DJ, producer and aLOLa and SexOnWax label boss Omid Nourizadeh, also known as 16B, has been contributing to the electronic music scene for over 20 years, Hailed as one of the original pioneers of the tech house movement in the late 90’s, he’s released 4 impressive albums to date including his hugely acclaimed debut ‘Sounds From Another Room’ (1998), ‘How To Live 100 Years’ (2002), the two-part ‘Like 3 Ears & 1 Eye’ (2007) and his long-awaited album from release last year, ‘Silenciety’. Fans will be thrilled to learn that they won’t have to wait another decade for his next album release, as he reveals his brand new album ’SunTzu’, that will be released this Autumn. As he drops his first single from the album, ‘Yellow’, we grabbed Omid for a catch up to find out more.
Electronic Groove: Hi, Omid, and thanks for your time today, how are you doing?
16B: Hello, thanks for the invite. Not bad considering what were all going through currently! I’ve been very busy with the new album and composing music for a short film, can’t say much more about this yet! On a personal note my love Egle, my daughter Leila, mum and dad, and both my brothers Navid and Nima and my entire family and friends play a massive part in keeping me together, they are my life and soul! Work-wise, without Sarah, Alex, Lee, and Oscar I’d be lost completely, I’m lucky I have a great team of bubbly people who I can easily call friends as well as colleagues, don’t know what I’d do without them, honestly!
EG: You’ve just released the first single, ‘Yellow’, from your forthcoming ‘SunTzu’ album, what can we expect to hear?
16B: It’s bouncy and positive, a bright light like the title would suggest, that’s why I held on to it for a few years before releasing it, it had to come at a time when we all need a lift and that time is now.
EG: Please tell us a bit about the production process and inspiration behind the track?
16B: Did you not know a magician never shares his secrets? Oh my! I’ve used a lot of reversed sounds and harmonies, it’s closer to how I used to do things back in the 90’s, using actual samplers and outboard, hardly any VST instruments were used on it.
EG: The single release also features 2 other tracks, ‘The Three Of Us (Omid’s 1997 Mix)’ and ‘Hope (Omid’s Falling Mix)’, what can you tell us about those?
16B: ‘The Three Of Us’ is a track I did back in 1997, just before I left home at my mum’s and moved to my own flat, it was the last track I made at my mum’s and for some reason, it always takes me back to those days when I hear it. I never felt like releasing it as it had such an emotional attachment to me. Perhaps I felt once it’s out it may loose that personal effect, I guess I’m getting older and wiser and more into the idea of sharing as much as possible now more than ever, let’s face it, I won’t be around forever, so what am I holding onto all these tracks for?
“It had to come at a time when we all need a lift and that
time is now”
EG: So, let’s touch on the new album. What’s the story behind the concept of the project and using the name ‘SunTzu’, are you quite a philosophical person yourself?
16B: Philosophy? Me? Good one, I’ve never had such a subtle ball of humor thrown at me so blatantly like that before?! I’m just the way I am, here and there, never satisfied completely, but always aiming for something better and I know when to stop. I want to be everything and I want to be nothing, I want to be loved and I want to be left alone, I’m alone but love all my friends and family, I’m lost and I’m found, I’m warm and I’m freezing cold. I only lie to find out the truth and tell the truth to see who’s lying. I’m much more whole now, more honest and raw! The album is all of me, all the different Omid’s throughout the years! Obviously, I couldn’t do that before because I hadn’t lived long enough to find all the different Omid’s. It almost sounds like a compilation of different artists, the tracks are all unique in their own right, yet they somehow gel nicely together like a bunch of degenerates somehow bringing the best out in one another!
EG: How does the new album relate to or differentiate from your previous 4 albums?
16B: It’s a little more adventurous and probably a mixture of all my albums put together, it’s got my earlier sound all the way throughout but for some reason I find it easier to listen to ‘SunTzu’ when I’m cheerful and energised, it’s got a positive yet dark and mystical essence about it which I didn’t realise myself until I heard the whole thing over and over again! The opposite is with ‘Silenciety’, I listen to it when I’m emotional and it fixes my heart!
EG: The album features 18 tracks that journey across many genres from chilled electronica to fierce Techno. Is this structure something that you set out to do in the beginning or did it just end up that way? How did it all come together?
Omid 16B: I decided to be less focused on what the critics may say as it’s always a concern about how it’s perceived. I did it exactly how I felt it had to be made, the whole point of this was to cover everything I’ve ever loved making not just a fraction but the whole circle the whole picture of what 16B is really about! Not just deep house or techno, music that you can’t put into a specific genre and hopefully fail to ignore.
EG: Please talk us through your favorite track from the album.
Omid 16B: I listen to ‘Get Out Of Your Head’ more than usual as it cheers me up and makes me feel warm inside. I hear it and forget I made it so it just washes through me like it’s cleansing my soul, putting me in my center and making me feel love again and forget any pain! ‘The End’ is also a favorite as I can safely say it’s a beast of a track I can never remake or make another track like it in a million years! For me, it’s a true techno track with everything I always wanted to hear to get off on one on the dance floor. It would have been a single if the pandemic didn’t affect the clubs and world so much!
“I decided to be less focused on what the critics may say “
EG: How has the Coronavirus affected you and your work, what opportunities has it presented to you, and how do you anticipate the music industry will adapt to a new normal?
Omid 16B: We’ve all pretty much suffered to some degree and found alternative ways to get through this period, mentally it’s not easy for anyone but as artists, we feed off integrating ideas and socializing with friends and the like-minded, it’s what inspires us and now that being not as common I’ve had to find other outlets of inspiration and playfulness which is basically all down to keeping yourself busy with family, work and a new hobby or two. The music industry will never be like it used to be, a lot of good things we took for granted perhaps may need reinvention and a new source rather than the usually predictable assets that flooded the market. No artist glamour just pure substance now is key, in my opinion! If you want to get heard it better be something worth listening to, the front cover doesn’t trick people anymore, now they want to read the book and see what’s inside, people are waking up on all levels. It’s a matter of time before some crazy universal changes, some good and maybe some unexpected hurdles, who knows? We will get through this somehow and what we do after better not be a repeat of what got us in this mess in the first place!
EG: With over 20 years contributing to the scene, what pearls of wisdom do you have to share about sustaining such a fruitful career and how do you keep yourself musically motivated?
Omid 16B: Never believe it’s you making the music, but remind yourself how lucky you are that it flows through you from an unknown source, it’s never really you and as long as you know you’re just the instrument for consciousness expressing itself, you’ll be fine for at least a hundred years, well maybe even longer.