• Own imprint: Souvenir Music
  • Main label: Anti Atlas
  • Other associations: Live At Robert Johnson
  • City of origin: Stuttgart
  • Currently located: Marrakesh

Long before he became the globetrotting DJ he has been for the past 25 plus years, Ali Schwarz was a painter at heart. Studying at the Akademie der Künste/Academy of Arts in his hometown Stuttgart, he was set to dedicate his life to painting. The emergence of electronic music, specifically house music, changed all that in the early 90s. Turntables and drum machines replaced canvases and paint, clubs replaced galleries and vinyl became the most important currency in Ali’s life. Now, over 30 years into an illustrious, ever-expanding career as a DJ, producer and remixer, Ali Schwarz returns to his first love.

When Ali opened his first club On-U in Stuttgart back in 1989, house music was still fresh and deeply underground. Little did he know, that he’d not just help establish a thriving club scene in his hometown, but eventually become a bonafide DJ star with his brother Basti as Tiefschwarz. After On-U closed in 1993, the parties continued at Red Dog, a new club which ran until 1998. It was during those formative years, the idea of Tiefschwarz was born. Red Dog afforded the duo the space to hone their craft as sonic storytellers. Taking to the studio (to remix Ultra Nate’s classic „Free“ no less) was the next logical step, as was relocating to Berlin in 2001, where they eventually started their own label Souvenir Music. The rest, as they say, is history. Releases on Francois Kevorkian’s Wave Music, Derrick Cater and Luke Solomon’s Classic label and Four Music, including four studio albums, as well as remixes for for Masters At Work, Ultra Naté, Freaks, Isolee, The Rapture, Cassius, DJ Hell, Missy Elliot, Depeche Mode, Roxy Music, Madonna and Kelis established them as hot property for two decades – well beyond the sweaty dance floors of underground clubs.

When the Covid-19 pandemic turned the world upside down in March 2020, forcing clubs worldwide to close and grinding social and cultural life to a hold around the globe, Ali slowly but surely started revisiting painting. The passion he had once felt standing in front of a canvas returned. It became clear to him that he was in a process of transformation. Becoming a father to his daughter Indigo only reinforced that sense of shifting gears.
Coincidentally, in 2021, while most of Europe was still in lockdown, Stuttgart’s Stadtpalais/Museum für Stuttgart held an exhibition called „Dance Till You Popo“ — a tribute to Tiefschwarz’ early beginnings and lasting legacy. For this exhibition renowned artist Tobias Rehberger rebuild Ali’s first club On-U as an art installation. Looking back on his impressive career from his humble beginnings to his jet setting life as part of Tiefschwarz, the exhibition felt like a natural moment for him to pivot and to focus, for now, on his solo projects.

Ali found himself spending more and more again painting. With every stroke, the idea for a new creative outlet formed – this time as a solo artist. Named after the Moroccan mountain range, Anti-Atlas is his new project that merges his love for music and art for the first time. In part inspired by the birth of his daughter Indigo, Anti-Atlas is the new umbrella for much of Ali’s activities. It is a platform that connects his music, art and digital art in a new hybrid form. His first solo exhibition in Berlin in Spring 2022 was called Anti-Atlas, and so is his new label, which had its inaugural release „Indigo Schwarz“ in April 2022.