Dubai-based electronic artist channels conflict for debut EP
Twenty-year-old music producer Vasi’s Surface was created amidst the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The music I make is based on inspiration from life events,” says Vasi, a 20-year-old electronic music producer who debuted his Extended Play (EP) on March 31.
“When I first made the music, there were a lot of things going on in my life, so I was just making music to escape the feeling,” he says, looking back at the turbulence of what is only the first phase of his artistic career. As with many global artists, Vasi faced multiple challenges because of Covid-19 and fully immersed himself in his work over the past year.
During the last month of 2020, a year that had a devastating impact due to the pandemic, Vasi began working on an arrangement. He would soon come to call it Surface.
“Subconsciously, when I was piecing this together, I was trying to tell a story, but I didn’t have the proper idea until it was made,” he adds.
The three-part tracklist is Vasi’s first multi-track release. Previously, the Dubai-based artist released seven singles, the latest, LTL, which launched earlier last month in collaboration with another local talent, Abigail Courtney.
Despite being a solo artist, Vasi recognises the importance of a tight-knit community. “The people in the music scene here who I’m really close to are my mentors,” he says, naming aspiring electronic music producer Arsenite, and MK-1, one of the region’s foremost experimental rappers and producers, both of whom were instrumental in the the production of Surface.
Dubai’s music scene is still growing, and the artists responsible for its success also offer mutual support. “I would like to think that this EP showcases my ability to make music about how far I’ve come,” says Vasi, looking back at his short but eventful journey leading up to his latest release.
Vasi is currently on a mission to introduce and raise the bar for original music in the local electronic music sphere. He says that there is a diverse collection of local artists, “but they are mostly from the R&B and Hip-Hop genre, and I just thought that someone should talk about and represent electronic music as well.”
Surface – the EP
“It’s about how a person has three different personalities, and how they keep on getting revealed based on who they meet and where they are,” remarks Vasi when divulging the meaning behind his production.
Hideaway represents the first layer of a person’s comfort level. “You’re trying to hide away from your problems while also hiding your true self by just wanting to forget your personality and trying to be someone you’re not - just to enjoy and be in the mood,” he conveys, regarding the first track in his EP which is set in the backdrop of a discotheque.
The first song is followed by Juno, a tribute to one of Vasi’s favourite bassline sounds produced by synth-manufacturer Roland’s celebrated Juno-106. “It starts happy, but then the pitch changes unexpectedly, and then it suddenly starts being energetic,” says Vasi.
The EP ends with Free Form, a song that finds the listener tethered to their true selves and in the comfort of personal space. “It is the truest form where you let your thoughts take over, and you start to feel like you truly are yourself,” he comments, adding that the song is slower than its precursors, with drums supplementing the flow of the song.
“My tastes and styles have been changing ever since I started. My previous releases don’t sound anything like my new release at all,” adds Vasi, as he forays into a more emotionally anchored set of tracks.
Summing up his chat with City Times, Vasi wants his supporters and listeners to not “skip the songs” since it tells a story.
“Play from start to finish,” he says, intending the EP to help build emotions “from a colourful, upbeat vibe to something a bit more melancholic.”