"I think a lot of my influences are in quite strong contrast to each other," TĀLĀ once told The FADER. "The idea of taking something and fusing it with its complete opposite excites me.” You can hear that tension clearly in the Londoner's brash electronic pop, and particularly in her latest EP Malika, where she's meshed seven-strong K-pop group WA$$UP with moody R&B-flipping producer MssingNo on "Tell Me," before running headlong into the smouldering vocals of L.A.-based singer Banks on "Wolfpack," and the Boyz II Men-worshipping thump of "Praise," made with London-based duo Sylas.
For our latest FADER Mix, TĀLĀ channels that conflicting, anything-goes nature into a 43-minute mix that hurtles through everything from her own trippy productions to Omar Souleyman's dense, manic percussion; and from an Egyptian take on 50 Cent to SOPHIE's high-gloss "Bipp." Stream it below, and read on for more on her newfound love of Electro Chaabi, and longstanding love of Persian cooking.
Where are you right now? Please describe your surroundings.
TĀLĀ: I'm in a cabin in the woods. I've been isolating myself from the world and working on my album. I’ve just been on my own, trying to shut myself off...Going someplace like that slows everything down, you can be a bit more of a introvert and focus on stuff.
Tell us a bit about this mix.
The vibe of the mix kind of represents Malika. I did loads of traveling when I was making it. The mix has some of the vibes that I picked up on my travels, and some of the stuff that I found and discovered, new music I found on my adventures.
When you are traveling in the making of Malika, was there any particular place that had a big impact on you?
Probably Cairo, Egypt. There’s just such interesting music—really interesting and underground, like a lot of people don’t know about it. Also right now there’s a lot of tension there post-revolution, and nothing is really going on—you know, people aren’t really going to Cairo, so I think that’s why there’s such interesting music being made by the younger generation. The Electro Chaabi kind of movement. It’s pretty sick. It’s a whole new world that I hadn’t discovered.
What is your earliest musical memory?
My earliest musical memory is probably when I was really little, if Michael Jackson was on in the store I used to dance.
What’s your favorite dish to cook and how do you make it?
One of my favorite dishes if I have the time is a dish called Khoresht Aloo. Basically it’s chicken with plums and stuff, it’s amazing. It’s Persian style, with a salad on the side. Basically it's chicken, spinach, and then you have the chicken on top of the plum, which is sour or sweet. It’s in Persian stores; my auntie usually tells me which ones to get. The Persian sauces take forever, they take all day. It’s one of those things, if I'm not doing anything then I might cook a Persian sauce. But it’s life-consuming.
And finally, what’s the last book you read that had a big impact on you and why?
This may be a bit of a cliché but someone gave me The Alchemist to read, and I think that’s the last book that had an impact on me. It’s one of those books that you pass on. My boyfriend read it and was like, 'you’ve got to read this.' I was like, that’s some powerful shit. It makes you not doubt the power in yourself. The thing for me is, when I read it, I felt that nothing was going right and that everything was shit. So when I read that, things kind of changed in my life.
TĀLĀ - The Duchess
Troy Boi - Do You ?
Ten Freaky Hoes (feat. Redinho) - 100s
Thundercat - Them Changes
Hudson Mohawke - Ryders
Je$us million - Mall
J Dilla - Won't Do
WA$$UP - Stupid Liar (feat. NIHWA)
TĀLĀ - 5am bed
N.O.R.E - Nothin'
DJ Amr 7a7a - 50 In Da Club remix
Omar Souleyman - Yagabuni
Dr. Dre - Talk About It (feat. King Mez & Justus)
TĀLĀ - Black Scorpio
Face Eaters of Hong Kong - This Jamba Juice turned me into a woman and I'd like my money back please
TĀLĀ & Banks - Wolfpack (Cuzn Fred Remix)
Je$us Million - Grand
Meek Mill - R.I.C.O (feat. Drake)
Impey - Telharmonium
A$AP Rocky - Electric Body (feat. ScHoolboy Q)
The-Dream - Kelly's 12 Play
SOPHIE - Bipp
Vince Staples - Señorita
Oum Kalthoum - Fakarouni
Banks - Work (feat. Lil Silva)
Dizzee Rascal - I Luv U (instrumental)
TĀLĀ and MssingNo - Tell Me (feat. WASSUP)
DJ Dahi - Drop
Impey - Ho Gosh
SOPHIE - Lemonade
Cuzn Fred - Untitled
TĀLĀ - Enta Ayez (feat. Sadat & Alla Fifty)