If you’ve ever wondered what techno would sound like if it went on a psychedelic trip, Acid Arab is what you’re looking for. Founded in 2012, the Paris-based outfit, formed by DJs Guido Minisky and Hervé Carvalho, has been lauded for its universal approach to dance music. Merging Eastern and Western sounds, they embarked on a mission to create an electronic bundle that speaks to Arab culture and its place in today’s music landscape. Often collaborating with artists from the Middle East and North Africa, the band’s sound is a culmination of acid house and electronic dance and has dominated festivals, clubs and DJ booths globally.
Taking their journey into the fashion-sphere, Balenciaga Music has tapped on the collective to produce their own original playlist with the freedom to shine a light on the artists that they love most. Launching alongside the mix is a limited-edition capsule collection splattered in trippy neon hues and adorned with Acid Arab marker-style branding in Arabic and Roman lettering. The range consists of tracksuits, long-sleeve shirts, hoodies and sweats ideal for any midnight raver wanting to stand out on the dancefloor – glow baby, glow. Here, we grabbed the band to chat about the project.
1. It must be really exciting to collaborate with Balenciaga for their music program with Apple? How has the experience been working with the brand on the project?
“Yes, it is! It was new for us to work with a fashion brand, and having the chance to work with such an avant-garde one is pretty cool.”
2. How did the collab come about and why did Balenciaga feel like the right fit for Acid Arab?
“Balenciaga contacted us saying that Demna likes our work and wanted to collaborate with us. We were surprised and honoured, and of course, we said yes.”
3. How has the culture and atmosphere at Balenciaga permeated the playlist that you’ve put together?
“They are ahead of their time in terms of fashion and shows. They have a vision and their futuristic visual universe was quite inspiring when it came to building a playlist for them.”
4. Can you walk me through your creative process for curating a playlist and what you value when looking for artists/songs?
“They gave us total freedom for the selection. We wanted to do a playlist that made sense for us and them. We wanted to provide the listener an experience in an imaginary world between our universe and Balenciaga’s, something modern with contemporary producers, people we work with and support, but also some old stuff that inspired us and still sounds fresh today.”
5. What’s one song on the playlist that listeners MUST listen to?
“To be honest, we can’t choose only one song. They all work together. Our advice for the listener is to press play and go deep into the selection.”
6. Why did the glowing, fluorescent green with simple prints and comfortable silhouettes feel like the right direction to go for the limited-edition Balenciaga x Acid Arab merch line associated with the collab?
“It’s a perfect outfit to go raving till the dawn and beyond.”
7. Reflecting on your nominations for a Victoire de la Musique and for Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Awards while the Musique de France album topped CMJ’s New World Chart, what do you think this next step and collab with Balenciaga means for Acid Arab?
“This collab is another step that brings us to a new audience. It might mean that we’re doing something right and following a good path. We are happy and grateful for that.”
8. How do you consistently find this very natural synthesis between Eastern and Western sounds?
“It feels natural for us. Since the beginning of Acid Arab, we dug these bridges between these two worlds, musically and aesthetically. The power of music is universal and the more we go through this project, the more we think we are one.”
9. What inspires your feverish, psychedelic sound that makes its way into all of your music – and apparently the Balenciaga x Acid Arab apparel as well?
“The early ’90s techno scene is a big influence in our music for sure. The psychedelism, innovation and the sci-fi atmosphere this movement brought to the music scene was very strong and mind-blowing.”
10. How has your youth, Parisian, Algerian and more, influenced the musicians, DJs and cultural curators that you are today?
“Being curious and passionate in what we do and being open to everything and everyone surrounding us. This is the key.”