IN CONVERSATION WITH ALADAG
Aladag – a multifaceted creative whose talents span across the realms of film and music. While his primary profession has been in the film industry as an acclaimed director, writer, and producer, music has always been a significant part of his life.
Aladag’s musical journey started early, with him taking up DJing at the age of 13 and trying his hand at music production at 14. Over the course of his career, his talents in music have led him to co-write and co-produce multiple German gold and platinum records, showcasing his prowess in the industry.
Now, he’s circling back to his musical roots with his debut release, “Picture: Aladag,” on Solomun’s Diynamic label. With Turkish heritage and a background in Stuttgart’s hip-hop scene and Berlin’s underground techno world, his music reflects a fusion of diverse cultural influences.
Surrounded by a creative circle of family and friends, Aladag explores the boundaries of art and emotion. He is an introvert who finds his expressive outlet in music, using it to connect with others and share his passion for this art form.
During this conversation we delved into the motivation behind his creative transition, his diverse musical backgrounds, up to his new debut EP. We also present the captivating video to his new track “Pool,” and much beyond…
Following DJing and producing music you became a successful filmmaker and now you are refocusing on music as your primary creative pursuit once again. What motivated this transition?
Fortunately, I was successful as a director and film producer and was living a life that was actually very good and enjoyable. When a serious illness occurred in my family, I took this event as an opportunity to give myself an authentic answer to the question of whether I was really living the life I wanted to live. I thought to myself: if I could snap my fingers and create a new reality, what would it look like? The answer to that question was very clear. Music! Producing and writing music and DJing are clearly the biggest things for me. Today, 2 years after that impactful moment, I am living that very reality, thanks to the great support of Solomon and his label Diynamic Music. Without these lovely and very supportive people, I certainly wouldn’t be at the point I am now.
You started DJing and producing music at a very young age. How did your early experiences, for example playing at illegal underground parties, shape your passion for music?
I started djing when I was 13 years old and I was lucky that my very first record was a techno classic that is played again today by Amelie Lens and others. “The house of House”, the track by Belgian producer and Dj Yves Deruyter, influenced me a lot. My first track, which I got to produce at the age of 14 in an oversized 90s pop studio in Munich, was also inspired by “The house of house” and was called “The house of acid people” and was a melodic trance track at 145 BPM. My sister was studying art at the time with “Chicks on Speed” who had the hit “Cold Clear Water” a little later. So it happened that I played at a crazy illegal costume party, which found its finale in the fact that the party was shut down by the Munich police, after the bouncer had first demanded entry from the policemen, because she thought the police uniform was also a costume.
Your music career has taken you from the hip-hop scene in Stuttgart to the underground techno clubs of Berlin. How have these diverse musical backgrounds influenced your sound and creative process?
Besides Techno I have always listened and played a lot of Hiphop. These two genres and preferences I have until today. Even though I almost don’t play hip hop anymore or even don’t go to hip hop parties, I still listen to it a lot and still find a good hip hop tune extremely inspiring.
My background and the mix of these two genres offers a very easy access to a creation process beyond the genre specific boundaries or conventions. This allows me to almost automatically create something completely new, and it inevitably forms its own sound, which is in a positive sense between existing genres.
Your debut EP “Picture: Aladag” is out now. Could you walk us through the inspirations behind it and the themes and emotions you aimed to convey in this release?
I see each song as a cohesive unit. I try to tell a story in each song or to work on a theme that does not necessarily have to communicate superficially. The inspiration for the tracks sometimes comes from life events that feel big and dramatic, as well as from small, mundane observations from everyday life.
Perhaps it will never be deciphered by the listener in this form, but probably still perceived emotionally and sensually. Each track thus stands on its own and then results in a larger context, such as that of the EP.
How does the EP reflect your personal and artistic growth?
I grow with every song, every day in the studio, every DJ gig or just every morning when a new day starts. Growth, be it creative or mental or emotional, is the fuel that motivates everything in my life. I worked on the Picture EP for over a year so I grew from it and with it and would say that it was a very formative and inspiring time and experience producing it and now sharing it publicly and playing the tracks live. That’s the greatest feeling, when I see people on the dance floor and they enjoy the music and feel it and I can give them a good time with my music.
What is your favourite track from the EP, and why?
My Religion is perhaps the most personal track of the EP. It is a deep dive into my inner world, where through music I always feel connected to myself and the greater whole. The track reflects the universal desire for connection and harmony, which I think we can achieve much easier through the collective moments that music can create.
You also directed the captivating video for your track “Pool.” How does your background in filmmaking influence your approach to music videos, and what message were you trying to convey with this particular video?
Both as a musician and as a filmmaker, I’m always looking for stories that are authentic and emotional. In the music video for Pool, the last words of people on their deathbed are at the centre of the narrative. Completely unedited statements that fade in again and again throughout the video create a very immediate feeling and intense reactions in the viewers, who each see something different in it individually, depending on their own imprint and experience. I think that the momentum of the real has the greatest power.
Being deeply introverted, how does that help you in your art, but also how do you balance your need for solitude with the demands of a career that often requires public appearances and interactions?
I’m actually rather introverted and not interested in being in the public eye. Only when it comes to music and DJing, it’s a bit different. There I see myself only as a medium that finds the music and prepares and curates it with my skills, be it in DJing, where this kind of consideration is a matter of course, as well as in producing, where I also see it in such a way that everything that is created is offered to me rather than me doing it on my own. That’s why it’s comparatively easy for me in this context to sometimes be the centre of attention or in the spotlight.
Looking beyond your latest EP, what can we expect from you in the future, both in terms of your music and any other creative projects you might have in mind?
I sit as often as possible in the studio and continue to search for new tracks and a new sound. So by now I’ve already created 4 new tracks that feel pretty complete and I’ve already gotten good feedback that they will be released in the form of a new EP in the foreseeable future. I’m also working on “MMAATTCCHH COLLECTIVE”, a fashion brand for DJs, and I’m brainstorming and dreaming of an audiovisual show where I can bring together my 3 big passions of producing music, DJing and creating visuals.