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Fairplay on finding inspiration in the Wadi Rum desert

Fairplay on finding inspiration in the Wadi Rum desert for new single Latlal

The second release on Phonique’s new label Zatar Music comes from Jordanian duo Fairplay: a gorgeous, deep, melodic house cut inspired by their local heritage and featuring vocals from Sahrawi singer Mariem Hassan.

Bringing a modern perspective to nomadic-style music, Jordanian alternative duo Fairplay intricately weaves musical textures, with their music characterized by an eclectic, deep, and unpredictable approach. Releasing on labels like Kindisch, Stil Vor Talent and Bar 25 their approach favours organic sounds, often focussing on the trippy and the obscure, to create deeply layered, spellbinding productions.

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From the very start, the music they made had always been deep, unpredictable and evocative, with Fairplay often incorporating Middle Eastern and Arabic sounds and instruments into their productions. Now Fairplay enters a new chapter of their sound with the release of Latlal.

Thanks for talking to us today – how has the first half of 2022 been for you?

Hey guys, thanks for having us. Our 2022 has been good so far. We’ve played some cool gigs together and spent a decent amount of time in the studio. We both live in different cities so it is always great to create together in the same space.

First of all, we want to get to know you “from the beginning”. How did your history with music begin?

Our musical journey started at a very early age. We have always been digging for new music and growing our music collection. We were introduced to electronic music during a summer trip when we were 15/16. Watching top DJs perform cemented our love for electronic music.

What is it about electronic music that makes it so special for you?

It’s a very broad genre that can take you to any atmosphere. You can make it dark or light, change the bpm and control the energy and just control the direction completely depending on the percussion and drums you implement. It’s always growing as well, producers are still coming up with new sounds and filling the gaps. Some of our favorite productions are between different sub-genres where you can’t really place the exact genre.

How do you think your Jordanian heritage and background inform the music you make as Fairplay?

We weren’t really fans of Arabic music growing up. Our parents’ generation would be listening to it, but we were more into music coming out of the west. Fast forward to 2022, we are digging for Arabic samples more than western or Latin ones. I think there is a lot to discover and create with music from this region.

Tell us about some of the inspirations behind your new single, Latal…

We are huge fans of the singer. The first time we heard her voice we were in love. We tried to sample a bunch of her stuff over the last few years and this one just worked very well. Anturage and Alexey Union then jumped in for the remix and it all came together nicely for an exciting EP.

The vocal is super distinctive and evocative, how did you find the singer?

We first heard her music in the Wadi Rum desert. Someone was playing one of her songs and her remarkable voice amazed us. She sang about revolution and pain like many other Arabic singers, but the sound has a very funky and feel-good vibe to it at the same time. It is quite unique and obscure. We really like it. Unfortunately, she passed away in 2015, but we hope we made her proud with this track.

Latlal is the second release on Phonique’s new label, Zatar Music. How important is finding the right label that supports your music, and has like-minded views?

Phonique is one of our best friends and we are super happy about his new label, Zatar Music. It’s always great to have a label that supports your sound. The main thing for us was that Phonique and the label really love the track, and that means a lot to us.

What does your current studio set up look like? Lots of hardware, or are you a mainly ‘out of the box’ type guy?

We are neither in-the-box nor out-of-the-box producers. We like to use both and have a hybrid setup. Some notable hardware we use in most of our tracks are the MFB Tanzbar and Moog Sub 37. We just upgraded our soundcard to the Antelope Zen Tour Synergy Core so we can’t wait to try out the new plugins that come with it.

We love the Arturia V collection of plugins, Serum, Pigments and Soundtoys. Sometimes we rent out the studio room at Bridge 48 in Barcelona which has a great collection of hardware including a modular eurorack and a Juno.

Our Daw of choice has always been Ableton live. We really love the workflow and how easy it is to get an idea down. We are also very familiar with the stock plugins so that helps a lot when we collaborate with other artists.

What is the best advice you ever got as an artist?

Don’t worry about the labels or genres. Just make good music.

What does the rest of 2022 look like for you?

We have a bunch of Fairplay & Friends events happening in Jordan, touring around and some more releases coming up before the end of the year.

Thanks for having us 🙂 

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