There’s been a running joke of-sorts doing the rounds about the increasing number of DJs in Egypt these days. Yes, the pool is growing, but I fail to see that as a bad thing; some will argue that it’s setting off some kind of wave of sameness when it comes to the electronic music scene, but that’s just how the cookie crumbles – not everyone’s going to be the next big thing and not everyone’s going to last.
But there are a handful of DJs that are coming to the forefront more and more – DJs that have been turning the tide against the generic; guys and gals who could, in time, become the main players of the scene. These aren’t unknowns, of course; but they’re young, they’re talented and they have an x-factor. Keep a close eye on these guys in 2016.
HASSAN ABOU ALAM
After catching the attention of Rapid Fire Records at the tender age of 15, Hassan Abou Alam was destined for success; within six years of his break, he had already worked with likes of MIDI Life Records, London Music, Dub Records and Trioxyde Records. Now also a key member of BESWORX, Abou Alam has seemingly found a home for his dark, broody techno stylings in Egypt with the local label. The last few months has seen him work the likes of Nacelle and Zigzag to plenty of acclaim, as Cairo’s venues and event organisers begin to embrace his unique style. Expect to see him much more of him in 2016.
Amr Emad and Mostafa El Sherif’s Nu and Oriental Disco might be an acquired taste, but the last quarter of 2015 saw the duo very quickly rise the ranks in Cairo to become one of the most in demand acts in the city. This is partly owed to the versatility of their sound, which has lead the charge at an eclectic range of venues and parties – everywhere from Riverside and Cairo Jazz Club, to events by Nacelle, nineteen84 Management and the Eventers. 2016 is only going to get better for Disco Misr, with their unique usage of Arabic retro and underground music becoming infectious.
Another member of the BESWORX clan, Gaser El Safty may have first turn heads as Electrum Records’ 2014 Student DJ champion, but his musical journey first picked up speed as part of the Meteors Project. The turn-around was incredibly quick – not long after the Meteors Project were called on for their first ever gig by Nacelle to open for British group, Crazy P, in May 2014, Gaser found himself neck-deep in what was a very competitive edition of SDJ. Gaser isn’t one for big parades and you won’t find his name plastered over any old flyer – he lets the music speak for itself, as cliched as that sounds. We just need more Cairo gigs, please.
Though he began life on Cairo’s music scene as a bass guitarist, Abdo Klady quickly moved from strings to turntables when he had his electronic music epiphany 2005. By 2007, Klady had moved to London and quickly made a name for himself on the club circuit for his staunch refusal of the concept of genres with gigs at the likes of Rhythm Factory, Cafe 1001, Egg and the End. Last year, Klady teamed up with fellow Cairo DJ, Aly B to launch event series, Cache, and he’s been frequenting the likes of the Tap, Nacelle’s B-Side and more – a trend we’re hoping to see continue in 2016.
It’s hard to believe that, Maie ‘kidmims;’ El Sabi, went into SDJ14 with nothing more than an obsessive appreciation for DJing. But after knuckling down in the competition’s boot camp, kidmims; went on to become one of the competition’s favourite alumni and she’s been gigging incessantly ever since, leading the charge for Egypt’s female DJ contingent alongside the likes of Akladios and FairouzT in 2015 – though she is certainly the most prolific out of a small but growing bunch. Being a woman has both worked for her and against her – as she revealed to us in an interview – but the proverbial kidmims; train is on track for a big 2016.
By Lance Uppercut