Many will agree that Toronto has built one of the strongest trance communities in North America. When the chance arises that a big event to come may to town, we fight hard to bring it home and secure it. When it came time for Aly & Fila‘s Future Sound of Egypt 450 tour, the Toronto Trance Family jumped right on it, with a passionate campaign led by Toronto’s Veronica Rooney. The campaign, titled FSOE 450 Toronto has been extremely active on their Facebook page, with frequent news, posts, artwork, and contests, dating back to approximately mid-June. Digging back further, we found the remnants of the FSOE 400 campaign as well. It is very evident that Veronica and the Toronto electronic music community are passionate about bringing Aly & Fila and their famed radio show to Toronto.
For those of you who don’t know, Aly & Fila are an Egyptian trance duo composed of Aly Amr Fathalah (a.k.a. Aly) and Fadi Wassef Naguib (a.k.a. Fila), who joined forces in approximately 1999 and have been working together ever since. These two are definitely key players in the trance industry, having laid much of the ground work for today’s trance scene, and having collaborated and toured with a number of trance heavyweights, including Armin van Buuren (accompanying him on almost every milestone ASOT tour), Paul van Dyk, John O’Callaghan, and many more.
The duo produce a weekly radio show that shares the same name as their record label, Future Sound of Egypt, airing every Monday. To celebrate their 450th episode, Aly & Fila are composing a worldwide tour with select locations with accompanying artists. We are now sitting at the edge of our chairs, waiting in anticipation to see if Toronto will be on the lineup, and what artists they will choose to bring with them.
Aly & Fila went on a world tour in celebration of their 400th episode of Future Sound Of Egypt throughout August and September of 2015. They had a very special and unique sold out show in their home country of Egypt in front of the The Great Pyramid of Giza, one of the Seven Wonders of the World! The DJs also brought their FSOE 400 tour (bringing with them names like Arctic Moon, Jordan Suckley, and more) to Australia, Argentina, Belarus, Czech Republic, Guatemala, Mexico, Poland, Taiwan, and the United States.
With the excitement blazing, EDMTOR sat down with Veronica to chat about how the campaign was going thus far.
EDMTOR: When did you start the campaign? Why do you think Toronto is a worthy choice for such a large scale event?
Veronica: I started this campaign February 2014; it was originally to bring FSOE 400 to Toronto. We had caught Aly & Fila’s attention last year, but sadly with the foreclosure of the iconic premium nightclub The Guvernment, Toronto was out of options for suitable venues with the preferred capacity to host the event. Once all the locations were announced for the 400 tour last year, I changed the campaign to FSOE 450, thus becoming the FIRST campaign to start for the tour in 2016.
Our Toronto trance scene is so immaculate; all trance producers/DJ’s yearn to play here to experience the energy our crowd has to offer. Our club goers are all well-educated on trance. The Toronto atmosphere is like no other, our fans are all about the music; in it for the right reasons. We deserve this! It is about time Canada gets to host this prestigious event in our home town!
EDMTOR: What initiatives has the campaign taken to get fans excited?
Veronica: Our campaign has been standing out since day one. Normally each country that campaigns get as many people from the country to participate in building hype to bring the FSOE event there. I decided to do something different, something bolder. I took this campaign to a global level. Countries from every continent have heard of our campaign, and people from all over the world support us a lot and are engaged and very interactive. I have had a girl from Sweden represent us at Aly & Fila shows across Europe, handing Fadi and management our campaign bracelets and sending us photos of it from Transmission in Prague. Resident at Ministry of Sound Gareth Harding holding our posters, people in Australia traveling to the 6 hour set at MOS in London representing us. So many people are on board from all over, and people genuinely want to see us get this event even though they don’t live in Canada. I brought another girl on board to help out with the campaign, her name is Caitlin and she is from Ottawa. She has been contributing a lot and coming up with some great ideas, like our renowned “Pharaoh of the Week” nominations that happen bi- weekly. We look for diehard fans and give them recognition for their dedication and enthusiasm to Aly & Fila, also mailing them one of our unique #FSOE450Toronto campaign bracelets and a thank you card for their support.
Every other Thursday we do a segment called “Track of the Week” where either Caitlin or I will choose a significant Aly & Fila original track or remix and describe our memories with the track with a nice graphic custom made about the track. We also just did a big contest over the holidays called “ The 12 Days of Trancemas” where each day we would get the fans to interact by sharing a photo, or invite friends, or even describe to us their best Aly & Fila moment they have ever had or their favourite tracks. Each day the prizes would get bigger and bigger. We gave away flags, t shirts, canvases, Aly & Fila pharaoh hat, tickets to Standerwick in Montreal and even more! All people had to do to qualify was participate – it was a huge hit!
EDMTOR: Fadi posed with a FSOE 450 flyer last year. Has he or Aly showed any additional support with the campaign?
Veronica: Yes! Fadi posed with one out of the 500 posters I printed with our custom FSOE 450 Toronto logo last June 19th when he played Muzik nightclub! I had the Future Sound of Egypt logo customized with the Toronto Skyline with the CN tower implemented into our design which looked real sharp on the posters! I had gone to the venue with them for that show that night and I showed him all of the flyers right before he was about to hit the decks and then ran into the crowd handing them out as quick as I could before he started to play. I actually had a Toronto fan create a custom shirt for me that says “#TorontoStrong” across the bottom, and ROONEY written on the back. The fan looked for me all night and managed to give the top to one of the shooter girls to bring to me in the booth. Fadi held it up proudly at the end of his set, which was such an AMAZING rush! Fadi actually does support our campaign, and actually really wants to have the festival here! Last year there was a post he made to Instagram, as well playing Bryan Kearney & Will Reese’s track Prime Example from Muzik, and used hashtag #FSOE450TO on the video! That felt great, it pushes us harder knowing the interest is there. Toronto has a real big shot, and consistency in the campaign is key. Aly & Fila’s management has written on some of our posts as well telling us to keep up the great work which was brilliant! They’ve shown us support on our official campaign pages on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It is really rewarding knowing that we are really putting ourselves out there representing Toronto, and getting recognized by everyone we need to know about us.
EDMTOR: Who do you think will join Aly & Fila’s FSOE 450 line up?
Veronica: Great question! I have actually have had conversations with the team about which artists would be an amazing fit for the Torontonian vibe. I think if we do succeed in getting this, we will see many heavy hitting artists such as Dan Stone, Mohamed Ragab, John O’Callaghan, Bryan Kearny, Sied Van Riel, Will Atkinson, Solarstone, Giuseppe Ottaviani (I have my fingers crossed for a Pure NRG performance), and of course Aly & Fila. I feel there would be a few more as well.
Another name that EDMTOR is keeping an eye out for on the lineup is Circus Montreal’s resident DJ, TOMAC who was recently signed to FSOE and released a number of tracks on EXCELSIOR throughout this past year.
It wasn’t long since Aly & Fila last visited Toronto. EDMTOR’s team member Nicole attended their show on June 19th, 2015 at Muzik and wrote up an excellent recount of the night. The “FSOE 450 TORONTO” flyers spotted throughout the crowd and some fans had their own “FUTURE SOUND OF EGYPT – #TORONTOSTRONG” personalized merchandise. Fadi rose to Toronto’s unarguably high standards for trance because he definitely delivered – if blessed with FSOE 450, Toronto will once again experience an unforgettable, extraordinary, top-quality set much like the one he provided that night. Not only was that night great for trance fans in attendance, but it must’ve had an impact on Fadi as well – many photographs from that night made it onto Aly & Fila’s official website’s homepage gallery! (Meanwhile, two nights later and 3600km away, Ashlyn watched the sun rise with thousands of fans as Aly & Fila closed down Circuit Grounds at Las Vegas’ Electric Daisy Carnival).
For Toronto to host this large-scale worldwide event, it will need to be held at a venue that is capable of holding a much larger audience. As of late, the Enercare Centre (formally known as the Direct Energy Centre) has hosted some big parties. Another option would be the Ricoh Coliseum; however, this is a seated venue with limited floor space in comparison to Enercare’s empty convention space. The Sound Academy (or what is now being referred to as Guv 2.0) might be considered as well – the venue is currently closed for massive renovations that will turn the space into a super club, although it is uncertain when it will be finished and reopened.
It is safe to say that Toronto has much love for Aly & Fila, and we hope that we get the chance to support FSOE 450 in our own city.
Make sure to follow the FSOE 450 Toronto’s social media to stay up to date on the latest news and announcements.
Ashlyn Doughty & Nicole Robertson – EDMTOR