Haider Masroor is on a roll. Since the summer, the Berlin-based Brit has dropped three EPs in quick succession: first came the laidback electro of ‘Endless Clouds’ on his own label Breaker Breaker, then he joined Mella Dee’s Warehouse Music with the full-throttle sounds of 'The Muses Come Out At Night’, and next month he returns to AUS with entrancing three-tracker ‘Dance Now, Cry Later’. “People are consuming music so much faster, and there’s so much more of it out there. I found that releasing an EP once every year just didn’t suffice,” he says of the decision to up the ante. Well, it certainly caught our attention.
Though 2020 has put Haider on a firm footing, this isn’t his first brush with success. Originally from Sheffield, Haider used to operate under the moniker DS1, and was part of the Niche scene — otherwise known as the original wave of bassline. “My entry point into the industry was when I was 15, in 2005. I would buy records from Studiobeatz, which was my local record shop,” he recalls. “The scene was the Niche scene in Sheffield and all the DJs knew each other, and if you were at the record shop all the punters knew each other. It was all about this connection with people.”
Bassline had its moment in the sun — as Haider describes it, “a flash in the pan” — and by the end of the decade he was trying his hand at UK funky — “an even quicker flash in the pan.” From there he got into grime via friend and local MC, Shinobi, and ended up putting out some releases influenced by the ‘purple’ dubstep sound pioneered by Joker. But dubstep had its day, too, becoming something of a “dirty word” in the UK after it blew up in the US, and Haider — still only in his early twenties — decided he was done with music and headed off to uni instead.
But it turned out, music wasn’t done with Haider. While studying in London he ended up discovering and putting out the first release by Ross From Friends, launching his Breaker Breaker label in the process. He later linked up with Henry Wu and left uni to manage the jazz duo Yussef Kamaal that Wu was a part of. By late 2017, however, he wasn’t happy with how things were going and jumped at the opportunity for a fresh start in Berlin. The following year, he dropped his first EP as Haider.
“DS1 was a totally different part of my life,” he says of ditching the alias. “DS1 wasn’t just a musician, this was a point in my life [when] I was a completely different person. It was just such young energy, full of piss and vinegar. As I’ve grown older that’s not who I am.”
Now pushing an emotive, lo-fi blend of electro and deep house, Haider feels comfortable using his own name because he’s making “the music that’s truest to me”. He explains how he’s faced a psychological battle against a creative pressure he put on himself.
“It’s a difficult thing for a lot of producers ‘cause we know too much now, there’s too many reference points, everything feels like it’s already been done,” he says. “I was always putting this unrealistic, stupid idea in my head that I wanted to create a sound that was completely new. Now I look back at myself like, what the fuck was I even doing that for? There was this weird sort of thing that was like a fear of failure and [being] scared to succeed, you find yourself paralysed in the middle.”
It was the advice of his friend Mella Dee that changed his outlook, helping Haider to see that fussing forever over a tune, or letting it sit unheard on a hard-drive wasn’t going to help. He learned that you simply have to get it out there and move on to the next one. And that’s just what he did. With the three aforementioned releases in the bag, he’s also lining up an EP for Sneaker Social Club and has spent the summer putting together an album he hopes to release next year. Bring on 2021!