Ali Moosa, who performs under the name "Typhon," is an Atlanta based DJ and is the creator of the Titans of Bass event series. Titans of Bass EDM event which consists of local DJ headliners, a DJ competition for new talent, and other local vendors and artists showcasing their work.
Where did it all begin for you?
I’ve always had an affinity for music growing up. I was classically trained and started doing my own production when I was around thirteen years old. I had a cursory knowledge of EDM as far back as I can remember, mostly from playing racing games as a kid which had EDM soundtracks. Around the time I started producing, I had a friend who would introduce me to various kinds of music that I had never heard before. It really helped broaden my scope of music. I really got into EDM around the time I started college in 2010. I discovered Pendulum and Netsky on Pandora, and everything just sort of snowballed from there! Around two years later, I found out that one of my neighbors was an old school DJ from the 90s. He started showing me the ropes and taught me how to DJ on vinyl. That’s when I discovered my passion for DJing; it just really clicked with me. It only took me about two weeks to become become proficient at mixing. About 2 months later I got my first gig, and the rest is history.
Can you describe what drew you to Drum and Bass?
Well Drum and Bass was my first love in EDM. I first discovered it around the age of seven by playing those racing games I mentioned. I didn’t really realize how much I truly loved it until college. The best way I can describe why I connect with it is that Drum and Bass is the only music that can keep up with the speed that my brain functions at. I don’t mean to sound egotistical about it, but for me, it just seems like it’s always in sync with the pace at which thoughts flow through my mind. Just something about its versatility and ability to blend with any style of music really vibes with my soul.
How do you prepare for throwing down a live set? Is it any different than when you’re recording shows online?
Well, even to this day I get nervous when I go on stage. I find that having at least two drinks will calm my nerves before doing a set. I mean it’d probably be better to go at it sober, but sometimes you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to make it work. Back when I was 19, my process was a bit different: I found what worked for me was to plan out the first 15 minutes of my set so that I would know how to start things off. After I played those 15 minutes, I felt way more comfortable and was be able to focus on reading the crowd to see where to go next.
When recording online, I plan out my set fully. Usually, I take a week to select which songs I’m going to put in my set, taking the time to make sure that each track blends perfectly with the next. Once I feel ready, usually after one or two practice runs, I record it.
What brought you over to Atlanta and how did you go about getting involved in the scene?
I moved to Atlanta at a pretty young age. My parents had a job transfer which is what brought us here. The guy who taught me to DJ also helped me get into the scene. He introduced me to the local events and got me into contact with some promoters.
What has been some of the craziest events you’ve gone to?
Ohhhhh man the stories I can tell! I mean “crazy” can range from a drunk dude plowing his car into the building to DJing for a fetish and kink convention to watching a girl get punched in the face by a bouncer, and everything else in between! I would have the say the most memorable was DJing at Alchemy, which is a local burn festival, similar to Burning Man but on a much smaller scale. I was doing my thing when this guy, who I’m assuming was on a whole wild cocktail of things, came up to me. He asked me if he could leave his boots by me and I told him sure, why not. He then proceeded to walk out on to the middle of the dance area, pull his pants down, and take a massive dump! He managed to yell out, “I just shat a golden Counterpoint ticket!” while moaning like a dying animal. That totally scared off everyone else and we had to get security to escort him away. Great times, man.
What’s something that frustrates you when it comes to the EDM community?
What frustrates me is what inspired me to make Titans of Bass. I’m fed up with the exclusiveness and elitism that some people have and the way that people argue over what genre is better or what’s “real EDM” and what’s not. I also can’t stant the people who drive a wedge between the older generation and newer generation of DJs by saying things like, “if you can’t or don’t do X, then you’re not a real DJ.” This sort of divisive and critical mentality drives a wedge in our community and is part of the reason why we’re sometimes not viewed on the same level as other music scenes.
What inspired you to start up Titans of Bass?
Titans of Bass is my dream for the local EDM scene should be: It’s a collective of artists and DJs coming together under one roof to share creativity and nurture talent without the ego and politics. It’s a platform for newer DJs to get a chance to break into the scene, a place for artists to get recognized for their work, and a place where people can escape reality for the night to have a good time. It came about because I noticed that there really isn’t any place in Atlanta for DJs who are just starting out to get a chance to play to a crowd. Not everyone is as lucky as I was starting out so I wanted to give that opportunity to the people who deserve it.
Walk us through the logistics of putting together an event like that? How did you make sure all of the pieces came together? How big was your team?
The events are headed by just myself and one other person, we have about thirty other people who helped us out with marketing, catering, security, sound, lighting, DJing, and everything else. It takes a whole lot of help and cooperation from a lot of people in order to make something like this happen.
Usually it takes about 3 months of planning, budgeting, and getting in contact with other enthusiastic people to help us out. The first month is getting a venue, organizing the budget, and getting the headlining DJs together. The second month is when I put the call out for the competition and accept submissions from local DJs. Finally, the third month is when we go full into the marketing mode for the event. Of all the things that need to be done for these events to happen, I would have to say the hardest part is coming up with a name for the event!
What’s in store for future editions of Titans of Bass? What are some of your goals for the brand?
As of now, we’ll still be doing the competitions. There’s one big event that’s in the works for later this year but for now it’s going to stay under wraps. One hint I can give you is that it’ll be the culmination of everything we’ve worked towards. Not just me, but the underground scene as a whole!
As for the goals I have: I want Titans of Bass to eventually be known nationwide, either as a competition or maybe even a record label. Ever since I started DJing, I’ve always dreamt of creating a platform to give talented artists a place to be recognized and heard by the world.
Do you have any words of advice for others who are looking to start up their own events?
Don't be disheartened if your first event is a flop. It's going to take several tries before you find something that works. If you have a successful event on your first try, count yourself incredibly lucky. ALWAYS pay your talent! Don't go in expecting that you'll be able to pay off everyone with the money you make from the event; you should always have your payments prepared beforehand. Never do into something like this for the money, do it because it's what you want to do.
What else do you do besides music?
I haven’t had much free time since I started running Titans of Bass, but I do like to wind down with a good video game or book. I have a backed up log of Steam games I'm trying to get through for some time now. Currently, I’ve been working through Dark Souls and playing some indie games like Dead Cells and Steam World Dig. If I’m not gaming or reading, then usually I’m at the bar with some friends. Occasionally, I do like to go camping when I really need an escape. I’ve found some great hiking trails and beautiful campsites like Panther Creek or Cloudland Canyon.
What’s your biggest driving force to keep you moving forward each day?
It’s really one motivation that drives me. I want to change the world, and I won’t stop until I do.
Is there anyone you want to call out?
Shout out to Stevhan Hand and Llucas Chizek for helping me with making Titans of Bass a reality. I’d also like to call my teacher, Alex Borodin (180 Degrees), for setting the groundwork on what I’ve become today and also Katherine (Katalyst) for supporting me and always giving me praise. Of course a huge thank you to all the people who have helped me, booked me for events, and supported me when I needed it the most.
And as we always end our interview on The QR Network: what has been the proudest moment of your life/career so far?
Without a doubt, throwing the first Titans of Bass event would be my proudest moment. It showed me that the dream I had could actually be a reality and it pushed me to go bigger and better with each new event.
A big thanks to Ali for answering our questions and giving us a look behind the scenes of creating a killer DJ Competition!
The newest edition of Titans of Bass will be on June 1st with a theme that will really make you feel the heat! Check the Facebook Page below for more information on how you can enter and get involved!
Titans of Bass Facebook
Also check out Typhon's latest mix below!
Chris W. Lao
DJ, writer, and student.
If you would like a clip from Titans of Bass, here's a promo video of me throwing down my set for Titans of Bass: Winter Warriors. All footage is from the event.
High 'n' Rich
Luane de Lima
DJ Natalia Moon