Airali: The ‘Wednesday Alternative’ Mix
Italian born, London-based DJ Airali takes a DIY approach to her musical activities – why sit around waiting for something to happen to you when you can make things happen yourself?
Wanting to see more equal and balanced representation within the DJ world , she set upon launching Co-Select, a collective and event series that is aimed at levelling the playing field within music. The crew has grown vastly since starting and now includes DJs like Will Hofbauer, Mandle, Tsuniman and Wednesday, with a policy that prioritises back to back sets. More recently she’s become part of London’s Sisu, another collective who similarly advocate strongly for more gender balance on lineups.
Alongside her night time movements, music feeds heavily into her day-to-day – she’s currently studying a PHD in music research and AI while, coming back to the nocturnal, she’s also working towards launching her own party this year – so keep tabs on that.
This week’s Wednesday Alternative mix is definitely in safe hands. Much like her monthly residency on Netil Radio, on today’s excursion she explores shapeshifting electronics, crisp sound design and mutant dancehall and techno rhythms…
Please introduce yourself… Who are you, where are you and what are you?
Hello! I’m Airali, a DJ and music researcher born in Southern Italy and currently based in London.
What does your music sound like? Can you draw what you think it sounds like for us (an image from the old internet is acceptable)?
Hard edges poking through a smooth, soft surface. I like contrast. Here’s what an AI thinks it’d look like:
Where was the mix recorded?
At home, in my studio.
What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?
Walking through an urban green space. I almost exclusively listen to mixes while walking, so recording them has now become entangled with thinking about walks. I love it because you can keep moving forward and get places while your mind is on another planet and every fibre of your body moves to the music. This mix in particular is designed for one of those moderately paced strolls where you get lost in weird, pointless thoughts.
What should we be wearing?
Good headphones and comfy shoes for the walk.
What would be your dream setting to record a mix: Location/system/format?
Outdoor on a warm summer night surrounded by friends, maybe at a small festival. Sound system always needs to be fat.
Which track in the mix is your current favourite?
‘Shattered Clutch’ by Phrixus. The drop is so dramatic and satisfying.
What’s your favourite recorded mix of all time?
Mr Mitch’s Techno Dancehall mix. I very distinctly remember listening to it the first time on my way home a few years ago and it just changed the game for me.
If you could go back to back with any DJ from throughout history, who would it be and why?
My favourite DJs are probably all contemporaries, so I’d say Batu because he’s been one of the first DJs to really inspire me when I started out.
What was your first DJ set up at home and what is it now?
First one was a pair of Numark Pro TT-2 and a DJM-T1 with DVS which I found all together listed on Gumtree for cheap.
Now it’s two XDJ-1000MK2, an XDJ-700, a Technics SL-1210 and a MasterSounds Linear 4V mixer, all shared with my partner.
What’s more important, the track you start on or the track you end on?
If it’s a recorded mix, the track you start on, as it sets the mood and gets listeners interested. If it’s a live DJ set at a party, the track you end on, because that moment could stay with you and the crowd forever.
What were the first and last records you bought?
I don’t really remember the first one, but I do remember one of the first CDs I had as a kid was a Festivalbar compilation CD (Italian 2000s kids will understand).
First record for mixing was The Groove Corporation – ‘Rain’. Last one was the Catherine Tracks EP by De Grandi and DJ JM.
If this mix was an edible thing, what would it taste like?
Gelato al pistacchio.
If it was an animal what would it be?
One record in your collection that is impossible to mix into anything?
I have a whole Rekordbox tag dedicated to this because I just like impossible music, so it’s too many to mention, really. The most recent is probably Metaplasm by Rian Trenor. I guess it’s not impossible, just risky.
Upcoming in the world of…
Some parties in the making with Co-Select and Sisu in March, some other exciting gigs and a few festivals in the spring/summer. Balancing it all with a really intense PhD schedule, but I’m trying my best. And I’ve been working on launching my own party soon too. It’ll hopefully happen sometime this year, before I move to Tokyo for a few months.
Anything else we need to discuss?
Join SODAA. Also, pay underrepresented artists fairly.