Ask me anything about my new documentary film Dubfire: Above Ground Level, my live HYBRID show, running SCI+TEC, my exploration of audio and visual technology, my favorite cities… Anything you can think of!


Edit: BIG thanks for all your questions guys! Need to get back out there. See you all later at Kingdom!

Comments: 656 • Responses: 63  • Date: 

2311ski121 karma

What do you think of the current state of the underground scene in regards to club nights finding it harder to be successful and profitable with one off/non-club focused parties (Get Lost, Cityfox, ADID) gaining more traction and do you think promoters not being able to afford booking 'superstar' DJs as booking fees have jumped up astronomically in recent years is having adverse effect on that?

OfficialDubfire140 karma

There's ALOT of HEALTHY competition out there; the scene corrects itself at every turn

gentrifiedasshole102 karma

There seems to be a fetishization of Japan and Japanese culture in recent years. As a self-described Japanophile, what do you think is the reason why?

OfficialDubfire171 karma

We all have very personal reasons why we gravitate towards all things Japanese so I can only speak for me: the warm culture / manners of the people, the cuisine, the technology fused with ancient traditions,'s endless!

CatbridgeDiscoboobs48 karma

Any plans on returning to Detroit soon, Movement weekend or otherwise? Live: Hybrid was one of the best things I've ever seen at the festival :)

OfficialDubfire35 karma

Thank you! No Movement unfortunately this year for me:-(

Cosme-Fulanito38 karma

Hello, Ali, I met you on Creamfields Buenos Aires Backstage once, give you some pendrive with my demos and saw you play. You are my true inspiration and the reason I started producing. Is my dream to be part of the SCI+TEC family one day. So, If its ok with you, I would love to send you some demos. Can you please give me some contact information? Thank you for your music!

d_ess37 karma

Hey Ali, huge fan, ever since I first heard Junk Science I was hooked to your sound. Recently saw you at Output in Brooklyn - great time.

Do you think DJ's are really DJ's any longer or more like "live remixers"? If you were a dj getting started would you go straight to a digital setup or practice with beatmatching Vinyl first? Do you think vinyl is making a come back?

Lastly, how do I see your movie in NYC?

OfficialDubfire50 karma

The lines between DJing and performance are more blurry then ever! I think vinyl gives you a totally different vibe / sound. I still love vinyl but DEF don't miss lugging around two heavy vinyl bags from one gig to the next!

jyotigill34 karma

I'm from Chicago and see you every time you're here. I have two questions... Any chance that you'd be booked at Smartbar next time you're in Chicago? Secondly, I see that you often go to Alinea when you're here, but what are your other favorite restaurants in Chicago? Have you had a chance to visit Grace, Kai Zan, or Oriole yet?

OfficialDubfire27 karma

Been dying to play Smartbar so YES, it's def on my target list for the next Chicago visit. Went to Grace and loved it (the documentary film too!). Next on my list is 42 Grams!

MrCavallis33 karma

Will you ever release a blue-ray of your Dubfire:live hybrid show? I've seen it three times and I love it.

OfficialDubfire88 karma

YESSS! We've filmed about 13 shows around the world and working on a live concert DVD / live album for a fall / winter release

DubyDubyDuby17 karma

I saw “Above Ground Level” at the screening in Miami and was blown away by the honesty and the sacrifice for success. I wish you all the best for its release. My question is personal in nature. Do you think that not being married and having kids has allowed you to reach a higher level of success in your career, is that a personal choice you consciously made due to the lifestyle or would you one day like to start a family and balance that with your successful career?

OfficialDubfire27 karma

Thank you! Well...i DO want to settle down one day and did think about kids. My relationship of 9yrs fell apart a few years ago so there goes that:-( It's REALLY difficult to maintain a normal relationship within all the traveling I do but I do maintain HOPE! And yes, perhaps because I am single with no kids, it has allowed for more productive work time...

XJ9517 karma

What do you think about Sacha Lord's exclusivity agreements for artists playing at Warehouse Project in Manchester?

It's really killing the scene in Manchester as many top artists aren't allowed to play at events that aren't run by WHP.

OfficialDubfire12 karma

I had a falling out with the WHP boys a few years ago and only started playing for them again last year. They put on some of the best events in the world and I have confidence that they have their reasons for exclusivity. I haven't run into that issue with them personally...yet

darktim2216 karma

What software do you use for music production?

OfficialDubfire37 karma

Ableton Live

Moklehelm14 karma

Hi Dubfire!

Your set with Richie H @ Exit Festival '09 is in my opinion one of the better b2b you ever had.

Are there any plans you will do a b2b in The Netherlands this year? WTTF or Awakenings? Or both?! :))

What kind of festivals do you like in general? (Big/Small/Any themes?)

OfficialDubfire15 karma

Thank you! Doing a b2b with Steve Rachmad for Kingsday and a b2b with Chris Liebing for Awakenings in June!

Reign_Johnson12 karma

Hello there! Huge fan of your production. When I first discovered your music a few years ago I was blown away by how unique and visceral the groove was in each of your tracks.

Do you have any advice production-wise on creating unique grooves? Out of all the house and techno I have heard, some of your tracks are the ones that I feel best capture grooves/energy of other types of music and I want so much to learn how to better do that with my own productions. Thanks so much for doing this AMA!!!

OfficialDubfire44 karma

For me, it's ALL about GROOVE and ATMOSPHERE! Check the Romanian stuff for solid examples! Especially Arapu's "Pitfall"! Or ANY Gaiser song!

Larwood11 karma

What did you think of that movie Robin Williams made about you?

OfficialDubfire28 karma

HAHAHAHAHAH!!!! It's not the first time I've heard that joke buddy:-)

the02thief10 karma

Dubfire met you in chicago a couple years ago with you and Marcel dettman. your playing style has influenced mine mainly with hardware/performing

  1. with your audio interface do you match all your inputs to the mixer?
  2. how do you chop up your songs for when you play? is it more ableton or are they ready to go in traktor?
  3. whats one of your favorite places to eat in chicago?
  4. y-3 or Rick owens?

OfficialDubfire10 karma

  1. RME Fireface
  2. I simply loop sections of songs and layer them under whatever I'm playing.
  3. Chicago has some of the best restaurants in the country! Really miss Hot Doug's and 21 Grams. Alinea is still unreal and been wanting to get to 42 Grams!

OfficialDubfire8 karma

  1. Rick Owens of course!

blazingblades10 karma

Toronto or Montreal?

OfficialDubfire26 karma

See you both in May:-)

pettiblay10 karma

I saw Sharam play at Do Not Sit On The Furniture last year in Miami during WMC. Beautiful night. I've yet to see one of your shows but am looking forward to having the opportunity! Love Deep Dish and have been an even bigger fan of both your individual careers as well.

Any chance at a reunion/collaborations?

Thank you for all the beautiful musical moments and keep on doing what you love!

OfficialDubfire23 karma

We'll reunite once we have some new music; it needs to be music-driven. I think despite our best intentions, we kickstarted the project prematurely:-(

mikeleus9 karma

Can you get me in to your SXSW show in Austin?

OfficialDubfire12 karma

If you bring me a bottle of sake. YES!

feesjah9 karma

Saw you perform at Kiesgrube last year, it was awesome. I have 2 questions - What's your stance on drugs? Do you think it can enhance the experience of listening to music / going to techno parties? - Why do most DJ's seem to avoid this subject?

OfficialDubfire24 karma

Well no one wants to openly talk about drugs or drug use! Drugs spawned incredible music and performances from the 60's and 70's onwards and it seems that things haven't changed much since then.

Gilbbatron8 karma

What's your favourite part about the past and present Toronto house/techno scene?

OfficialDubfire28 karma

I don't believe in nostalgia. Toronto was...and still is...ROCKING!!!

LookOutForTheWam7 karma

Why did you and Oliver Huntemann you put those lines on the back of Fuego?

OfficialDubfire10 karma

Those are the symbols of the 4 elements of life

nipsandtucks7 karma

What inspired the "rattlesnakesnair" in your live sets?

OfficialDubfire24 karma

I was just looking for an identifiable "sound" in my DJ sets and love delays so simply played around with various delay times till I had something I could call mine.

migs886 karma

Would you consider yourself spiritual? Finally saw Hybrid last year at Movement and thought it was a mind-altering almost spiritual experience!

OfficialDubfire15 karma

In what sense? I'm an atheist but def spiritual. Is that a paradox? I dunno...THANK YOU! That was one of my fave shows!!!

wredditcrew6 karma

If you could send a message back in time to your 18-year-old self, what advice would you give him?

OfficialDubfire24 karma

Be careful what you wish for!

darktim226 karma

What are your thoughts of this new-era dark techno production?

OfficialDubfire41 karma

Artists reflect the times; and we are living in VERY DARK times so quite naturally the music is going to reflect that.

ebehj0226 karma

Salam Ali! truly honestly i have never missed one of your shows in Montreal over the last 7 years!! i cannot even count how many times I've been to one of your shows and I was lucky enough to catch you at the right time in SpaceIbiza 2012 and BPM 2014.

Any shows in (((Montreal)) or Toronto perhaps in the foreseeable future? preferably ((())) lol

Wish you an amazing Norooz with your family.

OfficialDubfire3 karma

Thank you! And May:-)

jamapa03066 karma

When will you be coming back to NYC? Haven't seen you since HYTE and I'm missing you during Miami Music Week.

OfficialDubfire14 karma

Back in NYC in May. Stay tuned for details:-)

bethereinfive6 karma

What are your favorite cities and why?

OfficialDubfire12 karma

Way too many to mention here! But quite obviously I have a fondness for Tokyo. So much crammed into such a tiny place! Sensory overload!

EzeeyPeezy5 karma

I have no idea who you are. Why should I listen to your music?

OfficialDubfire8 karma

Haha. You don't!

rollingpro5 karma

What is the best festival in the world ? the place where you like to play over and over again ?

OfficialDubfire31 karma

Timewarp Mannheim!

juanking995 karma

What do you think of this never ending battle? vinyl or digital.

OfficialDubfire69 karma

Retarded and a waste of time.

Chtorrr3 karma

What is the very best cheese?

OfficialDubfire7 karma

I love the stinky, modly blue cheeses; and they are amazing paired with sake!!

Danny_Bg3 karma

When and where can we see your documentary film? Greetings from Bulgaria, hope you're coming to Sunny Beach again this summer!!!

OfficialDubfire2 karma

This year! Once we find distribution:-)

MinimalOrange2 karma

What are your favorite restaurants. What was your favorite Alinea gallery dish?

OfficialDubfire2 karma

Wow WAY too many to mention here! Just follow my IG (mentioned the fave Alinea dishes there!:-)

lessthan3man2 karma

What are some of your favorite artists or tracks right now? Do you only listen to electronic music or do you branch out now and then? Is there any genre of music you wish you explored more?

Great show and after party at Movement last year, wish you were coming back to Detroit this year!

OfficialDubfire7 karma

My fave artist right now is Dirty Beaches...can't stop listening to his albums!

jmhans12 karma

What are your top ten restaurants to each at in Austin?

OfficialDubfire7 karma

Not sure about a top 10 but Uchi and Uchiko are AMAZING with KILLER sake menus! And I've been trying to go to Franklyn BBQ and La Barbecue for ages with no luck...

Drum272 karma

What advice would you give to someone trying to set up their own small event?

OfficialDubfire9 karma

Better ask a promoter:-)

kn0thing2 karma

How good was that sake last night? OK, but seriously, why the obsession with sake of all things?

OfficialDubfire10 karma

Haha it was amazing!! For years sake was simply my drink of choice; I became so obsessed with the variety of sake out there that i decided to immerse myself in it and learn as much as I can! NEVER STOP LEARNING!

MatiasGambini_2 karma

Hey Ali! 2 questions: first, why you don't use the rattle snake effect anymore? Was amazing! Second, which are your favourites citys to play?

OfficialDubfire7 karma

You can't keep repeating yourself

Titino-2 karma

Thanks Dubfire for being an inspiration for music. Let me ask, should I say "fuck it this sounds dope"? Sometimes I feel my music is not made very well but I do know it's a process

OfficialDubfire10 karma

Always compare your music to more established artists who's sound speaks to you. See if it's as good or better and if not? Keep trying...

puretechno2 karma

Have been a huge fan of you since 2007. I dont really enjoy techno played by other DJ's. You have such a unique play style. Which DJs do you think have something in common with you what comes to DJing? Richie has almost the same DJ setup as you but he plays totally different techno.

OfficialDubfire6 karma

How we play is a direct reflection of our personal taste in music. So already that is unique to each person. Add to that a unique TECHNICAL setup and then we arrive at ur own signature sound / performance.

Adam_and_Jay2 karma

I just want to say I LOVED your live set at Movement last year!

I also almost always play your remix of Capriati's Fratello towards the end of one of my extended sets - where did the inspiration for this remix come from if you don't mind me asking?

OfficialDubfire3 karma

Thank you! Joseph and I are good friends. He wanted me to remix it and I already loved the tracked so it worked out well. I simply enhanced the melodies with a super funky groove underneath. It's all about the GROOVE!

willem_1612 karma

Cliché question, but if you had one piece of advice for producers trying to "make it", what would it be?

OfficialDubfire5 karma

Don't give up!

pouty_mcpouterson2 karma

I've seen you play numerous of times all around the world in the last five years but never a huge fan. However, your set at Heart Ibiza early September blew me away when you played more progressive compared to the usual techno.

What dictates how you play on a specific night?

OfficialDubfire8 karma

The people do:-) You all have more power than the DJ!

yosoydoneric1 karma

What do you consider your biggest achievement throughout your career?

OfficialDubfire2 karma

I still feel like a failure:-(

cocaine4breakfast1 karma

Any chance we'll get a live:HYBRID show somewhere on the West coast of the USA sometime soon??

OfficialDubfire3 karma

I think Coachella was it...

derekcanmexit1 karma

Do you have an opinion on the current political climate happening in the US?

OfficialDubfire4 karma

It's pretty shit wouldn't you say?

mogwai8081 karma

You were amazing to kick off the year at Berlin!!! I loved the hybrid set felt like I was along this big ride. Any plans to do another live hybrid tour maybe in California? Or any shows in general? Missed it at Coachella :/

OfficialDubfire3 karma

I'm winding it down. It's been going for 2 years now! Hard to believe! Next shows will be Madrid, Portugal and Tokyo and then I'll be brainstorming ideas for the next live show!

nivraghtebasile1 karma

Did you study all this cool shit in college or are you self taught?

OfficialDubfire4 karma

I did horrible in music theory class but well in guitar class. Pretty much self-taught tho. The best teachers are the engineers and producers you surround yourself with. You pickup diff things along that journey and it helps to establish your own way of working / sound

mrnc1231 karma


How do you feel about Romania since you visited Sunwaves?

OfficialDubfire5 karma

Sunwaves has become THE highlight of my year! Last year I did 17hrs which was the longest I'd ever played in my career! Let's see if I can top it this year:-)

leosalvador1 karma

What cultures inspires you to produce your music and signature sounds?

OfficialDubfire2 karma

PEOPLE inspire me!

inexhaleuk1 karma

My question is about your work ethic and ethos, what keeps you motivated?

OfficialDubfire2 karma

Being inspired by people and music!

gigabyte8981 karma

Hey! So I have a bit of a different question regarding workflow and motivation. I've been working on music for a few years now, yet there's only a small amount of my stuff that I actually like. I usually spend hours on something, decide it sounds like trash, and scrap the whole thing. Everyone I know hates that I do that, but to me after a certain amount of time working on it I just hate what it becomes. The farthest I get is usually adding it to a live set, performing it, and never touching it again. I'm sure 90% of the time I spend in ableton amounts to no released project. Any tips on how to get past this?

OfficialDubfire2 karma

Sounds like you have a hard time finishing things! I think you need to work with someone who can help you finish what you've started. This is actually a pretty common problem with even establish producers!

Houndrell1 karma

Hi Dubfire, Who are your top 3 favorite artists/producers right now??? Favorite song going??

OfficialDubfire4 karma

Kangdang Ray, Arapu, Answer Code Request...

blackdyce1 karma

Hey Ali, what's your fav spot in Ibiza and what do you think about the electronic music scene in Spain? See you next week at Ultra :)

OfficialDubfire3 karma

Ibiza (and Spain!) is simply a magical, inspirational place! I love each and every venue I play for different reasons. DC10 is probably my fave tho! That main room just represents my sound perfectly!

Sannyverkissen1 karma


Do you have some kind of tagging system for your music collection. I know you mix in key, but music is a lot more than keys, there is also rhythm en melody. Do you tag that in a Way? Or how do you know which songs go well together?

Big thnx!

OfficialDubfire2 karma

I don't tag, I make playlists in iTunes based on flow (from deep to peak), groove, key, etc