Eclectic Minds: Ayah Marar

Eclectic Minds: a place for artists from other scenes to rep their love for D&B. This week, chief Hussle Girl Ayah Marar…

“I’m secretly hating you guys at the moment,” she grins. “Picking three favourite D&B tunes is like picking three of my favourite children! It’s such hard work! I was thinking about it all day, in and out of work. Eventually I’d boiled it down to about 10. I was wondering if I could submit 10 but that’s not doing my job right, so I have… just about… boiled it down to three. Well, maybe five… “

We’ll ignore the usual three’s-your-limit rule for such enthusiasm. Especially when Ayah’s played a big role in the scene for years; she released early cuts from Alix Perez, Icicle, Sabre and Data on her label Lucky Devil and before that she was promoting drum & bass parties. “I’d only just come over to the UK, I was 18!” she laughs. “I ended up doing the second room at Therapy Sessions in Herbal for years. It’s definitely in my DNA, I adore it!”

Expect to hear more D&B adoration from Ayah later this year – “it’s a big big project coming up with a big drum & bass person or persons! I’m keeping my cards close to my chest now but it’s a drum & bass track and it’s very exciting!” – but for now it’s all about her forthcoming single Mind Controller. Out April 15, on her new Hussle Girl imprint, it comes complete with rubs from Cutline, LV and a storming session from Shock One…

With heaviness like that, you know Hussle Girl is going to be worth keeping tabs on…

“I’m loving it!” she bubbles. “We’re totally independent, which is great. It’s nice to be able to call the shots and build from the ground up. We had a label back in the day but we had to leave that as we all had full time jobs, but picking up with Hussle Girl is amazing. We’ve got such a great team of us together!”

More on that right here. For now, check out Ayah’s top five Eclectic Minds recommendations…

Ed Rush & Optical – Compound

“This was 98, just when I got into drum & bass. The whole album really switched me on. Wormhole was brave and different. They were doing things way before anyone pushed different genres and titles onto it, like nuerofunk and halfstep and all that. It was still drum & bass but a new fresh sound, I was obsessed with it. It was incredible!”

Dom & Roland – Can’t Punish Me

“What can I say? The man’s a genius! This was about the same time as Ed Rush and Optical, maybe a bit later. It just had everything… All those samples and the way he puts a track together. His production is phenomenal. Genius!”

Rantoul – The Ladder

“I was obsessed with Good Looking Records back in the day, I’d follow them around the country. Conrad was my sensei for a long time. He really pushed me and was there when I needed somebody. Plus Jacob’s Ladder was one of my favourite films anyway, so hearing a sample from that in a tune was really surreal. It really took you somewhere else when you were on the dancefloor… A lot of Good Looking ones did anyway but this was properly next levels.”

Badmarsh & Shri – Signs [Calibre Remix]

“I love the original. The whole album was deep. Like Dom & Roland, Calibre just stands on his own. I remember being amazed at the time that there was this guy in Ireland making this incredible soulful music. No one really knew that much about him so there was this cool mystique about him and the way he puts the music together is almost orchestral!”

Andy C & Shimon – Bodyrocks

“This changed the face of popular drum & bass! They really took things up a level and opened the scene up to a whole new audience. I don’t have to say any more really do I?”

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