Australian/Iraqi producer Motez is primarily known for a blend of melodic and thumping house music, but he has taken a step back with his new five-track project for something more subdued. Titled Soulitude, the ambient project was inspired by his upbringing listening to the likes of Brian Eno and Boards of Canada and the beautiful Fleurieu Peninsula of South Australia with its rugged coastlines and vineyards. This area also served as the back drop for a live set that he recorded, which you can watch below.
To get more information about the EP, we chatted with Motez about the need to make an ambient project now, the influence Australia had on it and much more. The EP captures a period of time made during Coronavirus quarantine and each song title give you an idea of when the songs were made. Get your copy of Soulitude here.
1. Why did you make an ambient project now?
I found myself in a state of mind that wanted to be more calm and centered; all my shows were either cancelled or postponed to the end of the year due to the spread of Coronavirus, all contact with friends and family stopped and I did not know when this was going to end or how. I moved my studio back home, which was actually very nice. I now have a window that I can look out to the world through in my isolation - autumn was rolling through and seasons were changing. I felt like while everything was heading towards the unknown, having that literal window was how I connected to the outside world, and I tried channeling that into my music, and that was my output. I’ve always listened to ambient music, probably more than any other genre, and so it was natural for me to end up there.
2. Who are some of your favorite ambient producers?
I grew up listening to Jean Michel Jarre, Vangelis, Brian Eno and Boards of Canada. More recently I’ve been listening to Johann Johannsson, Max Richter, Cliff Martinez, Nils Frahm and Rival Consoles.
3. How do you make ambient music that is interesting, but also still very chill?
I think ambient spans different iterations, and I am a fan of all of them as they have a time and place. For Soulitude it was something that I felt like having a beat that was necessary, it is meant to be grounding and emotive, the drums provide us with that tether of connectedness, however, with the track “Cascade” I ventured into a more abstract form which ended up in something more beat-oriented towards the end as means to build up tension and release.
4. Why do you think ambient music is having a moment right now?
I think that was evident talking to friends and colleagues as I started working on Soulitude how encouraging they were of me releasing this project as they felt that they needed to listen to this kind of music. I think while the world is going mad in every way, people want to feel centered and calm, it’s a form of aural meditation that we all need, now more than ever.
5. How did the Fleurieu Peninsula influence this project?
I live in a very beautiful part of the world that is South Australia, and I found myself going out on more and more long walks listening to ambient music and immersing myself in the beautiful scenery, it provided me with so much fodder to make Soulitude. Fleurieu Peninsula in particular, is the perfect backdrop to the project, with its endless vista of rugged coastlines; it has a vastness that doesn’t make you look small, but connected to it.
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