Techno Tuesday: Ardalan and the philosophy of being ‘Mr. Good’

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Techno Tuesday: Ardalan and the philosophy of being ‘Mr. Good’Techno Tuesdays

Techno Tuesday is a feature on Dancing Astronaut documenting the culture of underground dance music. We’ll bring you exclusive interviews, tracks, and narratives from artists within the techno, tech house, and deep house world in an effort to shed light on some of the best talent outside the world of mainstream dance music.

Duality is a concept instrinsically connected with Ardalan‘s life and career. Born in Tehran to parents with international professions, he spent his youth living between Iran and his stateside home in the Bay Area and adapting to each locale’s different societal norms. Oddly enough, it was through his friend in Iran that he discovered DIRTYBIRD, courtesy of Claude VonStroke‘s megahit, “Who’s Afraid Of Detroit?” Not long after, he attended the very first BBQ as a young teenager. He released his first track on the imprint alongside Justin Martin by age 19, forever cementing his status as label family and one to be watched.

It was through this newfound success, and growth into adulthood, that the Ardalan noticed the contrasting nature of human existence, especially in the way one might present themselves to the world versus the person within. Thus, Mr. Good’s story was born. The key lies in its title track, and the more sinister “Mr. Bad,” which are the yin and yang of the album’s story. Just as everyone has a “Mr. Good” that they show off to the world, there exists a “Mr. Bad” to balance it.

The album as a whole is experimental, a step away from the lighthearted shade of tech house one migh have expected from his longform debut. Ardalan is no one trick pony, however, and he pulls off his album and its multi-genre exploration off with polished finess. One might even say that Mr. Good is an entrance into a new sonic era for DIRTYBIRD.

We chat more about the themes of Mr. Good for this Techno Tuesday, additionally taking a gander into its tech side, Ardalan’s artistic journey, his dual lives, and more.

Mr. Good really gave you a medium to explore your sonic range. In doing so, has your overall style in studio and behind the decks changed at all as a result?

In some ways I believe it has. I feel like I am always constantly testing new ideas and taking risks to do something different. Whether it’s in the studio or behind the decks, I really enjoy challenging myself to find a new sound. It’s fun. I look at it like its a puzzle, but with sound! I love playing different styles and creating a journey out of a DJ set. When I am in the studio, I always find a way to use or create something different with each track. I’m now excited to explore uncharted musical territories!

Which songs in particular really pushed you to go outside of your comfort zone musically, and in what ways did they do so?

“Lifted” with Claire George. It’s the one track on the album that isn’t 4 on the floor. I’ve never made a drum n’ bass tune in my life to this magnitude, so when I started working on it I didn’t really know what I was doing or know if there was a rulebook of sorts that I needed to follow. I was just jamming on the SP 1200 and having fun when I realized I could just work with the loop in half time and turn it into drum n bass!

Your dance music discovery really began in Iran. Can you take us to the time of discovering Euro house and techno there and how this ultimately prepared you for your full launch into the music world upon reaching adulthood in the Bay Area?

When I was growing up in Iran, I really didn’t have any sort of knowledge for music. I was just hearing all these cheesy trance melodies and some 90s pop house on bootlegged cassette tapes and satellite televisions from Europe. I was exposed to hearing Persian music as well. In the late 90s early 2000s, my brother got into Progressive House and Techno music from artists such as Deep Dish and Anthony Pappa. I got a taste of that and instantly got hooked. I then moved to the Bay in 2004 and really got into Boards of Canada & Aphex Twin. I then moved back to Iran in 2005 and moved into my brothers old room. He left his old computer behind with all the music mentioned above still in it. I started going through it and found James Holden’s Balance 005 compilation and that changed everything for me. I got into microhouse / minimal around 2006 and moved back to the Bay Area in 07. That’s when I heard Claude Vonstroke’s “Deep Throat” and ultimately DIRTYBIRD!

On that note, you’ve also mentioned that you made an effort to imbue the music of your ancestry into the project; how have you executed this?

I tried to incorporate a track that had those elements but I ultimately ran out of time and didn’t want to rush it as I want to do it right and raw yet keep those Iranian elements balanced.. I will go back to it in the future!

Techno Tuesday: Ardalan and the philosophy of being ‘Mr. Good’Ardalan Shot By Grady Brannan1 1
Photo credit: Grady Brannan

The album process was a long one for you, and with some tracks taking months to finish. How did you get over these periods of writer’s block or override what was holding you back?

Most of the tracks were finished in the last three months of the album process. But it took me forever to finish “Mr. Good” with PartyPatty. It was the first track that I was seriously working on for the album. I had never done an album and I really loved “Mr. Good,” so I wanted it to be perfect and I constantly kept changing it. I literally have about 250 versions of it. I took a break from it and read an article about how “perfectionism” is self-harm . I took a break from it and made “I Can’t Wait” and two weeks later I took one last stab at Mr.Good and I was happy with it. I grew so tired of hearing it in my studio during the album process, but now on my album tour, it’s one of my favorite tracks to play! Other than that, What kept me sane in that period was hanging with my girlfriend and family. Any chance I could I would take breaks as needed from the studio. I would dedicate some time to doing something different which I think really helped the album process for me as a whole. I got addicted to this mobile game called PUBG and was playing it with different producer friends like Sepehr, The Fitness, Option 4, and even Doorly! I thought I wasn’t gonna finish the album because I was having so much fun playing it. But it took some stress out of the process and when I went back to working on the album. I felt recharged.

You’ve gotten your hands on a lot of new hardware for the making of Mr. Good. What’s next in that regard? Have you considered trying your hand at modular production?

I think I have enough gear for now. Modular is a commitment and I know i wont stop once I start. So I think I will have to mess with VCV RACK until my new studio is 100 percent treated and complete. I have now moved to a new apartment and I have a smaller room to work with. I have so much gear so I think I’ll be okay in that department for now. Next thing for me though is to learn my new room the same way I learned my old studio and treat the acoustics more properly.

A major theme of this record is the duality of humanity; you have to be ‘Mr. Bad’ to be ‘Mr. Good’. Can you describe how this theme has played out in your own life, and how you translated it into the album/musical format?

I just think we go through different phases in time. Everyone has some sort of internal battle. Not everyone is 100 percent stress free, maybe a few souls these days. We all have ups and downs. Whether its mental instability, hardship of some sorts, or depression. Without all these negative experiences, how would we learn what’s good or positive in life? Sometimes we just have to accept that were not perfect creatures but we can learn from it and pursue happiness. I think it’s kind of funny because the theme of the album became about self doubt in finishing my album. I was hitting a wall and I wanted everything to be perfect. I was like, “this track needs to be “Mr. Perfect.” I learned that it can’t be perfect. Sometimes you just gotta let go of that self doubt and be bad or get freaky with it. Sometimes you wanna be a Mr. Bad and not sleep. Sometimes you end up going to an underground warehouse and lose yourself in the music till the next morning. These experiences turn out to be good for the soul sometimes.

Going off of the above, a lot of these tracks were written well before the themes of your album came to mind. How did the process play out in pulling these ones out of the archives and fitting into the overall story you wanted to tell?

I wrote a lot of tracks that didn’t make it on the album. There are only two tracks that were made before the theme. I guess in some ways I managed to fit them in the story. After finishing the Mr.Good track with Party Patty, I got really inspired to create tracks from scratch and not go to the old projects. I will eventually release all those. I have so much more music that didn’t make the album.

Now that you’ve taken this leap into album territory, what are some of the next milestones you wish to reach career-wise, and what are you doing now to accomplish them?

I want to explore new sounds and keep making more music. Even releasing different versions of the album perhaps. I am also trying to lean on making my studio more jam friendly and produce “live”. I want to make the leap into the live performance world at some point as well. I think that’s the next step career wise. It will be a fun challenge but very rewarding once I take it more seriously.

What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned over the years as you’ve blown up, especially within the last five?

I’ve learned to be extremely humble. I have met so many amazing people and fans in every city and im truly grateful for that. I don’t like being alone for long periods of time. I appreciate the time I have when I’m home. The album process taught me to be positive and not stress about the little things in life such as not allowing myself to get mad or complain that the coffee shop at the airport didn’t have almond milk. I learned to get excited about the small things in life. It’s given me the tools to push through the stress of being a touring artist. I have been touring since I graduated college in 2013. I try and exercise as much as I can. I play soccer every week between gigs. It’s my biggest passion after music. I try and go for a run as much as I can and during tour life. I think Justin Martin has inspired me in that department.

You’re currently on one of your biggest, if not the biggest, tour run you’ve ever taken in support of the album. Which places are you most excited about playing the first time?

I am excited to play at Meow Wolf for the first time!

Any final words or thoughts you wish to share?

I just wanna say that it’s been so amazing to see peoples reactions to my new album. I am really thankful for all the support!

Order a copy of ‘Mr. Good’ here

Ardalan announces inaugural LP on DIRTYBIRD, tour to follow

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Ardalan announces inaugural LP on DIRTYBIRD, tour to followArdalan Shot By Grady Brannan1

Ardalan grew up with DIRTYBIRD, growing from the label’s wunderkind at the age of 21 with his Justin Martin collaboration “Mr. Spock” into a veritable powerplayer in the American underground. The time has now come for the talented producer to give back to his label home through his debut album, Mr. Good. He’s shared a taste of the album via “I Can’t Wait,” and it’s already proving to be a delightfully out-of-the-box offering.

“‘I Can’t Wait’ is a duet with my girlfriend. It’s one of the last songs I made on my album. Through the process, she was always waiting for me to watch Game of Thrones with her and would say, ‘I can’t wait any longer.’ I never ended up watching it. The song is open to interpretation for the listener,” states Ardalan of the single.

The single is melancholic in nature, conjuring imagery of personal sacrifice at the hands of a heavy drive to succeed in one’s career. Minor arpeggios in 8-bit tones flow over crisp percussion and a grooving foundation, while his girlfriend’s voice adds a haunting layer to the finished product. It’s a far cry from what one normally hears in a DIRTYBIRD release these days, and a marker of Ardalan’s creative evolution. The album will also be followed by a 36-stop tour, which sees the artist taking over his favorite intimate dance spaces across North American for special edition extended sets. He’ll also be at Dirtybird Campout West in October, where fans can expect to hear “I Can’t Wait” live. Tickets for that here. An all-star support lineup awaits.

Ardalan announces inaugural LP on DIRTYBIRD, tour to followCorrect Tour Art Ardalan

Photo credit: Grady Brannan

Do LaB announces 15th anniversary Coachella lineup, featuring Pete Tong, Mr. Carmack, The Floozies, and more

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Do LaB announces 15th anniversary Coachella lineup, featuring Pete Tong, Mr. Carmack, The Floozies, and moreCoachella Do LaB Stage 2016 Weekend 2 Daniel Zetterstrom 50

An annual highlight at California’s Coachella Music & Arts Festival, Do LaB‘s carefully curated musical stage coalesces expert electronic acts, for a high caliber lineup within the festival’s larger billing. A cornerstone of the Coachella experience, Do LaB will present its themed stage at the 2019 edition of the multi-weekend affair for the 15th year. The longevity of the Do LaB stage at Coachella evidences Do LaB’s consistent ability to wow Coachella crowds with its collection of artists, and judging by the newly unveiled lineup, 2019 will be no exception.

Do LaB’s lineup joins noteworthy up-and-comers with established industry greats, for a balanced mix of novel and veteran acts. The lineup accordingly touts Dom Dolla, Dombresky, Escapade (a duo comprised of Dirtybird Collective label mates, Walker & Royce and Ardalan), The Floozies, Mr. Carmack, Sonny Fodera, Dance SpiritPete Tong performing with a yet-to-be-named guest, and more.

While the 2019 lineup touts a wealth of stellar electronic entities, those familiar with Do LaB’s history of production know the expression “expect the unexpected” to be salient advice. Do LaB routinely surprises attendees with unannounced sets from dance favorites, in past years bringing the likes of Skrillex, Major Lazer, and Richie Hawtin to the stage without much advance notice.

Do Lab at Coachella 2019 Lineup:

Do LaB announces 15th anniversary Coachella lineup, featuring Pete Tong, Mr. Carmack, The Floozies, and moreDo LaB Coachella 2019 Lineup

Meet the talent of Minimal Effort: Ardalan [Exclusive Interview]

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Meet the talent of Minimal Effort: Ardalan [Exclusive Interview]Adalan Credit Justin Martin

What does an Ardy Party look like? The new, all-encompassing entity launched by DIRTYBIRD veteran Ardalan is the culmination of all things he loves: music with a healthy dose of funk, good energy, and an an overall wild time among fans and colleagues with the intimate feel of a house party. Ardalan certainly knows how to provide all these things in spades to his audience, after years of honing his production down to the most danceworthy beats and behind the decks reading and tending to crowds from tiny warehouse gatherings, to large-scale festivals.

Ardalan’s had quite the busy year, having recently come off counselor duty at Dirtybird Campout West and, according to him, preparing to release a solid chunk of new music as we move into the tail-end of 2018. He also had a hit on his hands with his wildy infectious Escape In Acid EP on Christian Martin’s Trippy Ass Technologies, earning support from far and wide within the house realm. Prior to that, however, he’ll be bringing Ardy Party to Los Angeles’ Minimal Effort festival for what’s primed to be a memorable performance. Minimal Effort has been known for booking top acts bubbling to the top of the underground, and tapping Ardalan’s newly-unveiled character fits into their ethos. He’ll be joining the likes of whomadewho, Tim Engelhardt, Boys Noize, and more on October 27.

Ahead of bringing the Ardy Party to Minimal Effort, we picked Ardalan’s brain on the festival, his current inspirations, and what’s next in his pipeline. Purchase tickets and view more information on the festival in the meantime here.


What type of legacy are you trying to leave behind with your music?
I want to leave behind a positive legacy in which I can inspire more people through my music. I hope I can help shape a better future for our planet through my music.

What goes into preparing for your sets?
Lots and lots of digging for new and old gems. Going through a matrix of subfolders and getting what I would think is the right vibe for the set. Also a nice light meal before the show is important to the performance.

What can fans expect from your Ardy Party performance?
They can expect a healthy dose of space funk and some new music I have been cooking lately.

What track/body of music are you most proud of and why?
It’s hard to say which one. I am proud of all of them. Even the one’s I think were bad. The tracks I have done with Justin Martin (Mr.Spock) & Christian Martin (Super Moon) make me super proud!

How have you seen the electronic scene evolve over the last decade?
I think its safe to say that social media has evolved every music scene in a profound rate. Everyone has gained more knowledge through the increasing rate of information in the electronic scene. Whether it’s EDM or underground music. There are more parties happening because of it.

How do instrumentals/electronic production coexist within your music?
I would say 95% of my music has been mostly instrumentals. I think instrumentals can be as or even more powerful than tracks with lyrics, if done right. But I have been having a lot of fun speaking/singing and using singers/songwriters in my music. It is a exciting territory for me personally.

How has your music evolved since you first started?
In terms of the way I make music, I still use the same creative process. But I think I have learned more in how to make my tracks sound tighter and better over the years, with the help of referencing and constructive feedback. Also now that I have more hardware in the studio, I have endless fun!

What excites you most about Minimal Effort?
The unique line up and beautiful venues they choose has always made them stand out. This year’s Minimal Effort has the most insane line up I have seen!

If you had to pick an artist from the Minimal Effort lineup to be, who’d you choose?
It’s too hard to choose. I guess I would wanna be myself because I’m too excited to see what they are gonna play!

Which artists are you most excited to see at Minimal Effort after your set?
I am really stoked to see what Christian Martin ,Kill Frenzy, and Worthy are going to play in the Ardy Pardy. But I am excited to see Boys Noize, Nicola Cruz, Tim Engelhardt, and Butch as well.

There is a lot of good music happening all over the party.

 

Photo credit: Justin Martin

Exclusive: Ardalan prepares a house feast ahead of Dirtybird Campout

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Exclusive: Ardalan prepares a house feast ahead of Dirtybird CampoutArdalan Credit Justin Martin

Tents are pitched, bags are packed, and campers are readying to connect with their more youthful selves at this year’s Dirtybird Campout West. This year, something special is in store: re-arranged campsites and a brand new lakeside venue mean not only closer proximity to the Campout’s famed activities, but also the addition of water-based fun whilst enjoying the tunes from Head Counselor Claude VonStroke, and his crew consisting of Sacha Robotti, Justin Martin, Will Clarke, and many more.

Ardalan will also be returning to the campout as a Counselor for the 2018 edition, and to give fans a taste of the party that will be taking place during his gig, he’s assembled a succulent mix of energized house and tech beats that is designed to get blood flowing and feet moving across the dancefloor.

 

 

Limited amount of VIP packages for Dirtybird Campout West here

Follow Dirtybird Campout

Photo Credit: Justin Martin

 

Claude VonStroke announces new Birdhouse Festival in Chicago this fall

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Claude VonStroke announces new Birdhouse Festival in Chicago this fallClaude Vonstroke Djing Dirtybird Campout

While Claude VonStroke‘s skill for DJing and producing is a given, the Dirtybird boss has also become known for his knack for throwing some truly unique parties and festival experiences. With Dirtybird Campouts now on both coasts and Detroit’s Dirtybird BBQ still running strong, VonStroke and the label have now announced their newest event, the inaugural Birdhouse Festival.

Taking place on September 8 in Chicago, the show is headlined by VonStroke himself, who will be bringing along a legion of Dirtybird’s top talent. Will Clarke, Christian Martin b2b Ardalan, and J. Phlip b2b Gene Farris are just a few of the hotly anticipated sets to come at this event. In addition to the music, the event will be hosting a street fair, with carnival games, prizes, and food. Lineup support comes from London’s Zombie Disco Squad, Fancy Fux, and new Dirtybird artist and Chicago native Teknicoz, bringing music, food, and fun together for a comprehensive festival experience.

Claude VonStroke announces new Birdhouse Festival in Chicago this fallBirdhouse Festival

Enter to judge a pie eating with Ardalan

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This year’s inaugural Dirtybird Campout East is set to be one for the ages. 2018 marks the first year the festival moved into territory outside California. This years lineup features a heavy hitting plethora of acts such as Seth Troxler, Barclay Crenshaw, Justin Martin and Shiba San, to name only a few.

Pie aficionados beware: Dancing Astronaut is hosting a competition alongside the Campout to win a meet and greet with camp counselor and Dirtybird stalwart, Ardalan. In addition to the meet and greet, one lucky camper will receive the coveted opportunity to judge a pie eating contest judged by none other than the thunderdad himself. Dirtybird Campout East takes place February 2-5.

Ardalan DBCEast

 

 

Photo credit: Apart Music

Ardalan releases exclusive mix ahead of Minimal Effort NYE

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Iranian producer and DJ Ardalan Noghre-Kar — aka Ardalan — is one of Dirtybird‘s most established young recruits. Amalgamating influences spanning a diverse range of genres, Ardalan incites dance floors with textures of disco, nu groove, house, and ghetto bass, serving up a platter of funk heavy rhythms to listeners.

Ahead of his performance at Minimal Effort New Years Eve, Ardalan has released an exclusive mix chock full of invigorating melodies, world influences and nostalgic, inspired bass lines. True to his nature, the mix is somewhere between a heady space journey and thunderous dance floor concoction.

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