The Other Side’s Maher Daniel mixes Nightclubber 191 »
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Maher Daniel is a long-time favourite of ours, and someone we’ve wanted to host on our mix series for some time. A native of Canada, he’s been living in Barcelona for close to a decade now, and his is very much a global life outlook that’s indicative of his colourful, dexterous and unpredictable approach to DJing and production. The owner of The Other Side label, Daniel is a real DJ’s DJ, and it’s no surprise that he counts some of the scene’s most-feted names as supporters. One such man is Ricardo Villalobos, who’s invited Maher to support him on his landmark ’20 Years at fabric’ party in the new year. That should be a special one indeed, and to whet your appetite a bit we had Maher provide a mix for us, recorded live from a recent gig in Miami. Read on too to find out more about what he’s been up to recently…

Can you tell us a bit about your early beginnings in Montreal. What the scene there when you were growing up? Or were you someone who was actively pushing it?

Haha thats some seriously early Beginnings, Montreal will forever be my stomping grounds, I owe a lot of it to my brother and his crew who really nurtured me and brought me up into the scene, from as early as being just a voyeur and clubber to becoming the artist i am today,  could not be more thankful for being surrounded by a group of heavily talented DJs. Also Stereo was an important player for me as it gave a platform to really shine and be pushed on an international level, the connections i made and still have because of that platform are irreplaceable. 

The scene was strong; it was an integral part of dance music in North America, and Canada in particular, with clubs like Playground and Sona really setting the standards and then eventually Stereo coming into play and bringing the essence of the New York dance Culture. Montreal was a hub for the scene around the east coast.

I was never really a promoter, I did play a role in the bookings for stereo for around 3 years, and trying to push specific sound, but i always stood behind the scene, but there are so many people to this day actively pushing it to new places. 

Would you say the city itself influences your sound and approach? Or are most of your influences actually more European in nature? 

It had a influence on the early part of my years having the opportunity to see so much amazing talent roll though the city it was really special , but Europe really made a bigger impact on what I do.

You live in Barcelona now. How is life over there? And what motivated the move?

Yes, I have been in Barcelona for almost 9 years now, but I’m in between, spending my time between Spain and North America. My motivation was 1 needing to closer to europe as that’s where i was getting more noticed, and secondly i really wanted to get out of the cold and have a fresh start. 

… and how is your Spanish / Catalan coming along? 

Luckily for me i grew up speaking French so i was able to pick up Spanish super quick, im a pretty well rounded speaker for someone who did not take lessons, 

What do you miss most about Montreal? Do you get back often? 

My parents and friends, i try to stop through as much as i can when im on tour on that side of the world.

We’ve checked and you don’t actually do much in the way of interviews. Is this a conscious thing? Do you prefer to ‘let the music do the talking’?

I am very conscious about what I do, I don’t believe in overkill, but I also think it’s important to do. The most important thing is the music and that should always be the first and foremost thing. 

As someone who’s been heavily involved in electronic music now, what would you say are your proudest moments? Or are they still yet to come?

Hahaha thats a great question, to be honest i think my proudest moments are more of thankful moments, because at the end of the day, i’m thankful for being able to do what i do and live the life that i live, i am one of the lucky ones. But this also came with a lot of hard work and dedication to the craft, so i am proud of myself for really sticking through. 

Does the advancement of social media make it easier of more difficult to carve out a career in electronic music do you think?

Social media is both a blessing and a curse, for myself when I was trying to make something of myself, instagram, tik tok and so on was not a thing. Now promoters and bookers are starting to oversee talent, and booking on hype, sure they still look at the talent but it’s become second I believe. The community has changed due to oversaturation so it makes it very difficult for artists to overcome that battle or be heard. 

On that note, how important do you think it is for a producer to carve out their own niche and sound? At what stage of your career do you think you managed this?

It’s extremely important for producers and artists to carve out their own niche and sound, the current market everyone is trying to copy each other, and the music all sounds the same, particularly on the production side of things, its all starting to sound very plastic, there is no more soul to anything. 

Who do you look up to as someone who does this so well? What makes them so inspiring for you? 

Ricardo is someone I really look up too, he’s always tested the boundaries musically and keeps pushing those boundaries. That’s what makes him so special.

Tell us about The Other Side. You haven’t released any music in 2022 after such a prolific few years with it all. Where are you at with the label now? 

The reason for not releasing much has been due to covid and the way manufacturing plants have dealt with releases, i have a full schedule coming up for 2023 which includes music from Cabanne, Audio werner, Jay tripwire, Ion Ludwig, Mihigh to name a few, so im really looking forward to the start of 2023. 

I’ve read elsewhere that you manage a few other labels on the side. Is this something you can tell us a bit about? 

Sure, I used to manage All Day I Dream in its early days as well as number 19, from there I was picked to handle Ellum and Lone Romantic, by Maceo Plex. this is more of a side project which kept me busy and afloat during the covid period.

As someone who’s been involved for so long, does it ever get difficult to stay motivated? Does ‘the scene’ ever wear you down at all? And if so, what coping mechanisms do you use? 

To stay motivated, not at all, music has always been my passion and im doing what i love to do so that keeps me moving forward. Sure sometimes it’s tough and annoying with the way things are, but thats not a reason for me to be unmotivated, my love for what i do keeps me going. 

Can you tell us a bit about the mix that you’ve done for us? What was the vibe you were going for?  

So this mix is a live recording from Floyd in Miami. i got to play an open ended set, so i took the first part which really sets the mood for the mix, ominous and groovy is how i can describe it. 

How does your preparation for a gig differ than that for a mix? Or is it by and large the same?

It differs for sure, with gigs im prepping for whole weekends or tours, so i tend to spen a lot of time going through my records and digging, with sets i put it together depending on what i want translated with the sets, with this one in particular, it was recorded live so ive used the mid section of the set.  

What’s next for you that you’re really excited about?

Just a lot of studio work and remixing in the process, some heavy tours coming up with Ricardo [Villalolos]. I’m happy to have been invited to play 20 years of Ricardo at Fabric in February, and then in March we will be doing four shows on the road in the US. I’m also really excited for all the new music on the label. Stay tuned!

Keep up with Maher Daniel on Instagram, Facebook, Soundcloud and Bandcamp  

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