Hadiman’s one of the coolest cats in town. So cool that I thought he was Brazilian. Forgive me Hadi, ha ha ha…. Actually, he’s from Dubai but currently based in Toronto. He blew me away with his banging drum and bass set at OM Festival in June, not to mention a killer turn at Bassculture. After hearing his name whispered with admiration on the lips of psytrancers , I decided to sit down and have a chat with the affable DJ to see what makes him tick.
F: Hi Hadi, it’s a pleasure running into you like this and I’d just like to ask you about some of your influences. What inspired you to become a DJ in the first place?
H: I think my inspiration came from what’s in me. It really was just the idea I can go home and mix music that was just really, really interesting and fun for me personally. It all started when I went to school for sound engineering and I remember one of the first classes I attended, one of the teachers asked who was a DJ and I remember everyone raised their hand except me; I was the only guy who wasn’t, and that really sparked interest in me; just DJ’ing and mixing music in general, so a friend of mine lent me some records and I would just go and borrow people’s turntables and I just really picked up from there. People started supporting me and I did it in my own bedroom for three years without even telling people that I’m DJ’ing and I started getting small gigs here and there, so yeah, now I’m here. I do play a few very different things. One of which is drum and bass and I was influenced by the South American tropical rhythms.
F: Like cumbia for example?
H: Cumbia, actually I love cumbia, especially the old cumbia. Cumbia and chicha and Afrobeat or Afro-Latin and all the subgenres of Latin music. And I’m not South American but I have really good appreciation for that music from the past 40 or 50 years ago. I think they made incredible music that we still listen to today, so I would hope to see more Brazilian or Latin drum and bass influences in music, and I think that at some point in the mid 90’s, there was a lot of Brazilian drum and bass. It’s not around anymore and I wish someone would start mixing Brazilian drum and bass.
F: Can you name some of your favourite Brazilian artists from that era?
H: I don’t really remember the names, but where we had records, we would go buy records that didn’t even say any name on it or not even the track; you know it would just come blank, what we’d get in a sleeve and we would put it on and it would be Brazilian drum and bass. So it was poorly advertised let’s say, in North America or in Toronto, and I may just not have enough knowledge about it. I started DJ’ing at a time when this genre in particular was dying so I didn’t pick up on it.
F: What about guys like DJ Marky?
H: DJ Marky is one of my favourite DJ’s, and it’s like he’s really one of the pioneers of drum and bass, and I wasn’t aware that he’s Brazilian. Is he?
F: He is.
H: Ok, now I know! DJ Marky…yeah, I’m a fan of DJ Marky. So many good liquid drum and bass that you could use, old and new and I love him, I love DJ Marky for sure, and I’d love to see him in Toronto if he comes.
F: Speaking of Toronto, in terms of the scene that Toronto has at the moment, where do you see it going?
H: Well I think we have a very good music scene in Toronto, and it’s only germinating right now and the vision I have is that it will really flourish in 10 years. I think Toronto is going to be one of the coolest cities in the music industry. What we have here is very eclectic and the multiculturalism is creating something new that not many people have. For instance all the art collaborations that are happening in Kensington Market; we have people from all over the world collaborating so naturally, and that creates you know, the future for Toronto and a reputation. And you go all over the place now, even in New York and you say you’re from Toronto, and all of a sudden they speak very highly of the music scene that we have cuz now we have more top artists in the world; they all come to Toronto very often so that’s a good sign that our music scene is very healthy.
F: Tell me more about some of these collaborations.
H: Well we’ve been doing the Pedestrian Sunday Collective day and what we try to do is something very interesting; collaborations between DJ’s and bands. We have a gypsy band, we have Brazilian percussion bands, we have just indie music bands and then you mix all of those bands together in a one day event and have an incredible event that keeps people really happy and people are talking about the event for a long time. I think it would have been different if they came and saw only one band at a time; it wouldn’t be the same as coming to see a bunch of bands, say 10 bands performing in one day in a very eclectic way.
F: Can you tell me whether you’ve worked on producing tracks of your own that you’ve released independently or are you signed to a label ?
H: I have worked with a lot of different music but unfortunately I never took the step to get signed. We had a band called Masala Sound Kitchen; you can check them on Google. What we did was really interesting. We actually were, just in a way, jamming and recording at the same time, and we made lots of world fusion music mixed with some electronic and that was one of my biggest projects but then I think I got sidetracked by DJ’ing for a bit and hopefully I’m coming back to producing and it’s gonna be mostly electronic music, ambient and chill out music; downtempo.
F: On a final note, do you see DJ’ing as a career that you would like to pursue on a full-time basis or is it just more of a hobby for you at this time?
H: Well, it all starts as a hobby it’s becoming very, very serious for me, but I do think I’d like to focus on producing now, I want to create my own sounds and my own music. It’s been a pleasure mixing people’s music, but I think a good balance between the two, mixing your own and people’s music would be very satisfying for me and more interesting.
F: Great! Thank you Hadi.
H: Thank you.
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