Hey Zidan. After being involved in events in Egypt for over 5 years now can you tell us how you got started?
When I was 18, I was into Trance music and went to a lot of Aly & Fila events in Sharm El Sheikh. I met the manager of Space Sharm El Sheikh there, Khaled Hawasli – the godfather that taught me everything I know about music and event management. He’s now HOSH’s manager and a partner in the fryhide label!
From there I went back to Cairo and started Theater of Dreams with my friends. It was a small festival in an unusual place at the time!
What is your opinion on the general electronic music scene in Egypt? *
We have enough potential here to be even better than our neighbouring party hubs. Underground music has been booming in Egypt, especially post-2011. Over the last couple of years there has been a surge in bigger names and acts, which I think shows they’re more trusting that it’s going to be a great experience here!
Who are the ones shaping the direction of the scene in Egypt?
There’s maybe 4 or 5 key players that shape the scene’s direction here. Nacelle definitely tops this list as I feel they introduced many people to the idea of underground music. Ganzoury and Uberhouse gave the scene a constant flow of bigger names which helps in a different way to grow the scene. I’d like to think we’ve had some impact as well haha
Do you feel that these different scenes and the different promoters in Egypt help each other grow or do they work against each other?
I think there’s a level of mutual respect we show each other when we make our bookings and set our calendars for the season, you know? We can all get a chance to throw big events with big names.
Which artists do you like working with both locally and internationally
I have a family of regulars, I suppose, both from the locals and internationals. Abou Samra, Jimmy, Misty, Sebbz, Ouzo and Ashmawy are the homegrown crew – but Nick Warren, Hernan Cattaneo, Tone Depth and Soul Button are pretty big names that we’ve featured quite a few times. We’re also on great terms with the fryhide team and the Diynamic team, we’ve hosted a few including Lehar, Karmon, and Undercatt.
Tell us some of the obstacles you face when working in an environment like Egypt? What do you find hard to set up for an event?
It used to be very difficult to get permits and locations for these type of events – but I think the authorities have become more lenient to it recently, its become a reality that these events happen all the time.
The pyramids are a location where everyone would love to see someone perform on. Do you have any plans on doing something there?
Five years ago, one of my dreams was to throw a party with Solomun at the Pyramids! Now I can’t say who we’re booking or what’s happening exactly, but I can say is this: Playground is hosting something huge in the first weekend of April that’s going to look great for Egypt!
We hear you’ve booked HOSH, HVOB, Sebastien Leger and Mathame this season, can you give us an idea on why you chose these artists?
It’s really a mixture of things I’ve seen that are successful here, contrasted against music I find really good! HOSH is one of my favourite DJs. His label, fryhide have been amazing the last 2 years. I’ve seen HVOB twice in Egypt and were very memorable – we managed to book them while on their new album’s tour! Sebastien Leger is a legend to me, and I’m a big fan of his more recent material on All Day I Dream, and I chose Mathame because they’re one of the most exciting upcoming acts especially since getting under the Afterlife wing.
Now can you tell us who else you’re thinking of bringing to Egypt?
We’re hoping to see some exciting DJ and live sets in 2020! Maceo Plex, Hot Since 82, Magdalena, Lehar and Musumeci, Joseph Capriati, Agents of Time, and Stephan Bodzin are all names we’re considering!
Okay to end off this interview, it would be nice to share some advice on how to make an event successful and memorable. Whats the one thing you always strive to make sure is perfect?
It’s not just about throwing a set up together and blasting music! It’s about creating an experience for your patrons, right? You want the people who come to your events to trust that you’re going to improve their experience every time they walk through your doors, so you always need to be evolving and looking to do something unexpected. There’s a reason events and promoters have a high turnover and I think it’s because they don’t take the experience into account.