Darling Farah "real name Kamau Baaqi" was born and raised in Detroit, his musical influences originally drew very little from the city's deeply rooted techno heritage. It was being switched on to MF Doom that drew him closer the electronic sounds of Hip Hop and ultimately electronic music at large. Perhaps it was his families move to the United Arab Emirates when Kamau was 16 that was to be the catalyst for the unique and highly stylized production techniques he would later become synonymous with. Those early experimentations with music production were unbiased by the weighty influence of Detroit's musical history. Difficult to pin down but you can loosely say Darling Farah's music falls somewhere between garage and dub techno, it's his stripped down (to the bare bones) sound and real world sounding samples that bring life to his music and set it apart from most.
Hello Kamau, so your introduction has been written many times.. Detroit to the U.A.E. etc but the next part of your story is being written in London, what is the next part of the plot, what have you been doing in London and how has the city been influencing you?
A lot of time early on was spent being lost, filling out forms, making phone calls to set things up so that I can be out here. Most of its done now though so now I’m taking each day as it comes and it’s been good so far. Moving around a lot it’s maybe easy to loose yourself in whatever city you’re in and I don’t really like that, so I don’t really let the surroundings influence me too much. Still making music in my room.
Now that you are becoming adept in the art of sound design can we expect to see you scoring any films?
Yeah film/cinema in general is something I think about a lot, it’s on par with music making. I worked a little on that last year recording visuals and doing the score for it. Thing is I don’t even know a whole lot about film/film score fanatic but I just know its something I would like to get back into and involved in later.
Have you been partaking in the City's nightlife? It must be quite liberating coming from somewhere like the U.A.E.
For sure, I get to finally see a lot of artists that I’ve been into for a while and I’ve met some amazing people out here. Crazy ones too but it’s ok.
Where have you been going out - what clubs have you visited and who have you heard?
I finally saw MF DOOM and it was sick. He came on with Ghostface and I didn’t even know that was happening but then it did and it was like icing on the cake. As far as clubbing though I’ve been to all the ones I had been reading about before I got here where the people I listened to played at i.e. Rhythm Factory, Old Blue Last, Corsica Studios, etc: All great places in their own way. I really like “Church” at Corsica Studios.
Your productions in the past are known for being very stripped down, the natural result of this is that there is much more attention given to each and every sound you use, your selection and creation of which must be incredibly selective well thought over?
I spend time with each element of my songs. Also because when I experiment with the small elements of a sample or drum kick I can make something totally new, something that could end up as the main drive of the song. My procedure is kinda like: creation of the sounds, placement of the sound to make certain patterns, then sequencing them in a way which lets every small/big element blend the right way. Go in and out like they should, overlap in certain areas, go out of sync, etc It’s tricky though that’s what gives me the most writers block.
There is also a very live feel to your tracks, is reverb the key? Discus*
Reverb is a great tool; it can serve a lot of purposes for music making both in a typical “FX” sense but also sound shaping. With it you can make your own spaces and rooms in songs that can either clash to create different tones or mold into one for a warm texture. Reverb on its own isn’t the “key” I would say but it something that sounds good to me, so I do use it a lot.
What brought you to the less is more style you employ, was there other artists influencing you or was it a natural process of discovery when you were finding your style.
It’s just what clicked with me the most, it was never a question of slowly using less over time. I just got a bit better with my techniques so I could get out my ideas the way I wanted them, which for some reason is that less is more approach. The music I was listening to (more of the leftfield electronic music stuff) gave me the confidence to keep the music rougher.
We hear you are working on an album, how is that coming along and what is it sounding like?
The album is called ‘Body” and its basically ready for release through Civil Music. Its not restricted to the dancefloor or the headphones. The whole process was kind of a self-analysis, seeing what I could do for an LP with the ideas that I’ve been waiting to put down to track for a while now. Hopefully people can take something from it when they hear it.
I assume you will be touring the album with gusto now you have your new European base, is this the first time you will be touring properly and is this something you are looking forward to?
A lot of firsts when it comes to the performance side of my music, since I never had that platform in the past. I’ve been playing some shows around Europe leading up to the album release and those experiences were great for me. They were eye opening as well and for that I’m definitely looking forward to more of these shows.
When is the album coming out?
June 25th.Physical and digital.
Where can we hear you play in the coming weeks
June 22nd I’m gonna be playing at Oscillate Wildly (at Rhythm Factory) which will be my first London show and the same night I’m playing Audio Doughnuts (Hidden Nightclub) with a lot of artists from Civil Music.
::: give us 5 game changers - tracks that most influenced your early forays into electronic music