Interview: Ahadadream

Ahadadream is a busy man. He works for Boiler Room and has a residency on Radar, in which he flies through tracks like there’s a giant clock winding down in front of him. That’s why his label’s called More Time. The new venture kicked off earlier this year with a collaborative release from co-founder SNØW and the legend that is Zed Bias. The second release is out now and it’s from Ahadadream itself. After dipping his toe in production over the past few years, Movements is a statement of intent. It’s a four-track monster that’s brimming with nervous energy, a hefty release that thrives off the pulsating drums of his own heritage. It’s also surefire, no-nonsense club music. We caught up with him to talk about the label, his inspirations and mantras, and his dream Boiler Room lineup.

“Movements” is sick, really heavy stuff. You’ve said drums are at the core of More Time – nowhere is that more simply expressed than with “Dhol”. Can you tell us about how you put that track together? “Thank you so much! “Dhol” is definitely an homage to the very first times I was exposed to percussion at Pakistani weddings from a very young age. I think those early experiences are where I get my sense of rhythm from. There’s a lot of dancing and eating amazing food but one of the key activities at those parties is all sitting around a “Dhol” drum and singing songs to nothing but a beat. I felt I needed to channel some of that in my music.”

The whole release bangs hard. How long has it taken to find your current sound? “Thank you. Well I’ve been producing for around four years but this time round I actually got out of the bedroom and into the studio. Any producers out there struggling to get music finished, I’d recommend getting some studio time because it’s more efficient and so much more of a vibe. I also had some sonic help from the man like SNØW who is an utter don when it comes to mixdown help, as well as being involved in the mastering process with Engine-Earz, who is also a wizard.”

How easy was it to blend the hard-hitting club sounds with the music of your heritage? “Not that easy for a couple of reasons. A) The natural groove of traditional dhol music is more natural at a much slower tempo, so I had to fuck around with samples to make sure they worked in this new context. B) Getting to the point of feeling comfortable enough to make my heritage/culture a part of my identity as an artist has taken a while. I think when I was a bit younger, I would shy away from it because naturally you want to just fit in [with] the producers around you.”

You recently tweeted the following: “Rushed ideas r the worst Gotta let the ting marinate ?” (sic). Is that a mantra of yours? “lol – I’ve got a bunch of mantras, I’m not sure that’s one of them but that’s definitely something I believe in strongly. Working in music you’re often given deadlines and end up creating an end product which could have been much better if you’d just given yourself time to let it develop. In London especially, we’ve got 1000 things going on in our heads so we don’t get a chance to let our brain relax, explore and let the ting marinate. That’s the reason I started the label More Time – because I always just wanted to do things at my own pace.”

Do you have more releases in the pipeline, or are you taking it slow? “Yeah definitely some unfinished collaborations, remixes and other music in the pipeline. Fully ready to get back in the studio now that this release is done.”

Two releases down for 2017, what’s in store for More Time? Will it be just for yours and SNØW’s music, or do you plan to welcome other artists into the family? “We primarily started the label to release our own music but inevitably, there’s so much amazing music that doesn’t have a home which we’re going to put out. Lots of friends and affiliated artists making bangers, so we gotta help get them out :).”

Your shows tend to feature a looot of music, and you jammed a hell of a lot into 10 minutes on BBC Asian Network recently (top 10!). Have you ever run out of tunes in a set before? “In my head sometimes I’ll feel like I haven’t got enough music which is right for the format at the time (be it a particular party or radio show etc.) – but realistically, I’d be able to keep things rolling lol (if that makes sense). On Radar specifically, I never want to play anything that I played in the previous month’s show – I wan’t it to be 100% new for the listeners to discover.”

What’s your view on the state of UK clubbing right now? Parties like Swing Ting, Come Thru (which a few Truants are a big part of) and your own seem like a big deal. “Yeah, I think we’re 100% spoilt in the UK to have such a wealth of amazing DJs and promoters providing so many options at any time. I’m sure it will carry on and even more great parties will keep cropping up year on year.”

What’s your dream Boiler Room lineup (that hasn’t already happened)? “I guess Aphex Twin, Burial, Zomby… But also just Drake.”

Ahadadream – Movements is out now on More Time. Buy here.

Aidan Hanratty

Dublin ...