AL Sharif opens up about his origins, influences and latest release ‘The Iberian’ in exclusive interview
Undoubtedly one of the producers at the forefront of the Groove scene and a face often associated with it, California based producer AL Sharif has been quick to rise among the ranks and make a name for himself. Stellar productions, delivered one after another, AL Sharif has cemented his credentials in the scene with tracks such as ‘Funk You‘ and Erick T collaboration ‘Latino‘. His latest addition to this arsenal is a collaboration with fellow American producer Frank Nitty in the shape of ‘The Iberian’ on Staar Traxx. The track was reviewed by us over here and has been a significant release for AL Sharif as well as Tom Staar’s imprint.
While the general feeling is that a lot yet to arrive from his production desk, AL Sharif is definitely a producer who has the goods in him to become top tier. With the launch of his Zensa Records, he has inched another step in that very direction. Although these are questions about the larger picture for what’s in store for him, the American producer has now taken the hot-seat to answer a few questions in this exclusive interview.
How long have you been a producer/DJ for? Tell us about the origin of your music. What inspired you to pursue your career as an artist?
I’ve been producing for almost 9 years, and am 27 years old now. I started DJ-ing when I was in high school around 15 years old. I got intro producing music at a low point of my life when I didn’t get to go to a fancy college like most people I went to school with, so everyone was leaving San Diego and I just stayed here. Producing music brought me happiness and that’s why I continue to do it today.
Who do you consider to have been your biggest influences throughout your career that have made an impact on your productions?
Growing up I always loved listening to Fatboy Slim and Daft Punk, but my real love for dance music came when attending a Swedish House Mafia show at EDC 2010 in LA at their old coliseum venue. They had just put out ‘One’ and I was discovering all of their classic tracks together and as solo artists. I remember a moment when Steve Angello stood on top of the decks and asked the crowd “are you ready for an orgasm?”
I laughed a little, not quite understanding what he meant. In that moment, Swedish House Mafia began to mix ’Tell Me Why’ with ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’ and when the drop came the whole coliseum lit up in flames. I was almost to the bleachers and I could still feel the heat on the back of my neck. In that moment I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life and would do anything it took to get there.
You’ve just released a massive new record with Frank Nitty on Tom Staar’s renowned label Staar Traxx. How did the collaboration come to life? And what were the inspirations behind this record?
The collaboration with ’The Iberian’ came together when Frank Nitty sent me the early stage of the track and his ideas. Frank Nitty really wanted to create something that paid homage to his Latin background. After bouncing a few ideas back and forth I ended up helping produce the song. I’m very happy with how it turned out.
As an artist associated with the Groove scene and sounds, can you name 3 artists we need to watch in 2018 from this genre?
When you talk about the ‘groove’ sound you have to include Tom Staar and Kryder. These guys are pioneers and are revolutionizing house music the same way Swedish House Mafia did. Frank Nitty who is a good friend of mine is also someone you should be listening to right now. We are sitting on a lot of tracks together so be sure to keep an eye out for that.
What does 2017 hold in store? Any hints or clues that we could get about future productions and collaborations?
I have a huge track coming out on Groove Cartel Records called ‘Z’ which is a collaboration with Hugh Carter featuring Manoa. I’m taking it back to the main stage on this next one. I’m really excited for the release on ‘Z’ and will keep you updated on my social media.
AL Sharif‘s latest collaboration ‘The Iberian’ with Frank Nitty is available on Beatport here.