Loay ‘Madlou‘ Adel is a busy man; DJ, tennis player, construction engineer and now musical entrepreneur, we sat down with the man to talk about his plan for the inevitable zombie apocalypse, anger issues, embarrassing moments, and Sub-Decibels – the biggest thing to happen to Alexandria since the library.
Talk to us about how MadLou came to be – how did it all begin? How did you get your name?
It’s the same old story of the guy infatuated with electronic music. I’ve loved electronic music since the early days of Frankie Knuckles; the only difference was that I never had any kind of musical direction before that – my musical direction came from house music and the early days of Ibiza, Detroit, Global Gatherings and Love Parades. The catalyst was when I was a bit younger in Alexandria; I found out that people liked being in my car for the music. The title of the ‘crazy guy with the music’ caught on.
As for my name, one day I was reading about this concept ‘MAD’, which was essentially a Buddhist concept – it actually means, Make a Difference, so I thought, ‘yeah, MAD’.
Tell us a little bit about Sub-Decibels – we hear it’s going to be big…
Sub-Decibles is the result of months of work and market research. It started as a concept for a record label, and then evolved into an events company and an agency. We’re a pretty big team from the two cities (Alex & Cairo), and the team of musicians behind us is truly something.
We’re launching as a record label within a few weeks with a Detroit New Wave/Techno/Deep sort of direction. I stopped believing in sub-genres a few years back, so it’s hard to label it. We’re launching as an events company soon, too, in one of the biggest Alexandrian nightspots – SKYROOF, on the roof (obviously) of Windsor Palace Hotel. It has ick views, and hopefully it will mark the initiation of a proper Alexandrian nightlife scene. We’ve got Aly Bahgat, Tamer Auf, Aly Goede, Abou Samra and others big names behind us.
Here's a biggie - gun to your head, Cairo or Alexandria?
Alex is home, but I’ve only played there once in six years while I’ve played 148 gigs in Cairo - yes, I keep count and yes, I have a folder.
There was a misconception in Alex that only commercial music would be successful. I always felt like the scene was confined in some way, and this is what we’re trying to change with Sub-Decibels. We’ve discovered that Alexandrians really know their stuff when it comes to music; they follow, they understand and they show up in all the right spots in Cairo at the right times, so I don’t think I can choose.
When the party’s all done – how do you like to unwind and chill?
I’ve been playing tennis professionally for almost 23 years now and I got into coaching recently. I’m actually a Construction Engineer so I don't really get the time to unwind because I usually have to be on site. I’m taking a break and just focusing on music right now and I really like taking long, weird, solo walks around the city late at night. It relaxes me.
No way! I also like long, weird, solo walks around the city late at night - but for a different reason. Anway, if you could be doing anything else right now, what would it be?
I would be tending to some sheep in some remote, quiet mountains in Tibet with a laptop that has Ableton 9 on it.
Sheep? Interesting. What’s been your most embarrassing on-stage moment? Does it happen to involve sheep in anyway?
No sheep, but once, through no fault of my won, I was in the middle of mixing a track at a moment when I had both sides of the headphones on because I mix internally first, not one and one, and I noticed that people were looking at me funny. I then realised it was because the music on the speakers had been off for about 20 seconds and I was just standing there dancing to the music on my headphones by myself!
That’s actually hilarious. If there was a zombie apocalypse tomorrow, how would you survive it?
I don’t know what you guys have heard, but this is an actual dream of mine – I have a full plan sorted. I have a plan for places, shops, people; I even have a layout map somewhere. I would first find shelter, probably in a Villa with a good location, I’d clean up the dirt and zombies, raid an armory and a shop, booby-trap the hell out of the perimeter with C4, put snipers on all corners, and install an electric fence. I wouldn’t just survive it, I would rule.
Awesome - just remember us if it does happen. What makes MadLou so mad?
I’m not sure if you’re referring to the air of weirdness that I might have, or to my slight temper problem. I’ve been seriously working on it, and I think I’ve been doing really good keeping to myself and avoiding trouble. I’m sticking to my music, the orange ear plugs, and my can of Red Bull.
What’s does the future hold for MadLou?
After the June 12th launch of Sub-Decibels we’re going to go into hibernation while we sort out signing artists and releasing their material. I’m working on two massive national and regional projects with Red Bull, but I’m not really allowed to discuss details. It’s going to be massive, though. I’ve got a few gigs lined up in Jordan and Beirut and Dubai coming up - exciting times.
The international gigs stuff is really cool… What’s been going on with that?
The international part is still very chill. I got a Central American tour last April, I was booked to play six dates in a row in Panama but I couldn’t go due to personal circumstances. It worked out anyway; I was booked for the Corona Fiesta in Jordan and I got to headline with some of the biggest regional and international names including Jixo and Danz from Blue Marlin Ibiza, and Kitchen Crowd in Jordan.