Idriss D is an Algerian DJ/producer who has many years in the game. Beyond his busy DJ schedule, Idriss runs the Db artists booking agency, and has succeeded building a strong international reputation for his own imprint Memento over the course of 12 years, signing artists such as Carl Craig and Luciano. With his upcoming LP Hayet Hayati about to come out on vinyl, we caught up with him via email to discuss the album, its many collaborations, and his plans for Memento in the future.
How are you, what’s good or bad right now?
I'm good thanks. Spending the last two weeks in Ibiza with no traveling, listening to records and to get ready for the album and working with my team for my agency Db artists Memento.
Tell us about your new album. Did you approach it any different than your first? Did you try any new tools or techniques?
Actually this album is more acoustic and less dance, even if two or three tracks are for DJs. But the spirit of the album is more to listen. New things yes, it includes live instruments and voices.
And what inspired or influenced it?
My first influence is my roots: Algeria. You can listen to the instrument called El Aoud. It's a very specific guitar played by my uncle Zerouala Mohamed Lamine. Arabic percussions, then of course the way is to get the right compromise between the electronica and the oriental sound, hopefully, inshallah.
And why did you decide to do so many tracks featuring other artists?
Because I wanted an album explaining a bit my personality—from where I come, what I like, and I decided to feature these talents.
How did you decide who to work with? What made each person right to work with?
I'm a big fan of the maestro Zerouala Lamine for 35 years. I was always listening to his songs played live, so was just a plus for me that he said yes. The incredible voice of Eryn Elliott was always catching my attention. We worked together years ago and we were sharing the same flat, going to work by car together, she was always singing, so then I just thought God I need Eryn's voice. She immediately gave me the GO. My first records I was playing back in the day were Dennis Edwards, George Benson, BB and the Q Band, Manfriday. Then I took a rap and hip hop direction. We are talking about mid '90s, I was still living in Algeria. That is why I wanted to feature one downtempo track, and through some friends I met the talented and super cool rapper Libbera.
How important is it to keep your own musical identity despite all the guests?
I had already the main structure and idea clear from the beginning because I was thinking also of who to collaborate with for the features. Of course my signature and identity as Idriss but also can be contaminated in a positive way by the featuring artists. That's why we call it collaboration.
Did you meet them and work in the studio or was it all internet collabs?
We live in different countries and also, for some, different continents, so it was an internet collaboration.
Was it written with the dance floor in mind at all? Or more away from the club?
It was more acoustic work but being a DJ there are a few dance floor tracks that are just necessary for me to include.
What's the outlook of your label, what music do you look to sign, and what is the sound?
I always say as Memento is an electronic label so the first rule is for a track to catch my attention straight away, it doesn't matter if it's techno or house track. Memento, you can check the background, has never ever followed any hype of the moment. Never. I just sign what I like.
What else have you got coming up/are you working on?
My album will be released on the 19th October, the double vinyl, so I'll restart touring and promoting the album during the weekend. I never take gigs during the week because I have my company Db artists to run with my team.