Searching for that perfect blend of deep progressive synth, rolling percussion beats and celestial chords of electronica covering a wider footprint yet retaining an individual accessible sound? This is what you find with FRISKY DEEP’s newest artist Talal in his show, ‘Exhibition’. We caught up with the London based producer and discussed his production balance, eclectic influences, broad-ranged style and what’s new for 2019.
Everyone will agree that ever so often it’s necessary to slip mindlessly into music. And if you’re like me, these realms of escape offer far-reaching peace.
Emerging artists are creating an endless eclectic variety of new electronic sounds. Whether we’re having an incredible or cloudy day, these sounds transport us allowing us to escape to other worlds. These worlds speak to us bringing complete focus, universal love, and personal awareness of how we feel, think and act.
Balanced production that taps into eclectic undervalued dark, deep house/grime sound variety combining just the right amount of chillout, ambient, melodic techno and deep progressive electronica is what FRISKY Deep’s newest addition Talal brings. His unique catalog style is broad-ranged and as he shared, “I am open to try and work with a range of ideas and hopefully each time that happens I learn a few more approaches”.
With original background from both Bahrain and Pakistan, Talal grew up in and called much of the world “home”. Between Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North America – most of his childhood during the 80’s and 90’s was divided amongst Hong Kong, Boston and Los Angeles. “Music was probably my first main interest”, he explains. “I played drums during my school days [and] my first step [in electronic music] was my radio show when I was 14-15 years old. And then in my 30’s when I began releasing and writing heavily”.
Talal has a deep appreciation for other genres like folk, jazz, blues and even classical. As he described, “I was always very much into a variety of music types since a young age. I think if an individual is interested in any specific area, they will find a way to make steps towards it. Overall this helps your sense of music writing and gives more interesting collaborations down the road, it helps you focus on quality and culture rather than genre type.”
His new show, Exhibition, is based on his original 10 track LP ‘Exhibition’ (2015) that gained worldwide recognition and peaked at #6 on the charts. “I thought it might be a nice way to refresh the name/idea as that album covered a wide range of genres and still had its own sound. I hope I can do similar with this show”, he says. “From when Exhibition was released to now, I’ve signed music with about 30 record labels and my catalog is roughly around 100+ songs, and there are a number of great promos coming into the inbox regularly. I want this show to not be strictly pigeon holed to one sub-genre – but to have its own character. Hopefully there is a good mix of ambient, electronica and more techno items”.
It’s no secret the past decade has seen its fair share of shifts within electronic music. “For me, I just want to keep doing the best work that I can”, Talal shares. “I think if you take care of the small steps the bigger picture handles itself; if you overthink the big picture then you make errors with the small steps”. When asked about if it’s easy to assume there are secret keys to remain relevant to a broader and diverse audience, he sums it up best by saying, “I like to think that a song is genuinely good [and] it will transcend a few age groups and genre audiences. If it can do that then it has some longevity”.
You’ve been making tracks for a few years now. Not only do you have quite an impressive discography, but you’ve also gained the support of
some of the industry’s heavyweights. Describe that pivotal turning point that launched your career as an electronic music producer/artist?
I am not sure exactly if there has been a pivotal turning point, but things seem to be coming in steps. In 2008-2009 I was in graduate school and also drafted a few rough demos. Those ended up being released by a label in London around 2011, and then I didn’t return to music until 2015 but since 2015 I’ve been producing monthly.
What producers, songwriters and/or other artists both past and present do you see as your primary inspirations? Why?
Hmmm. Difficult question because I’m listening to a fairly mixed up library, from late 1800s early 1900s gospel, soul, blues to Depeche Mode and lots in between. I respect Depeche Mode’s work because they may be one of the few around that changed their sound per the 80s, 90s, 00s – yet didn’t lose their identity/voice in the process. Many artists or groups end up getting pigeon holed by the sub-genre that made them successful ends up also being their limitation.
Your music is riveting! One of your first albums in 2015, entitled ‘Exhibition’, gained worldwide popularity as it climbed the charts. There are a couple of your tracks that stand out to me: one being ‘Last Rays of Sun’ and the other ‘Mercurial’. There’s a sense of multi-faceted elements combined with deep progressive haunting ambience. What do you recall about creating these amazing tracks?
That sound could be more due to primarily using the Access Virus synthesizer on those tracks. I think the sounds are used for a lot of film items so perhaps that tone comes over from that.
Mercurial was made across a several month period where I made 10 tracks which ended up being signed to Denis A’s DAR Label and Nihil Youngs Frequenza. Mercurial had a very unexpected outcome as it led to some great working relationships with Dinamica (Vitaliy Sobolev), Ewan Rill, Gleb Rubens – the skill level of some of these producers from Belarus and Russia is second to none.
I still find myself surprised at how talented and collaborative they are. Last Rays of Sun similarly was made during a several month period which resulted in 10 tracks and lots of remixes, that batch ended up across four or so labels I think, Tenampa, Natura Viva, 1980 Recordings and ASTIR – there are still items from that batch waiting to come out involving Kimball Collins, Rudiment, Allies For Everyone and Dinamica.
What’s been your favorite project you’ve worked on? And how has that experience transpired/affected future projects?
There are a lot of talented people in music. However, I like to think that skill can be acquired with hard work – but hands down so far for me, the most collaborative and supportive experiences have been via Nihil Young of Frequenza Records and the array of people around Denis A’s DAR Label (Ewan Rill, Gleb Rubens, Dinamica).
Sometimes what is more important than the type of project is the culture of the people you work with – and those guys above I can’t speak more highly of. There are also some great items that are in the process with others but those are still in the early stages.
What has been the best advice you’ve ever had? And the worst?
I am not sure. Hmmm good question. At my age, I think I reduced my emphasis on other’s opinions/views – and try to focus more on believing in what I am doing and being prepared to put in the steps to see it through.
With that said, if you could travel back in time, what piece of advice would you give to your younger self?
I think when young, the perception of time is very standstill, an older person could remind the younger person that if they focus on developing themselves in any field that investment of effort will pay off in time.
You briefly shared with me all the amazing places you’ve either lived in or traveled to. What’s the one place you haven’t traveled and want to? Why?
I haven’t made it to South America yet, I have been to Mexico once but that was on a brief trip from Los Angeles. I am hoping I make the trip sometime. Some of my friends, in a number of countries in that region, are amongst my favorite most fun people in my life – I miss them and hope I can see them again soon.
Do these places of travel ever impact your inspiration and musical mindset when producing?
I am not sure, maybe they do. But I find more impact comes from stages of time and life and events.
I read that you enjoy spending time in different areas and venues that include vast musical spectrums from classical to folk, jazz, blues and of course electronica. How would you describe these experiences? Does it help your appreciation of music?
I think things plateau and get flat if they are oversaturated in one area, but perhaps that is the nature of trend implosion cycles. With music in London, I spend a lot of time at a friend’s folk/indie venue where many of those artists go onto big shows and tours etc. There is also a Sunday late night jazz place that sounds – and who knows maybe even feels – like you are listening to Billie Holiday in New York during the Harlem Renaissance. In between the live acts, the DJ plays old vinyl of Herb Alpert and The Tijuana Brass. Maybe all these items help with music appreciation, I am not sure.
Besides music, what inspires you the most and why?
I think the older I get the less I feel inspired or impressed, I think many times things are in the right place at the right time.
Would you agree that the industry has gone thru changes?
Not just music, but the majority of industries in the world are undergoing change due to technological advances. It will take some time to see how those items unfold especially in regard to intermediaries and revenue streams. At the end of the day I would like to believe that there is no replacement to focusing on making good music and developing positive relationships.
What’s next for you? Anything exciting lined up we should look out for in 2019?
Am looking at a summer series of events at a nice space with a big garden in Central London for June/July/Aug etc.. involving some great artists. We are also working on a mix/compilation series to be released for the event with original material from all the involved artists.
There is a Talal & Nihil Young remix coming out this month on Stripped Recordings of a Sandra Collins & Micke track and next month there will be a remix coming out of a Dan Seaman track. June will have a release on John-lee Moojaa’s Voodoo and Prayers.there are two other remixes that are also still in process for Hidden Vibes Label and another for Hools (Julian Pelenur).
There is also a 3 track EP going out on Paul Thomas and Aly & Fila’s FSOE UV label which includes collaborations with Gleb Rubens, Ewan Rill and Nihil Young.
I’d like to thank you, Talal, for taking time with me and FRISKY in sharing your thoughts. It’s been fun! I hope you’ve enjoyed our chat too. Plus, it’s been a delight getting to know you and better insight into your musical world. Therefore, before we conclude our interview, do you have any final thoughts?
Thanks for taking the time
Don’t forget to follow Talal on social media by visiting:
Join in with Talal every 2nd Wednesday right here on FRISKY for an ‘Exhibition’ of Deep sounds.