Stealth has been an exciting fixture in the scene for years now, appearing on V Recordings, Renegade Hardware, Uprise Audio and Critical to name just a few. Having signed to RAM earlier this year the future is bright for this talented producer, and if the impressive Alliance EP, out now on ProgRAM, is any indication of what we can expect from the debut album he’s currently working on, then WE ARE READY! We caught up with the man himself to get the backstory behind the EP…
Yes Ali! Thanks for taking the time to chat to us! Straight to the EP – lethal! Big ups. Did it take long to piece together?
Many thanks! It did indeed! I usually take quite a lot of time over my tracks to give them the level of detail and production that I try to achieve. Some projects I will have the main idea of the track down in 1 session. This may not change much artistically to the finished article, however I may take a week or more to get the mix etc. as good as I can. Some projects start off difficult and evolve over time into something special. This can take months or years sometimes, but always worth it if you put the time in.
Definitely! Some HUGE collabs on there! Is that what the EP’s title was inspired by?
Yeah, it is definitely what the title is about. They’re not all just collaborations though. These are all collaborations with close personal friends of mine. Not just other producers; hence the name ‘Alliance’.
‘Revival’ with Dirty Hertz is epic to say the least. The cinematic intro, that creeping bass line… what’s the backstory behind the tune?
I met Dirty Hertz way back in the mid to late 90’s. We started hanging out and we had a lot of mutual friends. We soon discovered that our musical tastes were very similar and would often end up both playing at some epic house parties after returning from gigs in town. At the time Ben (Dirty Hertz) was managing Metalheadz and I was a regular at the infamous Sunday Night Sessions. We’d always talked about doing a collab together and it was a real pleasure to finally sit down and put something out like that.
The track encompasses some of those vibes and feelings we got from the music back then, teamed with modern engineering and future Sonics.
You linked with Xtrah for ‘Everytime’ – What a tune! You guys have known each other for years, right? What was it like finally getting in the studio together?
It was a pleasure to do. Xtrah is a very talented producer. We live literally around the corner from each other so we’ve sat down in the studio a few times in the past. This time though, we vibed out hard for a whole day; the idea of the tune came together really organically.
You’ve known Stylus for well over 10 years now, and have worked on many tunes together prior to Bulgan. Having taken a bit of a break from d&b, is this a sign that he’s well and truly back to it?
I hope so! I’ve known stylus more like 20 years actually. We started out producing together as a collaborative team. Jon is the person I feel most comfortable working with for that reason. We totally understand each other, use the same language to refer to things and know each other’s tastes and inspirations inside out. This makes things much easier when making critical decisions in tunes over the years. However, Jon found it harder and harder to put in the same kind of time to music as I was and that is the only reason he’s not signed to RAM as well in my opinion. Very talented guy. I would love to see him make a big comeback. He deserves it.
Any more collabs locked in for the future?
Definitely. We are close friends and we live so close. We always have projects on the go here and there.
Good to hear! Now on to The Passenger – It’s dark, hard-hitting, powerful. Tell us about Quaed and how this tune came together.
Jack (Quaed) and I used to work together at a cinema. We always got on and had a laugh. He has been a DJ and producer for a long time, however back then he was in the house/techno scene. Over the years he finally saw the light that drum & bass is obviously way better!! 😉 He also used to use Cubase to produce – it’s a wonder I ever liked him to be honest!… Anyways, he saw the light there too and made the change to Logic at the end of last year. I started helping him out with getting his head around it and from that spawned a few good studio sessions where this tune was born.
Sounds like you schooled him good n’ proper 😉 While we’re on the topic of collabs – what have been some of your favourite over the years and why?
Working with Codebreaker on Nightfall was great. We really shared the same vision and direction on the project. It was nice to work closely with a vocalist instead of just sending a stranger your track and getting some stems back.
You do me wrong with Altair – this was one of the tracks that which presented a turning point for me in the production game. Definitely one of the reasons RAM signed me.
I love the intro so much. Altair is an absolute don when it comes to vibes. On that note our collaboration ‘Lost Highway’ that came out on Uprise Audio is one of the most satisfying tracks I have ever written. Normally there are always little things in tunes that, down the line, you wish you could go back and change/update. However, that piece of music feels perfect for what it is. Lovely chilled out vibe. No need for mega production, just pure feeling.
Do you find that a tune comes together quicker when there are two creative minds working on it as opposed to when you’re in the studio on your own, or does it simply depend on the tune?
No, usually the opposite! There are more things to disagree on at the end of the day. It’s harder to please two people than one! It really does depend on the tune though in all honesty. Some projects just come together and some are a labor of love.
What kind of set up do you have in the studio?
I run Logic on a Macbook Pro. Use dynaudio bm15’s for monitoring. I have some old fostex for reffing too. That’s about it really. All you need is a good computer, good speakers and a lot of passion/determination.
Flashback to your teenage self: If someone told you back then that you’d be signed to RAM Records what would you have said?
Sweet! – Why did it take me so bloody long!? 😉
If you weren’t producing what do you think you’d be doing?
I’d be an astronaut.
Random Q of the day: If you could invite 4 people (dead or alive) to the weirdest dinner party in the history of the universe who would they be?
Angelina Jolie, Megan Fox, Jessica Alba and Audrey Hepburn so we could have some really in depth debates on politics and religion, obviously.
Where to from here Ali? What’s next on the horizon?
Album, album, album and more album! Interspersed with lots of gigs hopefully! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re looking to book me. Woooii! Much love.
The Alliance EP is out now.