INTERVIEW: Fila of Aly & Fila (2013)
Trance is truly global music. Friends since childhood, Aly Amyr Fathalah and Fadi Wassef Naguib came together to form the massively successful trance duo Aly & Fila. With major support from Armin van Buuren, their debut album “Rising Sun” unleashed major songs such as “Medellin, ” “I Can Hear You,” “Listening,” and “Paradise.” Watch for their new album Quiet Storm to be release just in time for the Winter Music Conference, giving the fan base of the Egyptian duo even more reasons to vote them back into the top 20 again.
DJ Ron Slomowicz: How long have the two of you been working together?
Fila: For a long time, at least 15 years. We are both 30 years old and we have known each other since we were 5. We were in the same kindergarten and have been best friends since then; when we were 15 years old we started working on music together.
RS: You are from Egypt right?
RS: What’s the scene like out there?
Fila: It is brilliant right now. Perhaps a lot of people think that we don’t have a strong scene there but it is great, people would be surprised to see what is happening in Egypt right now. It is growing and we have big international clubs like Space, Ministry of Sound, and Pacha there.
RS: What is the main sound there?
Fila: I would say the house sound but is seems that the trance sound is getting really big in Egypt.
RS: Were you a DJ or a producer first?
Fila: A DJ first.
RS: How did you move to production?
Fila: I learned music theory and got a Master’s degree in studio production, like in London, and from my courses I started exploring software. At the beginning we were using outboard sequencers before we had computers, which was very hard. We taught ourselves everything in the beginning.
RS: Did you use or Cubase or Logic?
Fila: We used sequencers in the beginning, then Fruity Loops, then Cubase and Logic, now I work with Logic and Cubase and Aly works with Cubase only.
RS: How do the two of you collaborate, do you sit in sessions together?
Fila: We each have our own studio and we actually have a 3rd studio that we work together in.
RS: What was the first track that got picked up by Armada?
Fila: “Lost Language.”
RS: How did that feel when they picked it up?
Fila: Armin had been supporting us for a while before we got signed to Armada and then they offered to have our label, Future Sound of Egypt, as a sub-label for Armada, which was really great for us. They are a very professional company, I was so happy.
RS: As opposed to Future Sound of London.
Fila: No, but I did get the idea from them.
RS: Do you tour mostly in the Middle East?
Fila: No, I don’t tour a lot in the Middle East- mostly in Egypt, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Jordan, and other places in the world. I travel as much as possible.
RS: Congratulations on the move in the DJ Mag list into the Top 20 (from 22 to 19). Why do you think that you guys moved up?
Fila: We put in a lot of work and effort this year. I think that the whole brand Aly & Fila is getting bigger and worldwide. Our tours and gigs are getting much better each year and there has been a big difference since last year, we are getting a lot of support from our fans and listeners. I was very hopeful of moving up and it happened.
RS: Now that you are in the Top 20 how do you think that is going to change people’s perception of you?
Fila: I don’t know, the year before I was actually number 20. I think that people may be more interested in us because of that, which is kind of stupid in a way. If something beneficial happens from our ranking then great, but if not it’s still great. I am not waiting for anything out of DJ Mag, I am happy that people voted for us and gave us their time to support us.
RS: That’s great, what are you working on in the studio right now?
Fila: Our new album called Quiet Storm.
RS: What kind of sound are you guys going for?
Fila: It is pretty much the same with our signature sound – trance. I don’t want to say too much about it because I want people to be surprised when they listen to it.
RS: When should we look forward to it coming out?
RS: Perfect for Winter music conference
Fila: Yes exactly
RS: What would you like to say to all of your fans out there?
Fila: We love them so much because they are loyal fans.
Interview conducted during Amsterdam Dance Event 2012.