Take An Unforgettable Journey with Canadian DJ / Producer Assaf
By Kimberly Phan
Canadian DJ / Producer Assaf is creating an cutting-edge vibe that is blending pure rich trance and progressive beats together to form a unique vibe that all of us can call home. When on the decks firing off the sounds of the night, his dance floor energy is something out of the history books. Slowly the tension and energy builds from the crowd like a staving lion looking to scoop up some un-expecting pry. His music in my view is a story, a musical journey into the life of a master musician. The kick drum, the synths, the bass create an unforgettable vibe that will sweep you away to another planet. He is the man, the myth and is quickly becoming the legend of trance that all of us will enjoy with our hearts and minds.
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Interview with Assaf:
KP: Right now, festival season is upon us. It’s the time where musicians crank out their newest music and begin announcing festivals and shows they’ll be headlining. What are some new tracks you are currently working on and what tracks are you about to release?
Assaf: I just scheduled a brand new track called, “Trinity,” on my label, Black Sunset. It’s coming out at the end of April. It’s really summery and beachy but different from what I do. It’s from a song that I wrote when I was 15 years old.
KP: Did you dig deep into your archives to summon this?
Assaf: No actually. Not at all. I sort of came across it and my mind went “Oh yeah, this is for right now!” So that was it. I never produced it because when I was 15, I didn’t really know how. It’s the same composition and arrangement as I did it when I was 15. It’s really special for me in that sense.
KP: So do you think it’s like you going back to your roots?
Assaf: I’ve never really gone away from that sound. I think when people hear it they be like “Oh yeah, this is Assaf and we get how he’s done this.”
KP: With any artist, they have a fan base. What do you think keeps your fans interested?
Assaf: You know, I always see the comments on tracks and every time there are always a few people who say “Assaf, never know what to expect but it’s always something that’ll blow your mind.” I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing!
KP: I personally think it’s a good thing. As a consumer of music, I always have my top tier artists that I listen to. It’s nice when you hear a track from one of your favorites and they switch it up a bit but still stay true to their sound. For example, when I go to a music festival, there are artists I stay true to seeing. Of course I know what music to expect but it’s invigorating to know that it’s consistent enough but different enough where the sets aren’t the same.
Assaf: Actually have this rule that I can’t make the same sound twice. So every single sound that I make is completely brand new every single time. No exceptions.
KP: So when you produce music, what’s the creative process? Give me a walk through.
Assaf: So it’s almost always the same. After a long day I’ll sit in the studio and start. I just open a completely blank project. Whatever I’m feeling I turn it into something. It slowly builds on itself. Before I know it, it’s been like 6 to 8 hours and here I am sitting at 7 in the morning going “Oh I just finished a song.” That’s how it always starts and then I spend a week or two fine-tuning.
KP: Through my perspective, electronic dance music has completely shifted over the past ten, let alone five years. There is new music that is constantly getting released. What do you think an artist has to do in order to stay relevant?
Assaf: Honestly I think it’s all about staying creative. I don’t think it matters how much what it sounds like as long as it is new and different from what you’ve done before. People will gravitate towards you if you are original and creative. So staying relevant is more for you and the rest will just follow.
KP: So for people who have never really listened to electronic dance music or your music, how would you describe your sound? Warning: you cannot use genres.
Assaf: First and foremost, my sound is VERY dark. It’s not in a bad way. I’ll tell you what; I really like music that feels like you can picture it in your mind. It really comes out in a lot of my songs. You can picture what you’re hearing. It sounds like a girl doing this or a guy doing that. The imagery within the sound is hypnotic.
KP: In a sense, your music is this alluring darkness that drags people. Let’s reference the quote” when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.” Kind of like that?
Assaf: Exactly. By the time it’s done and the song is exiting, you’re like “WTF JUST HAPPENED?”
KP: LOVE that! It’s crazy how you can produce music but also perform. What I mean is not that many artists are as synonymous when it comes to producing and DJing. From your perspective, what do you think is the clear distinction?
Assaf: The biggest distinction is the music. Producers are essentially artists. They create and compose new music and sounds. DJs, unless they’re also producers, are specifically the performers. They know what to play and they know how to play. They’re the ones who play what producers create.
KP: What would you say is Assaf’s spirit animal?
Assaf: Spirit animal… Wow, that’s tough!
KP: I’ll tell you mine if that breaks the ice.
KP: Personally, I like to think of myself as a giraffe. I am wild, I move with confidence and I like to hang in the big game. However, I do enjoy down time by just hanging in the clouds. I’m harmless but no one in the wild would f*ck with me.
Assaf: That’s fair! You know what’s funny? You asked me that and the first animal I thought of was a jaguar just because it’s black. It goes back to my label and I gravitate towards it because it just makes so much sense.