Maybe you're wondering who is this guy, Asif Ahmed? Well, I tell you who he is: he's not just yet another up and coming DJ, first of all, he's a BeatFactor resident, and second Asif is a DJ and musician with a multicultural and intense personality. He is lucky to say that he lived until the age of 25 on three continents. He was born in Bangladesh, moved to London in '93 and at the moment he lives in Houston, Texas. Started Djing in 2002, he already has shared the Dj booth with some of the top jock around including John Digweed, Danny Howells, James Zabiela, Nick Warren, Deep Dish, Randall Jones, Chris Fortier and others. Check out our interview with Asif Ahmed and find out more about him, his dj-ing skills and get to know him better...
Hi there mate! Let's start by telling us a few words about you: when and how did you get into electronic music and DJ-ing, who or what pushed into the music business, your favorite TV show... stuff like that.
I remember being surrounded by singers/producers/composers ever since I was little because my mom was a singer in our home country of Bangladesh. I recall how happy she was when she performed and I wanted to get a taste of that. As a result, I was influenced to seek some form of involvement with music. I loved rock at the time and it inclined me to buy a set of drums when I was in 9th grade. Once I moved to London (1993-1995) my interest shifted from rock to electronic music. I started listening to Brian Eno, William Orbit, Beastie Boys and Prodigy. But John Digweed's Renaissance CD changed my taste completely. I got into underground dance music and haven't looked back since. I never really planned on being a DJ. I bought my first set of tables in 2002 from a friend who wanted to sell them for real cheap. It was a spur of the moment thing, which morphed into something quite big. I never really imagined that I would end up having my own studio, or travel on gigs, or meet other artists. I have always been extremely humbled by it. TV shows? I think television is a waste of time........ except the Simpsons.
You run a show on Proton Radio, Aesthetic Code. What's the idea behind it and what kind of sound do you promote there?
I was initially a guest on Smight's Profluence show on Proton. I recall doing about 4 mixes for the show. Once Herb's (Smight) Djing schedule and studio time picked up I offered to help him manage it. We changed the name and the concept of the show. Aesthetic Code is focused on talents from around the world. I have had guests from Romania, Iceland, Finland and UK to name a few. Not to mention all the DJ's from Houston and the neighboring cities. I have tried to expose as many different styles of music as possible on the Code. Every once in a while I've had my live sets from different venues. My main focus, however, would be to help other DJs display their skills in front of a world audience. I've always been totally stoked about being a small part of Proton. I have met some wicked individuals (Sam Packer, Lance Cashion, Danny Moore to name a few) through it.
How would you describe your style of playing records in a typical dj set?
My style of music....... Hmmm........ I enjoy any form of music that carries an essence of quality. If I play the opening slot, I usually keep things simple and minimal, play some breaks, some chilled out house tracks. If I have the main slot, I usually start off with a deep house number and I climb up slowly, going up and down the key scale. You will always find a variety of music in my bag ranging from the wicked works of Deep Space Organisms to the deep pounding of Lexicon Avenue, Blackwatch and Bedrock, to the sexy sounds of Rui Da Silva and Omid, to the epic resonance of Yunus, to the melodic bliss of Holden. That being said, I guess you could call my style a cornucopia of quality music made by some quality musicians.
Recently (in May) you had quite an extended tour in Spain, doing gigs all around the country and radio shows. What was the highlight of the trip there, where did you enjoy yourself the most and why?
Spain was totally unreal. It was wicked in every imaginable way. The people, the food, the culture and the music were top notch. I had an incredible time. I played in 5 different cities but the best night was probably in Pamplona at Eleventh Room. Getting a chance to live the Basque way of life for three weeks would have to be the highlight of the whole trip. I am truly a sucker for culture. I love experiencing it. My agent and partner in crime Sam Fitch showed me the intricate details of the Basque country. My trip back is already being organized and this time it should be bigger.
Is the Spanish crowd somehow different regarding the American one? Did they teach you flamenco?
Outside of Djing I have experienced many club nights in different countries around the world and I have to say that the Spanish crowd is definitely the cream of the pie. Although we have a small, intimate and rocking scene in my home town Houston. But the Spanish appetite for round the clock partying was what I loved about them specially since I am totally nocturnal. Sorry no flamenco........
You have played alongside many top jocks like Digweed, Danny Howells, James Zabiela, Nick Warren, Deep Dish, Randall Jones, Chris Fortier, Saeed and Palash and others. How does it feel to share the dj booth with such big hitters? To what extent has that influenced your dj-ing career?
I am totally overwhelmed. Like I mentioned earlier, I am absolutely humbled by all the opportunities I have received in such a short time. I never imagined that I would share the decks with the aforementioned artists. I have become good friends with James Zabiela and Randall Jones has shared critical studio techniques with me since his move back to Houston. I definitely learned a lot from watching some of the masters.
What was the most memorable event you have played at?
Every gig I have done so far carries special meaning in one form or another. It's really hard to spotlight one particular one.
What is your involvement in Cure Recordings?
Cure Recordings is the only legitimate label we have in Houston. With Randall starting his own label pretty soon, we'll have a one two punch. Watch out for that. More than anything it's my friendship with Herb that connects me to Cure.
Tell us about your production works, what's your sound and what other artists do you collaborate with?
I am only concentrating on studio work at the present time. Texas has a tremendous amount of talent, Randall Jones, Derek Howell, Smight, Starkid, Peter Martin, Eric Reeves and Joshua Michael to name a few. Right now I am focused on solo work but we all live close to each other and collaboration is inevitable.
What plans do you have for this summer, where will you spin in the coming months? Maybe another trip to Spain?
My immediate plan is to set up the new studio which should be up and running in a few weeks. I am moving into a new place soon and the studio should be rocking. Other than that I will be concentrating on production, collaboration with some of the local artists, the Proton show, playing in the Spundae events here in Houston and a return trip to Spain. If I have any time left I may take my girlfriend out to dinner or something. I am still trying to iron out my schedule.
Your top 10 tracks of the moment will be....?
That's a tough one. I've been playing a lot of Randall Jones, Derek Howell, Lonestar, Peter Martin, Starkid and Matt Dekay, I use Deep Space Organisms consistently as well. My top 10 changes every week so by the time you put this up on Beatfactor it'll change. However, I always play the aforementioned artists' tracks.
- [a:rpia:r] - A successful story
- Simian Mobile Disco - New Future Electro Disco Heroes
- Luciano: I'm Still the Same Guy
- The Model - A Special Man With Special Needs
- Me and You is M.A.N.D.Y.
- Carl Craig: I'm Not A Fortune Teller!
- Audio: In Between with Paul Van Dyk
- Audio: Steve Bug - 'I Don't Make Music for Bugs!'
- Ricardo Villalobos - from South America with love
- Lee Burridge: Balance, drugs and Tyrant
- Audio: Ricky Stone, a busy combination
- Hook N Sling - a Fat Australian Export
- Break-Beat lessons with Krafty Kuts
- Ewan Pearson, the lucky guy
- The other side of Ellen Allien
July 14, 2004 at 4:18 PM CEST