Maher Daniel celebrates the one year anniversary of his imprint The Other Side with the release from his own LP this March, along with a label showcase at the up and coming St-Martin-based SXM festival. The latest edition of the ‘In Conversation’ series sees us joined by Barcelona-based Daniel as we discuss the influences behind the label and the journey to his current space – soundtracked by an exclusive new mix.
WWD: Great to have you joining us Maher!
Thanks for having me it’s a pleasure taking part of this mix series and interview
WWD: Where in the world are you right now? What’s been on your to do list this week?
Currently I’m in Barcelona where I reside working away in the studio and getting things ready for the up and coming releases on the The Other Side, plus scheduling my US Album Tour dates along side my agent Melissa Mantha. Dates run from March 10th through to April 15th
WWD: Your young label The Other Side just delivered its second release, can you talk us through the record?
Yes indeed and super excited about this. The recording started with the vocal really, Gabriel Garcia Marquez a nobel prize winner who discusses the solitude of Latin America and its next steps for the future was the center piece of the record. I used the whole 18 minute speech and the music just built off of that, loads of modular drones being used on the low end to really give it that extra punch. The first person that came to mind to remix this record was Ada Kaleh and he delivered a monster, which I’m extremely happy about.
WWD: The label world is more competitive than ever. What inspired the decision to launch your own venture?
For years I had found myself working for other people and releasing music on other labels, as you can tell from my back catalogue ive been around the block lol, but truly I needed to start focusing on my self, my sound and do what I wanted to do musically for the years to come. And this was the reason behind launching the imprint, it has also allowed me to book my own showcases worldwide and on the side start building my Charity project to create educational rec centers to teach the youth of conflict areas art and music, this is a project I’m working on with artist Wesley Kimler from Chicago who also happens to be the man behind all the art work for the label. The project will kick off hopefully in east Jerusalem bringing together Palestinian and Israeli Youth together into a conflict free zone, which allows them to share and collaborate on art and music.
WWD: Is there a particular message or idealogy behind the imprint?
Not really, its just a platform to put out forward thinking music without any bias and really appreciate everyone working together as much as it sounds like its something for myself to build on its also for the artists im signing and getting on board. Like minded people making music they love.
WWD: Where do you hope to take it over the next year?
Honestly just to keep building it and making it as special as it can possibly get and I know with the help from my peers and everyone who believes in what im doing it will get there.
WWD: You’re marking the one year anniversary with a party at SXM festival this year. What can you tell us about that?
When I made the decision of launching the label I was trying to figure out how to make a impact out of the gates. So when I was approached by SXM there seemed to be a void missing in the curating, by doing so I was able to bring Priku over as my special guest along side Shaun Reeves. This really set the tone for the next showcases. And now we back for the second edition with RPR Soundsystem.
WWD: Have you any other showcases on the horizon?
Yes absolutely I’m already discussing showcases for the summer time with Uberhaus Beirut, Suma Beach Istanbul and and few others that I’m keeping under wraps at the moment. But more and more it keeps growing and we’ll keep pushing it forward.
WWD: Music-wise, what else is coming up for the label?
I have the Cataloguing a little skewed lol, but 003 is the next one up this includes 2 originals Plus remixes from Priku and Sepp and then 004 same format 2 originals and 2 remixes From Dana Ruh and Argenis brito. 005 will be out before both I believe which is the Album but this is coming out only digitally, the other formats are vinyl only, with digital releases down the line. I’ve signed material from Mahony from Kristal Club Bucharest and Floog from Premiesku and a new track from Ada Kaleh and music from my second project Creatures of Habit with my partner Amir Javasoul.
WWD: For you personally, what do the next few months look like?
Touring and really spreading the word about the label and the brand, and pushing and bringing forth the music.
WWD: As an artist and label owner we want to get your feelings on a topic that we’re diving into at the moment. The lasting value of a track or a composition in electronic music seems to be diminishing by the second in terms of listener consumption. As a creator and label boss, have you been frustrated by this situation?
It is frustrating to be honest, with technology allowing music production accessible and easy to make there is tonnes of music that is coming out which gives the life span of records 2 to 3 weeks at most. The strive to write timeless music has really been forgotten, that’s why I’m handpicking and really taking the time with the music that I sign and that I’m pushing, whether its mine or someone that I have signed, Its easy to say that all you want to do is make BOMBs but where is the fun in that, thinking outside of the box and being a little more experimental and exciting is really the key to capturing timeless music. Or at least that’s how I see it.
WWD: Is there any solution to reverse the process or for re-creating that value in the eyes of the end listener?
I’m not sure really maybe stripping it back and making the music less accessible making people try really, really hard to find it, and dig for the records.
WWD: Does this issue impact on how often you decide to release as a producer/label?
Not really but I will be limiting my releases through the year. For the start it will seem like a lot coming out but its also cuz my album had a deadline, so it included the singles with the remixes.
WWD: You’ve provided an exclusive new mix for us today. Can you tell us a little bit about what’s inside?
Ya totally excited for it to be out, the mix is really glides through and rides out from track to track, glitch, stripped down minimal and housey all at the same time, really flows well and gets the listeners involved. The tracks in the mix are records that im constantly playing out, or pushing.
Thanks for having me.
Maher Daniel’s forthcoming LP Feelings From The Other Side is out March 17th.
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