If anything characterises Fatima Hajji it is that she has always been true to herself, looking for her own personal sound in the most powerful Techno, stretching BPMs and using mixes of continuous Arabic bloodline references, capturing a great variety of African, salsa and groove rhythms for non-stop dancing, enjoying and smiling. She’s been going around with her suitcases all over Spain since 1998 and, for the last few years, she’s become one of the most respected underground artists in the world.
Australian Editor Adam Roberts sat down recently with Fatima to discuss her summer, plans for Silver M and her thoughts on the plight of UK club fabric.
Miss Fatima Haji, we are truly blessed to have you in for an interview with Decoded Magazine. Thank you for your time and welcome!
Thank you very much for having me, and for your hard work for spreading the electronic music culture, it’s a real pleasure to answer your questions.
Tell us what’s happening with your label Taikatta Records and your Taikatta Radio Show and what do you have on the drawing board for both in 2017?
Taikatta is the project that has permitted me to submerse myself in techno and tech-house sounds, for 15 years I have played from hard groove to hard techno, and also techno in recent years, but in the background, I’ve been cooking up techno sets under my alias Amitta Hajji (Fatima backwards). As I started getting more demand from different places to play more techno I decided to get rid of my alias, I also had the need to start listening to more and more music to have the freshest set possible, and one I felt comfortable playing like I am now, I also have to add the hours I put in producing techno went up drastically.
For that period of time (2 years ago) we launched the label for my techno tracks and to support new names that I started discovering while I was preparing for my sets, in the end, we received an offer from Digitally imported to create a radio show and the truth is it was a no brainer, it came at a perfect time, an ideal way to explore loads of tracks (with the job of preparing new tracks each week for a new set each week).
The experience was really positive and to show we have 4 releases and just over 80 podcasts that have been on the airwaves weekly on radio stations in Spain, Bulgaria , Nicaragua , Holland and Russia. I speak about Taikatta in the past tense because it has accomplished its purpose, it’s life cycle and with that, it has made way for the birth of Silver M.
Silver M will be a new label that apart from editing its own style of music will reach out to its audience with its events, because the music is the tool that connects us all, the tool that transports us to another place and the power to be together enjoying ourselves I think is the key to everything we do and we love it. At the moment we have launched the events with an amazing feedback in Eden Ibiza this summer, Razzmatazz Barcelona this week. And next month we’ve got a big date that we’re really looking forward to ADE in Panama Club.
Where will we find you on New Years Eve Fatima to see 2016 out & 2017 in? Do you plan to be on the decks to bring in 2017 or are you taking some me time?
Normally I like the promoter to announce the date, decide what’s happening and let them do their jobs, once I see it on the web it starts coming up on my social media. The only thing I can say is that NYE will be in a very special part of Spain for me, where I always feel at home and where there are as many beaches. I’ve been told that on NYD, if all of the transport lines up, there will be 2 more gigs. The first one in Spain, in a club I’ve never played before but I’ve been told is great, and the second in a club I believe will turn into one of the new temples of European techno. So it looks like it will be a great end to 2016 and an amazing start to 2017.
Personally, the change in year has always been very special, I always try to make my performances special, I want to give 2016 the sendoff it deserves because it has simply been exceptional on every level and welcome 2017 in the biggest way possible, that if all goes well, looks like it will be incredible.
You hit some big festivals this year Fatima, what was your best set at 2016 festival?
The truth is I’m really pleased; it’s been another summer full of memories. It’s an honour to be able to play at so many marvellous events where you can play for thousands of people and see how happy, how much they’re into the music and how much energy they give off. As always Awakenings was very special, it’s always a big test, as it’s an incredible festival where you’ll find almost 3 or 4 stages with the best DJs from the techno scene playing at the same time, it’s overwhelming to have so many people come back to where I’m playing each year to enjoy my entire set it’s a blessing, it’s something that leaves me without words to describe the sensation.
Another one of the top summer festivals was Aquasella, where I was able to play my first techno set on a stage where I got everything from (which is a lot) came from playing Hard, and the truth is this year the reception was just as brutal as past editions, Sella is a special place, everyone who’s been, knows and that’s why I enjoyed myself so much and at the same time I wanted to show appreciation to everybody with great support a special closing set with a bit of Hard. I’ve also got fond memories from Decibel in the Netherlands, even though it’s a festival with lots of different music genres they always make some space for techno and Hard with some mega stages really well thought out, this year my stage was above a lake with splashes of water being projected, everything was really cool for a party vibe.
I also had a pleasant surprise with Marenostrum in Valencia, a festival that was cancelled a few days before it was supposed to take place and in under 3 weeks they were capable of picking it up and organising it in record time. The truth is I didn’t expect so many and such a warm public. The End of the World Festival in Tarragona this year was a spectacular edition, each year it gets better on every level and for me, it was a pleasure to play a sunrise set.
But if I have to choose only one set, the one I think I performed best and the one I felt most satisfied with, it would have to be the one I played in Dreambeach, If it’s mental the overflowed crowd, It’s even more mental seeing it from the stage all that energy, and the south they’re infamous for being energetic crowds and they live up to it. Apart from that, there’s an amazing sound and atmosphere thanks to Dreambeach for each year breaking the boundary and expanding. Everyone gets together and has a great time, including myself.
Fresh out and upcoming releases of yours on labels including Taikatta, what can you spill on any fresh or upcoming production news in the works you’re involved with?
On Standbite, my harder label, I’m releasing one of my latest hard tracks in a few weeks. It will be the 12th release on the label (no , I haven’t stopped being hard, it’s what happens when you’re very passionate about something). On Taikatta last month we released the 4th reference with more of tech house vibe, but always maintaining a hard kick and new names but well trained in the noble art of music production like Andre Díaz, Djahir Miranda or Baloo. And right now I’m in the middle of releasing my first EP on Silver M, we are going to debut it in ADE.
If you could play a set at anywhere in the world, where would you want to throw a party that goes down in history as the epitome of wow?
That’s a great question but a difficult answer; I know there are so many incredible places in the world and loads of events that have taken place in amazing locations, but something historic and remote? haha, that would be organising the first party on the moon or in Mars (surely in not such a distant future , we’ll be floating around there). Until that day comes I would love it if there were more events like Love Parade; free, in the street, for everybody and spread that party fever that not everyone knows about yet. There should be more events like this in big cities. It would be incredible to play at Gran Via in Madrid, Las Ramblas in Barcelona, Central Park in New York and an infinite list of other places.
You nailed it at Awakenings Festival 2016 with your set on Day One. What’s the local scene like there compared to Spain? And on the subject, what is the one club in Spain and the Netherlands you personally have put your favourite stamp on in your off time?
I believe Awakenings is the must go festival for techno lovers, everything is more than perfect – sound, organisation, decoration, atmosphere and the people. It’s easy to get carried away in the vibe and give it your all. It’s one of the most important dates of the year and I hope it keeps being it for much more years. In Spain I would have to say Florida 135, it’s without a doubt one of my favourites, the sound is brutal and the atmosphere is magic. There are also great clubs like Fabrik in Madrid or Razzmatazz in Barcelona.
In Holland, the most epic place I’ve been is Gashouder in Amsterdam, an old gas factory (the name says it all) converted into a macro club. If the promoter hooks it up with fireworks it’s incredible; sound and projections worthy of Awakenings. You don’t know if you’re in a club, a festival or a spaceship! Also, an impressive experience was Factory 010 in Rotterdam, another factory/club conversion, spectacular sound, industrial styling’s and another cool thing is you have to catch a lift to the tenth floor, where they’re big windows with really cool views of the beautiful city of Rotterdam. In Amsterdam, one of my favourite clubs is Depot, a warehouse in the north of the city with a 10/10 sound and a perfect party vibe. I simply love it.
We love a DJ who can play an extended set and to see you serving 6 hours of infectious Techno recently was impressive. You always look like you’re having fun! What are some tracks that have made a lasting impression on you so far this year?
First of all, I have to say it was a pleasure and an honour to do such a special set for the first time in such a special city like Amsterdam and in a club with essence like Depot. It was a challenge to prepare a set like that, it was the first time I’ve played for 6 hours (the most I’ve played until this date was 3 different nights of 5 hour sets in Fabrik, Madrid) and they were weeks a lot of work to achieve what I wanted.
Everything went perfectly; an audience from the very start and with a great energy, musically the first hour was mix between house and tech house, but always with a lot of attack and a defined kick, to gradually start mixing in epic choons (love this word now) or classic anthems in a bootleg form to a drum rhythm with denser tracks to build up to close with Hard groove and Hard techno. It was such an experience, and if it looks like I’m having fun it’s because I have a blast!
For me, music is life and being able to share that with an audience that comes to the clubs where I play every weekend it’s an amazing gift. I only look forward to giving it my all and give back to the audience all the energy they give me. That’s why I enjoy mixing denser or harder tracks with let’s call them epic melodies or emotional moments, It’s a way to make the crowd go wild in the explosive moments, combining that uncontrollable energy with moments to catch your breath that allows you to bring out a huge smile, remembering mythical melodies that we all relate to great moments in life, feeling alive and being happy while we dance.
Too many venues and festival are being restricted or worse shut because of politicians around the planet. We just saw the latest example with Fabric in London. What’s your view on this?
It’s such a shame, the new things use to be transgressive and seems to offend and politicians as the representatives of a big part of society look like they have always been afraid of young people having fun. Rock music was demonised in its time, now it’s electronic music. Luckily in cities like Amsterdam or Berlin, the authorities are starting to see electronic music for what it really is another part of culture. Unfortunately, in the majority of places, this type of open minded thinking hasn’t arrived yet. But it’s just a matter of time. It’s an even bigger shame for me because I’ll never get the opportunity to get to know fabric.
Thank you for your precious time Fatima, you have some big fans in the Decoded Mag office. Wishing you well and looking forward to speaking again soon.
Wow, for me, it’s a massive honour to form part of your world. Thank you very much for giving me a voice in your magazine and for all of your hard work spreading electronic music!
01// Gordon John – I Need Release
02// The Couple – Sousa
03// Alex Young & Deetech – Goldfish
04// Angel Heredia & Djahir – Miranda Thank You
05// Coyu & Ramiro Lopez – Clap Your Hands
06// Djahir Miranda & TecHouzer – Mezcaline
07// Djahir Miranda & TecHouzer – Untouchable
08// Gareth Wild – Obedience Is This
09// Jeremy Stott – Breach
10// Juan Entrena – Tribaleo
11// Lio Q – Life
12// TecHouzer – Troopers
13// TecHouzer, Pepo WB & Kim Sanz – Are You Ready
14// Sander van Doorn x Fred Pellichero – The Snake 2016
15// David Temessi & Giovanni Carozza – Ructions
16// Fatima Hajji – Silence