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“I wasn’t really into being made into some kind of Pop Star. It just didn’t sit with me at all.”


is just songs really. Just kind of songs, pictures and daydreams. I’m into songs, pictures and daydreams.”


He is keen to be known for the breadth


beyond the arpeggiated, electro disco. “I think at the moment the main thing people know of me is the more electronic, dance-based stuff. I haven’t really had the chance to see whether people will like it when I drop a psychedelic, acidified country record. But I do plan on doing something like that. Because I am quite acidified. And I definitely do like exploring different things. But at the moment I’m still quite in the electronic scene. That’s who a lot of my friends are. When I go out, that’s who my peers are. And they are the kind of gigs I do, when I travel around. I’ve just been doing clubs. All over Europe. That’s where I’m at, at the moment.”


I have caught him in the brief pause between


his European and American tours. Exploiting this fleeting moment of freedom, he has just returned from a holiday to the Rio Carnival that he made on a whim. “It’s a different world. Very chilled out. Very cool people.” He’s been doing a lot of travelling lately. “We’ve done every major city in Europe this year. So, you know, been quite busy.” He describes his live gigs as “Quite simple”. “Recently I’ve just been using old analogue


equipment. An old 707 drum machine. A Juno 106. A voyager. 3 of us just been doing a lot of gigs. Travelling around to all these countries. Having fun. It’s been a good experience and the gigs have been going pretty well. And the best gigs, I’ll usually be on stage at about 1 o clock. I don’t really like playing before 1am. 1 o’ clock is my perfect set time.” Why? “Well, everyone’s drunk and high enough to not notice that you’re totally shit.” He bursts out laughing. “No no no. It’s just that kind of vibe. It’s that kind of music. You know it needs to be… People need to be… quite…” Up for it? “Yeah. It’s better when it’s like that.” I ask how he gears himself up for these ideal 1am gigs. “I have rituals, like sometimes I have to wear a certain headband, or a certain shirt, or jewellery. Things like that. I drink quite a lot of spirits. I quite like spirits before I go on stage. A few drinks. There’s definitely that. I mean, every musician has that. Or,” he qualifies, “most musicians like to get slightly drunk before they go on stage. Heavy drugs can be very detrimental. I’ve been known to… you know…yeah.” He decides to leave that there. I steer us instead to his forthcoming gigs. “I’m signed to Dim Mak in America. I’m playing in Russia, then flying to L.A. and starting a tour of America. Playing all the major cities in America. That’s what I’m really gearing up for. They’re gonna start putting the music out there and all that sort of shit. So that’s the main thing I’m looking forward to. From the start of June for 3 weeks. It ends in New York, where I’m going to stay for a bit, and do some song writing with some people there. Lee Foss and this band called Hot Natured. I’ve done a track with them called Forward Motion and I’m going to be playing at various places around the world with them.” Ali feels like fortune has shone upon him. “I’ve


never really been a careerist. I’m much more interested in making music for myself and my friends. Then you’re getting reviewed and this and that and it’s OK. It’s like, “whatever”. I’ve


never really been that overly ambitious. So the big things, like working with The Chemicals, working with Justice, they just came about out of the blue. And you just go with it, and think, “OK let’s see what happens”. And for some reason they kind of work out for the better. Sometimes his music is the product of his


experiences. And sometimes “it’s just syllables sounding nice together and you can get away with it. It pieces itself together, almost by its own accord. As long as you put attention to what you’re doing. It’s like a magnifying glass on a twig. As long as the sun’s on it - the light of attention, the energy of attention – you’ll get flame. You have to keep your mind in that attentive state and eventually, if that’s what you want, you’ll get a song. Or if you want to do something else, write a book, you’ll get a book. It can all be applied to every other creative process. It’s just wherever you want to centre your attention. I find it quite spontaneous. Like anything, you work out shortcuts and techniques. They’re kind of rituals. The ritual of going out and partying. I mean I’ve always been very good at staying awake for days on end and in a way that’s a kind of ritual. It’s like when an ascetic would go off and fast in the mountain for seven days and not eat and not sleep and just meditate. You kind of get to that situation. Mind states where you stay awake for three days. Especially in a nice sunny place. I’ve definitely got to some enlightened states by… being a complete wrong’un you know?” He laughs. “Just a short cut. You can retrieve songs - I’ve retrieved songs definitely - out of the depths of depravity.”


“I think most British music is made on cups of tea. That’s one of the rituals in the studio. Drinking lots of tea. It’s not very rock and roll but it’s probably the truth. I think most of the best records in England were made on cups of tea.” He picks up a guitar and starts plucking a tune dreamily, so I let him get back to his tea and partying.


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