Progressive-Sounds: What productions/remixes do you have slated for future releases?
Omid: Right now I am finishing my first single from "How to Live 100 Years", "Doubt". It's a slightly more funky track with a funky live bass line and housier beats. I am finishing that up now and it's due to be released on Hooj in February. I've basically taken 2 remixes to do this year. I have turned down quite a few. I want to remix tracks by artists that I felt were doing something with their own music and weren't relying on a mix from me. I am remixing a track by Francois K. I am doing the whole package, it's going to be a dub and an 'A' side mix of a track called "Enlightenment". It's been doing the rounds on CDR quite a bit, and is an amazing track. Then I am doing Danny Howells next single as well, called "Dusk till Dawn". I am going to take out a couple of the bits in that that I think are cheesy. There are so many wicked parts in there but there are some I wouldn't necessarily use. I am gonna turn it into one of those tracks that everyone can play, one that will fit into any set.
Progressive-Sounds: Have remixes been commissioned for "Doubt" yet?
Omid: I've got Dan Master doing a mix because I like his stuff. He is a little bit twisted but interesting on the techy tip…and this new guy called Brooks. He is a really young guy but he's doing some really good stuff. There is one more mix I want to get, and I want to try someone from the Detroit lot like Kevin Sorrensen or maybe Carl Craig.
I pick people selectively for remixes, like I picked Marcello Castelli to remix "The Game" before he started getting commissioned for loads of tribal remixes. I pay really close attention to the upcoming guys. I am not a sucker for getting huge names that come with huge price tags just to sell a single. I don't really think there is anything that they can do that I can't do. I want a remix to give someone a little bit of my music so they can help themselves move up. I pick remixes really, not because I feel the track needs a remix, but because I want to hear my track from a different perspective. Not necessarily to sell it more, but to really give someone that's fresh and new a chance to deal with things. This will be the first time that Jerry (Hooj) and I, on this particular single, will try to get someone like Carl Craig, just to see what they can do with 16B stuff. I reckon it should be alright. I think techno is really going to blow up again and it would be amazing to get vocals to crossover to the techno scene.
Progressive-Sounds: Your albums tend to verge into downtempo territory, and in the past you did an ambient rework of CM's Dream Universe. Is this an avenue you venture into as a case of experimentation away from more club orientated stuff, or does you prefer to work within that style?
Omid: There is a fine line between deciding what you are gonna exploit a bit more than some other genres. At the end of the day, the way it works, it's the time and the moment that I am standing on that is very very inspirational to my work. Now take today for example, I am very excited and more likely to produce positive music. I like to look at making down tempo music when I am more emotional and maybe not caring about the spirits of happiness and being positive as much, and that can lead on to making that type of tracks. But to make those types of tracks consistently and be completely fulfilled in my everyday life from making those tracks, no, impossible. I am so unpredictable, even to myself; lots of things excite me at different times.
Progressive-Sounds: As the follow up to 'Sounds From Another Room' what kinds of reactions have you received regarding the much-acclaimed full lengther on Hooj, 'How to live 100 years'?
Omid: When you are looking to buy music, in the end, you are going to take an album home with you, one that you want to listen to. It's so hard to find a dance album that you will carry on listening to. I lived with most of those tracks for almost 3 years, touching them up slightly, and that was frustrating for me. But it was also a big risk which has paid off now because the reaction from people has been really good. People have surprised me with the tracks that are their favorites, you know, people are telling me…my favorite track is this, my favorite track is that, and I am like, are you sure? People are telling me "Colours", "Virus", "In Between Your Choice", slower tracks, you know, not as 16Bish in general, they were tracks that I experimented with and added different types of sounds to and people have turned around and told me that they loved those tracks.
Progressive-Sounds: Your sound has been described as "deep, sexy grooves tinged with funk and laced with catchy hooks". Do you think that does justice to your sound?
Omid: Because I haven't done an album in a while 16B had become more of a remix, trackey based project. If you know my sound you will be able to tell my sound, usually based around a club environment. This album brought it into a home listening context, you can still dance to it, but you can also listen to it. I go through a lot of effort to make sure your ears hear as much pleasure as possible but I always want to inspire excitement and new ideas, and I have to come up with them and not sound like someone else's ideas.
Progressive-Sounds: I have to say, there are a lot of producers out now that don't have a distinct sound and their sounds blend into the scene, however you are one of the few artists that has a distinct sound and when you hear 16B sounds in a club, you can see peoples heads all turning. What is the secret to having a unique sound?
Omid: I have to agree with you really, not because I want to say that about myself, but I have to agree with you because a lot of artists have started to sound like each other now. Take Peace Division for instance; there are so many people that want to sound like them, but they still sound like themselves, and they can never sound like anything else. One of the problems that Peace Division has, and they are one of my favorite producers in that sound, but they cant do anything apart from that sound. Whereas lots of other producers that are trying to sound like Peace Division, don't sound like Peace Division, when all they are trying to do is sound like them.
I think in general that is definitely what is going on with the artist and production environment, they really aren't inventing records anymore. This whole thing with the dilemma of the record industry suffering, I mean, we all know the real reasons as to why that is happening. But, at the same time, house music or dance music, whatever you want to call it, can't get so blown up so quickly, It has to slowly work its way through the path. People have to hear it, people have to understand it and love it, not forced to love it for one minute and then knock it down the next. And producers, because of how little money they have been making, have been knocking out some really shit records. They should just take their time and make 1 record and sell 15,000 records rather then make 5 records that are gonna sell 500 each. That's the bottom line. Better records have to be made and higher units have to be sold. That will put confidence back into the industry.
Progressive-Sounds: Which producers would you say are putting out top tracks?
Omid: Leon Roberts at the moment, he's coming out with some amazing edits. At the time, about 2 years ago, I was paying very close attention to some upcoming producers. There was one guy I came across, Neil McDonald and had done a record for me on Alola as Remote Control and he's a phenomenal producer. I've signed his album for Alola and it's un-fucking-believable. It's like, I can relate to it because it sounds like something I would do, but it sounds so much more naïve than the way I would do it. He's done things to his sounds that make me think to myself, Oh wow, I wouldn't have tried that. It's just fantastic. He's one of the guys I really respect because he comes from a DJ background and he tries to put a lot of melody into his music which a lot of DJs avoid.
Progressive-Sounds: What can you tell me about your label "Sex on Wax" that you are setting up with Desyn Masiello and what does that mean for the future of your Alola label?
Omid: Sex on Wax has kicked off now with Desyn, and what Alola has turned into now is an albums label for our artists because our artists are actually starting to be consistent now. We've got Remote Control, we've got House of 909, we've just got Pete Moss for an album, he's going to do his first mix cd for us. We've had Mr. C on the label and he's going to do a mix CD for us. We've had so many artists that I've loved working with in the past because I've been so close to them. Not like I have tried to be mates with them, but I've been so honest with them because I am also an artist and I know how I like to be dealt with so I expect deal with them in that way. It is a good working relationship. When things get tough, we both know that, and when things are great, we both know that too. Sex on Wax is more a label designed for records that Des and I pick up on. It will be full on club and full on DJ. It's not going to be a track that you play to your grandmother. So far we've had Tom Paris and Mr. C records which is sick twisted techno shit. It was unbelievable, I signed it instantly. The next single we have coming out is a record by Pako from Pako and Frederick fame and I've used Dolby 5.1 on the B side for extra effect for the Space sounds system. Alola is more for development, we just can't take risks and put out a track from an artist that we are never going to see again because the money that comes back from that label goes back into further developing artists.
Progressive-Sounds: Your compilation "Everything All of Them Every Year" showcases the talent on your label ALOLA. Do you see something like that happening with the SOW label?
Omid: Probably there will be one for SOW that me and Des will do together, a double CD. I am also going to do a mix cd of live and my dj set. I've been talking to quite a few people about that, but I don't want to mention who at this point. One of the CDs is going to be a live cd of the 100 Years tour that I am doing right now and we'll record a live DVD for that where you can put it in your living room and feel what it's like to be in the club
Progressive-Sounds: Everyone from Sasha to Tenaglia to Francois Kevorkian to Morales to Weatherall to Pete Tong to John Digweed / Danny Howels to Colin Dale to Ashley Beedle have played and loved your music. What is your key to delivering a sound that reaches to such a diversity of DJs?
Omid: I suppose it's because what I listen to of what they do, the best things that they ever play, that they ever drop is something I would want to make, or its something that I feel that I can make because it's got something that I want to say. The feeling it gives me or the inspiration that it creates is something that I feel is deep inside me. When they do play something really excellent, and it pitches my head, that's when I can relate what I do. Then when I do start making music it has that generosity where I am giving back what I took from that inspiration. I've got a really good ear for good things. When I hear something good and it makes me feel a certain way I can translate that feeling and create something in my own way. I just try to make something that creates the same feeling from the things I hear. Sometimes the things I hear are my own things, sometimes they are someone else's but I am always listening to something. It's all about the feeling. You don't have to make something that sounds similar to give you the same feeling. You work with the feeling. You hear the way it makes you feel.