Aly & Fila - Entranced
Proving that trance really is a universal language, Egypt’s Aly and Fila are headed to fry braincells at Trance Energy at the Hordern Pavilion. 3D’s Cyclone got the full story on where they’re from, and where they’re going.
Trance really is international. Egypt isn't a place readily identified with dance music, yet Aly & Fila, AKA Aly Amr Fathalah and Fadi Wassef Naguib, are changing that.
Dubai's club scene is mostly for expats, but other Middle Eastern countries like Lebanon have thriving undergrounds. Even in Iran there's reportedly an underground party movement. Speaking from backstage at Trance Energy in Utrecht last month, as Paul van Dyk rocks the main room, Fila stresses that Egypt is “more westernised” than, say, Iran, while its subculture is “very fresh.” Aly & Fila have celebrated their Egyptian heritage with successive record titles - Eye Of Horus, Spirit Of Ka, Ankh – Breath Of Life - and an Internet radio show, Future Sound Of Egypt.
It's said that former CSS member Iracema Trevisan found it irritating – and patronising - that she was forever quizzed about Brazilian music by Western journalists. However, Aly & Fila have no such qualms. "For me, it's something extra for the artist to be from Egypt," Fila says with surprise. "People are used to having artists from Holland, from England, from Europe, normally from the US, but from Egypt it's like, ‘wow - it's something new, it's something fresh.’ We are leading the [scene] in our area, so a lot of people are happy with us. We are also trying to have other artists blow up from the area, so this is our plan - to build as many artists as possible from the area, from Egypt, from the Middle East, to show the world that this area has good musicians, good artists, and [to counter] the bad image that they have about this area."
Aly & Fila are looking to promote events at home. "We're planning to do our own nights in Egypt to boost the scene and get some good guests and some of our DJ and artist friends, so maybe we can do something for the scene in Egypt."
The Cairo duo, championing an uplifting trance style, broke through in 2003 with Eye Of Horus on Germany's Euphonic. More recently, they've issued the compilation Trance World 2, on Armin van Buuren's Armada. They're currently involved in Offshore Music with mate Andy Prinz. In 2008, the pair broke into DJ mag's Top 100 at No. 31 (one spot ahead of Judge Jules!).
Aly & Fila, childhood pals, make no secret of their influences, name-checking van Dyk and Chicane, whom they discovered through travel and CDs given to them by friends. They'll drop an 'artist' album either at the end of this year or at the top of 2010. "It has to be perfect for us."
Fila feels that, in many respects, he and Aly aren't necessarily delivering pioneering electronica but reinventing older sounds. "It's not like it's completely new," he says. "We're influenced by the ol' skool trance, the really melodic, bangin' trance - this is what we really love." Having said that, they'll introduce different sounds, chiefly Middle Eastern instrumentation, on their LP. "I don't know how it will sound. Maybe people will be like, What is this- What are they doing- [But] maybe people will really like it!"
Fans can preview Aly & Fila's material when Fila tours Australia for the first time with Trance Energy. "We really have a lot of good stuff in the bag!"
WHO: Aly & Fila
WHAT: Trance Energy at the Hordern Pavilion
WHEN: Thursday 9 April