Imagine a fusion of your favorite Arabic classics and a Daft Punk-esque set of disco music? This is Disco Misr. It’s everything the band’s name promises; that being Egyptian disco music. The DJ’s Amr Emad and Mostafa El Sherif founded the band, and then were joined by the band’s newest member, Mohab Sammy. Their concoction of music is unique, innovative, and loads of fun! After catching their performance, we sat down with them to talk music.
What inspired the band’s name and genre?
Amr: The name was more of an inside joke than anything else. We were saying we want to revamp old music. Others have remixed old music with techno, but it was too much, we wanted something mellow with good music. We said we wanted it to be related to disco, and Egypt. For three hours we kept going back and forth and finally said “why not Disco Misr?”
What inspired this genre that you created?
Mostafa: We’ve always listened to disco, and the nightlife scene these days is heading towards new disco. They want something mellow that they can dance to, or listen to in the car if they want. It’s good music, and still has that electronic spirit.
How has the reaction been so far?
Amr: It’s been great! We’re receiving people’s feedback. Some great people like Cairokee, Sharmoofers, and Massar Egbary shared the song, so it got a lot of exposure.
Your genre is very geeky, not everyone will understand it. When Daft Punk first started out no one listened to this type of music and now it’s considered mainstream.
Amr: What they did – I’m not saying it’s the same thing we’re doing, but when they first came out disco was long forgotten. So they did what we are now trying to do now.
Have you always wanted to make music?
Amr: Both our parents listened to good, very similar, music. So we grew up surrounded by music. We only started wanting to do this when I moved schools and met Mostafa and we realized we listen to the same music.
Are you guys self-taught?
Amr: It’s all YouTube tutorials and getting music production softwares and discovering everything about them.
How did you get to perform in Soundclash? And are you planning to do something like that again soon?
Amr: In 2013 we performed in proms and events like that under a different name and played different music than what we play now. We wanted to get people’s attention first. Then we started being “Disco Misr”. We knew we could do something new. In 2014 we started doing mashups. We performed in clubs for a while. In one of the times my friend Amr Helmy from Redbull told me that he thinks we should perform in Soundclash because he can’t think of anyone better to open the night.
What do you think of the music scene nowadays?
Mostafa: The problem is that it’s awful. Not the nightlife or music scene, it’s the general taste.
Amr: The underground scene is very nice especially after the revolution. It has nothing to do with politics, it’s about the fact that people have started to expand their horizons. So this music stopped being underground.
How do you choose the songs that you want to remix?
Mostafa: I don’t think there’s an Arabic track that we don’t have. The filtration process is that the songs have to be in our direction. Then we see if the track is fine on its own or if we should add things to it or if we see the track with a different visio.
Do you think it’s possible to make a living out of music here in Egypt?
Mostafa: the problem is to be 100% independent in the music industry. It’s very difficult in Egypt, if you don’t want to “sell yourself”, you’ll have to either start a music school or work I advertizing. I’m not saying I wouldn’t want to do that; I just want the brand that we’ve created to keep going.
Did your success in Soundclash overwhelm you?
Mostafa: it’s a shock.
Amr: In a good way. All of a sudden we were exposed to 6000 people.
Ramadan Gana was a nice collaboration. Are there any more collaborations in the works?
Amr: We do have a few collaborations coming up. We want to do plenty of those, because in Egypt the culture of collaborations isn’t really there. Music is supposed to bring people together, but it’s too competitive here.
Why haven’t you posted any of your music online?
Mostafa: It comes from a place of “why listen to a song every day when you can listen to it every month and allow myself to miss it. And when music is played live it’s a huge difference; we control the sound that gets to the people. Also, when I spend so much time and effort on making a good track, I don’t want it to be heard on a mobile phone that will ruin its quality. We don’t want the music to be too available especially that there’s a radio show that’s taken our name and imitates our music.
Amr: It’s called Disco Misr, and started after we came out. I wouldn’t mind if they used our name and made better music, but they play terrible music that ruins our name.
When is your next performance?
Amr: The first thing will be in Eid. There are three different places that want us to perform.