An emotionally conscious artist, Motez stands for authenticity. Always paying attention to the details, Motez’s music radiates his drive for honest expression by carefully piecing sounds and lyrics that instill a purposeful message. Release by release, he continues to open the portal to his artistic mind and the path to the new world he is visually and sonically creating. Motez sat down with SPIN to talk about music making, collaborating, musical influences and more. Catch his new video for “Give Me Space” here.
Who is Motez and what do you stand for?
Motez is a music-making, coffee-loving football fanatic born in Baghdad and resides in Australia. I stand for emotional connection and having a good time through music.
Tell us about your sound – where does your style originate from and what have been your biggest visual, social, and sonic influences?
Earliest music influence would be Vangelis, Boards of Canada and Jean Michel Jarre. The latter has definitely influenced not only my music, but the visual side as well. I guess my sound has changed a lot over the years but one thing that I have always made sure is present (consciously or unconsciously) is having an emotional component there through cohesive, life-driven themes. I rarely do music that doesn’t come from personal experience or isn’t rooted in my own reality, even the more strict dance music pieces.
Was there a definitive turning point to your success? When did you realize the magnitude of your impact within the industry/community?
I think I was well into touring the country and playing shows and festivals, I still had a part-time job, I just finished my Master’s degree so it was natural that I’d be looking for work in that field, but then it took my parents to tell me that I need to drop that to continue pursuing music properly for me to realise that it’s a reality. It was pretty big coming from immigrant parents who have struggled to bring us to Australia, it was hard to get my head around making music for a living not long after immigrating to a country full of brilliant musicians.
As one of Australia’s top electronic acts, you’ve cemented a good foundation by producing some infectiously ambient chill-house tracks. What do you find your biggest challenge to be when producing these hits and how do you work through those struggles?
I never have tried to make it deliberately “chill”, I just make what I make but as mentioned earlier I have always wanted to make music with an emotional overtone as that is who I am. But for example, when I made Soulitude it sounded very chilled and downtempo, but that was on purpose. The entire world went into full lockdown, I thought making somewhat of a “time-capsule” of those times was important and so it was the response to that. I have always made sure I communicate to my fans and listeners that (in Soulitude’s case) it is snapshot of the weird time that the world was going through and it is not indicative of where I want to take my sound.
Your most recent collaboration was with multi-instrumentalist, The Kite String Tangle on track “Give Me Space” How did this opportunity arise and what did the songwriting/production process look like?
I’ve been a big fan of Danny aka The Kite String Tangle, since his first single “Given the Chance” and have always wanted to work with him. I remixed his song North a couple of years ago and thought his voice definitely mixes well with my sound so we started chatting. He’s sent me a bunch of demos and Give Me Space really struck a chord with me, it was quite telling of the time we’ve all been going through and so I immediately made the song around it. It was almost effortless and easy because we really worked well together, especially in the way I wanted to explore the 80’s sounding synths and dance music, and mix it into his voice.
What was the biggest takeaway you had from that collaborative session? In what ways did your outlook on music change after that project?
It just affirmed my view on music that should be thematically and sonically cohesive with the message it portrays, it’s important to make music with purpose.
As we’re looking ahead seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, how are you planning to propel your career forward in 2021?
I think making more music from the same world as Give Me Space, but also venturing a little bit left and right from there.
Is there anything on the horizon that you can share with us?
There’s a lot in the works… I think it’s safe to say that Give Me Space is not a singular idea but it is facet of a whole new world I’m trying to create both visually and sonically. I cannot wait for you all to hear how it all ties in together, all I can say is watch the video for Give Me Space for clues.
What do you wish for the future of electronic music? In what ways would you like to see it evolve?
I think as genres come and go, good music will always be there. I think it’s important for any budding music producer (or even more established musicians for that matter) to make music that is objectively good regardless of the “what’s cool”. Deep and meaningful music is timeless and will always stand on its own feet.
Any last words for the SPIN-verse?
Just wanted to say thank you for having me and for being on this journey with me. There is more to come so watch this space
Check out Motez’s set below! Want more SETS? Head over to SPIN TV to keep up with all the latest and greatest DJs breaking the electronic charts.