Motez is an Australian producer who is re defining the boundaries of house music. Pulling from garage, hip-hop, funk and classic house inspiration, his music takes listeners on a journey through both the melodic and deep. Imagine the shimmer of a sun soaked beach accompanied by the rumble of pounding waves along the shore. Mix that with a vigorous ration of booty bounce and a healthy dose of sweat and you're just about there!
2013 was off to a solid start for the Aussie producer with a huge edit of Frank Ocean's, "Thinkin Bout You" followed by a slew of original tracks, exponentially gaining support from a global audience. The past few months alone we have seen a rapid-fire of releases including a massive EP drop on Food Records, an official remix of What So Not's "High You Are" on OWSLA, and most recently a marble floor cracking remix of Sage The Gemini's "Gas Pedal".
Interviewing Motez was not only a personal win for me, but an amazing opportunity to hear from the man himself about his rapid success and inspiration behind the music.
We also have an exclusive mixtape from Motez himself.
Wilks: Lets back it up a little bit, for those who are less familiar with your back story, which is kind of interesting in itself, you're from Iraq, and you moved to Australia only a hand-full of years ago to pursue music. Iraq, not necessarily a central hub for electronic music, how did you find yourself in production in the first place?
Motez: I have been producing since I was in Iraq. I was born there. I grew up there. I started doing much when I was there. Then I started DJing when I moved to Australia. Now obviously Iraq has many problems, as you can hear on the news every day. We moved (my family and I) a few years ago, to establish a new life, in a new way. I think I started to take music a little bit more seriously and I think that till last year, which kind of took off. I haven't really started DJing until five years ago. I was a producer before I became a DJ.
W: Before that point was music more of a casual thing and it wasn't until it started to take off before you realized this is what I wanted to do for a living?
M: Yes, exactly! It was a natural cause for me to have music as a hobby, because you know you have to be here for a few years before you establish yourself. It wasn't until last year when my music started to take off and I realized that I will give this a go, and see where it goes. I think it's going well so far, and see where it goes.
W: What was your major in college?
M: My previous degree was computer engineering. Last year I did a postgraduate for international business, which is completely different than what I have done.
W: You kind of found yourself in a growing list of names that have been grouped in this pile of "Australian Sound" we have been hearing so much about. Can you tell us what your take is on this "Australian Sound"?
M: It's hard to describe from a sound perspective. The Australian sound reminds me of the many beautiful beaches in Australia. In a way very emotional, it's very cool sounding. It's young sound, beach sound. I didn't grow up listening to a lot of electronic dance music. I got more into dance music in the past few years. I'm a bit of somewhat of a music snob, for me as a producer you need to know your keys and your cords. In my personal opinion, you have to make it.
W: I agree you must have more of the foundation behind you, to be able to have it as a platform, rather than only know one style of music you are making.
Flume being one of the major ambassadors of this Australian sound. He recently announced a list of producers out of Australia that he was pretty pumped on and you were one of those names, how did that feel to see your name up there?
M:I think it's really good, and I felt really good. Thanks to him it was such a great honor. It felt to me, as someone who moved up into Australia only a few years ago, in a way it was like "sometimes immigrants" can do it. But I was super proud. I looked at the list and was like "wow" they are all amazing producers that I look up to. It was great, it was really good.
W: Lets move back to your release, we have the "Gas Pedal" remix you recently did. This song has been getting a lot of attention on the remix circut, and you came out with a smash one too that was really tight right now. How did that come to be with you with that remix of the song?
M: This might sound really funny but I actually just heard the song and I didn't know what it was, I heard it on vine. I follow people on vine that I think are funny and I watch a view videos before I go to bed, and I saw that someone posted a video that were downloading the track. I looked for the track, to kind of play it for me because it has a really cool hook. I thought, I'll just do something with it. It took me about a week to finish it. I'm really happy I gotten number 2 on Hype Machine.
W: About a year ago, that's where you started to pick up. You have some pretty cool remixes of Justin Timberlake, Frank Ocean and you have quit the wide variety of inspiration you are pulling from. What is your motivation behind remixes?
M: I just wanted to make tracks; that I could play at my own space. I started moving more into the heavy house. I wanted to play things that were kind of me, in a way to see how could I deal with vocals. It was kind of an experiment with me that worked well. It gave me inspiration to use those methods.
W: Do you get kind of rise from taking lyrics or songs that aren't really close to house music, and then composing it into a house song?
M: Yes, definitely. It's like my thing, it's almost a challenge for me to do it. I usually with remixes, I ask for vocals on their own, and no other elements on the track because I want to challenge myself in a way that I could form a whole new track around vocals. A remix is like taking an extreme with me.
W: How many songs that you create get dumped, and how many actually see the light of day?
M:If you look at my soundcloud, not the side that people see, I think I have about 30 tracks. I have a lot I haven't released, I like to see the crowd's reaction that gives me an idea if it is ready for a release yet or not. I do a lot, I do music everyday. Some see the light of day and some don't, some are just ideas.
W: What kind of develops your own style per say?
M: I don't think I have any preconceptions of what I wanted to do. I think that transition happened about a year ago. I don't have any particular limits or structure, it just kind of something I put down and did something and said, and "I like this".
W: Is every song you make a little bit of a past song you make and a little more experimentation of you kind of going into another direction?
M: It is mainly the hook I try to find, or a sample or keyboard I use to mix. Every track starts from one building block and that builds around it. Sometimes I see what I have done in the past to copy that, not copy but see what I have done and how I have done it. Sometimes I'll do it and go back to it to see how it was done.
W: If you have one word for your music, what would it be?
M: It's a tough one, but it's funky. I love funk music.
W: I see that in your music. It's funny the word funk gets thrown around everywhere, and funky means something different to everyone. But in terms of your music I hear it in that garage influence, with the drums a little bit off beat.
M: Absolutely, that's the main. I have a big shuffle on the track, but I'm listening to the album by Cuthead, he's from Germany. The album, made me not make music for the rest of the day it kind of got me depressed it was that good. The reason why was because it was full of shuffled, a lot of swing on the tracks.
W: Winding down from that, what is one golden piece of advice you pass down to inspiring young producers out there?
M: Don't just listen to dance music, go and listen to something completely different. Listen to pop, listen to things that are different. Another thing learn music. Learn how to play keys, learn how to play guitar, piano, whatever you want. That will give you more and let you stick out completely different to the crowd. You are making music after all.
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