DJ/producer duo gives EDM a home at ÆREA
“We bring together people who, bottom line, want the music and a quality night,” Mazda Jalali said of ÆREA, the new underground electronic dance music (EDM) night he runs with George Vala at Splash. “We care about the quality.”
To that end, their parties boast proper DJ/producer lineups, which have so far included Jalali and Vala, plus Erti Bimbashi, Charlie Rouhana, Lu Saldarriaga, Daniel Valencia, Justin Martin, and Tanner Ross.
“[At ÆREA], there’s a vibe in the room that’s really positive,” said Vala, who brings electric deep and tech house to the floor. “The purpose behind ÆREA is to bring different DJs together to play. We all support each other’s music.”
The two DJ/producers also work together as a duo, having met through the local music scene. Originally from New Jersey, Vala became a DJ in 2005, switched over to the Boston scene in 2009, and co-founded Sunday Groove. Jalali, better known as Audioprophecy, has been in the music scene since the late ‘80s, started DJ’ing in the mid-‘90s, and earned his first paid Boston gig in 2001, after moving from L.A. He’s played events all over the city — including parties at the Intercontinental Hotel, pool parties at the Colonnade, and Secret Society at Ames — and was a resident DJ for Sunday Groove’s first season.
“I’d been trying to get tracks signed for a while, then [Jalali] broke down the door,” said Vala. They immediately hit it off, and after a few studio sessions and their first track,“Gringo Brass,” signed to Grande Buffo Records, home of disco house giants Space Ranger.
“[As a duo], there’s space to do what we want,” said Jalali. “George will do his solo stuff, then we go back to do our thing again. He’s a musical prodigy, and it’s nice to get in the studio with him.”
Vala refers to himself as the engineering tech-head and credits Jalali for coming up with synergy-starting samples. “I tend to get wrapped up in ideas, and he pushes me to finish things,” he said. “It’s a good partnership.”
Also on board behind the scenes of ÆREA is Erti Bimbashi, the creator of Global Exchange/Essential Progression, who holds a residency at OM Lounge.
“We were all tired of getting pushed around by promoters and what the clubs wanted played,” said Jalali. “The idea is to find a place that will be supportive and allow you to provide what you want to provide.”
ÆREA’s first night, on Thursday, Oct. 20, was a “big hit,” Jalali said. The second party, which took place on Black Friday, had “a demographic all over the place, with the regular Splash crowd, hipsters, older DJs, older music lovers, and younger music lovers.”
“We want to expose people to [underground electronic] music, which means tweaking certain accessibility factors,” said Vala. “Our plan is to continue booking upcoming DJs, on the local and international stage, who will have a good time and contribute to the spirit of the project. This night needs to be promoted by DJs, for DJs. In the end, the scene grows.”
Jalali and Vala are working to package the night uniquely, investing money in décor that turns their lounge-like venue into a club.
“With ÆREA, we’re trying to bridge the gap between the Boston and Cambridge crowds,” said Vala. “We’re not from a different world; we have common grounds. It’s what house music is — it’s about everybody.”
Photo of Audioprophecy and George Vala courtesy of Vala.