Event organisers and party-pushers are a dime a dozen in Egypt these days, with everyone vying for the attention of Cairo’s discerning clubbing contingent. But one man in particular has been the talk of town this year: Mahmoud Zidan.
Seemingly coming out of nowhere, Zidan is the mastermind behind young but popular music festival series, Theater of Dreams, and with two editions of the festival already under his belt, and two more to come this summer, 2015 is shaping up to be his year.
Cairo Gossip caught up with Zidan to talk music, DJing and nightlife in Egypt.
-First of all, there’s something we need to clear up – are you really 19 years old? You can tell us the truth…we won’t tell anyone…
Yes, I am – tsada2?
-La2 masada2sh besara7a, but let’s move on. Tell us who Mahmoud Zidan is in one sentence.
It’s all about the music.
-That’s deep, bro. Let’s talk about Theater of Dreams – how did the festival series come to be?
I was contacted by some event organisers who asked me to throw a party on New Year’s Eve in Maagana Camp in Rash Shetan. I can’t say that it was all that successful, but I loved the idea and it stuck. Not too long after, we went back to the same camp for the very first edition of Theater of Dreams.
-Nice. Who would be your dream booking for ToD?
-That’s a tough one, but I’d have to say Marco Carola – he’s an Italian techno DJ. I’ve been listening to him and Dubfire a lot recently.
-Listen, I may be eight years older than you, but I know who Marco Carola is - I'm down with the youth. You’ve really annoyed me now – which moves me onto my next question: what grinds your gears about the ‘scene’ in Cairo?
It always really disappoints me when I see good DJs being left by the wayside and not getting the recognition they deserve, while subpar DJs get all the big gigs an become famous. The industry can be fickle.
-I hear you – like, I’m so angry right now. Let’s take our minds off of it by talking about something else – what do you do when you’re not putting together events and festivals?
-I’m still a student and I play a lot of football. I also like to travel a lot.
-Do you have any ambitions to DJ yourself?
Well, I tried to get into it by I just couldn’t get to grips with it. I really wanted to be able to make a party go crazy with my music – but I actually get that sort of satisfaction from throwing parties. When it all comes together and you can see that both your friends and strangers having fun, it’s a great feeling.
-What are some of your favourite bars/clubs/event series in Egypt?
My favourite bar in Cairo is Cairo Jazz Club and Space Sharm is my favourite as a club. As for event series, that one’s easy: Nacelle’s House Sessions. There’s just nothing like it.
Theater of Dreams Easter edition at Space Sharm in April (Theater of Dreams Facebook)
-What do you think of the future of electronic music in Egypt?
The future’s is definitely looking bright. Just look at the sheer number of emerging producers, DJs and even festivals – everything suggests that it’s growing and is becoming more than just an underground scene.
-We hear rumours of a Theater of Dreams summer special – care to share any details *wink*?
Yep, the rumours are correct! But we’re actually planning two summer festivals; one in Sahel in August, and one in Sharm El Sheikh in September. I’ll keep you posted *winks back*.
Well, there you go - stay tuned for more on that and check out the Theater of Dreams Facebook page for more.