Jordanian duo Fairplay produce various styles of electronic music, all with an overridingly modern vibe characterised by deep and unpredictable underground tracks. Previous releases have come on labels like Stil Vor Talent, Bar25 and their Petra EP which landed on Kindisch in collaboration with Phonique. Their latest is Layki on Bar 25 – a really beautiful, hypnotic house track which showcases their affinity for both groove and melody.
Fairplay - Layki (Original Mix) [Bar25-144]
Hi guys – welcome to DMC! How’s the year been for you so far?
Hey guys, thank you for having us on board for this interview. It’s been a weird year and a half… Thankfully things are working out well, we’ve been busy producing and releasing a lot of music. One of which was our ‘Petra’ EP, alongside Phonique on Kindisch records. Also our track ‘Layki’, on the 8th edition of Zeitgeist, on Bar 25.
Tell us about the electronic scene in Jordan. And what were your first forays into it, first as fans and then as artists?
Growing up in Jordan, the scene was very small. We had some events pop up every now and then but nothing consistent. Although we used to listen to a lot of electronic music, mainly from the internet, we got introduced to the real club scenes when we moved to live in the states and Europe for university. When we moved back to Jordan, we missed the club scene, and realised we needed to do something about it, so we started having our own events. We organised monthly venues in various places around Amman, under the name of Kollective Music, and we invited international artists to play alongside local talent. Since then the electronic scene in Jordan has been doing well; we have clubs like Ambush and CLSTR doing some really great things for the City of Amman, and we hope to continue seeing more of this after the lockdown situation ends.
How has the country coped with the pandemic?
It’s been a tough year and a half, and like most other countries it’s had its ups and downs, but it’s coping well, all things considered. Hopefully things will continue to get better now that the vaccination programme is underway. Obviously there haven’t been any actual music events held there for a long time, but let’s hope that this will change once it’s safe to do so.
Do you think there is anything that characterises electronic music from Jordan? And if so, is it present in the music you guys create?
For sure there are some very special sounds originating from this region. If you listen to a lot of music coming out right now, it features a lot of melodies, rhythms, beats, and expressions that stem from this part of the world. Middle Eastern music seems to be embedded in our sound; I don’t think we were initially aware of this, but we are now, and we tend to use this awareness to create our own original musicality, and the more we experiment the more exciting the outcome gets.
Tell us about your relationship with Phonique… He’s someone you’ve worked with a lot right? What do you like about the way he works, and the music he makes?
Phonique was our first international booking to Jordan, back in 2014, when we were holding our monthly Kollective music events. He was a great success, and we’ve been good friends ever since. He’s been back to Jordan again, and we’ve visited him in Berlin. Before the Covid pandemic, we’d been discussing releasing some music together. One day he contacted us about making an EP, in collaboration with Bar 25, and here we are… the rest is history. It’s great to work with Michael. He has a world of experience in the electronic music scene, and he shares a lot of knowledge with us.
How has Covid affected you guys personally? Were you touring a lot before? Are there any positives you’ve been able to take away from the last year?
It’s been a tough time for everyone, and we can’t help but be grateful for what we’ve been able to create the past year and a half. It’s given us a great opportunity to slow down and focus on our music production, rather than racing around everywhere and letting other things get in the way. We feel we are onto something special, and we can’t wait to share it.
A lot of your music is clearly made for the dance floor, but it is also highly atmospheric. Is that something you’re always striving for? And if so, why is that important to you?
We’ve changed our approach to making music; at one point it was more about making music for specific situations; we would say: ‘We need a tech house banger for peak hour’, or, ‘Let’s make something with a crazy buildup’. The reality is, you never know where the production process takes you; you could initially want to create a ‘techno banger’, and end up with an “ambient” track, more suitable for a film score, rather than Berghain. These days we’ve learned to flow with whatever is coming out; and the aim is always going to be: to make good music that ‘feels’ right, and we hope that people like what we’re producing.
What should we be looking for from Fairplay this year?
We have two EPs coming out on Bar 25 and Click Records for 2021, as well as some other interesting projects we are currently working on, and we’re hoping to share these new projects soon.
Finally, please tell us about a record from last year that you think shouldn’t be forgotten about now that dance floors around the world are starting to reopen…
Hmm…So much good music has been coming out, so it’s hard to pick only one record. We’re going to mention a few of our choices: