Hey Neil, how are you, how has the year been?
The year has started pretty well, I had some nice releases on My Other Side of the Moon and with MoBlack, got to collaborate with some great artists like Djuma Soundsystem, Enoo Napa, FNX Omar, and enjoyed my time overall.
What got you through lockdown, if you were locked down?
Luckily here in Mozambique there was no lockdown, but some restrictions were in place, and unfortunately no parties nor social gatherings. But I enjoyed more time at home, I worked a lot on music, and also cooked a lot and learnt new receipes!
Tell us about your musical journey and how you got to where you are today, and about some of the key highlights of the journey.
I started off with my previous artist name “Ricky Castelli” as a DJ in Milan, 27 years ago and evolved into production 10 years ago. After playing at some major international festivals and releasing on top labels, I decided to start one year ago a new project called “Neil Amarey” and fell in love with deep and afro house. I feel with Neil Amarey I reached my full musical maturity and expression, integrating traditional sounds and African grooves into my music.
Tell us about your new EP on My Other Side of The Moon – where and when did you write it, what was the aim?
Sonorous, my latest track remixed by Fnx Omar, was composed in Maputo, Mozambique, Just before the outbreak of Covid-19. I was able to experiment the track at the latest My Other Side of the Moon Label Party and it was great!
How did you come to the deep afro vibes on the EP? What artists are you into?
Definitely inspired by the local artists and after hearing Hyena live, and talking to him when he was in Mozambique for a show. Then I got to know other great artists from our neighbours South Africa like Enoo Napa, Lemon & Herbs, Themba and many others.
How hard has it been to write dance music without playing in clubs and dancing in clubs?
For me the problem has been not being able to test my tracks on the dance floor, which is the ultimate test for me, to understand if a song “works” and give it the final touch if needed.
Should dance music be socio-political in its message or is it a place to get away from that?
My politics is to be completely independent in my music. For me the most important thing is to relate to my public only with my art, not with any ideology. Music is speaking only, not ideologies or politics.
What else are you working on/looking forward to?
Working on some really exciting collaborative pieces, with some artists of the My Other Side of the Moon Label, and some other new producers. Stay tuned for what’s next!