Since they became friends in kindergarten, Egyptian trance duo Aly & Fila have enjoyed many successes together, including hosting their own radio show (Future Sound of Egypt) and running a record label of the same name, but they’re probably best known for their 2011 anthem “We Control the Sunlight.” In 2010, their debut artist album, Rising Sun, reached #1 in the Beatport trance chart, and now they’re following it up with Quiet Storm. Right before they hit Paul van Dyk’s We Are One Festival in Berlin this weekend, we caught up with the pair to talk touring, tinnitus, and the Top 100 DJ poll.
When did you first get into electronic music?
In the mid-1990s, through visiting Berlin and listening to Paul van Dyk.
What do you think of the whole dance-music explosion of late?
It is huge now all over the world, and has really blown up in the USA over the last few years. We just did a six-date tour of the USA and the crowds over there were incredible.
You’re number 19 in the DJ Top 100. How much emphasis do you put on these types of polls?
The polls are very important as they show the recognition from the fans for your work. You always strive to improve the brand, the music, and the performances all around, so we appreciate the support from the fans.
Who in trance music inspires you the most?
Paul van Dyk is our biggest inspiration.
Jwaydan was the vocalist on your hit record “We Control the Sunlight.” How did that collaboration come about, and are you planning on working with her again?
We already knew each other as she is Egyptian like us. She has a great voice and the lyrics and music fit together. We knew it was a great track, but when it was voted Tune of the Year on Armin van Buuren’s ASOT radio show in 2011, it was a huge moment of pride for us. We worked together with Jwaydan again on our single last year called “Coming Home.” We may work together again, you never know.
Your debut album, Rising Sun, was received really well and you’ve said you always want to improve. Did you feel added pressure when you were producing your new album, Quiet Storm, because of it?
We didn’t feel added pressure as we knew in the three years since Rising Sun we have matured and have continued to learn as musicians and artists. We really feel the maturity comes through in Quiet Storm compared to Rising Sun, and although we’re very proud of our first album, we feel we have grown.
If one of you ever decided on a career change, would you ever consider going solo?
No, Aly & Fila are a team!
We never see Aly at gigs and have heard he can’t fly because of tinnitus. Is that true?
Six years ago a monitor blew Aly’s ear and the doctor told him not to be exposed to loud music at events, so unfortunately we had to make that decision. When we’re in the studio, we keep the levels low to protect his ear.
Some big names like Giuseppe Ottaviani and John O’Callaghan feature on your new album. Is there anyone you’re planning to work with next?
We have a few vocalists in mind, but it would also be cool to work with Armin, Chicane, and Paul van Dyk.