“It’s a good little track, it just came out of nowhere, it’s taken me by surprise,” Ali Love reflects, in his typically nonchalant manner, on his already classic Crosstown Rebels release ‘Another’. His soft distinctive vocals push and pull in tandem with the skips and hops of the techno blessed, soulful tune. A musician, songwriter, DJ, producer and singer, Love mixes up his solo projects with his involvements in Hot Natured and Infinity Ink — this year enjoying a strong connection with bigger crowds as an “MC who also sings songs”.
“What I love is music,” says Ali. “The good thing about house music is that for a vocalist there’s a lot of freedom in it.”
DJ Mag snagged a chat with Love in a week that he had put aside to make headway with his solo album. He prefers to work in an analogue fashion, firstly using a 24-track before finishing off productions in the computer. “I like to look into my mind's eye. When you work on a computer, music just turns into little blocks.” It’s all about aesthetics, much like the psychedelic video that accompanies his single.
What is the track that reminds you of your childhood?
“The first thing that springs to mind is 'Looking For the Perfect Beat' by Afrika Bambaataa. I remember trying to do back spins on my brother’s breakdance lino. I don't know why, but I have an emotional connection to lino to this day. They say that the first piece of music you hear when you’re young, sticks with you the most. My brother used to play it, I was really young. That’s how I heard the early wave of house music and stuff, ‘French Kiss’ on 12 inch blew my head off as well. That’s an amazing thing to listen to when you’re little.”
The first record that you ever bought?
“It was either a Demon Boys single ‘International Karate’ or a Big Daddy Kane album ‘Taste of Chocolate’, I can't remember. On vinyl of course. The Demon Boys were an early London rap group, I just bought it for the cover, because they were doing kung-fu moves on it. And Big Daddy Kane is my favourite old school rapper, I think he’s amazing, he was massive back then.”
What is the cheesiest record in your collection?
“It's a track called 'Take Me Up' by the '80s Italo pop band called Scotch. Luca [Infinity Ink partner] and I really like it, but no one else but us has ever got it. I just get stares of horror when I play it at the standard after-party YouTube session. I just want to state for the record that I'm deeply into so-called 'cheesy' music and I like jazz funk fusion too. So lick my balls!”
What's the track that's guaranteed to make you cry?
“Boyzone 'Love Me For A Reason'. As you know I'm 'apparently' in a dance music boy band and this is my original inspiration. Those guys are my reason for making music and existing. Not a day goes by when I don't weep at the beauty of this gem.”
An album that you're currently into?
“Tame Impala’s ‘Lonerism’. I saw the band at Glastonbury and it blew my head off. I like that it’s pretty much one guy and his vision, there’s an almost dancey way that he approaches the drums, they’re a bit looped and they still sound '70s rock. He’s used quite a lot of jazz chords bands like Steely Dan used to use, it’s an interesting mix. The whole dream-like quality of it is really fresh.”
The record in your collection that you most treasure?
“It's actually a record I made in 2004 with the electronic band Ignition called 'Love is War'. We did a totally ridiculous Miami Vice-style cover. One guy from the band has now sadly passed away, Ian a well-known early techno producer and the other guy won't talk to me. I don't know what I did wrong. So if you’re reading Marcus, give me a call you moody git. I’ve got loads of music on vinyl. If I like a tune I always make sure I buy it on vinyl.”
What is your all-time favourite track of all-time?
“Well, my best boogie track is 'Beat the Street' by Sharon Redd. My favourite reggae track is 'Pressure Drop' by Toots and the Maytals. Fave jungle 'Spirtual Aura' DJ Rap; fave house 'Tears' Robert Owens; fave rap 'Float' Big Daddy Kane. That's an impossible question, but the favourite tune I can't stop playing at the moment is a track called ‘I Can't Take My Eyes Off You’ by Glimpse and my old mate Giles Smith. It features Chaka Khan’s sister Taka on vocals. It's the kind of super deep roller that never fails to hit the sweet spot.”
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