Playing With the Big Boys
Cheeky chaps the ToyBoys want to make you dance. But you don't have to.
This week we caught up with up-and-coming DJing duo the ToyBoys, Diaa Nouman and Youssef Sami, a pair of cheeky chaps who have steadily made their name on the clubbing scene in Cairo and beyond. Lauded for their unique Electro-House mixes, the spinning stars work their asses off on the decks to take party-goers on a rollercoaster ride of funky beats and high-energy sounds. Taking some time out to be pelted with questions from the CairoScene team, the ToyBoys talk eight-hour sets, gun crime and the X-Men in this exclusive interview…
Why are you called the ToyBoys?
Youssef: You know the meaning of ‘toy boy’, right? Like woman’s toy boy.
Diaa: A toy boy looks good, gets into parties and seeks out MILFs so they can be spoiled by them!
So you sleep with older women for money?
Diaa: Haha! We were labelled the ToyBoys by Ahmed Ganzoury before we even started playing, because we’d hook up with all of his dancers.
What’s your deal with Ganzoury, anyway?
Youssef: I was working with ByGanz, developing their website and stuff and at the same time Diaa was working with him on other projects. That’s how we met.
Diaa: Ganzoury gave us the opportunity to play at some of his biggest events and he really helped us make our name. He’s really the reason we started out and the reason we’ve had success.
How do you collaborate on sets? Do you ever fight?
Both: We always fight!
Youssef: We both have different tastes and ideas, so we spend a lot of time trying to convince the other!
Diaa: We both do! No matter how much we argue, we always come to a compromise and our sets are balanced.
We’ve seen you play sets that are six hours and longer. What does it take to prepare for something like that?
Diaa: We kind of have a system. I usually do the actual playing of the music at parties, but it’s Youssef who spends days discovering and downloading new tracks and remixes.
Youssef: For any set, there’s a lot of preparation involved and it’s very intricate. We’ve played up to eight hours in one go, and that needs days and days of fine tuning every track, transition and the overall vibe that our performance gives out.
Diaa: What we always try and do is make sure there’s no drop in the music because if you slip up, you can lose the crowd. We mix up the mood, slowing things down and lifting them up again because, in a long party, you can only appreciate the highs when you have a little down time.
Youssef: And you’ll find me mixing and mingling in the crowd a lot because it’s important to get in there and really feel what your audience is feeling so you know what to play next.
We’re getting old here at CairoScene and after a few days of partying we like to hide in the dark for a week. How do you keep going?
Youssef: We invite our own friends to the parties we play and bring them up on stage. That really makes you energetic and pushes you to keep up!
Diaa: But we’ll never get tired of partying!
What music do you listen to in your own time?
Diaa: I’m really into Tech House.
Youssef: I like more Deep House and Minimal stuff. But I’m also a huge fan of lo-fi Jazz music like Norah Jones.
Who are your favourite Egyptian DJs?
Youssef: Aly B is great!
Diaa: Yeah, Aly B and DJ Samba too.
What’s the best gig you’ve ever played?
Both: The Cabina!
Diaa: We had one hell of a night at a friend’s cabina (beach hut) at Hacienda. We played 8 hours straight!
Youssef: It started out as a small party of 50 people, just chilling out and drinking. Suddenly it became like, 400 people!
What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to you while playing?
Youssef: It was actually at the cabina! One of the security guards at Hacienda came over and demanded we turn off the music. I was actually only just switching on my laptop at the time and it was Diaa who was mixing so I just told him it wasn’t me playing music and ignored him
Diaa: I was in my zone, with my headphones on and I didn’t have any idea what was happening.
Youssef: Suddenly, he started SCREAMING at me and he pulled out a gun! I kept nudging Diaa to help but he was on another planet!
Diaa: I finally saw the guy and turned off the music right there and then!
Where do you see the ToyBoys in the future?
Youssef: We both have full-time jobs so DJing is more of a hobby, something we do on the side. I’m a production operations engineer.
Diaa: And I’m in construction engineering management. We want to keep music as just one part of our lives because it makes our gigs more special.
We see you have a grey streak in your hair, Diaa. Are you an X-Man?
Diaa: Hahaha! No, this is just how my hair is.
If you were X-Men, what powers would you have?
Youssef: I’d want to control people’s minds. So no one ever requests for us to play Tamer Hosny again!
Diaa: God, remember that? We couldn’t even react! I’d want the power to make people naked. I really want to organise a naked party.
Would you be naked too?
Both: Of course!
Speaking of naked parties… does DJing really make you a hit with the ladies?
*Youssef and Diaa look at each other with sneaky smiles*
Youssef: It helps!
Diaa: One time a girl came up to me in the booth and just groped me for 10 minutes. She literally had her hands on my ass and screamed ‘MAKE ME DANCE DIAA!’
Youssef: Hahahaha! Yeah, it was so intense I had to leave the decks.
Both: The ToyBoys will teach you how to move!
Find out more about the ToyBoys and keep up-to-date with them via their Facebook page here and follow them @DJToyBoys
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