From the Turntable to Drums: Afishal

>>It’s easy to associate DJing with turntables, mixers, and computers that occupy a small space behind a table; at least, this is what most of us imagine when we think of EDM or electronic music shows. Most DJs who play at clubs, or even stadiums or festivals, play pre-recorded beats that they mix up live by scratching and manipulating the turntable and mixing devices. Electronic music is complicated as it possesses layers upon layers of sounds that all work together to create a single piece of music; because of how complex electronic music is, so few musicians are able to produce songs entirely live.

The truth is that electronic music (of all sub genres) is constantly evolving internationally, and there are individuals in various pockets around the world who are innovating new ways to produce bigger and better sounds.

But so few have sought to incorporate visuals with sound, and no one has quite created a way to intertwine sounds and visuals as creatively as UK-based DJ, Afishal.

It’s more accurate to call Afishal a visual DJ, and this has mostly do with his invention of a drum apparatus known as the Tremor. The Tremor apparatus allows Afishal to play and create sounds that produce corresponding coloured visuals that are simply derived from the music itself.

Afishal recently sat down with Floated Magazine, and he was able to tell us more about his experience as a visual DJ and how he came to innovate the Tremor.

The Tremor: Years in the Making

Afishal got his start as a musician at the age of 6 when he picked up playing the drums. By the time he was a student in university, he brought his drumming into the nightlife. He spent years drumming in clubs around England, and eventually brought his music to Europe.

Like many young musicians immersed in the music scene, he was constantly finding inspiration. “London never sleeps”, as he sums up the music scene in England. While there is always a party somewhere in London, the musicians there are supportive of one another, constantly encouraging and pushing each other for newer ways to produce music and be creative.

As a well-known British musician with a European following, Afishal got the inspiration to set on doing something that no one else had done. Along the way he had formed a desire to play for bigger audiences in festivals and stadiums. He realized that no one of festival or stadium magnitude was really incorporating drums in these big shows. He set out to create and perform live and original music remixes, and to simply let people know what he had created.

The Tremor has come quite a long way since its birth. Afishal called the process of making the first version of the Tremor “very DIY.” He spent about 10 months making the first version in his living room, using tubes made of plastic wrapped in window frosting, which he assembled all on his own with scissors, knives, and a soldering iron.

He mentions that progress has always been one of his main goals. Now in its second edition, the Tremor exemplifies how his creativity and musicianship has evolved.

Incorporating Visuals with Sound

DJs are certainly known to sync their sounds with pre-recorded film, and it’s common to see movie, television, or other recorded film scenes playing at clubs while a DJ spins. It’s rare to come across these kinds of shows in Rochester and Buffalo, as they’re more of a common occurrence in bigger cities with heavier DJ scenes. It’s also rare to come across visuals so precisely synced with the music.

But being surrounded by the music scenes of Europe and London, Afishal had the encouragement to create something that would allow him to produce truly original and live music. With the help of a friend from university, Afishal began the process of incorporating visuals with the music. The two of them began this “trial and error” process on the first version of the Tremor, and since then, it has evolved into a full-blown light show.

The Tremor’s visuals work because of the drums. With every stroke of the drum sticks onto the drum pads, pre-programmed lights and visuals are triggered simultaneously. The drums look like tubes, and because they light up every time Afishal plays them, the audience is able to see the music being produced.

More to Come

Part of what has made Afishal’s Tremor machine so innovative is how compact and portable it is. His music shows are essentially light shows, and the burdens of traveling as a musician has to be eased when your equipment can easily be transported in just 4 cases!

Afishal continues to be surrounded by musicians and artist who value creativity, and this only enhances his musicianship and ability to create memorable music and light shows. He finds inspiration in many musicians from the United Kingdom and Australia, and some of his favourites include Mashd N Kutcher and Bombs Away.

While the United States has always fascinated him and has always been one of his favourite places to perform, Afishal is staying put in the United Kingdom with his wife and dog. He always looks forward to playing in the United States, and he’s scheduled to perform at Caesars Palace out in Las Vegas soon. He’ll go on to play in India,

Australia, China, Mexico, and other countries, in the near future.

Afishal plans to evolve the Tremor even more so, and he’s working so that one day, audiences can be more involved in the shows. Whichever way the audience will be able to take part in Afishal’s unique electronic light shows, and however more the Tremor apparatus will evolve, it’s all certainly something current and future fans can look forward to. <<