Jalal Ramdani: From Quant Trading to Music Creation

  • Can you give us a summary of your journey up to now?

I was born in Marrakech and grew up in Morocco until 17, where I left to France for my studies (Prépa + Ecole) to get 2 masters in financial engineering and quantitative finance. I then moved to London to work as a quant trader for a hedge fund for 5 years now. My path crossed with afro house music production exactly one year ago when I heard FNX Omar’s remix of Kuar in September 2019 in Scorpios Mykonos, and got completely seduced by this genre. I decided to learn how to produce music and was able to make my first track ‘Nayda’ with Yeronimou, which got signed by Kintar’s label, Sudam. Fast forward 11 months, I now have releases on the biggest afro house labels on the planet such as Sudam, Seres Producoes, Safe, and upcoming releases on Connected Frontline and Go Deeva, along with an enormous upcoming track with Mr Silk, Lizwi that got remixed by Enoo Napa and FNX Omar.

  • That’s quite an impressive progression in such a short period of time. How did you manage to step up in no time?

I’m really passionate about afro house music and whatever I do, I do it with dedication, planning and resilience. I have built up a daily planning that dictates how I organize my time every day, during the tiny amount of free time that my trading job leaves me. It’s a long and hefty process but it can be broken down into smaller bits: creating the tracks, handling their marketing and networking with the labels are among the elements that need to be thought about carefully and where every decision counts. I follow my planning thoroughly, regardless of the conditions or obstacles and I adjust it if necessary. I’d say this is the main factor.

  • Are you now a full-time music producer?

It’s my side-job for now, especially with corona it’s risky to make the full transition right now. So I continue to develop my craft, tweak my skills, produce more tracks and gather market knowledge. We will see what happens in the next few months/years.

  • What was the impact of Corona on you?

It was probably one of the best catalysts for my musical career I could ever imagine. Initially I got frustrated with the closing of venues and clubs, especially after my gig with Enoo Napa got obviously cancelled. However, it was a period where the amount of distractions lessened: for the first time I was spending my Friday and Saturday nights in my home studio here in Marylebone. The number of tracks I was initially planning to make in the whole year of 2020, I made them in May and June 2020, 2 months! As in anything in life, the key is the make the most of what you are offered. So, I embraced this lockdown opportunity to become a machine and fully focus on production.

  • Any releases/projects coming up soon?

I have a big release ‘Sante’ coming up on the 25th September 2020, with my friend Darksidevinyl, on Connected Frontline, which is one of the most legendary afro house labels on the planet, consistently ranking in the top 4 worldwide. There is also a collaboration ‘Kayna’ with The Deepshakerz (Defected, Toolroom, Armada etc.) coming up on Go Deeva, which is also top 3 worldwide. I’ve sent them the original track in April 2020 for their label Safe, but they liked the track so much that they wanted to collaborate with me on it! Super proud of this one!

There is also a great track coming up with Nicolas Sasson, a new friend of mine but with whom there is a lot to come in the near future, we are at the final stages of the production and will be soon in touch with the labels.

Last but not least, I cannot explain how glad I am to speak about my track with Mr Silk, featuring Lizwi’s voice, who is one of the most prominent vocalists in Africa. It’s a pure hypnotic afro house track that still gives me shivers even after I listened to it 100’s of times. Enoo Napa and FNX Omar, the 2 most in demand afro house remixers on the planet, made remixes for it, and we are currently in talks with labels for a release end of year.

  • Do you think of moving back to Morocco?

Maybe in the longer term but not in the short-medium term. I still have a lot to build up internationally. After that it’s probable that I will go back to be closer to my family, in a place reminiscent of my childhood.

  • Where do you get inspiration for your music?

I don’t really get inspiration from anything, I mean it happens that I get inspired by the occasional group of percussionists I see in the street or the folkloric instrumentalists you hear in the touristic places in Morocco; but generally what happens is that I open my software and gradually build up a track layer by layer, using my piano to come up with melodies that fit with the previous layer.

Sometimes it can also be me humming to a track I hear during my vacations, so I’d record that humming and see how I can convert it into something concrete when I get back to the studio.

  • What’s your setup?

I use FL Studio with mostly the stock plugins, plus Kontakt and a few ethnic libraries. I have a 25-keys piano and a top-notch desktop with the latest components to be able to run anything at full throttle. The sound comes out of my Yamaha HS-7 and Pioneer HD 25-ii through a Scarlett 2i2.

There is this idea that you need the latest and most hype components in an interstellar acoustically treated studio to make great tracks, but that’s a myth. You only need a laptop and maybe piano keys, but mostly your brain and dedication.

  • Who are your inspirations?

I discovered house music in 2007-2008 with the likes of Ian Carey, Laidback Luke, Swedish House Mafia and Roger Sanchez. But as I mentioned it’s only in the summer 2019 that I discovered Afro House. There are a lot of talented producers within this genre, but I’m fascinated the most by FNX Omar, Enoo Napa, Da Capo, Enzo Siffredi and Pablo Fierro.

  • Apart from music production, what do you like to do?

I like creating content in general, I have recently started a Youtube channel where I give advice and analysis on the afro house scene in particular and music in general. I run 2 meme pages on Instagram on which I spend about 1h30 per day creating the memes and doing the marketing. I do a lot of sports including boxing and football (I’m a winger, just like Arjen Robben) and also play Street Fighter 5 on Playstation where I’m ranked in the top 3% worldwide. I also spend a lot of time watching scientific documentaries on Youtube about space, futurism and new technologies. I speak 4 languages, Arabic, French, English and Spanish, and I’m currently learning Russian.

  • What are your socials?

You can keep track of my gigs here https://www.residentadvisor.net/dj/jalalramdani/dates

Instagram: @jalaloni, Soundcloud @jalalramdani, Facebook @jalalramdanidj, Youtube @Jalal Ramdani


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