Ismail is a DJ and producer that exudes positive energy. With a rep as one of the most active and welcome faces on the Cairo electronic music scene, the DJ and producer works under two name: his own, creating tracks that play with more standard rhythmic drum patterns: house, minimal, techno, and his second alter-ego Baby-irl, which is more experimental and industrial. “My friends always call me ‘a baby at heart’ so I thought of the name ‘baby In-Real-Life’ and that was it pretty much,” he explains. When he’s not DJing and making tracks, he produces and sound engineers jingles for TV and radio advertisements developing and get exposed to different genres and music cultures that feed into his work. With a sound that touches on everything Hamid El Shaeri to Jeff Mills, those not in Cairo can catch this pretty baby at his regular slot in Berlin.
How did you start playing music?
I started DJing about 8 years ago in house parties I used to throw with my friends from high school. Back then we had only friends showing up to our parties to support. I eventually found my passion in turntables and started crate digging, finding my sound in electronic music, which lead me to start producing.
What made you want to produce?
I became curious about the music I was mixing - what creates these sounds and what equipment is being used to make this music. So I started downloading software and playing around to learn arrangements, sound design, mixing, etc.
What was the first club you went to?
I don’t remember the exact club because I was around 14 years old maybe, but it would have probably been a typical commercial club type in Cairo. I instantly knew that this was not what inspired me.
How would you describe the scene in Cairo?
The electronic music scene in Cairo is full of diversity, and it’s mostly underground because most of the things we do at these parties are illegal ha-ha. Our parties last long and usually we have a crowd of somewhere in between 500 to 1000 people who come from different backgrounds in the city and social scenes, yet are all there to rave for 7 to 10 hours forgetting about the conservative city we live in.
What parties are you going to?
Well other than the party I throw with my partners Aly B and Klady that’s called Caché which is an underground rave basically, where we book local talents and international musicians. I also support a lot of promoters from the city. One of my all time favorites is VENT, which is a very diverse party that’s always brining unique inspirational talents.
What are your current influences and inspirations?
I find myself getting influenced by everything and everyone I’m surrounded by, even if they don’t have a direct relationship to my field. I find interest in listening to people’s stories and backgrounds as this represents a major source of inspiration to me. In regards to my musical idols, I have a diverse list of inspirational performers from different cultures, genres and backgrounds. I admire artists such as Hamid El Shaeri, Jeff Mills, Tarek Madkour, Dan Curtin, Susumo Yokota and Alva Nato
What’s your Brazilian connection?
My father is Brazilian, where I got my Brazilian citizenship. Even though I still haven’t been to Brazil, which is the unfortunate funny part of the story. But I’ve definitely been obsessed with the culture of the country since I was a kid! My father fed me a lot with Brazilian grooves and introduced me to a lot of the culture since I was a child. I remember him playing Brazilian music CDs in the car while driving around and I never necessarily understood the lyrics but I was emotionally driven and so into their drum patterns! It was always an adventurous ride driving through the streets of Cairo with my father while he is singing Portuguese songs. I loved the contrast!
What is the best place you have played?
I have to say that would be Club der Visionaere, it always feels like home there. I get to play whatever I want because the crowd allows me to, and that helps me grow as a DJ.
What's the Berlin link?
I decided randomly to go on a trip to Berlin in 2016 to introduce people to my music project and explore the music scene there. On a coincidence I met Franky Greiner. He really liked my music project and believed in what I did then so he invited me to play at his party ‘Karawane’ at Club der Visionaere; where I’m a resident now; it all started from that time where I met a lot of incredible talents such as Soren Jahan, Natalia Escobar, Todd Shillington, Laure D’Utury, Frieder Klaris who always made me feel home whenever I was in Berlin.
Dream party line up?
Jeff Mills. Mad Mike. Ibrahim Alfa jnr.
I just want to keep loving what I do, and maintain the emotion connection I have with music.
What makes you happy?
Xanax and Fried chicken.
courtesy ISMAIL NOSRAT
interview FRANCESCA GAVIN
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