Let's Get Minimal
In one of our weirdest Music Matters to date, we talk to the...ahem...alternative Ahmed Samy about everything and anything.
In one of the most honest interviews we’ve ever had for Music Matters we sit down with the wiry, dark and sharp-as-a-nail Minimal House maestro Ahmed Samy. A symbol for the hordes of uber-talented electronic DJs in Egypt who can never catch a break due to the sheep like sensibilities of Cairo’s party scene, Samy’s music is different to say the least. Read on as we educate you on the wonderful world of Ahmed Samy from being kicked out of gigs to Christiano Ronaldo and his dream of throwing a rave for cats. This is Music Matters, but not as you know it…
So how did you get the nickname ‘Cristiano Romancy’?
Haha, I just came up with it one day…
What was your inspiration?
Cristiano Ronaldo… because I’m a heart-throb like him!
Do you think Cristiano Ronaldo would be into your music?
Um, no, he’d be into more like DJ Samba’s type of music; vocal House with lots of melodies, epic breakdowns and shit…
So, how did you get into music?
I always looked really young growing up and my friends could get into all the clubs in Agamy and I couldn’t. I had to call my dad and put him on the phone with the bouncers and it was really embarrassing, so I got into DJ-ing out of vengeance.
What kind of music were you playing back then?
I was playing ‘weird dark shit’ that wasn’t accepted by a lot of people. It was what I was really drawn to back then and still drawn to now. I still remember when I was in the car with three of my friends: they wanted to play Pink Floyd and I wanted to play my weird dark shit so I kicked them out the car. Still to this day, I’m not as close as I was to them after that incident.
*Here’s some of that ‘weird dark shit’…*
Do you produce your own music as well?
Yep, I studied at Dubspot in Brooklyn and I’m going back there soon for another two years to finish my degree.
Before you traveled you were playing a lot of Minimal and Deep House here, right?
Well, I’ll play a Deep House track but what’s called Deep House today is not really Deep House, it doesn’t all sound the same. I’ll play anything that’s not on Beatport.
What if one of your songs got on Beatport, would you stop playing it?
I don’t think I’d put any of my tracks on Beatport.
What was your reaction when you came back from NY and saw this sort of DJ uprising happening now?
There’s definitely a change, the way people go out and party now is different to the way I used to go out. Drugs are done more secretly, hahaha.
How would you describe the music scene in Egypt right now and be as honest as you want…
Well, I cant be as honest as I want because I still want to get bookings!
Are you getting booked a lot now?
Haha, not really.
So fuck it…?
I like that there are people trying, but they’re trying in the wrong direction. They’re playing it safe and booking safe international acts, as opposed to acts that are a little less known , but eshta, it’s better than it was… everything is fine… and I love everyone….
Who’s your favorite local musician?
Zuli and Tamer Auf, as well… he books me, haha! No, just kidding, he is good and I like his productions. Interestingly enough, some of the best producers I know in this country don’t bother playing gigs.
Would you say you are better, or at least on par with, the TOYBOYS?
Who the fuck is that?
They DJ for Ganzoury parties a lot…
Ahh, I’d never get booked let alone go to one of those, I don’t think they’d let me in.
Would you say you are are better or on par with DJ Honda?
Haha, funny you should say that – Honda just booked me for a gig this Saturday. He wanted to do like Honda Vs Samio, he scares me a lot.
His crowd is scary, we heard a lot of shit gets stolen, watch your decks…
Well, when I first started out I used to play vinyl only. I was taken under the wings of Khaled Hussein, and he used to grab a note pad and pen and just steal the titles of the songs I used to buy online from London whilst I played them. So from then on, I used a Sharpie and crossed them out, I didn’t even know what songs I was playing for a while.
What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to you during a gig?
In the middle of a set I looked down and realized there wasn’t a single girl there and it reminded me of this incident at Queen Boat that had just happened where they raided a gay party and guys were jumping off the boat and shit. In my head I was like, fuck, this is going to happen again and I tripped out! Everyone looked so shady and I had a panic attack. There’s probably a lot of other weird shit that I just can’t remember because I was too fucked up.
So tell us what it is that draws you to play minimal music?
Achieving a big effect with as little as possible. I’m really into the Romanian scene, they use vinyl only and they don’t come out digitally so you have to buy them the day they come out and when you hear a set by them you can’t go in and just listen for an hour. They play 12 hour sets with track after track after track and each one tells a story with different instruments: one might be all about the hi-hats and they just use one element so you’re so sucked into it. I’m really drawn to ‘less is more’.
What would Maximum House sound like?
I don’t think you can add much more to what we’re listening to now with regular House.
Do you want to start the Max. House movement?
I’d have to start going to the gym. I imagine that the scene will be full of buff dudes.
What’s your favorite Pokemon?
I was too old for Pokemon but I was into Power Rangers. I liked the one that showed up less frequently, the white one I think. He was like a guest Power Ranger.
What do you do when someone requests a song whilst you’re spinning?
Tell them the next guy on will play it for sure, even if it’s a closing set.
What’s the image you have of yourself in the future?
The image as I get older keeps becoming smaller and smaller and my ambitions are slowly decaying… I’m accepting gigs from DJ Honda!
So you’re willing to sell out?
No, actually. I recently got asked to play at Cairo Jazz Club but they wanted me to promise I’ll play more fluffy music, so I turned it down. One time I was playing a gig at Andrea and I had ice thrown at me in the first three minutes of the set. The same guy was makhboot neek and dancing 30 minutes later. People just don’t have an open mind in general. I’m able to make people dance if they’re just willing to listen. As far as that image in my head of a big Tiesto-esque festival, it’s never going to happen with the kind of shit I play.
What do you do if you find that no one is dancing at all?
It never really happens but just in case I have 3 or 4 tracks that I consider ‘whoring out’ a bit that people can relate to, like the Super Mario remix I play when all else fails. I have a folder called ‘When All Else Fails’ which I sometimes have to resort to at the end of the night, but I usually feel defeated if I have to play them.
How sober are you when you play?
I’m older now and I don’t go as fucked up as I used to, and I saw the effect that had when I wouldn’t play as well as I could. I got fired from Basics, Space Club… I can name like 10 clubs and promoters that fired me just because I was being a fucked up asshole and showed up with people who were just as fucked up. We’d make them lose more money than they made. Now I play it safe, I support other DJs, play sober… I can’t afford to lose more gigs by being an asshole.
Which philosophical figure would like your music most?
I think Haruki Murakami would actually like my music most.
What animal would like your music most?
Well, speaking of animals… that’s my ambition! You know how animals respond to certain frequencies like dog whistles or cats can hear things that humans can’t hear? I would like to play sets that have frequencies for animals and then stray cats from the streets will just raid raves !
Do you see a similarity to that and when you used to bring your fucked up friends to gigs?
Hahah, that’s probably where I got the idea from.
Is there anything you want to tell your fans?
I don’t think I have any fans, maybe just one fan.
Say something to reach that one fan then…
Like my Facebook page! type AhmeDSamy, no space. Can everyone in the office like the page? I need it. Eh dah? Ahmed Samy Musician Band ya man, 3ayez eh tany? Obba fi circle ahe! Tayebt nefsy neek… 3amalt Facebook page w beta3, 404 likes, peace neek, peace neek.