Kareem Ali is pretty healthy. He’s a Phoenix-based house music producer who believes in enjoying music sober, and he’s been releasing it on his Cosmo Flux label at a blistering pace since 2017, with no signs of slowing down.
Although recent years have seen his profile rise as a push into electronic music, Ali trained in jazz as a trumpeter. He played a little in the bars of Brooklyn then, during his time at university, a good friend introduced him to electronic music. Ali learned the roots of house from black producers in New York and Chicago, and having been raised by a father devoted to the Nation of Islam, he applied his Afrofuturist vision to the music he produced. The community remains a priority.
When I ask him about his idea of having sober dance events with music suitable for BIPOC youth, he straightens up and says he wants the events to be “something the kids can come to.” He tells me how one of his next projects is “an album called House music for children. House music aimed at kids, brushing teeth and stuff like that. No one has really done this before. What would that look like? “Very video game,” he says. “Kids love xylophone sounds…any kind of bell sound.” Another project is his next album, which he just decided is about redemption.
At SXSW, Ali hopes to network with people in film and TV, but adds that his ideal future is to headline live shows. A Kareem Ali live set includes elements of jazz, hip-hop, drums and bass, and trip-hop, created on many pieces of external gear, much like his 2021 Boiler Room. How does he update his own production techniques? Friends who studied music engineering in college are a major resource, as is YouTube. He adds, “I just scratched the surface.”
Wednesday, March 16, TBA, Vendors