Tone Deaf speaks to Perth MC, Arno Faraji, ahead of his performance at Astral People’s 10 + 1 birthday celebrations during this year’s Vivid LIVE.

Arno Faraji is based in Sinagra, an outer northern suburb of Perth. It’s there that he launched his career as a hip hop artist with an elastic attitude to genre, releasing his breakthrough single, ‘Destiny’s’, at the age of 17. 

Faraji is now 22 years old and after a short stint living in Melbourne pre-pandemic, he’s back in Sinagra, surrounded by his immediate family, who’re Zimbabwean. Faraji’s built a strong network of friends, musicians and industry associates in Perth, but his connections span the entire continent. 

The artist’s latest single, ‘On the Move’, features production from Sydney-based producers Young Franco and Xavier Dunn. Faraji has supplied guest vocals to songs by Just A Gent, Two Another, and Kwame, and recruited his heroes, Remi and Sensible J, for his 2018 single, ‘Bless (What It’s Like)’. 

Since 2018, Faraji has been managed by Sydney label and events company Astral People, who also look after Cosmo’s Midnight and Milan Ring. He’s coming to Sydney for Astral People’s 10 + 1 birthday celebrations, which form part of this year’s Vivid LIVE program

Astral People are celebrating with two nights of live music on the Sydney Opera House’s Northern Boardwalk. Night two, on Saturday June 4th, will feature Faraji alongside fast-rising UK acts JAY1 and S1mba, and local mavericks Youngn Lipz, Briggs, Barkaa, Hoodzy, and Munasib. 

Tone Deaf speaks to Arno Faraji about ‘On the Move,’ the upcoming Astral People gig and his future releases.

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Check out ‘On The Move’ by Arno Faraji:

YouTube VideoPlay

How did you start working with Astral People?

It became an official thing in 2018. After a bit of a trial process, it was just like, it fit so naturally. They really saw my vision in such an accessible way. They saw all the steps to all the things I was trying to do. It just felt right.

Do you release your records independently?

I have distribution with The Orchard and I have a few more songs that I’m doing that way. They should be coming soon, actually.

Your latest single is ‘On the Move,’ which was produced by Young Franco and Xavier Dunn. Can you tell me about the history of ‘On the Move’ – did you want to make more of a funky pop song?

‘On the Move’ was made in between studios in, I think, 2020. I was back in Perth and Young Franco and stuff were already doing stuff on the other side of the country, and then Xavier Dunn hopped on the remix we had for the track a few months later. We held it for a little bit, but then just had to release it.

Check out Arno Faraji’s ‘Bass Jumpin’:

YouTube VideoPlay

It’s a different sound to your previous single, ‘Bass Jumpin,’ which was more of a clubby hip hop song; ‘On the Move’ is more funk- and pop-influenced. Do you have a sense of what makes the Arno Faraji sound? Or are you trying not to pigeonhole yourself? 

I really appreciate so many genres, so many styles of music. Whenever there’s something I want to try out, I try to find a way where I can tap into it and open the reins a bit [to] where it’s like, even my audience can expect me to try a lot of different things.

I also want to master those different sounds, too. I’m hoping to have a long career, so I want to be able to release a funky track whenever or I want to be able to release a hard gym track some other time. I feel like right now is a cool time to experiment and see what works and then later on it’s already mastered. 

Do you know what you’re releasing next? Will it be more singles, or is there an album on the way?

I have a new single coming soon and then I have another single after that release. There’s just a lot of music.

You’re doing the Astral People 10 + 1 birthday gig at the Sydney Opera House. Are you a fan of the other artists on the lineup, like JAY1, S1mba, Youngn Lipz, Briggs, Barkaa, Hoodzy, Munasib?

I think I’m a fan of all these artists. I just love everything that they do. I’m keen to see JAY1, very much so. I’m keen to see S1mba as well because he’s actually a Zimbabwean too. I remember when his track first came out, everybody Zim I know was just running it back to back to back to back.

Youngn Lipz, he’s killing it right now; Barkaa; Munasib’s killing it on the decks. I’m keen to just be there, experience the whole thing and get amongst it and just vibe with them too.

Arno Faraji – Vivid LIVE

Also performing with Youngn Lipz, Briggs, Barkaa, and more.

Saturday, June 4th
Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW
More Info: Sydney Opera House

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