AYN (aka Aya Nasif),a Jordan techno producer/DJ, is always searching for musical inspirations to merge sounds into mixes that keep you on the edge.
She has joined us in a conversation today about her musical inspirations and her newest EP “NXT CHPTR – AYN Feat. Yasmine D.”
A techno specialist, AYN has played in some of the finest clubs and festivals, headlining and opening for rising names in the electronic music scene such as Rafael Cerato, Seth Schwarz, Emanuel Satie, SAMA’, Christian Smith, Francisco Allendes Super Flu and more. Find out more bout her musical influence below.
Thank you for being involved with our interview today – what has been going on with you?
Thank you for interviewing me 🙂 I just released a New EP “NXT CHPTR – AYN Feat. Yasmine D.” on September 24, and I’ve been receiving great feedback so far. The EP is currently at #4 on Beatport’s Top 100 Releases “Techno (Peak Time / Driving)” and at #12 on Beatport’s Top 100 New Releases & Albums.
How has the pandemic affected you, in terms of music making and in general?
While the pandemic was challenging on each and every one of us, it was also a chance to grow on a personal level. The pandemic was hard for me as an artist, with live shows coming to a halt, and many bookings I was looking forward to getting canceled. However, I took this time to give birth to new music, and to spend the time I had on evolving as an artist. We recorded and produced the New EP “NXT CHPTR – AYN Feat. Yasmine D.” in Jordan (the Middle East) in the midst of the pandemic. We felt the heaviness of the world, as the whirlwind of dark events unfolded around us, and felt the urge to unfold a new chapter of hope, synergy and love, through music. While working on the New EP, we realized this darkness we were feeling was not a result of the pandemic, in fact, it’s a darkness that was bound to surface due to the ongoing injustice, inequality, discrimination and lack of love that existed way before the pandemic came along. The pandemic in fact gave us a reason to unite, to become more aware, to protect each other, to become more connected despite the distances between us all.
What is the approach you take to producing music, do you begin every production in the same way?
From a technical perspective, I don’t begin each production in the same way. However I do approach productions from the same space – by always starting off with “openness to discover and play around”. I allow myself to truly have fun, try out different sounds, different beats, and I let myself flow – until my heart tells me this is it. That’s when I become more structured if you want, in mapping out the track. I then go back to playing around again as I layer new sound elements.
Where is your best environment as a DJ? A small dark club or a huge outdoor festival stage?
It’s difficult to choose between a small dark club and a huge outdoor festival stage – both are important to me, as each of these environments gives me the opportunity to connect with a different type of energy from the crowd, a different experience.
What role do sources of inspiration like dreams, other forms of art, personal relationships, politics etc play in your music?
We are the sum of our collective experiences, everything we see, hear, and feel reflects on who we are on a daily basis, and in return manifests in our artistic approaches as creatives. My approach to sound production has always been about translating my emotions and memories into my music. My collective experiences shape my sound identity. I never confine myself to rules while making music – I give myself the freedom to explore and feel, to let go into the unknown without fear. To me, music has always been about transcribing my feelings, transcending everything and just living in the now, surrendering to space and time.
A lot of my inspiration comes from my feelings, and collective experiences, infused by my deeply rooted cultural upbringing. My Jordanian (Middle Eastern) roots are quite evident in my choices of rhythmic patterns and heavy beats. My approach to life appears in my approach to mixing – especially when it comes to the progressions, transitions and melodic synth choices I make. I usually look at the bright side of life, even when I’m surrounded with darkness. This is why I find beauty in balancing between the darkness of deep heavy techno sounds, that enrich my soul, with lighter sound elements and synths that uplift my spirit. Music is my safe haven – it makes me feel it’s okay to feel, and reminds me there’s always a bright side to look at. And to me, being able to extend the borders of my safe haven to welcome others into it, is the main reason why I love what I do.
Why call your latest EP, NXT CHPTR? Is this a new beginning for you?
NXT CHPTR is the title of my New EP with Yasmine D. It definitely represents a new beginning, not just for us, but also for every listener who comes across it and truly connects with the music. “Global Warning” (Track 1) is a call to all ravers to come together – ravers being awakened souls. “World On Loop” (Track 2) is the voice of reason acknowledging the reality of the world – the yin and yang. “Raver’s Anthem” (Track 3) is all about empowering ourselves and each other, a message of strength, unity and peace all at the same time. “The Next Chapter” (Track 4) as the name suggests, is a chance to transport listeners to a new chapter of hope, synergy and love. The Next Chapter is all about believing in the ethereal power of music, music being the light connecting us all.
We are Ravers, the bearers of light at the end of the darkest tunnel. We enter the NXT CHPTR – an empowering journey of realizations, broken perceptions and hopeful dreams, a progressively mixed synergy of freedom and love – AYN and Yasmine D.
What hardware, or software such as plugins, do you utilise most?
I produced using Ableton. The way I approach my productions is from a space of freedom and openness, I don’t limit myself to specific sound elements. I start with one thing and then find myself changing it down the line to something that further conveys the emotionally driven sounds I find myself wanting to portray. I usually research plugins as I go and use what is most handy at the time. In the ‘NXT CHPTR’ EP, for example, I found myself using Diva in more than one track 😉 My Korg Monologue, I would say, is something I can’t do without and is actually a gift from Yasmine D. 🙂
If you could perform alongside an artist b2b, who would it be with and why?
This is a tough one, as I would love to perform alongside many of the great artists out there, like Nina Kraviz, Helena Hauf, Charlotte De Witte, Amelie Lens, Nicole Moudaber, Fjaak, Boris Breja …. However, if I have to choose one now, I’d choose Carl Cox, cause he’s the king of dance music, soul and groove.