When WANARB met: Ali Love
London based Ali Love, has up until recently been known for a more disco sound with 2010’s album Love Harder drawing comparisons to Heartbreak and Cut Copy. This year however, has seen him ally himself with dance music’s big-guns: the Hot Creations crew headed up by Jamie Jones and Lee Foss. His latest project, Infinity Ink, with Luca C, has been getting notable attention with latest track Games appearing on mixes by anyone worth listening to, including both Maceo Plex and Art Department. Fitting then, that he should be performing a live PA this Friday 16th December at Return To The Future, sharing the bill with Hot Creations/Creche Alexis Raphael, Supplement Facts Bill Patrick and Art Department themselves. We caught up with him to chat about Infinity Ink, working with Jamie Jones, shooting David Guetta and ermm, turbans.
Hi Ali, how are you?
Yeah I’m cool, just in the local Vietnamese having breakfast. Bit late I know. [2pm]
Ha, nice! So last week saw the release of your first track from your new project with Luca C, Infinity Ink. You’ve worked with Luca C plenty before, alongside Brigante, most notably on one of the big hits of this summer, Morals, so was there a particular reason for forming Infinity Ink as a separate entity?
I think it’s ‘cos we’d never done anything together under the same name, y’know. This way it’s more equal. I’ve done stuff for him, and he helped write songs for me for the last record I did. We’ve both thought it would be nice to do something where it was more even, more like a band. It just made sense to put it under a cosmic name. It can go anywhere.
You’ve been an integral part of the Hot Creations crew this year, and with Jamie Jones hitting the RA DJ Poll number 1 slot last week, it’s fair to say 2011 has been their year. How did you come to fall in with Lee and Jamie?
I’ve known Jamie for about 10 years from parties round east London. And my best friend Ben lived at their house for about three years so I was always round, and as they have a studio it always seemed like we [Jamie] were gonna do a track but it never really happened. Then Lee did a remix for my track Moscow Girl and when I dropped round to do some additional vocals it just felt quite natural. A few months later all three of us got together, and ‘cos we’d all been mates for a while; it was one of those things that it was just so easy. Everyone knows where each other’s coming from. That’s why I think we got good results.
The Hot Natured track Forward Motion you did the vocals for was also one of the summer’s big Ibiza hits. Did you manage to get out there at all? I know you’ve been working quite a bit with Jamie so it would seem natural that you’d spend part of the summer out there as well.
We actually performed that at DC10 and I heard that I’m the first ever vocalists to have performed [live] there. So we did that, and hung out quite a lot. I also went to Burning Man Festival with that whole crew and went to the party put on by Damian Lazarus. So, it’s been quite a good year, bonding with friends and working out a new way musically.
Your career has thus far been pretty varied, mixing mainstream success with underground kudos. How do you think you’ve been able to straddle both those worlds so effectively?
Er, I dunno. I just kinda go with the music really, I just go with what I love to do. Sometimes that blows up in my face and I look a bit silly. But, I just go with it and follow with what is relevant to me really. This whole thing has been so easy, as I said we’re all friends and it just made sense. At the moment Infinity Ink is really really exciting. Y’know, I’ve always been in the underground house music scene, having been friends with James Priestly [of Secret Sundaze], so y’know, I’ve been going to his parties for 10 years. But I was more into disco and ‘80s stuff and now with performing I’ve kinda come through full circle I guess. Like how the old-school house people did years ago by becoming more minimal and not so much into production. Like how funk eventually turned into house in a similar way. Y’know, you get bored of one thing. Like people got bored of too much funk-guitar and things just kind of naturally changed…. I know that’s a really long answer.
Yeah that was quite long haha! But it was interesting, especially as you touched on your love of disco as I found your album last year, Love Harder, had a lot of disco overtones to it and I think the album and specifically so your single Diminishing Returns [having been used to soundtrack an advert for Skins] arguably introduced you to a younger, more feminine audience than your previous tracks might have. How do you think your listeners have changed again since then?
Oh erm, I never really think about who my listeners are. I just make music with my peers. As long as my friends are into it at the time, I don’t think about how far it’s reaching. The internet gives you some kind of distance…. I’m not really sure how to describe that. You just have to keep doing it for your own love it and for your close peers I guess.
Actually, as I was just speaking of Diminishing Returns, I wanted to say I loved the video for that. The chain-mail helmet you had in that was particularly awesome. In fact I think I saw you perform in Stoke Newington around the same time, wearing it. It was really quite unusual so I’m quite curious: was there a reason behind this? Or was it a stylist suggestion that you just took a shine to?
I found it in Paris, near the Lourve. There’s this shop that sells them. I think it cost like €100. I buy stupid things like that. Any turbans or helmets or headbands, anything like that, I can’t help but buy, y’know. (laughs) I’ve got loads.
(laughs) You’ve got loads?!
Yeahh. I’ve got like fighter pilot helmets. And er, what are those things that American Indians wear?
Yeah but what are they actually called? Oh I’ve forgotten. [Warbonnets] Well, anyway, that’s just one of my hobbies. I just like collecting weird hat/helmets from around the world. I’m really into turbans at the moment. Turbans are big at the moment.
Turbans are big at the moment? Right okay. NEWSFLASH.
Yeah, newsflash: they’re really working at the moment.
(laughs) Oh my word… okay, so I mentioned Jamie coming in at number one in the RA poll earlier, there’s been a lot of talk about that in comparison to the similar DJ Mag poll, which was obviously quite controversial. What’s your take on the outcomes?
What did he come at in the DJ Mag one?
Umm, I’m not sure. I don’t think he even came into it. I know David Guetta came out number one.
Really?!? Well, I think that just shows there’s two different worlds of dance music going on at the moment. I mean you’ve got the cheesy shit like Calvin Harris and David Guetta. Naff Euro and American rap. You know, I just think they should all be shot to be honest. Literally just with a firing squad (laughs). I just find all that stuff… oh I don’t know. I just can’t even listen to it. I try not to pay attention to it.
And following on from that, how do you think public opinion of house music has changed in the last year and do you think that’s had any impact on the music you make?
For me, I think it’s more soulful, there’s a bit more meaning to it, and it’s not just all hands-in-the-air, it’s got a bit more subtle, a bit more downtempo and more craft going into the songs. That’s what I’m more into. More like Robert Owens. He’s a friend of mine, and hearing his stories is really inspiring….It’s just a natural progression from where I was before. That’s all I can say, I can only say my own opinion of where I’m at.
That’s interesting actually because I’ve seen Robert Owens a few times now [at Society] and he is amazing when he sings live. Which leads me on nicely to my next question. You’re doing a live P.A. at Return To The Future next weekend up in Hackney. How do you find the crowds respond to this return to live performances within warehouse parties, raves and clubnights? As it seems to be coming back to that a bit.
It kinda is, yeah. It’s nice and easy to be honest. Much easier than when you have a small band, and you have to cart around all the shit, and soundchecks and stuff. As long as [the PA] has got some reverb and a bit of echo and a bit of delay, it’s good fun…. I’m thinking of maybe bringing a few drum machines and doing it slightly a bit more live. I’m looking forward to the party; some of my good friends are coming.
A lot of your tracks, whether they are your own or your vocals featuring on other tracks, do often seem to be about relationships. What is it that attracts you to writing music about girls?
Girls? I don’t know…. Well, women are music, aren’t they?
Ha, I like that answer just as it is… Okay, so final question: in my ongoing quest to find out who in house music would survive an apocalypse, what would you do if you woke up one morning to discover that actually the world was overrun with zombies?
Am I the only one left?
No no, there could be other people.
Errrrr…. Well, I live in a top floor flat so I guess I’d be able to hold out on my roof terrace ‘til the helicopters come.
Return To The Future//Friday December 16 2011
The Print House, Hackney Downs Studios, Amhurst Terrace, E5
Infinity Ink – Games
Ali Love – Moscow Girl (Lee Foss remix)
Hot Natured – Forward Motion feat Ali Love
MORE ON ALI LOVE