We catch up with Hamad Obaidly aka DJ Madi and Faraj Al-Kuwari aka Young S2ar at their new weekly gig in The Lounge.
How did you get into DJ-ing?
Faraj: I’ve been into music since I was eight years old – banging on the drums, the piano and stuff like that. A few years ago I met my DJ partner (Hamad Obaidly) over the internet – on Facebook – and I found out he plays the same style and I was surprised! A Qatari guy that plays that kind of music? So we decided to meet and we ended up speaking the same language.
What’s your language?
F: We’re into the underground club scene. Deep house and tech house music.
So what’s a set like?
Hamad: We stay behind the decks and raise our hands up while people go insane [laughs].
F: Technically it’s part of our job… we enjoy what we’re doing and we’re making sure the crowd enjoys the music. I work with the bar as well so I try to keep a balance with the dance floor otherwise we’re going to keep them dancing all night long!
Was it hard to get into DJ-ing in Qatar?
F: Back in the days when I was starting, around ’93, I remember we only had Sheraton hotel and that had the only club but there was a lot of house parties and stuff like that... I’ve been doing it for around 15 years now.
H: Five years ago when I started I was looking at some friend of mine DJ-ing and, because I’m into music, I thought why don’t I just go and buy my own tools and start, you know?
So I started from my friend’s house and then played every Thursday night when we threw a party. This is how it went until I met Faraj and then we started talking and realised we share the same musical language. So we decided to do the gigs together and we’ve now started our Low Frequency company and record label.
Tell us about your record label…
F: I decided to open my own label almost a year ago. I opened up the label with a few talents from the Middle East, that’s where the majority of them are from. I’m also a producer. It’s a good thing to have a label in a country like this so we can start to establish it here. It’s the only electronic label here.
Are there many local DJs?
F: Apart from us? [laughs]
H: Not really.
F: Yeah, not really. There used to be. When I started, I started with two Qatari guys who were best friends but at some point they thought there’s no way and what’s the point of DJ-ing if they couldn’t enter the clubs. So they gave up and played in their bedrooms. They’re very talented though! Then when I said, ‘Come on the scene has changed now’, they said they’re too old [laughs].
I’m sure if you dig around though you’re going to find lots of people. Last Thursday I had this Qatari guy come up to me and he said he has a younger brother who has all the equipment and could I tell him what this button does, and what that does? I said, ‘Dude, not right now I’m working!’
What tips would you give a budding DJ here?
F: From my side I think the first thing is to be real and believe what you are doing. It’s not an easy job. It’s not like you’re going to buy two pair of decks and tomorrow you’re going to be playing in the most famous clubs. Just keep practising and try and get on board with other DJs. Just hang around, listen to what they play, and the most important thing – you need to make an identity for yourself otherwise you’ll be like a jukebox.
H: I’d say the same thing but I’m going to add if you’re into it just stick with it and practise, practise, practise and be patient. Then you’ll get what you want.
Where do see yourself in five years?
F: Too old [laughs]. Actually I see myself spending all my life in my studio but staying away from the DJ scene. I enjoy producing more than DJ-ing actually.
H: Being focused and playing, having a lot of gigs, going out on tour and playing music all over the world, you know? Pretty much producing as well and I want to release tracks.
After Hours featuring Low Frequency is every Thursday from 11pm at The Lounge, Kempinski Residences & Suites (4405 3325).