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Interview with Bassel Darwish: “There’s been some really boring tech-house charting in the Top100 over the past few years”

The Barcelona dj presents his latest EP for MÜSE as we talk about Solid Grooves, current tech-house music issues and the difficulties faced by the Barcelona scene

There are not many clubbers in Barcelona who do not know Bassel Darwish, especially those who are into the fresher sounds, such as groove or tech-house. Bassel Darwish’s music is always featured in the sessions by giants such as Marco Carola, Joseph Capriati, wAFF, Pawsa or Stefano Noferini. It was only a matter of time before the Catalan caught the attention of one of the hottest trends of the moment: Solid Grooves. Bassel Darwish is one of the most striking tech-house producers and DJs among the new talents on the Barcelona scene. His most recent work is the Gate EP, which is his debut on Dennis Cruz and Eddy M’s MÜSE label. While listening to his latest two tracks, we asked Bassel about how Solid Grooves changed his life, about how criticized his genre has been in recent times and about how Barcelona’s clubbing scene faces the post-pandemic world.

Xceed-Artist-Bassel Darwish-Interview
Image: © Bassel Darwish’s Press Kit

When not on the stage, who is Bassel Darwish?

Uhm… I would probably define myself as an easy-going guy that enjoys life and aims to be positive all the time.

What about Bassel Darwish on the stage?

I like to connect with the crowd and try to create a good atmosphere, good vibes and to express what I feel within my music.

It is thinking about your name… and thinking automatically in a Solid Grooves party.

It’s great that you think this, that means I’m doing well and I’m happy for that. Me and the rest of the Solid Grooves family have a good relationship, and whilst it’s difficult to meet all together often because we are always playing in different parts of the world, when we can it’s really fun! It’s definitely been my best opportunity in my career and I’m very grateful to the guys for that. I remember the moment when I first entered the Solid Grooves family and I can safely say that it changed my life.

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Image: © City Hall

Other big families where you’ve taken part are Kaluki, Deeperfect, Roush and Stereo Productions. It’s not a bad CV for an uprising producer as you. What comes to your mind when looking back to all those achievements?

I honestly couldn’t imagine this when I started some years ago. I often take a look at the past and realise that it has been really hard work, but I still have the exact same enthusiasm as I did when I first started with the aim of growing up to become an artist and producer.

Do you approach your music production differently depending on the label where you are releasing?

No, I don’t. I always make music in my own sound, it’s what I feel in that moment and sometimes the tracks can fit a certain label better than others. However, I think that it’s important to stay true to this, and I definitely couldn’t produce music that I’m not into or that I don’t like.

Your latest work is the Gate EP, launched by MÜSE. How did you end up working with Dennis Cruz and Eddy M?

I was receiving promos from the guys and playing the tracks that were coming out on MÜSE regularly, so when I finished two tracks, I decided to send them over. I thought the tracks were a perfect sound for the label and, luckily, they did too.

It’s a good release for this summertime.

Yes! It’s full of groovy basslines and deep tech elements which are perfect for that ‘summer sound’. I started the EP back in December and in the same month was ready to send it to the guys.

Wow, that’s quite a long period to be released. Are you normally letting your tracks breathe for some months before finishing them?

In the past it would take like two to six hours to finish a track. However, I now prefer to take more time and it can be some weeks until I decide that a track is finished. Less music, more quality. I like to try the tracks at the club first to see the reaction of the crowd and how it sounds on a good sound-system, and from there I’ll either make changes or look to finish them.

What’s your technical approach when producing?

I always start with the tops and percussion. After that, I continue working on the track and focus on ensuring that I create a nice groovy bassline, and this is then followed by the melodies. I also normally use vocals to inject some additional energy into the track.

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You produce tech-house, which in the recent years is being one of the most criticized genres. What’s your reply when hearing that saying of “tech-house music being excessively boring and repetitive”?

It depends on the track and which style of tech house it is. It’s definitely true that over the past few years there has been a side where there’s been some really boring tech house that is usually charting in the Beatport Top 100 charts. However, I don’t like that style and I think there’s definitely way too much of it. My own style I would class as a balance between tech-house and deep-tech.

You were born and raised in Barcelona, where you are still based. What are your feelings on the city’s underground scene?

Barcelona has a lot of competition, so it’s good for all the events to have a good standard across their venues and their line ups, and for the clubs and events to continue to evolve and improve as they look to become the best. I started my own events step by step in the city before solely focusing on my music, and the city has facilities and options for those looking to do that. However, I would say that the permissions and restrictions can be horrible and are unfortunately getting worse every year…

Xceed-Barcelona-Bassel Darwish
Image: © Bassel Darwish’s Press Kit

How have you been dealing with the coronavirus crisis?

I’m doing good and staying safe. It’s a sad moment, but unfortunately, we can’t do more… we just have to be sensible and wait until everything is back to normality. However, I would say in these difficult moments we should try to be positive. We should keep our minds busy, and make sure that you don’t stop to listening to music.

Is the message you wanted to send to the world when you decided to work professionally on music the same message you’re trying to send today?

Yes, 100%. It’s the best feeling when people can dance to your music. That was my objective when I first started and it’s still the same today.

ARTIST: BASSEL DARWISH

(Cover Image: © Bassel Darwish’s Press Kit)

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