As Morocco’s ambassador for electronic music, the percussion-driven tribal deep house sets by DJ Amine K definitely reflect his North-African roots. However, the rebel with the big contagious smile is known to surprise the crowd in the middle of his sets with an old-school classic, or going totally funk or disco.
Some of the ‘Moroko Loko’ DJ’s label appearances include Sol Selectas and Get Physical Music, with his most recent release ‘Besos’ with DJ Chus on Monaberry. We should be expecting some more great stuff ahead, as Amine has cleared his schedule for some serious studio time. We sat down to talk about his musical influences, his travels, and the direction he’s taking with these new productions.
WWD: Hello Amine K, Welcome to When We Dip!
Thanks for the invitation!
WWD: Tell us, how did your music career begin?
I started messing around with an old-school mixer when I was just 14 years old. Some might not expect this, but I actually started out way back as a hip-hop DJ. Then again, this might be somewhat expected, cause you can often hear hip hop remixes in my sets. Anyway, in 2001 a friend brought me to a club with electronic music and I was immediately sold! Since then, I have been listening to and playing a broad range of electronic music styles for more than 20 years.
WWD: Who were some of your biggest artist influences in the scene coming up?
Growing up, I was influenced by old French music, blues, jazz & soul. I still feel very inspired by classics, such as BB King for example. Also a lot of old-school electronic music in addition to progressive and tribal styles.
Some of the artists I look up to are definitely Danny Tenaglia, Nick Warren, Deep Dish, Hernan Cattaneo, Eric Morillo and so on. Artists like them come from a different era when being a DJ was taking people on a journey, making them discover new music and having no limit in the genres they would play, which is what I’m all about.
WWD: We hear you will spend a lot of time in the studio this month. Are there any themes or anything in particular that you are inspired by right now that you intend to weave into your upcoming productions?
Might sound weird but I’m going back to my roots as a DJ and producer, which is Hip Hop! I just acquired an Akai MPC, which is the holy grail for producing this music.
Fun fact is I realized that if I take the basic foundations and elements of hip hop, pitch them higher and accelerate them to match modern-day electronic music, it creates something pretty cool and unique.
I already did this with traditional Moroccan music back in the days and it was a lot of fun, going outside of the box. So, I’m trying to pursue this path again, just in a different way.
WWD: What techniques do you experiment with to develop your own sound?
I use a lot of sampling. I’m not a musician in the traditional sense as I hardly play any instruments. Not that I didn’t try (fun emoji). However, when I use a sample, there are no limits to what I can do with it. From stretching it to pitching it, to destroying and reassembling it in a different way.
I got this technique from Hip Hop but also bands like The Prodigy who were geniuses in this field. Recently I acquired a Korg Waavedrum which helps me a lot in my percussions process (I’m all about the percs ) and again the Akai MPC that completely changed my workflow. Let’s also not forget my go-to synth; the Model D. Its sound is perfect, raw and intense. Adding a few effects to it here and there and you’ve got something very special.
WWD: Do you have a favourite travelling experience that you could tell us about?
Travelling comes with the territory of being a DJ and I love it. Others complain about this part, and yes it can be stressful but in the end it’s definitely a blessing. Around the world, there are so many different ways of life, and travelling has really shown me how everyone from different cultures is trying to find happiness in their own way.
I have always loved travelling through Asia, and later when I started touring in Central America I totally fell in love with the vibe there. It probably suits me well because of the similarities with Moroccan culture; the warm and welcoming hugs, excessive partying and dancing, and also the use of percussion instruments.
Giving you my favourite travelling experience would be like telling you which of my daughters is my favourite, so it’s going to be a bit hard! However, I had an insane experience recently at Ondalinda in Careyes Mexico. Careyes is believed to be the first place where aliens will manifest when they come visit us (they actually built a huge bowl to welcome them and there’s always a bottle of mezcal waiting for them).
Not only does Careyes have mind-blowing beaches, insane vegetation and amazing food, people and spiritual activities, but the festival Ondalinda in itself is by far one of the most beautiful I’ve seen. The production was burning man standards, the service 5 stars, a line-up for connoisseurs and the crowd was just beautiful people all over. Definitely recommending this experience!
WWD: Since starting out in the music industry, what are some trends you have observed around you in the electronic music scene within the past years?
I started DJ-ing when I was 14 years old and I’m 38 now . I’ve seen many things, and the most positive thing is definitely witnessing how electronic music has spread worldwide, attracting an infinite amount of people in places where you wouldn’t even imagine (for example I played in Myanmar and Nicaragua, I mean who would have thought?).
The downside of this is that way too many muppets got into the scene. Too many DJs are doing it for the wrong reasons and there is no more diversity in terms of music; no more surprises. The electronic music scene has become like Mcdonalds and people just run blindly consuming it all without asking any questions. Ok, it sounds a bit hardcore but sadly it’s like that most of the time. However, I can see a slight change lately. People are tired of this and want to discover something new, different and original. Well I’m here for that! 😄
WWD: Thanks for talking with us Amine!
The pleasure was all mine guys, really!