K / D P Keep It Deep Podcast 003 we proudly present from Amir Alexander. Amir is an deep house dj & producer from Chicago currently based out of Sweden who founded Vanguard Sound and now co runs it with his partner Chris Mitchell which is acutely refined and raw sounding. Amir has also released on Deep Vibes, Hype LTD, Rekids & Altered Moods to name a few. Amir has also appeared on the underground live stream Boiler Room in Berlin alongside, Ben Klock, Nina Kraviz & Dor Levi you can check here and also his releases on wax at Juno records here.
Amir first and foremost has a very unique strand within his music production, you cannot pigeonhole it to be regular and not memorable, its deep but then you have to get a freight lift a few floor levels lower to understand the emotive consequence. Some of Amir’s music has more muscle and strength it is not tough because you can still taste the earnestness & compassion. Amir is signed to UK based Secret Agency, which you can check here for more info, bookings and dates.
Amir really popped up on our radar after really taking the crowd on a journey when he played for the Leeds based party Louche and also his various podcast’s. To be very honest Amir is a very sincere, upfront and articulate artist that made it completely effortless and easy to open and exchange dialogue as you will witness below. Not much more to add except that the mix has that free jazz bop and swing, some soul and a whole heep of Amir playing true to his heart, his head and integrity.
K/D: Where, and when did you record the mix?
AMIR: At my Girlfriend Clara’s place in Malmo Sweden. My new home base. I left my turntables in Chicago, but luckily she has most of her set up from when she was a heavily gigging Reggae/Dance Hall DJ.
K/D: What equipment did you use?
AMIR: One Technics 1210MK2, one Technics Belt drive SL-23, and a Numark CD Mix2 Console dual CD Deck with the tiny Jog Wheels. It’s ironic that I have seen countless numbers of that very piece of kit and I always wrote it off as an unusable joke until I actually tried to use it. CD players are all basically the same though. If you can play on one, you can play on them all.
K/D: Describe your mood?
AMIR: Studio is a piecemeal patchwork of newly acquired hardware and my trusty PC. I left my turntable and everything else back in Chicago in storage. (Which reminds me, it’s due today. I need to pay them. LOL)
I have a few more pieces in Amsterdam with Chris Mitchell, as we are trying to build a studio together as well. As always, I use whatever I have or can borrow to get the job done so I have been enjoying the challenge of making great sounding records on horrific studio set-ups. It has been some invaluable schooling.
My Mood when I made the mix was one of urgency, the need to record a mix at home. I realized that it had been almost a year since I just pressed the record button and had a go. I have enough live club joints, but I wanted to make a mix for the joy of mixing, 100% unplanned spontaneous expression.
It was recorded two days before I left for the Netherlands to do a couple Vanguard Sound Nights with my label partner Chris Mitchell. I wanted to listen to a few of my unreleased joints in a mix before I played them out.
K/D: let me know overall how this journey has been so far, from the beginning to the present and of course the future?
AMIR: The overall journey is a very complex one. I am now a “public figure” who spends more time on airplanes in the sky than I do in the studio. I used to be a reclusive record nerd who spent every waking hour in the studio I lived in, so that is a major flip-flop. It has taken just under a year to finally find a bit of balance and stability. DVS1 said it very well…..
To paraphrase, he was speaking of how just as people are gathering at the after hours to reflect on the night, make merry, and add on to what was built the night before, the DJ is in a mad dash to get back to the very nice hotel that we will barely use for a couple precious hours of sleep. Then we’ll make the solitary journey back to the next country to do it all over again, sometimes three nights in a row.
That is extremely draining, but incredibly rewarding at the same time. It feels really good to witness and contribute to the advancement, sustenance of our culture on the level I am able to. I am humbled and thankful every time I find out that someone is listening to, much less wants to book me. I am still getting used to all of the love and respect. I try to acknowledge it, but I don’t dwell upon it, as I don’t ever want it to go to my head, you know what I mean?
I purposely slowed down my output this year as not to over saturate. Over 10 records and almost as many podcast’s is a good year by any measure. I have been working on a few remixes here and there because I liked the projects and felt that the results could / would be some deadly DJ tools. They have since proven them selves in the field of battle, so to say. There
are also some various projects for the serious collectors of my work to keep them fed until the solo projects come out so everyone is satisfied.
There will be 3 to 5 solo joints this year including Ep’s on Secretsundaze, Finale Sessions, Vanguard Sound, My first alias solo EP as Guerrilla Soul on Concrete Music, and perhaps one on Anunnaki Cartel as well as Detroit label if I can get the tracks done in time. I also have a split EP with one of my very few DJ heroes, Traxx from Chicago. We’ll be doing a Jak Beat (which is a genre He, JTC, and D’marc Cantu created) acid house record. One side each with 2 tracks per side.
I am also fixing with a side project, The Binary Star System, which is me on the boards and My Queen Clara Stjärna on vox. I am also trying to fix myself a proper studio over here in Scandinavia/Rotterdam/Berlin, or wherever Vanguard Sound finally sets up a permanent home base.
As far as getting to the point of quitting work, the universe willed it. I have now been “unemployed” (sic) since Monday December 3rd 2011 when I was forced to quit my job as a dishwasher. (Starving artist job that gave me enough time to work on music). The business had just been sold to some rather unsavory characters that wanted to get rid of the staff and rehire all the people from their old restaurant. I took it as a sign and never looked back. From December 2011 to September 2012 when I finally went on my first tour was easily the darkest time of my life. Hustling t-shirts, records from home, stickers, cutting grass, cleaning pool decks, pulling up old shrubbery and planting new shit. I was struggling and grinding with intent.
Seems like it paid off, as I now have the opportunity to do what it is I was born to do for a living. Give Thanks and Praises to Jah! Friends and people you can depend on are invaluable. Never take your people for granted. Health is everything, so try to eat good food. Music is life. Music is love, so remember that no matter what a person’s social / career status is, we are all just people who have good days, bad days, and regular average days so be kind.
Your favorite artist is super busy and likely very tired. Please remember this when you visit their work place. We are all there to have fun, so lighten up, smile often, and dance yourself sweaty like it’s the last time you will ever dance, every time.
Special request love shout outs to my girlfriend Clara who works tirelessly to maintain a sense of normalcy despite my super not normal job/ lifestyle in the home we now share with her eight year old son Izak-Zion who is busy fixing himself a little studio to record his live jams, hugs and Kisses to you both. Super big ups to Chris Mitchell, DJ Spider, Dakini9, Hakim Murphy, and G. Marcell. The Vanguard Crew and to everyone else respect and Love.
1.Zukunft in English – Thomas Melchoir
2.Black Dahlia – Guerrilla Soul! (Concrete Music/Unreleased)
4.Sandman – Blueboy (Amir Alexander Loop Chop Edit)
5.Division One – Shape One (Amir Alexander Reshape)
6.Blame it on the Boogie – Rick Wilhite (Amir Alexander No Frills Extended Edit)
7.Bangin’ (The Real Shit) – Amir Alexander (Secretsundaze/Unreleased)
8.Binary Star System – Binary Star System (Amir’s Raw Machine Remix Unreleased Exclusive)
9.The Moment of Truth – Amir Alexander (Argumento/Unreleased)
10.Show Me Your Time – Nina Kravitz
11.151 – Armando
12.Black Snow Wolf – Amir Alexander (Vanguard Sound/Unreleased)
13.The Ghost – Amir Alexander – (Finale Sessions/Unreleased)
14.I can’t Understand – Pleasure Zone