#MusicInTheAir Podcast hosts this week :
His musical style is house music that bridges influences from all over the world. His intention is of creating a new sound within the genre of organic and afro house. He often fuses live instruments, and free improvisation.
He tells: “Today I define my musical style as “world house”. Music genres that celebrate different musical styles, rhythms and instruments that create a unique flavor of house. I love incorporating sounds from Africa, Asia, Europe and especially South America. As a concert percussionist in Singapore, I was exposed to different types of music and instruments from the xylophones to congas to the timpanis. Discovering the various techniques and the origins of each instrument sparked my curiosity and fueled my passion for music and countries”.
Born out of a passion for music and a deep knowing that the world is one, Gifted Fire aims to spread love through artistry and conscious creation. The place where he was born greatly influences him on a musical level. In fact, he says: “Being born and raised in Singapore, it is a multicultural city where you find a church, a mosque, an Indian temple and a Buddhist temple on one street. We were raised to live in harmony with each other and that is something sacred I embody in my music, that music is universal and for everyone despite race, language or religion”.
The musical genres that influence him the most are many, and even different from each other, starting from house in all its declensions and arriving at punk / rock. In fact, he says: “As of recent years house music has influenced me the most. It’s something about its universal appeal. Each country has its own take to house, for example house music in Turkey has a different twist to South African House. It’s exciting to hear how each artist or producer expresses their rhythm in house.
Another genre is punk / rock. I played in bands for 10 years in Asia and got to experience touring in South East Asia at a young age. I love its raw expression of the music and the DIY ethic. It’s a genre that doesn’t conform and celebrates self-expression.
Today I find world music the most meaningful. I’m always discovering new rhythms, instruments and I love finding songs that I later translate their lyrics into English to find out the meaning of it. There’s beauty in discovery and it’s a way for me to break out of my comfort zone. It’s a world adventure as a listener and as a musician and producer I incorporate those elements into my own productions”.
Gifted Fire has released several tracks on multiple labels including Inward Records, Club Rapture, Gifted Fire Records. And upcoming releases on Tech Afrique and SoundGarden. He explains: “We have a few releases lined up on Gifted Fire Records featuring other vocalists from NYC. Branching out from the usual organic house flavor into deep house and more groovy house”. He recently came out last March 3rd with 2 different labels. “Slow Tango EP”, a downtempo EP with Tibetiana Records and “La Marcha”, a single that was co-produced with Tiago Dima (Tulum) is coming out on Roth Sounds.
With ten years of experience behind the decks and studio, Gifted Fire has been dedicated to showcasing the diversity of musical cultures. He played in the United States: in New York, Miami and Austin, but also in Turkey, Brazil, and of course Singapore. He has shared the decks with a wide range of talented artists such as Brian Cid, David Hohme, Eli Fola, Kora, Lee Burridge, Nickodemus, Sparrow & Barbossa, Unders and many more.
Since when did you start your musical journey? When and how was your first meeting with music?
My start to music was a funny one and began with the piano. My mother enrolled me into piano lessons at 8. It was either piano classes or abacus, the Chinese calculator. I chose music, there was something about feeling something that you can’t see. It was creating magic to me. I had that instant sensation that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. There was a spark in my eyes and I felt the fire in my soul and I still have that flame today.
What music do you listen to when you take off your DJ headset?
Music that I listen to when I take off the DJ headset is world music.
I really enjoy music from Brazil, Mali, France, Spain really anywhere and recently I’ve been heavily into Ragas from India. It helps me decompress and never fails to allow me to travel to places without taking a plane.
Your artists / DJs / producers of reference?
Black Coffee, Sparrow & Barbosa, Goldcap & Sabo |, Nicola Cruz, Monolink, Massive Attack, and the legends Rick Rubin e Quincy Jones.
What were your most recent projects and what projects are you part of?
My most recent project is Gifted Fire which was born during the Covid period. It has been my way of collaborating with artists, featuring instrumentalists in NYC and discovering singers that were looking for a safe place for discovery and self-expression.
How was your summer and now how is your winter? Do you have dj sets or festivals planned at the moment for the present and the future?
I’m excited for my return to NYC with a new weekly residency that kicks off from April to August. It’ll be our own event celebrating new talent and building more creative bridges. Gifted Fire also has its residency with Cache Life, Palosanto and Mr Purple. We’re also scheduled to play at Kuna Festival, Gaia No Maia and really excited to for AfrikaBurn in South Africa.
What do you think of the current music scene of the country where you live? What do you think are the differences with Europe and the rest of the world?
The music scene in NYC is one of the most vibrant ones in the world. It is really a melting pot of cultures and you can get any genre of music here. The level of musicianship and dedication to the craft really inspires you to become the greatest version of yourself.
Unlike Singapore, where I come from, it is a small country and city so it lacks the diversity of music genres. Europe has a strong electronic music scene and it has a cultural impact on the world.
Traveling to other countries has opened me up to how influential music is, from the subcultures all the way up to mainstream music. The Berlin sound is very different from South Africa while the Brazilian rhythms are so unique like Mali music.
What evolution do you think electronic music is experiencing on the international scene?
Electronic music is constantly evolving and there’s the beauty of it. From my experience electronic music is incorporating more live instrumentation from trumpets, guitars, flutes, vocals that translate really well from studio to stage. I’m a huge fan of live improvisation and recently I’ve seen an influx of live musicians with DJs which makes sets more authentic and exciting. I also think the influence of destination spots like Ibiza, Tulum, Bali is widening the audience of electronic music. People that are new to electronic music are exposed to the various genres and it’s moving from more mainstream to the appreciation of curated events and sounds.
What can you tell us musically about your Podcast for Villahangar?
This mix is a very sexy & fiery mix celebrating world cultures. Imagine a journey traveling the world infusing flamenco, world percussion and indian mantras to flaming horns.
01. Hoomance – Casablanca (Original Mix) /Human By Default
02. Calussa – Damelo (Original Mix) /Hurry Up Slowly
03. Gifted Fire feat. Sam Fairey – Expelll (Original Mix) / Inward Records
04. Darko De Jan, Alex Twin – Salga La Luna (Original Mix) / Sirin Music
05. ARKADYAN, Demayä, Yana Mann – Esperanza (Original Mix) / SCM
06. Gifted Fire – Gayarti Mantra (Unreleased)
07. Lizwi, Aaron Sevilla, dbasser – Tobelani (Original Mix) / Nervous Records
08. Calussa – Babale (Original Mix) – Hurry Up Slowly
09. Gifted Fire, Lost Ok – Sacrilege (Original Mix) – Gifted Fire Records
10. DRUBON – Maan Mense (Original Mix) – Lump Records
11. Thage – Halssnoer (Original Mix) – Wired
12. Nicolo Simonelli, OniWax – Mama Yeye (Emanuele Esposito Remix) / Obenmusik