Vital figure of the PLEASURE ZONE outfit, Ali Nasser just delivered a classy three-tracker on the sought after label. ‘The Way Out’ EP sees the return of the revered producer after a short release hiatus, the last one being 2016. Back to business as usual for Nasser, his intelligent sound supported by Archie Hamilton, Matthew Dekay, DJ W!LD and Nima Gorji to name a few.
Opener ‘The Light in Between’ has blissful pads, steady drums and and ice cold hi-hats being complimented by the sparsely used uplifting vocals. The percussions of ‘Perjury’ are reminiscent of a flute, a track if shutting your eyes can teleport you back to summer, floating you away. Rounding things off is a funk injection in the form of ‘The Way Out’.
A hidden meaning lies within the EP, representing Ali’s journey during his release pause, representing the changes and challenges in life, ‘The Light In Between’ the worlds and all the ‘Perjury’ going on around us, trying to find ‘The Way Out’.
A great come back for a regarded producer which minimal and house diggers will welcome with open arms. We caught up with Ali to talk about the release and learn more about him, his upcoming new live set-up and more.
Hi Ali, when was it you realised that electronic music would be your path in life?
I guess it was when I finished my first track ever I think I was 18 years old or something like that.
Can you tell us a little bit about your early days of production, what kind of setup were you using? Your first machine you bought?
My early days in productions were in my home where I used to live with my two older brothers who were already involved in electronic music. By that time, they had a project called the Groovoholics which was more into house and funky house. I was hanging there with them to familiarize with music production. In 2000 I got hired in a studio music production where I learned to also use a PC to create music. Sonny Acid and Adobe Audition were the main software’s that I was using to create music. Also, I learned how to record instruments and vocals. My first machine that I bought with my own income was an MPC 5000 which I still have and use until this day. It’s one of my favourite tools which helped me to develop more complex grooves and sequences.
Did moving to Berlin from Romania change your studio processes at all and the way you think about music?
The studio process not necessarily but music-wise it did, it was part of a maturity process, not just moving to Berlin, but also leaving my comfort zone in Bucharest. Both, Bucharest and Berlin have their own modes for the creation and combined brought my vision to new spectrums.
Berlin brought me more artistic diversity!!!
What kind of set up are you using at the moment on a daily basis?
Hardware-wise I use plenty of instruments, But mostly my MPC, two Novation Circuit and one Korg ER-1 drum machine and of course a computer with Ableton all connected to a Mackie mixer Onyx mixer and some good UAD Apollo converters.
Tell us a little bit about your creative flow, do you have any rituals you follow? or more a jam kind of guy and see what works on the day.
Both, it depends on how much studio time I have. When I have less time, I put my ideas quickly, I focus on bringing new ideas and when I have more time, I use it to shape my sound and go more into details. I also like to have quick jams “between meals” just randomly if I have an instrument around me and record that and maybe use it later.
You are currently working on a live performance, can you give us some more information on this? What machines do you have on the go? How do you find this in comparison to djing?
Yes, it’s true, news goes fast! In this moment I could say that I have a solid idea of how I want to perform it, with practice and more practice this act will reach its destination as I wanted with my productions without any compromise, I do believe in magic. And about DJing.. it’s super fun and always will be, it brings the spontaneous side of me!
Your last EP came on Pleasure Zone entitled ‘The Way Out’, what was the idea behind this EP? You have close relations with the label with several releases, is there more in the pipeline with them?
During my last three years I went through a lot of changes, personally and music-wise. I kept doing music but, I didn’t feel where the music industry was heading by that time so I backed up for a while to observe where I could fit in back without making any compromise.
In 2012 I had an EP called Feel that was not fitting by that time in any label, so Robert Drewek (DBH-Music Germany) came with the idea to launch the Pleasure Zone label. Our relationship will always be a close one as we are also good friends. Perhaps during this year we will start another collaboration. There are a few plans about a new label
Is there anyone in particular you like to work with in the studio? and why?
Yes, I always loved working with my brothers and jamming on all kinds of equipment or just random beatbox or kicking the pans and pots!
Most of the time I spent in the studio was with them Sultan and Hasan Nasser, also my team from the studio I was working in Bucharest Cristian Stanciu aka Matze, Cezar Stanciulescu aka Junkyard, Ieronim Pogorilovschi, Sorin Romanescu, Codrin Lazar, some great artists that I learned so much and I’m grateful.
Do you have a dream studio item that you have not got yet?
I find modulars really interesting, they are very organic and authentic , I would combine them with a more known sequencer to me like the MPC sampler because I could be more flexible and more beats kind of a musician. I would imagine working on an MPC X.
What is the production you are most proud of? and why?
I am proud of all my work, because it reflects all my emotions. But I can say that I’m really proud of my last EP on Pleasure Zone (The Way Out) lately.
I can’t get enough of it, also some other friends and members agree.
So I’m confident with my work.
Last of all, if you have any advice for a producer starting out in 2020, what would it be?
I would say to be a self believer and stick to it, many things come and go in our lives, but our talents are inner and they hang to us, and should totally be expressed in any form.