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Off The Record Mix Series 33:
Moving Still

OTR MIX 33 Cover

its’s peak time at Dekmantel main stage and Palms Trax is letting the crowd have it and he’s dropping a fairly addictive and unheard edit of “Sidi Mansour” by Cheba Yamina. Thus is to say as the weeks after went on this tune would become viral. The artist: Jamal Sulaimani AKA Moving Still, a producer and DJ coming fast up out of the woodwork recently because of his out there and dynamic culture crossing sets and musical knowledge that he incorporates into his own compositions.
Jamal’s roots to music are quite interesting too. His heart lies in two places, one in the sweltering heat of the beautiful city of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, one in the prosperous rainy Irish capital of Ireland; Dublin (Which is where he resides today with his loving family). It has been this cross of culture where Jamal found his love for music and where he has solidified his unique sound.
Moving Still’s music is a mixture of tape collected Arabic music samples with punchy club cuts usually leaning into the disco, italo and house regions and wouldn’t sound a miss in one of Sound Metaphors all night long sets. It is with these productions he finds the starting line of harnessing this energy while also finding equally fantastic gems to seamlessly blend into his well thought out sets. And this is what Jamal has done for us here. 1hr and 25mins of pure party energy while showing his trademark sound throughout without you evening noticing, sure… what would you know…, you’re already dancing…, you’re lost in it…, you’re not coming back….HEY come back! ….Too late you’re gone!

Sorry lost my train of thought, we sat down with Jamal to chat about some very exciting releases he has in the pipeline and a little about his background in music:

Hey Jamal Thanks for joining us! Can you tell us about your mix and what the idea behind it was?
Hey Daire, thanks for having me. Ma fee mushkilla habibi, this mix is inspired by my sets at All Together Now, with a big focus on tracks from friends and family and some sneaky new bits from me. It’s wavy with a mix of Arabi heat and HINRG bits.

Can you tell us a bit about how you usually approach recording a mix or a set?
I usually start with 2 or 3 songs that have been stuck in my head for a while and they give me the bones of the mix. I think of the start, middle and end of a mix and where I want it to go, and what feeling I want to give off from it. I try not to overthink the choice of songs and just let the music create the magic. I generally try to do everything with a fresh head so it has a spontaneous element to it.

Could you tell us a little bit about your background, you’re Irish and Saudi so I’d imagine that’s had a big influence on the process you go into for sets and music production?
Yes I am Saudi-Irish, my dad is Saudi and my mam is Irish. I lived in Saudi up until I was 14 and then moved to Ireland. Both have been home, which was challenging growing up as you never fully fitted into one place!
As I got older I got more confident, and had no idea that music would be the way I could understand my cultures and tie them together (in my mind anyway). My first EP With Oud (shoutout to Al Morris aka Nail Shop for making it happen) was my way of exploring my cultural identity through music. I had no idea my musical influence as a kid would help the way I write microtonal Arabic trills! Sure I used to write ambient-based tracks when I first started.

What’s your preferred method for finding new music—do you still enjoy digging around in dusty crates, or do you prefer to buy online?
I like a bit of both really! I think there are certain things you’re not going to get digging through crates, and again there are spontaneous finds you won’t find online. I do love the feeling of digging in crates, because the hunt might find you something different and better in the end!
I seem to do it more frequently when I am abroad, especially for cassettes. A couple of years ago I found a sick cassette shop in Jeddah, Saudi – it was a gold mine. I bought a good few crazy things and among them was the “Azah Kamal” tape that I ended up editing with Tjade. I ended up taking the guy’s number and when the pandemic hit, I asked him to take a few snaps of the walls to see if there was anything I missed. I ended up getting a box of tapes and it took my sister a few months to get them sent over and man I am still trying to go through them!

If you could give young up and comers a bit of advice what would it be?
Keep writing tunes. Start to think of the signature sound and when you feel that you’re ready, keep writing more.
Bounce a track to a few friends, see how it plays out, and send it to friends and family. If you feel it hits you the way you intended, then make a list of DJs and producers you think will like the track.
Once you get to that point, think of the email you want to send. Personalise it to each person you’re sending it to. Subject line is everything, make it stand out or even add the genre too! I find that a good email can help make a genuine musical connection with someone – might sound silly but it did for me!
Once you feel that some of the people you sent to have played it out, it might give you more ideas who to approach label wise, or even better a label approaches you!

Does the label you are working with have influence on a particular concept when it comes to making music?
I think all labels in a sense have their own aesthetic they want to adhere to. I think then it’s up to the artist to know if their music fits or if they would be completely changing what they do to fit the label.
I think when you have a signature sound, you have lots of ways you can challenge yourself musically. I had a lovely discussion with the label and they had the same vision as me musically for the EP. I think it’s important to think of a label like a way of pushing towards new unfamiliar territories as it helps solidify your signature.

What do you have up your sleeve for 2022?
I am super excited to share that I will be landing a new EP with Palms Trax’s label CWPT. I am still pinching myself that it’s happening. I kind of had this weird hope that it would happen, and I am still having to pinch myself that it is!
I can tell you that the experience I had working with Jay and the CWPT crew was honestly amazing. They are really caring and pay attention to every little detail and have given me so much artistic freedom. It has been quite overwhelming, and I am really thankful to get this project out as it is quite personal to me. Can’t wait to share it with you all!

Thanks Jamal 🙂

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