Ali Berger is only a junior in college and already killing it. His new Ep 110 Love which will be released on Dec 5th on Street Ritual Records has been on constant repeat this week as my motivation to move into my new home. Resulting in a few unexpected dance parties! This celebration of funk, delivers 4 sexy tracks with flavors of glitch hop and old school electrofunk! If your looking for Rhodes synths, amospheric pads, classy wobbles, and a solid drumbeat to match there will be something here for your fancy! I have yet to catch a live show, but from what I hear his live PA shows are a funky mixup of on-the-fly arrangements, remixes, and mashups. With his sound starting to blow up hopefully I will be able to catch a show in the next year. Until, then we can hear him on his frequent visits to Glitch FM where he rolls with the Lost In Bass crew from Boston
Here is what Ali had to say for himself after I chased him down this week!
How long you been producing?
I remember finishing my first few tracks (ones that I never released) in 2008, but I had messed around before then. i really got serious in 2009.
Ableton Live. I’ve been using it since 2006 when I was doing bad but fun electric bass live looping jams.
Whats your setup for production?
I have a Windows laptop with a some free VSTs I like and Ableton Suite 8. My main controller is a Novation 25SL mk2. I also have a bunch of hardware that I don’t use very often–a Korg EMX, an Akai S2000, a Roland VS-880, and a Roland Alpha Juno 1. I did do seven tracks over the summer using only that hardware (they’re at http://alibergermusic.com/hardwareweekly), and I’m probably going to go back to that workflow for another project some time.
My laptop, the Korg EMX for live synths and sequencing, the 25SL for channel volumes, filters, and effects, and a monome 40h kit that I built, which I use for clip launching in Ableton. I wrote a script for it that makes it act like two 4×6 APC40-style grids. When I perform I play a live set, so all my tracks are in 4 stems and separated into different loops for the different sections of the song. I have two sets of four channels in Ableton, so I can have two of my tracks going at once, mix different parts from different tunes, apply effects, etc.
Play any other instruments?
I used to play electric bass. I can still groove on the bass, but now I mainly play piano–I’m taking jazz lessons for school, which is a lot of fun.
What inspires you to make this music?
Funk! Hearing anything that grooves makes me want to make tunes.
Favorite artists at the moment?
Lately I’ve been really into Addison Groove–he has a cool way of performing live and there are a lot of videos of him online. I’m also a huge fan of Space Dimension Controller. Eliot Lipp’s new album with Jasia 10 is great too; it was his Beamrider EP that really introduced me to this kind of music and he’s been killing it since then (and before then too).
When I started playing bass I was listening to Larry Graham, Parliament, Average White Band… all kinds of funk, basically. I’ve been looking for ’80s-ish synth-based stuff over the past 6 months, listening to a lot of Trouble Funk, Techmaster P.E.B., and The Time, to name a few artists. I also love Rhodes pianos. Anthony Smith, the keyboardist from my favorite band (Global Funk), used that sound a lot with that group and I use Rhodes sounds in pretty much every track. Global Funk is easily the #1 influence. At the end of high school I spent 2 months listening to just the first hour of ONE of their live shows. As in I barely listened to any other music. Positivity, groove, and most importantly honesty really drew me to Global Funk and I try to put all of that into my music.
Best moment of last year?
Probably opening for Eliot Lipp in Boston. I was just going to see him play, but then when I got there the promoter said their first opener cancelled and asked if I wanted to play. I was all over it.
Your favorite track at the moment to get the crowd moving?
Since I do the live set, it’s usually one of mine… right now it’s probably “Honey, I’m on acid”. (http://aliberger.bandcamp.com/album/honey-the-kids-are-on-acid) It’s the first track where I really felt comfortable at 130bpm. When I play it live I have a 303-type acid bassline synth going and I get to go crazy with the filter/LFO stuff.
Tour plans/release plans for the next year?
I’m actually only a junior in college, so that takes up a lot of time, but I will be making a huge effort to get booked in CA somewhere (hopefully several places), and I have to play at least one festival. I have a couple in mind that are within reach. And I’ll be playing around Boston a lot, as I always do. As far as releases, I have at least one single I’m gonna finish soon, and I really want to do a full-length concept album. I need to have a solid plan for the album and I think I’m getting close. It will involve outer space and some kind of psychological journey, I can promise that much.
What are your plans for nye?
Chilling with friends in NJ!
What are your tricks for getting creativity juices flowing?
If I don’t have ideas, I try not to force myself to work on tunes. Whenever I do that I make bad music. Sometimes I stand or dance around while I’m producing, to feel more live energy. I try and hear in my head what would make the track groove harder. Also, usually I start a track with a musical idea (like a bassline or a chord progression or a sound, beat, whatever) and try to go as far as I can with that. Then when I run out of ideas I need something non-musical to direct where the track’s gonna go. A story, or some idea of what the track is really about. Then that tells me what sounds or arrangement things I need to do to finish it.
Your From Boston, Jersey originally (same here) How is the east coast bass scene?
I was actually really surprised when I came to Boston at how great the scene is here. It’s not really good for kids under 21, but I quickly figured out some ways around that. There are a bunch of weeklies that put on glitch hop/bass music/dubstep/live electronica: Music Ecology, The Drop, The Monday Mix, and Wobble Wednesdays. Music Ecology also just started a new night called Genesis, which I think is on first Saturdays. All the people running these nights are friendly and awesome. People come out and support, and there are a lot of nights in nearby cities too. The scene isn’t huge, so pretty much everybody who makes or plays electronic music knows everybody else who does. That makes it really easy to meet people. I love the scene out here, basically.
Anybody else you are working with?
No collaborations going on right now, but I have a lot of people I want to sit down with to work on tunes and some of them will happen this winter for sure. That’s all I wanna say right now 🙂
Im picturing big things for this young producer in future years and appreciate the time he took to answer some of my questions. Go grab the EP on December 5th at Addictech!