In Conversation with Kharfi: Talking about His Debut Album – ‘Aquarium’

Italian-Moroccan electronic music producer Kharfi unveils his anticipated debut album, Aquarium, on which he blends delicious savors of trance with the edginess of house.

Kharfi explains, “In a world where those who make electronic music work mainly on singles, I wanted to release a real album to give a very precise imprint of my musical direction. The album is called ‘AQUARIUM’ because it can be seen in my world, in my musical and personal abyss, there is also a close connection with astrology, in fact, there is the aquarium logo, the album will be released on the 21st day of January, the first day of the aquarium.”

He goes on to add, “From “The Bubble,” the intro, you can immerse yourself in my musical dimension, the title track of the album is called ‘AQUARIUM’ and it is an authentic journey into my most intimate musical world, ‘TANGIER’ resumes my Arab origins with very oriental and experimental sounds, ‘Hold Back My Heart’ and ‘Already Know’ are the most radio tracks of the project.”

Initially, Kharfi’s sound embodied downtempo experimental flavors but soon evolved into his dazzling pop-house sound brimming with heavy bass and powerful lyricism. He broke through in 2016, releasing “Hei Bae” which hit the top spot on Italy’s iTunes Dance Chart, MTV’s Dance Chart, and Spotify’s Viral Chart.

Since then, he’s dropped a series of excellent remixes and performed at top festivals in Italy. Kharfi has shared the stage with Steve Aoki, Skrillex, and Martin Garrix.

CelebMix spoke with Kharfi to find out how he developed his unique sound and what inspired his new album, Aquarium.

What three things can’t you live without?

Friends and family, walk around the city and the parks, and an optimistic outlook for the future.

What inspired your new album, Aquarium?

I’ve been inspired by making my debut album “AQUARIUM” which comes from my zodiac sign, which is Aquarius. Aquarius people have a creative personality that gets lost in their bubble, and that’s why the mood is dreamy, from the cover art (made by Dangiuz, an Italian crypto-artist) where you will find a 3D render of me immersed in my world, my aquarium, to the cool percussion and arpeggio sounds.

How did you get started in music?

I started DJing initially by simply plugging in my mp3 player and vocalizing like a DJ on a school trip in 2009, everyone used to call me “DJ Kharfi” which is my surname and later I started to play at parties and clubs in Milan, later in 2016 I release my first song, “Hei Bae.”

Which musicians/singers influenced you the most?

Skrillex at the beginning of my career; then today I have a long list, from SG Lewis to Hayden James, Boston Bun, Madeon, and many many more

What inspires your writing? Do you draw inspiration from poems, music, TV, or other media?

My best way to get inspired is to go for a walk in nature. Also living in a city can be chaotic, but walking alone, listening to music, and observing people gives me a lot of inspiration.

What can you share about your writing process?

Basically, I start from scratch with some vocal samples and generally take from YouTube or around and pitch ‘em in order to always be different from the original samples, then I start with cool percussion (kick, claps, and all the drums) and then with chords that seem cool with the vocals.

You have a unique sound. Did it develop naturally over time, or did you push it in a certain direction?

I am starting to have a more particular sound since I no longer work with references but instead, I do not give myself any guidelines. This helps me put more anticipation on the song, more climaxes, and fewer prepackaged radio structures

How do you keep your sound fresh?

Listening to genre-differentiated music as much as possible makes you much more elastic and inclined to create something that has multiple influences from multiple different genres, creating something unique.

Which artists in your opinion are killing it right now?

John Summit, Chris Lake, Camoufly, James Hype, MEDUZA! (Italian Pride) and many, many more in the background

What’s next for you musically?

In fact, I wanted to release a real album to give a very precise imprint of my musical direction.

Then I would love to start expanding my musical horizons outside Italy, maybe in the US, UK or wherever the wind will take me.

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Written by Randy

Randy Radic is a Left Coast author and writer. Author of numerous true crime books written under the pen-name of John Lee Brook. Former music contributor at Huff Post.