How one Egyptian DJ started a podcast that reached over 450,000 listeners worldwide, spinning off a series of events and DJ courses, with plans for a record label in the pipelines.
The DJ scene today is inundated with newcomers who are essentially consumers, with the goal of taking what they can from the scene - the fast money, fame, and the DJ title (except then remove the title 'DJ' because that's not cool). It's rare to find those who actually give back, and Moste, 26, is a young veteran who giveth plenty, not just through his music, but also formulating the country's best DJ courses, as well as his record label 'Temple of Sound'. Inside his studio/record label headquarters in Dokki, where record sleeves of different underground releases cover the walls, Moste sits down with us to talk about how Temple Of Sound came to be, future plans for his musical career, and what he currently sees as detrimental to the local nightlife industry.
At only 14 years old, Moste was holding his first residency at Marimba in Maadi, where he played his first gig ever. Yet that didn't seem to quench his thirst for playing music. "I was playing hip hop at first; it's what we were all listening to at the time," Moste says, painting a picture of the scene when he began in 2002. "I moved on to playing house later on, but that didn't last long since I was getting married and decided to take a break." He came back to music after five years of marriage, listening to tech house, deep house, and techno. When you hear Moste go through one of his courses, shifting through these genres and effects, you get a sense of just how technically advanced his skills are in comparison to many of these new-fangled heroes that grace Cairo's decks on a daily basis.
"After I entered Student DJ, I noticed a gap in the market," he says. "With DJ sets constantly bombarding my social media newsfeed, I thought that a podcast catering to local listeners' needs in an organised format would work." Work it did – Temple Of Sound's online music series, TMPL Sessions, managed to reach 450,000 listeners worldwide on Soundcloud through 65 episodes, featuring some of the country's best local talents, alongside a couple of international underground acts - namely Sharam from Deep Dish, Ellie Peterson whose set was recorded live from Destino Ibiza, and Metodi Hristov.
You would think he'd stop there, revelling in the glory of TMPL Sessions and having built a name for himself. Instead, the podcast spun off an event series and a DJ school. Werk It, Moste's attempt at educating Egyptians on the art of DJing, "is a full DJ course that's been around for two years now, concerned with the marketing and branding aspects of becoming a DJ, along with the technical side of learning the craft," he explains. The course was attended by countless aspiring DJs, one of whom is Shafei – "I am very optimistic towards this kid's future as a DJ," Moste says of the young talent. "He has a lot of components that would poise him to succeed in this career."
In parallel to his work discovering, teaching, and showcasing Egypt's electronic talents, Moste is also fixed on broadcasting live DJ sets from exotic locations around the country, something he believes has the potential to portray Egypt as a tourist friendly destination. Regardless of what the outcome may be, if these broadcasts go as smoothly as all of the other Temple Of Sound endeavours, we are sure it will be a blast to watch. Moste's Temple of Sound events are an extension of his musical views and his desire to elevate the music scene here in Egypt, something he has mixed feelings about. "I believe that brands like Nacelle came a long way with the scene compared to when they first started. I also believe that, although we've come a long way in the past five years, there is a lot of more room for improvement," he expresses. One of the main problems the scene needs to address is the drug infestation that has its grip on most of these local parties, where most attendees are "smashed out of their heads," in Moste's words. Adamant in his belief in the value of music, he tells us that people must be educated on the beauty of enjoying music without drugs, on music being a cultural resource not a soundtrack to a drug-induced euphoric moment. Parties being attacked by the media and labelled as shady affairs may someday hurt the scene as a whole if something does go wrong at a party cementing the media's current disposition. "I think the only way forward is to either educate or exclude the people that are not considering these events at their baseline, first and foremost as places to listen to music, not to get wasted," Moste concludes. "It's the only way forward."
In the pipelines, Moste has plans to start a record label under the same name. "We already have a couple of records that will be released shortly," he shares with us exclusively. "We're also potentially looking at several more planned for the launch." He insists he cannot reveal the artists who are being released, but he did mention that it includes some of TMPL Sessions' regulars, alongside several contributions that he produced himself.
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Photographed by Ahmed Najeeb.