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More crazy, please

Australian DJ Motez returns to Whistler for his third show in a year with a powerful new single

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When Motez was last in Whistler in January, the sold-out show was like a house party — one he'd like to repeat.

"It was the craziest gig I have ever, ever played," he says.

"It was a really good night. I want everyone to be onstage with me, instead of me being onstage on my own. I want to be amongst the crowd and suddenly I was a part of everyone, enjoying the music even more and dancing with the people.

"I'm hoping this time will be even crazier."

Motez performs at Moe Joe's on Thursday, Aug. 3 at 9:30 p.m., along with Whistler DJs Case of the Mondays. Tickets are $10.

It will be Motez's third visit to Whistler in the past year.

The Australian DJ is at home in Adelaide, working away on new music before he boards the plane for a summer North American tour.

"I'm really deep into the next single (as yet unnamed) and I'm also working on a remix called 'Purple Disco Machine' that I'm really proud of," he says over the phone.

But his current track is the ethereal R&B-style ballad "The Future," made with British duo Antony and Cleopatra (singers Alex Burnett and Anita Blay), a very personal song that he describes as visceral — a sad song but at the same time optimistic.

The video for "The Future" was released earlier this month.

"It was something I was working on for two and a half years, maybe. The idea itself was from a long time ago, based on a breakup that I went through," Motez says.

"I was confiding in Alex, the issues and stuff, and we decided that a song would be a good one to write, with the vocal idea and chorus. He came back with the lyrics and we eventually involved a primary school choir from the Barossa Valley, recorded them, put it together and then got (Grammy-winning sound engineer) Eric J to mix it down.

"I'm super proud of it. I had moved on, but it kind of went full circle because the girl in question, we have rekindled our friendship in the past several months, and she heard the song — and she messaged me and told me she loved it. It closed a chapter in an amicable way, going back to the friendship and respect for one another that was there at the beginning."

"The Future" has become his most-played song, he says, in part because it went beyond dance music, hearkening back to his music background, with a love of R&B.

Eleven years ago, Motez followed his father from Baghdad to Adelaide. From a religious minority in Iraq, his family lived through the Iraqi war after his father fled as a refugee in 2000, arriving in Australia by boat.

After a year in detention ("Really sad that it happened in a country like Australia"), Motez's father was allowed to settle.

As a musician in touch with the "Australian Sound" movement, he has tried to pull together the influences of Western music, particularly Delta Blues, into his cultural heritage of traditional Iraqi and Arab music.

Motez is looking forward to performing throughout Australia after Whistler, his biggest home-country tour so far, making it semi-live, a hybrid of a DJ set and keyboards. It's a format he is in the middle of perfecting, with the aim of bringing it over here — accompanied with special lighting.

"I'm taking it out of clubs and performing at proper live venues, iconic ones in Sydney and Melbourne, and in Adelaide, I'm pretty much using a car park — so that will bring them in — it's my hometown and I want it to be special," he says.

"When you take it out of clubs you can maybe operate a bit better, not with the technical constraints of the club. There's more room for more people, too."

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