DJ Aeli—also known as Ali Aloulou—is the Tunisian-born, Dubai-based hip-hop producer to watch. With a new EP having dropped earlier this year, MILLE caught up with the DJ to find out what inspires him and how Paris steered his career in the right direction.
Before rap, he was in a band
Ali played drums, classic piano, and jazz guitar since a very young age and was the drummer of a rock band before moving to Paris. In fact, he settled as a music producer not only because he could be as flexible as he wanted in his compositions, but also because he liked the challenge of showcasing his own music. He namedrops The Mars Volta, Nine Inch Nails and Too as his biggest and earliest inspirations.
His origins have played a big role in his music
He describes his music as a fusion of beats, hip-hop and a concoction of melodies inspired by his musical and cultural background. His home country, Tunisia, heavily influences his music. Paying homage to his Tunisian heritage was always very important for him. Ever conscious about how traditional instruments are disappearing, Aloulou wanted to commemorate the cultural history by infusing his music with samples that included traditional melodies and instruments from his region.
He produced his first track when he was just 14
Aloulou composed his first track when he was 14 years old. The track—which was made using Guitar Pro software—was inspired by the soundtrack to the movie Leon The Professional.
Moving to Paris changed his life
Having moved to Paris and enrolled at SAE Paris, rap music production soon became his sole focus. With a stellar line-up of tracks produced for numerous rappers, hailing from Tunisia, the USA and France as well as Dubai – Paris essentially kick started his career.
Zeotrope, Aeli’s new EP is all about paradoxes
On January 25th, Aeli dropped his new EP, Zoetrope. The album continues to investigate the complex relationship of modernism and nostalgia, whilst summarizing the past three decades of his life; the things he’s been through, the places he’s been to and the things that helped him become who he is now.
Listen to DJ Aeli on Soundcloud