Interview: Saqib

Pakistan-born, now New York-based DJ and producer Saqib has built a reputable following thanks to releasing his music with labels such as Flying Circus and Sol Selectas in the past.

The latest offering to come from his Brooklyn studio finds him release his brand new 4-track ‘Love Life’ EP on BLOND:ISH’s Abracadabra imprint, where Nicone, Gab Rhome, Chambord, and Amine K have released music.

We had a brief chat with Saqib to ask about his inspiration behind the tracks, what he might have coming in the near future, which other imprints he would love to work with, and more. Get the full discussion below.

Hi Saqib, hope things are good out in Brooklyn at the moment, what have you been up to this week so far?

Hi! Things are fantastic. This week I have been pretty busy working on new tracks and getting ready for the summer. This weekend is also the opening of a new rooftop venue in NYC that I have been working for, Scenery. We have the opening party with Lost Desert and Oliver Stories, alongside my homies David Orin and Christian Voldstad.

You recently released your new ‘Love Life’ EP on BLOND:ISH’s Abracadabra imprint, what was your main inspiration behind this one?

It has three meanings behind it. ‘Love Life’ is about the driving force behind all this music and everything in my life, which is love. These tracks are all driven by an engine of love. Although over the course of the EP, they change in terms of their sound and character, and even genre, the common theme running through them is love. It also relates to my show ‘Love Jams’ on Abracadabra’s Twitch channel, which I was doing weekly when I was writing the tracks.

Finally, it’s dedicated to the love of my life, Nina Katashvili. I think that it’s definitely possible to hear the love in the music even when it’s just beats or sounds in time. it’s a frequency, am I right? An energetic vibration that you send out. If you put it in your beats it will come out of the speakers on the floor. I believe it.

It includes four originals in total, how would you describe the tracks in your own words?

‘Crow’ is a track with vocals from one of my best friends since childhood, Biiro. It’s actually a new version of a song he made when we were in high school called ‘Crow’, which was an acoustic track. I asked him to sing the vocals again and send them to me and this new version was born. It definitely has this dark, metal groove type of feel that takes me back to those days.

‘Kick It Like This’ is the first track Bryant Jensen and I made with our friend and incredible vocalist Cern. He came over to my studio one night with a duffle bag full of notebooks, which were full of lyrics to songs he wrote over the years. He did the entire track in a single take. Insane.

‘Cupcake Is Bakin’’ is a very unique track that I made with Bryant Jensen, with Cern on vocals. We made the bassline and the percussion on new years day 2021 at like 10 in the morning and Cern immediately dropped all those verses that make up the track in a few takes. Absolutely mad how precise and intricate his words are after hearing this loop for less than an hour. Cern is a true visionary. Later we finished the rest of the production at my studio in Brooklyn.

And ‘She Was A Love Burglar’ is a track that is quite simply, about love. It actually features my own vocals. It has a warm smooth daytime type of feel and it is the closer of the EP.

And it features contributions from Biiro, Cern, and Bryant Jensen, how did you come to work with those three?

Biiro is one of my childhood best friends and co conspirators in music since a young age. We have been very good friends throughout our lives. Bryant Jensen is a very close friend of mine that I play B2B with frequently. We are also known as the Jamburglars. We DJ together, throw parties and make music.

Cern is an incredible painter, muralist, installation artist, and visionary who I met through a mutual friend (Holmar, the acid tourist) about two years ago. He is an incredible lyricist but I had no idea until he came to my studio and I heard him. ‘Kick It Like This’ is the first track we ever did together.

You’ve previously released music with labels such as Sol Selectas and Flying Circus, what do you typically look for in a potential label partnership?

I look for labels that will support me and that have a similar sound and vibe to what I am doing. I also look for labels that are very serious about what they are doing, and put time, energy and resources into promoting their releases and growing their artists as well as the label itself.

Which other imprints might we see you release with soon?

I have another track that is going to come out at some point on Abracadabra. The rest I can’t talk about that just yet.

Do you have a ‘bucket list’ label that you hope to release with before the end of your career?

Hm that is a really tough one, probably Maceo Plex’s label Ellum, DJ Tennis’ Life and Death, or Dixon’s Innervisions.

Saqib – Love Life EP is out now on Abracadabra.