Interview by Zane Dean
Photos by Daniel Marks
It’s a sunny, laid-back day in Adelaide’s east end when I sit down to chat with Motez, a man who’s sunny, laid-back disposition belies a pretty incredible career. He’s taken over clubs and festival stages around the world with his signature brand of melodic, bass-driven house music, but his next release is truer to himself than anything he’s put out so far. Yewth sat down with Motez to talk about his next step.
Let’s kick it off by talking about ‘Praise’, which has been out for a little while now. How are you feeling now that the tune is out?
Feeling really good, actually! I like how people have reacted to it. It’s not that it was a surprise per sé, but I didn’t expect it to be this big.
I remember you telling me when ‘Praise’ was about to come out that you wanted it to be a bridge between what you’d done and where you were going. Do you think it’s done that?
I think so! ‘Praise’ is more of an ode to what I have done so far, in terms of focusing on something a bit more bass-oriented, but still with a lot of musicality. I’ve tried to take that to another level, because the next release is going to be totally different.
So we’re about to enter a new chapter of Motez… Tell me what’s coming up, what is this new sound?
It’s not really a new sound… I think the next release is going to be something that is more ‘me’ than anything that I’ve released. But people are probably gonna be really surprised, it’s gonna be a complete change in direction. I’m not saying it’s going to be a permanent change in direction, but I think… it’s time now to show the world this track I’ve been working on for the last three and a half years.
Why now? Why, so many years into your career, are you releasing the thing that’s the most ‘you’?
I think it takes time to kind of… lubricate people’s perception, right? I think people are gonna receive it the way that I want it to be received at this point in time.
So, the actual song itself… what can you tell me about it?
Yep, there is a new single... it’s titled ’The Future’, which will support a big tour... It features Antony and Cleopatra. Antony is Alex Burnett, who is Sparkadia. I’ve been a fan of Sparkadia for years and years, and it was an honour working with them. I went to the Barossa also, and recorded a school choir, St. Jakobi’s, for that song.
So… yeah! It’s a slow jam, it’s groovy, it’s more of a pop song than it is electronic.
How long has it been in the works for?
Oh man. It’s been, probably finished, two and a half years ago? But the choir bit was last minute. We had it mixed down by Eric J who’s a Grammy-winning engineer, he’s mixed people like Flume and Flight Facilities. He just added that little bit extra to it as well.
So, one thing I’ve always been curious about is the fact that I see a lot of Adelaide artists who aren’t as successful as you make the move to Sydney or to Melbourne, and you’re still doing your thing here. Why are you still here in Adelaide?
It’s actually a really good time for us generally. I’m just really proud of this city, I’ll stay here as long as I can.
What do you think is the biggest difference between the artist you are today and the artist you were when you first started to emerge and get your singles out there?
I think… for lack of better words, confidence. In what you put out. Confidence in releasing things that are more true to yourself. You have more reassurance within yourself of what you want, how you want it to be done, and at the same time… you just don’t give a damn. This is me, this is who I am.
So, let’s talk touring. You just announced a national tour, your first in over a year, with a a big step up in venue sizes. What have you got in the works for Australia, and in particular, Adelaide?
Yep, I’ve just announced my biggest tour yet, taking my show out of the clubs and into bigger music venues across Australia. As for my hometown of Adelaide, I’m joining forces with the crew at Fat Controller to take over a secret, never before used, warehouse space in the CBD to throw a intimate warehouse party. We did a walkthrough of the space just the other day and it’s really exciting. A big goal for me in planning this tour was to do something extra special for my hometown show, and it's looking tight. Joining me on the tour will be golden-boy Mickey Kojak and Adelaide’s own Tigerilla. As for my own set and production, it’s gonna be a step up. I think I’m just coming more around to the fact that I grew up as a musician rather than a DJ… I’ll be playing more live elements. The whole thing is gonna be a little bit bigger. I’m really really excited about that.
That’s very exciting. Can you tell me though… if there’s a banger you’re gonna go to to close out the show? Because I remember Day Club, when you dropped ‘Take On Me’ by A-Ha, that was a moment.
‘Take On Me’ has been part of the show for like a year! It actually started at the Royal Croquet Club, in Adelaide, in 2016. That was the first time I was trialling closing the set with something a little bit different. So, I did ‘Take On Me’, and I just wanted a song that makes people happy, people can sing along to it. You can pretty much put the fader down and people will be singing. And it’s really good to close with that.
So I thought, maybe I’ll do the same kind of concept but with a different song. So, I also trialled the first song at Royal Croquet Club in 2017…
…and it was ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ by Whitney Houston.
*snaps fingers enthusiastically*
Yeah, it was like that! So that’s probably gonna be the closing song.
Okay, I’m excited for this. My expectations are set for Whitney.
There you go!
Listen to and watch Motez's newly released 'The Future' feat Anthony & Cleaopatra below: