Just before Christmas the Rubix boys put on the fifth installment of what is becoming one of Glasgow’s staple nights. With past acts including South London Ordnance, Joonipah, Elphino, and staple Point To C; Rubix is the night for those who are particularly enamoured with the cutting edge of electronic music. Subclub was forcefully launched into the festive spirit with lashing of UV lights and rubix cubes hanging from the ceiling, the night proved to be the final assault against those pesky exam blues. GUM caught up with newcomer Dauwd at the afterparty to chat about music, his heritage, and his unwavering obsession with Dylan Thompson.
Interviewing on a sunken sofa surrounded by party goers I begin by asking the inevitable first question; how does Glasgow compare to other cities he’s played in? Without hesitation he says “The Glasgow crowd is really good, they’re boss!”, a statement that reflects the pull the city has on similar musicians, such as James Rand who played at Rubix in May last year. With friendly rivalry in the air at the mention of Rand, Dauwd exclaims “he’s so shit, he’s just like Skrillex”. The musicians met when doing the rounds of the Liverpool club circuit, playing at institutions such as Chibuku Shake Shake, where Dauwd played a supporting act back in October.
A relative newcomer on the electronic music scene Dauwd Al Hilali has taken it by storm, with roots in Iraq, a childhood in Wales, he now oscillates between London and Liverpool. His first EP ‘What’s There’ was released on Pictures Music in November 2011, while his reputation continues to be solidified by excellent live performances and a few strategic placements on compilations. One such compilation is Adult Swim’s ‘Unclassified’ which includes the likes of Kode9 and Lukid, as well as a recent mix he curated for 22 Tracks, where samples of Andy Stott are used to great success.
As the conversation progresses a name frequently keeps popping up, when asked who a main inspiration is he replies “I started listening to Dylan Thompson and that was it”, or how he would describe his own music? “Basically like Dylan Thompson”, favorite album? “Dylan Thompson’s ‘Heat Division’”. Eventually I have to ask what’s so special about this guy, Dauwd replies with a slightly mystified face “it’s just the best music I’ve ever heard, really deep, mad tunes. It’s just so real, when you listen to it it’s not even a record, it’s reality”. His own music, like all art, wouldn’t exist without a bit of imitation. His mix of heavily textured downtempo electronica combines multi-layered synth and percussion over deep bassy grooves, with a blend of patchworked samples ranging from a ball rolling on a table to looped vocals.
With Dauwd, everything has rhythm, when asked how he goes about producing his music he replies “it’s just like, pushing buttons”. As humbly as he expresses his creative process there is a wealth of thought, imagination, and natural intuition present in his music. Finally I ask where he thinks modern electronic music is progressing to next, he quite simply states: “the past”.
Dauwd is currently working on his first album with the preliminary title ‘The End of Division’, we’re sure to hear much more from him.
The next Rubix arrives at Subclub on 31st January 2013.
Words: Alexandra Embiricos