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INTERVIEW: A chat with Aly & Fila ahead of their Creamfields & Cream Amnesia shows!

How is 2015 going for you so far?  What are you working on at the moment?

ALY & FILA: Twenty-fifteen is going really well. We are currently preparing for our first FSOE 400 (Future Sound of Egypt 400) show in the U.S. on Saturday and we’re really excited for the start of the tour. The tour starts in San Jose in Northern California.

With you growing up in Egypt, how do you think that influenced your musical styling?

ALY & FILA: We are very proud Egyptians. The country is full of such history and culture. You can tell in our earlier productions from 2003 that there are elements, sounds that can be related to where we are from.

Was there one track in particular, that when you listened to it, you knew that you wanted to break into music?

ALY & FILA: It would be Paul van Dyk’s “For An Angel.” Paul was a huge inspiration of ours and made us want to become musicians and break into the dance music industry. We traveled in Europe a lot when we were younger and used to collect mixtapes of Paul van Dyk. We would listen to them back in Egypt.

What advice would you give to any aspiring DJs or producers who want to succeed in this industry?

What is the difference in performing at shows like ASOT, FSOE or massive festivals like Creamfields in comparison to your club settings?

ALY & FILA: Work hard, listen to advice around you, believe in yourselves, stay true to what you love and believe in. You have to have an open mind for all kinds of clubbing environments. You could one week be playing on a festival like Creamfields, EDC (Electric Daisy Carnival) or FSOE (Future Sound of Egypt), etc., then be playing in a 500-person capacity club. The atmosphere is the key. We love playing all kinds of shows, arenas, festivals, clubs, boats and so on. The fans create the feeling and there’s nothing like the happiness you get when they react to a track you are playing.

Do you think nowadays with so much crossing of genres DJ’s are experiencing a better sense of freedom in their work? And allowing them the opportunity to try new things?

ALY & FILA: We are seeing each day genres becoming sectioned. DJs and producers are trying new things. But we will always stick to what we love and believe in, which is the sound that’s become associated with Aly & Fila.

What would you say your biggest fear is as a DJ?

ALY & FILA: People not enjoying our sets or music anymore.

If you weren’t doing the job you do now, what would you be doing?

FILA: Possibly working with my father in his business…

ALY: Hmmm, maybe making music for movies.

This new album is different from the typical Aly & Fila releases Instead; it follows a relaxed, slower style would you agree?

ALY & FILA: The Chill Out album was something that we had wanted to do for a very long time. We love to listen to chill out music, so we thought, “Why don’t we release a chill out album? We chose songs we have released over the last 12 years and made them into Chill Out versions. It gives the tracks a new feel and depth. We really enjoyed it and we are sure it is a project we will do again in the future.

Who are your DJ heroes?

ALY & FILA: Paul van Dyk, The Thrillseekers, Chicane. They were our main influences when we were starting.

How much are you looking forward to going back to Creamfields this summer?

ALY & FILA: So much! Creamfields is an institution within the dance music industry. We are playing the Sunday this year and the line-up on the Sunday in our arena is packed with heavyweight names. We are really excited. The UK crowd is very educated about their music and you often find clubbers who might like a different genre at a festival checking out the tent or arena you are playing and they are educated enough to give it a chance. The team at Cream have been great supporters of Aly & Fila for many years and we are very thankful of that.

Will you be playing some tracks from the new album there?

ALY & FILA: We are sure we will play some tracks off our latest compilation, FSOE 400. We have a new collaboration with Ferry Tayle called “Napoleon” which will be coming out this summer. It’s perfect timing with the festival season. Also, the FSOE 400 anthem, “A New Age” with Omar Sherif and Jonathan Carvajal, was just released.

Did you go to festivals growing up? Which ones?

ALY & FILA: Not really outside of Egypt, not until we started playing. One of our earliest festivals was in Zurich at Street Parade. That was really cool. I think it was 2006.

How would you describe Cream Ibiza for anyone who hasn’t been there?

ALY & FILA: Cream in Ibiza, like Creamfields, is in an institution. It has been ever present on the island at one of our favourite venues in Ibiza, Amnesia, for around 25 years. What a venue and what an atmosphere when Cream hosts there. We are very proud to be a Cream Ibiza resident in 2015 and we’re really excited to be back on August 13th.

Tell us a bit about your inspirations growing up? Who did you listen to? Any guilty pleasures?

ALY & FILA: Family and friends were key inspirations for us, then when we started to discover dance music in the 1990s, we knew we wanted to try this. We have both been friends since kindergarten and we work really well together. Haha, guilty pleasures – remain secret.

Whats your essential piece of tech?

ALY & FILA: All of our studio! Virus TI is an essential piece of tech in our studio. In General, the iPhone, Macbook…

What DJ kit do you use?

ALY & FILA: We use USB only but we used to love when everyone played on vinyl, also. The amount of vinyl we have is a lot. Maybe one day we can play a vinyl-only set? Danny Tenaglia always played long sets on vinyl and we were very fortunate to play before him in Montreal. What a cool, humble guy he was. He was dancing to our set. Music unites us.

How do you consume music?

ALY & FILA: Demos are sent to us weekly to listen to but we often gain our own influences and inspiration for music by meeting fans and embracing various cultures in the countries we visit.

You may have heard that Cream’s spiritual home Nation in Liverpool will be closing its doors for good at the end of this year, its undoubtedly one of the most famous clubs in the world and played an integral part in dance culture over the last 23 years, having performed at the club several times do you have any parting words for what will be an emotional time for all those who have passed through its doors….?

ALY & FILA: Nation is legendary. Our manager, Stuart, was ever-present weekly in the courtyard when Paul Oakenfold was a resident there. We never had the chance to visit the venue until we started playing there. But you can tell as you are playing, the history and vibe and atmosphere in the courtyard, how many legends have graced the decks of Cream at Nation. And you are totally correct; it played an integral part in shaping dance culture as we know it. It will be a sad day. Thank you for the memories.

Finally the floor is yours, have you anything you’d like to say to your fans before Creamfields?

ALY & FILA: See you all at Creamfields on Sunday 30th August! What a festival. If you have not been there before, please check out not only our arena but also the whole festival. It’s a great lineup.

For more information, visit www.AlyandFila.com. Aly & Fila will be performing at Cream Ibiza for a number of dates across 2015 and Creamfields UK on August Bank Holiday weekend, for info and tickets go to www.cream.co.uk.