Amr Hosny is a DJ frequently referred to as the ‘Godfather‘ of Egyptian house music. In a music scene where ‘DJs’ (adolescents with computers) come and go every day – staying relevant (for TWENTY-FIVE YEARS, no less) is quite a feat. Half of the brains behind the Supafly party series, which brought us Coolio & will be bringing us Mya this Thursday, Amr is now the Managing Director of Creative Entertainment. Cairo Gossip sits down with the legend to talk about the ‘Godfather’ title, classic cars, having a famous international DJ steal things for him, and where it all began…
How do you feel about the title ‘the Godfather’? Pride? Pressure?
Honored is more of what comes to mind when I hear it. I love it. It makes me laugh in some ways and makes me proud in others. I have been on the scene for 25 years now and this gives me pride. On the other hand, it’s a title that I received from a couple of cheeky guys in Cairo – you know who you are!
Do you remember your first official gig? Tell us about it.
Oh dear, it was at a newly refurbished club/bar in the basement of a Dokki hotel called Pharaohs in 1991. I got the gig through a friend so I went there with my box of tapes – I couldn’t afford vinyl so in those dark and distant days, and I remember having to mix tape music. I was all sweaty palms and super nervous as I started to face the music (literally). I guess I did well ‘cause they asked for more
You’re one of the few DJs in Egypt that plays basically everything – hip-hop. r&b, rock, house. Do you have a personal preference?
I really enjoy all intelligent music, whatever the genre. I started life with house music, and to an extent, this is my ‘core’, but each event has its own character and music is really the key to an event’s success. When people love the music I play… that’s what matters and makes me happy.
What are artists are you currently listening to?
I have been listening to A LOT of classical music lately. For some reason, I feel like it fits in with the madness of this place.
Amen to that. If you weren’t a DJ, what career do you think you would have followed?
It is hard to say as music is my passion, and has been a huge part of my life since I was young. My father introduced me to a vast range of sound; from Beethoven to the Beatles, and stopping off at Abdel Halim Hafez on the way. However, people who know me know that I love classic cars so that is one area that I do follow and could have made a career out of. I also love cooking and putting together new dishes and trying things out, I could also have taken that path – so mixing in a different way!
You’re also the Managing Director of Creative Entertainment – why did you decide to be more behind the scenes than behind the decks?
I’m not sure about being behind the scenes… I came to a point in my career where I had to choose between going all in with the music through producing etc. or delivering an experience through music; both of which are of great importance to the scene. At the end of the day, I chose the latter option (delivering an experience through music) for the sole reason of empowering what was, back when I started the company, a young and thirsty scene. Creative Entertainment is assuredly on the pulse, and an expanding brand, so definitely not a ‘back-seat’ scenario.
Creative Entertainment is, of course, behind party series, Supafly – what’s the concept behind the series?
I have to give credit here to my business partner, Alia Abdel Rahman. Together we have forged an excellent partnership and we both share a vision of what Supafly is. Our aim was to bring something different to Cairo; cool, relaxed, and with positive energy. We were also ahead of current trends in Europe and elsewhere, where the 90s music feel is back in and where vinyl sales are currently on the rise.
You guys managed to bring the one and only Coolio at your last event – anything just as special in the pipeline?
Well, I guess everyone knows now that “Ghetto Superstar” Mya is our next Supafly star. This is her first visit to Egypt and she is extremely excited. This promises to be another great night. There are a couple more surprises in the pipeline for later in the year, but if I tell you, Alia (my excellent business partner) will have to kill you.
If you could build a dream team of DJs/performer to play one night, who would it be?
I have made no secret of my admiration for the late Frankie Knuckles, and his influence on my personal and professional development as a DJ – so he would have to be there. This is really hard as from day to day or minute to minute I would have to change the line-up as I am always running through all genres when I listen to music. For sure, there would be a number of young Egyptian DJs. I think we are finally recognizing the talent that this country has to offer.
Working in the nightlife/events scene in Egypt isn’t always easy – do you have any funny anecdotes or incidents that happened to you?
There are many tales to tell, but I’ll save those for my memoirs. One thing I do remember is when a well-known international DJ I was working with in Cairo brought me a gift from London, which had shoplifted from Heathrow duty free. I cannot name names yet, or detail the gifts – like I said wait for the memoirs.