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Interview: Omid 16B

We catch up with Omid 16B, an inspiration to many in the world of electronic dance music...

As a DJ, producer, song-writer and label boss of the SexOnWax, Disclosure and Alola imprints there seems to be no end to this man's talents. Since the great success of his debut album ‘Sounds From Another Room' in 1998 the Iranian DJ has gone on to produce remixes and work with various critically acclaimed artists as well as releasing material as a solo artist and as part of SOS alongside Desyn Masiello and Demi Hajigeorgiou.

Omid has made a significant impact on the music scene throughout his career; one of the most memorable moments being when he was featured on the cover of DJ Mag in November 2007 and famously gave readers a free copy of his new album 'Like 3 Ears and 1 Eye - Part 1'. Today Omid continues to tour, release music and sign new talents and as a DJ who pulls from many sub-genres such as techno, electro and deep house his sound still remains fresh, current and uniquely exciting. Here we find out more about the year ahead, his musical heroes and current projects.

How did you first get into music?

I've always loved listening to music since a very young age, but when I started making my own music it was a complete accident. My Commodore 64 broke down for the 3rd time, which resulted in me giving up any hope in computer programming and I took up my little brother's classical guitar and started a band aged 14.

Which artists have been your main musical inspirations?

My inspirations range from bands like Ride and The Cure all the way to DJs like Laurent Garnier and Mr C.

How does it feel to have people such as Robert Smith from The Cure support your work?

Strange to say the least, as I never would have thought it when I was following them! It's something that's exciting and sad at the same time because the dream becomes true and then the dream disappears.

Tell us about how you came to form SOS back in 2004 and how your relationship with Demi and Desyn began?

We formed through hanging out with each other at the same parties, starting playing together sometimes, but it was the music that really made us get closer. We shared everything and reminded ourselves frequently about keeping our ego's in control.

How does working with the guys compare to doing your own thing?

They both have advantages and disadvantages, when you're working with others it can be very inspiring and full of good energy at the best of times, but if it's not happening it can be very tedious. On your own can be great if you're in the zone, but if you're not being with others can help.

As an artist who has been in the industry for a long time, how do you embrace the technical changes?

Well if it's in relation to how music is valued now and how it's used as a tool to promote the artists, I'm still undecided as to what's best! I would like to see a way where it's a positive turn for both DJ's/producers and labels to survive and accomplish rewards in a market that seems to evolve around money and success being monopolised by powerful figures, but surely it should really be more about raising one another's consciousness?

You started your imprint Alola in 1993, what can we expect to see from the label in 2012?

New releases by Nav, Demi, big AL, not to mention I'm doing a few EP's too. More back catalogue is getting re-mastered for the digital domain and added to online stores, plus a new Alola mix by the legendary Mr C and French nu-breed Amine Edge.

You also are the label director of SexonWax and Disclosure tell us how these imprints differ from each other and Alola?

Disclosure is a vinyl only techno label, Sexonwax is about tunes that stand out and never disappear and Alola is more about flexibly for anything deep/tech to abstract and more chill.

Are there any artists or releases across the labels that we should watch out for?

All of it has an edge and it's been awhile since we decided to release the way we are about to, as of June its a release every month till the end of the year, so watch out for a lot of amazing music!

Earlier this year you were at the SXSW festival in Austin, TX how was this?

It was great fun and so good to see such a huge effort in new bands as well as established ones getting together and rocking the place. People doing gigs on their front yard it was so funny but really good. My gig was actually in someone's house/office which I only realised on the night, I had my cousin's and little brother Nima with me... killer night!

In February you released two tracks on John Digweed's label Bedrock, one being 'The Night' can you tell us what inspired you to make this track?

Going to a club where you get lost in the music and the energy levels keep on pushing, almost like a sense of being hypnotized by a loop then with the other layers of music a story in the sound unfolds. It's a journey of energy builds and drops and I know John Digweed loves to play like that, so it was a good idea to send it to him.

The second of these tracks is called "Electronics" which you have been playing in your sets over the past few years, why did you choose to release this with Bedrock and why now?

Now that it's out I better stop playing it haha! The good thing about not releasing tracks that are of high quality means you can play them forever and no one will get tired of them.

What is you ultimate crowd pleaser track wise?

"Good Life" by Inner City never fails.

It must be an amazing feeling to see people loving your music, where have you experienced your best crowd or atmosphere at a gig?

"Exit" Kaunas/Vilnius and "Pacha" Buenos Aires are truly something else.

You have a new album due for release at the end of the year, what can we expect to hear from this?

It's been 6 years since the last album, "like3earsand1eye", so you can imagine the amount of music that has built up through that time towards this album. The main reason I gave it a few years before I shared the music is so I know it will stand the test of time and not conform to any standards of fashion, therefore becoming a reference point rather than a throw away item.

Have you collaborated with any one on the album?

I have to stay quiet about that for now, but will let you know when I can.

You have worked with an array of artists during your career, but who was the most memorable and why?

My brother Nav and Mr C hands down are two of the nicest guys and funniest people I've ever worked with; both have a unique and stubborn response but with great ideas and an entertaining attitude.

Have you got any new productions that you can tell us about?

My Lana Del Rey remixes of both "Blue Jeans" and "Video Games" will hopefully get the rights for a release on Alola or Sexonwax, but I'm still in negotiations with Polydor/Universal. Also look out for a new EP from me on both Alola and Sexonwax in the next few months.

What are your plans for 2012?

First and foremost, to finish this album and be happy with it, this year I'll only be doing a few key gigs and concentrating mainly on the label and releasing more music.

If you could work with any artist on a track, past or present, who would it be and why?

Jimi Hendrix if he was still alive, his uniqueness and attitude would make it a great experience!

Selection of upcoming Omid 16B gigs:

May 25th: Club Roxy, Prague, Czech Republic
May 26th: SOS @ The Westbourne Studios, London

Releases on Bedrock

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