RETROMIGRATION / DJ

"Retromigration is a stage name that a friend and I came up with, then our projects took separate paths and the name stayed with me. I feel that my reflections on life and my artistic roots are embedded in it. My work is all about reinterpretation, drawing from past forms and repurposing them under new guises, mixing and evolving." In Malik's mind, making music is like a temporal migration, a backward journey that retraces wide-ranging genres and influences channeled into killer house grooves.

It's a deliberate and elegantly explosive blend capable of giving shape to deep, immersive beats that look toward the future while paying tribute to the past. Retromigration indulged in that past from the beginning on the banks of the Neckar River in the German town of Heidelberg. "I grew up in this city in southwestern Germany. I've always been around music. My mother introduced me to jazz, legends like 'Herbie' Hancock, my father got me into percussion, and I started playing with him from an early age. Heidelberg was key in my musical development: I discovered classical music and the bass when I attended the local music school, then I moved on to rock. I eventually ended up loving hip hop and house."

All it takes is a few tracks to retrace the steps of this multi-instrumentalist, DJ, and producer, to imagine the various layers that, listen after listen, jam after jam, have shaped his well-rounded artistic richness. One look at his home studio, a cozy music atelier overlooking the concentric canals of Amsterdam, serves to understand the attention Malik pays to the individual detail, individual beat, individual historical reference. "Ever since I was 13, I wanted to move to Amsterdam. The mood in this city is great; it’s a family capital, the community is small here compared to big cities like Paris and London, but it’s culturally rich and diverse. Here I can totally focus on my music. Accompanied by the old school vibes of 90s hip-hop with a mix of jazz, techno and rock, I began to experiment, specializing in something dynamic, something hard to define."

While Retromigration may not offer us precise definitions, the same cannot be said of the answer on the dance floor: an international oasis where his refreshing arrangements have quickly found a pulsing identity, a horizon to reach towards and a radiant outflow of other people's energies, channeling a painstaking pursuit that is never quite complete. "Music is at the heart of everything. Not a day goes by without my listening, playing, or producing something. During the pandemic, I realized how this gift affected my mental health. I feel my life now is a kind of blessing. Thanks to music, I have the opportunity to travel worldwide, to see people who love what I do, dance to my tracks, and play in their own right. Getting into different contexts, getting to know different cultures, letting new vibes flow through me.... All this is fundamental to my journey, my inspiration, to the music I make."

Credits