Driving dancers to trance

Acid Arab breaches the geographical and genre boundaries of music.

Guido Minisky & Hervé Carvalho of Acid Arab © Flavien Prioreau

Meet Guido Minisky and Hervé Carvalho, the Parisian DJ duo bringing beats from the East into the world of Western contemporary music. With collaborations stretching as far as North America and the Middle East, Acid Arab manages to create authentic partnerships between genres and cultures. Although performing DJ-sets as a duo, the twosome transforms into a four-man band for live performances, then also employing Pierrot Casanova and Nicolas Borne. For the sound artists’ new album—released today—all four members worked together to “drive dancers to trance, just like acid house does”. Find yourself hypnotized.

How and when did you realise there was a gap in the music scene for Eastern-inspired dance music? Do you think growing up in Paris had an influence on this?

It definitely has. Paris has always been the city of all music. African and North African artists have lived in Paris for decades. Talking Heads came to record their ethnic Naked album in 1988, influenced by Jean-François Bizot, head of Radio Nova, who had called Paris “world hi-fi”.

You have developed a very unique sound by collaborating with people in North America and the Middle East—what initially inspired you to do this?

The meeting of a culture, Arabic culture, through a journey in Tunisia back in the summer of 2012.

As a multicultural hub, Paris has a lot to offer in terms of Arabic culture and music stations—could you tell us a bit more about this and how it has affected the delivery/response of your music?

In Paris there are music shops and museums dedicated to Arabic culture. And of course we are very lucky to share our town with tons of immigrate sons. Some of them came to our parties and told us what we do is great, because it’s the missing link between their family’s culture and their own.

Initially, many wouldn’t expect electronic music to compliment sounds from instruments such as the darbuka or the riq so well. Is it hard to accomplish a successful balance of sounds?

Yes it is; it took us years to dare use more than just samples in our music.

Would you say your music is aimed at listeners with Eastern origins, or are you hoping to introduce Arabic music and culture to Western countries?

Actually, both! But we are way more modest than that, and just hope people will like our records and dance to them.

As well as combining (typically Western) electronic beats with typically Eastern instruments and vocals, do you take inspiration from other sub-genres of music? Which artists are you currently listening to?

The four of us have a wide taste in music—it ranges from Throbbing Gristle and DJ Sotofett to Chemical Brothers, Zazou Bikaye and Burt Bacharach.

Where do you imagine your music being played, and by whom?

Hopefully every DJ will like one track and play it! We had the great honour to hear some of our tracks in DJ sets by Jennifer Cardini, Polo & Pan, Brodinski, Shadi Khries and Tiga.

Live dates in the Netherlands:

07/10—BAR, Rotterdam (Acid Arab Dutch Release Party), 19/10—Felix Meritis, Amsterdam (ADE 2016—Day 1), 22/10— Paradiso, Amsterdam (Eurabia with Acid Arab & Cairo Liberation Front for ADE).


The album Musique de France is out today!



Image by Flavien Prioreau

Words by Lottie Hodson

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