Until recently Amirali was a little-known musician, toiling away on his productions whilst studying architecture at university in London. Then Crosstown Rebel’s visionary Damian Lazarus heard his music and signed him up.
With such a hefty vote of confidence Amirali’s profile was boosted instantly and he’s since produced his debut LP, ‘In Time’, and put together an hour-long live show which he’s taking on tour around the world. After seeing his brilliant show at Get Lost in Miami this year, we thought it was about time we met – and he’s been kind enough to prepare an exclusive selection of his influences past and present for your ears only.
How did you start making music? What first sparked your interest in becoming a musician? I’ve been playing the piano since I was about five. I had several piano tutors over the years and played classical pieces. My parents always knew that I had a very strong ear for music. I remember sometimes I wouldn’t play the pieces my tutor had told me to practice and I would end up just playing what I liked. So I was always involved and into making music even before getting my head into electronic. My father has always been into music too and I think he is the reason I am here now. My family and I moved to Toronto when I was about sixteen and it was there and then I realised my passion for making electronic music. I never made the decision to become a musician it just happened naturally.
When did you decide to add your own vocals to your music – did you find it difficult to start singing? The first track that I made and added my own vocals to is ‘Story Of Us’ which is included in my album and it was an experiment for me since I had never done anything like it before. I think my whole album was a complete experiment on my sound and myself. It seemed like I was testing myself in every way I could think of and I’m very pleased with the result.
What’s the inspiration behind your lyrics? Well, each one of my songs has something different to say. Some of them are sad, blue, and heartbreaking and some are happy and hopeful. The inspiration behind the lyrics came from the music itself, the harmony and mood of the tunes while I was making them. Like every piece of art, my own mood and state of mind played a significant role. There were days last year when I felt moderately depressed therefore affecting my music mood and shaping my lyrics in such a way.
Have you found it difficult juggling your studies in architecture with making music/performing? Sometimes it was really hard and hectic to keep up with them both. Architecture is an extremely demanding field of study. I had to constantly work on projects and assignments and meet tight deadlines but since I was already familiar with the subject from college, it was easier for me to deal with and I knew how to study and apply my skills to it.
What’s the best thing about performing live? Performing live is a whole different experience, it has a different beauty and feel to it. A dream of mine came true last week when I played Fabric room 1. It really was an amazing experience for me; seeing what the power of singing and playing keys and melodies live can do to a crowd. Playing in that room was like playing a proper concert. Months of work in the studio had been worth it within a matter of minutes. Luckily, so far, nearly every gig I have played has been great, but that gig in particular really stood out and was definitely one of the highlights of my career.
What are your plans beyond touring this year? Are you working on more music? From the time I completed my album which was four months ago, I wanted to get away from the studio and focus on my live pa but now I think it’s time to get back in the studio and start working on some fresh material. I’m currently working on a remix for my homeboy’s label ‘My Favorite Robot’, I’m also releasing two more singles on Crosstown.
Text: Marcus Barnes