amr Fathalah) was unable to join us due to an ear injury sustained 6 years ago that has since prevented him from performing live, Fadi was eager to fill us in on everything from the duo’s upcoming album, to what he loves most about working with his best friend since kindergarten.
After falling in love with the music of legends such as Paul van Dyk, Chicane and Armin van Buuren, lifelong Egyptian friends Aly and Fadi decided to pursue their passion for music and teamed up to convert that exact passion into blissful sound. Now, under the guise Aly & Fila, they have found themselves ranked among the best of the best coming in at #11 on DJ Mag’s Top 100 and #4 on TranceAddict’s Top 250 in 2012. Tracks such as ‘Eye of Horus‘, ‘Lost Language‘, Breath of Life‘ and more have flaunted Aly & Fila’s ability to harness the sounds of happiness with a refreshing Egyptian twist.
Future Sound of Egypt, the duo’s radio show has helped to catapult the two to the forefront of the trance industry and, with their 300th stream fast approaching, they have decided to reward their dedicated fans by heading to Mexico City, Amsterdam, Prague and more. Future Sound of Egypt has also teamed up with powerhouse record company Armada to help strengthen the trance scene around the world, signing artists among the likes of Bjorn Akesson, Fady & Mina, and Neptune Project to name a few.
Despite all of these accomplishments, the pair have managed to maintain a gracious composure, attributing their great success to the support and love of their fans from whom they draw the majority of their inspiration. They are now days away from releasing their highly anticipated album, ‘Quiet Storm’, an album that has the entire EDM community waiting with bated breath. Seamless transitions heighten the gorgeous, cascading vocals and ethereal instrumentals interwoven throughout the album. If anything, the life poured into ‘Quiet Storm’ is a testament to Aly & Fila’s passion for their work and desire to create music that sparks a unique fire in us all.
OTB: Welcome to Seattle! We’re so excited to have you here! How long have you been here and where are you headed next?
Fadi: I just got in two hours ago and am headed back home tomorrow, finally after two weeks in the US!
OTB: You are both known for your deep connection to your fans. How have your fans back home influenced the development of your music? How about overseas?
Fadi: Our fans everywhere in the world are very passionate people. That’s the thing that I really like about our fans, the trance fans appreciate the artists, follow them and support them so deeply. They inspire us so much. For example tonight I know we’ll have a great night and I’ll be so inspired when I get home to go back to the studio and work more on the music. Trance fans versus the house fans..they’re totally different. It’s the trance family.
OTB: You found something that you deeply love and turned it into a successful career. What were the biggest obstacles along the way?
Fadi: The main obstacle we have had was first of all when Aly had a big problem with his ears 6 years ago. It was very hard for him to perform live and since then I have been performing alone. In terms of music we to be honest were really lucky when we started, we have had great feedback from the beginning. Armin and other performers like Ferry Corsten were pushing us so much. It was hard getting to the level of production that would make us shine within so many other producers.
Also, having the Egyptian passports, I need a Visa for every place in the world. It is hectic being in the Embassys and getting visas for EVERY country EVERY time. It’s a bit crazy but I have managed to make it work really well the past 6 years.
OTB: Have you had many chances to play back home in Egypt? What is the best part about playing to your friends and family in your homeland?
Fadi: Well, it is always good to be back home at least for a couple of days to see my friends and family. Also, the main thing is being back in the studio and I miss it so much. And my pets! I have two dogs..
OTB: You have been close friends since kindergarten so you obviously know a lot about each other. Since Aly isn’t here with us today could I ask you to describe what you like the most about his musical style?
Fadi: The thing with Aly and me, we share the same inspiration and got inspired by the same person- Paul van Dyk mainly. When we listen to his music together we were like WOW this is amazing, we want to do this, this style, let’s do it. We share the same direction of music so when we work together its very easy, it’s awesome! We always find a way to make it happen the way he wants and I want.
OTB: I’ve read that you tend to work independently in the studio then come together to put the finishing touches on a track. Is this true? Could you elaborate a bit more for us on your production process? When producing do you prefer to work together or separately?
Fadi: It is a really cool process! I like to work alone in the studio this is how I get inspired and how I work best. Aly really is the only person I feel comfortable having in the studio but being alone and doing your thing and then coming together to finalize the track is how we generally do it.
OTB: June 28th is going to be a very special day for the two of you- the release of your highly anticipated album ‘Quiet Storm’. We’ve read that your hope for this album is that it will tell a story and take listeners on a journey of their own. When each of you sit back, close your eyes and listen to the music you have created on this album, what do you see?
Fadi: I would say that the most important thing about our music is that at the end of the journey you get positive energy. That is the most important thing. There is no direct message but to happy and have positive energy. That’s it. That’s what we want to happen to our listeners when they listen to our album. To feel happy and get positive vibes, its that simple! The intro was a big part, especially coming from Egypt and using an Arabic vocalist to introduce the album, people from home were very excited about it!
Rising Sun was really our first album and it was more of a trial to have to make an album…it was new! We learned a ton during the process and had 3 years to work on Quiet Storm and put a LOT of work into it. I’m glad you love it!
OTB: The Future Sound of Egypt 300 World Tour is fast approaching this August marking yet another HUGE milestone for the both of you. What locations are you most looking forward to?
Fadi: The whole idea for picking the locations was different because it will be taking place outside of Egypt. The 200 and 250 celebrations were back Egypt so we decided to choose cities where we know we have a great following. Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Amsterdam, Prague-we have huge followings in these places. We also have a personal relationship with the promoters there and we will be working with our friends who we know will do their best to make the show happen at a very high standard. We’re giving it a try this year working with people we know in a new location where we happen to be well known!
OTB: Could you tell us a little bit about the music video you released for your track ‘Running Out of Time’ with Chris Jones? What were you trying to capture with the production?
Fadi: (Laughing) I can’t take credit for the idea but we DID have the idea to do something with people who are wasting their time, when it is running out and they are not enjoying life. This was the beginning of the idea and the director was the one who made this idea happen in a fun and funky way. A lot of people didn’t get it, they think its weird or stuff like that. Well, I love it. I think it’s different than most videos you see where you have hot chicks and a guy running to a girl and hearts and blah, blah, you know. (laughing) At least do something different! I don’t want all my videos to be the same, I found people commenting like why didn’t you shoot it at the pyramids? I’m like come on we did that last time! Do I have to have the pyramids every time? To be honest, I love the video. Every time I watch it, it makes me laugh. It brings a message, don’t waste your time, get out have fun, stray from your ways and enjoy life! Like tonight.