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Terminal V Podcast 006 || Ahl Iver

Antwerp native Ahl Iver may be a new comer to the world techno circuit but he has already amassed some serious miles. Under the mentorship of Amelie Lens, this young gun has already fired off several well received salvos.

Don’t be fooled by his youthful years Ahl Iver has a serious techno head on his shoulders. The Belgian artist has since his break through track ‘Rave Simulator’ gone on to perform for Lens at her revered Exhale parties as well as feature twice on her Lenske and Exhale imprints.

Having not been a product of years of involvement in the techno scene Iver offers a raw, unwavering view on the genre and what it takes to rock a party.

A purist mentality crossed with an open approach to his art produces a new breed of artist. A new breed of artist that follows in the footsteps of one of the most lauded artists of her time and that time is now. This may all seem like hyperbole but one listen to the next edition of our podcast and all will become clear.

 

First of all, very nice to meet you Ahl. What has been going on recently both in and out of the studio?

It’s very nice to meet you too! The past few month’s I’ve been working on loads of new tracks. I finished school in May and since then I’ve had a lot of free time, which was of course the perfect opportunity to bang out a lot of tracks. Some of these tracks are coming out in February on my new EP on Lenske, so be sure to keep an eye out for that! At the beginning of January, I started working full time, so at the moment I’m still figuring out how to combine the two. Sadly, my productivity in the studio has gone down a bit because of it but I’m sure I’ll make it work!

Being from Belgium you have a rich history in Techno, what was your introduction to the scene?

It started at around 2015. My friends and me were going out and we saw there was a new club in Antwerp (Club Vaag), so we decided to check it out. At the time, I wasn’t familiar with techno at all. I had a hard dance background though and I went to a lot of rawstyle/hardcore parties, but techno was something I had never experienced. I remember walking in the club and loving it from the start and from then on, I just kept on going to techno raves.

Having your debut release on vinyl and on Lenske must have been like a dream, how did it all come about?

It really was a dream. It all started in 2018 when Amelie posted a status on Facebook asking unknown producers to send over tracks. At the time, I was only producing for one month, so my tracks were pretty shit, but there was this one acid track that she liked and ended up playing. From then on, I kept sending her tracks once in a while and occasionally she played one. I remember after about a year of me sending tracks she suddenly asked me if I was going to Ampere the night Sam (Farrago) was playing there, because she would be there too and she wanted to meet me. So, I went to Ampere, nervous as fuck, and met her and Sam but we didn’t really talk about Lenske or signing me so after the party I was pretty confused because I still had no idea why she wanted to meet me. Shortly after that I send her ‘Rave Simulator’ and that’s the first time she mentioned she was thinking about signing me. ‘Rave Simulator’ turned out to become the signature track from my debut EP.

Similarly, Amelie’s Exhale parties is just as special, tell us about the experience and your performance.

Because of corona I sadly only had the opportunity to play at two Exhale party’s, Exhale Madrid and Exhale Antwerp. There were a lot more super exciting ones planned, like Tomorrowland, but sadly they got cancelled. Exhale Madrid actually was one of my first party’s I played as Ahl Iver and I was so nervous I hadn’t slept for 36 hours and hadn’t eaten for a whole day. But as soon as I started playing all the nerves went away and everything went perfect. I was warming up and at the end of my set the main room was already packed and it was only 10PM. Exhale Antwerp was also very special since Antwerp is my hometown and so many friends were attending. It was also the first time Exhale did it’s own production and it was absolutely insane. It’s also always so fun to be together with the whole Lenske fam, I think it only ever happens at Exhale party’s.

Aside from these two massive landmarks has there been any other pinch me moments?

Playing at the legendary Rex Club in Paris was a big milestone for me. It’s one of those clubs you hear so much about, and you always see pictures of the iconic entrance with the DJ’s names displayed, so to arrive there and see your own name on the entrance was just so cool. Another cool moment was when Kobosil messaged Amelie to tell her he played ‘Rave Simulator’ at Berghain. Amelie showed me the message and it was something like: “Amelie I just played Rave Simulator at Berghain and the crowd went crazy”. Kobosil always was, and still is, one of my favourite artists so my reaction when reading it was something like “What the fuuuuuuuuck”.

How have you prepared for this sort of opportunity? What is your daily approach to music?

I never prepared for it because I thought it would never happen. So, when I got signed to Lenske and got booked for all these party’s I felt very unprepared and unexperienced at some points because I still had so much to learn. And I still do. But I think everything went quite well and I just try to go with the flow. Same for making music, I like to make music when I really feel like it. I try not to force my self to make music when I’m not in the mood, I feel like the tracks really suffer from it. It’s also important for me to take a little break after I finish a track. When I don’t do that and just produce track after track, my music really lacks inspiration and gets even boring at times.

Having already played at this calibre of events and releasing on such a huge label where are you setting your sights on next?

One of the festivals on top of my bucket list is Dour Festival. I went 5 full days for the past 4 years and it’s always one of my favourite weeks of the year. We always go with a super large group of maybe 30-40 people so to actually play there with all of my friends in front of the stage would be a dream come true. I also would love to play in Tbilisi one day, it looks like an amazing city and they have some amazing clubs. And of course Edinburgh, I heard the people are crazy here (in a good way) so I can’t wait to experience that one day.

What are your long-term goals in the music industry?

To be honest I have no idea, of course it would be amazing to make it my life one day, but I’m already very happy with what I achieved so far. I try not to think to much about the future, and just go with the flow. It worked pretty well so far!

Being a newcomer to the scene what advice can you give to aspiring artists wishing to follow in your successful footsteps?

First of all, do it for the right reasons. If you’re truly passionate about what you do good things will always happen. Second, don’t rush things. You don’t become a good producer/DJ in a month or even a year. Only start releasing stuff when you’re really ready. A really good debut EP can make a big impact. And of course, try to be different. So many people are doing the same thing and are good at it. So, it’s just really hard to stand out if you’re just doing the same.

Talk us through your podcast track selection, gear used and where the mix was recorded.

Normally when I record a short mix like this one, I try to keep the energy pretty consistence throughout the whole mix. For this one I tried to change things up, I started off pretty slow at 135bpm and tried to increase the energy with every track. I think I ended at around 147bpm. This is exactly how I like to play the most at party’s, but then of course stretched over a longer period of time. I used my Traktor S4 to record the mix in my home studio. Nothing fancy but it does the job! I always say, you don’t need fancy gear to get good results, same goes for producing!

Interview by  Stu Todd