Da Simurgh

Uncanny Valley · UV Podcast 100 - Da Simurgh

Hey Anas, thank you very much for your mix and taking the time to answer us some questions. We wanna know more about you so let’s start where it all began for you: in Morocco.
In which year and in which political and social circumstances have your parents been around the time you were born?

In 1987, when I was born, my parents lived under the rule of King Hassan II, who cheated, mistreated, and oppressed Moroccans. However, nothing has changed since then as the monarch continues to steal from the people and this persecution has shaped much of my life story.

Picture from Marocco

You told me that you first lived in El Jadida, then Casablanca, and later Essaouira. Why did you and your family move along the coast and what role did these cities played in your early life?

The oppression in Morocco binds much of the population to poverty and my family are no different. My solo journey along the coast was a necessary step to find income for the family because the economic situation meant that my father couldn’t provide for all of us. El Jadida and Essaouira offered opportunities in the tourism industry that introduced me to completely other ways of thinking, behaving and experiencing life. I navigated through hotels and their restaurants, Medina tours and eventually the DJ booth where I discovered the key to my passion and future: music.Music became an opportunity to help my family but quickly morphed into an essential feature of my life.

How would you describe your relationship to music and people in your teenage years? What and who have been your biggest influences?

Moroccans are proud of their traditional music which maintains folklore in the local community and is different in every region. When I woke, I could hear delicate melodies drift out of cafés and shops which eased us all into the morning. In the afternoon, I would hear RAI music, a mix of funk and North African rhythms, which would billow from those same windows to energize the city. These rich tunes formed the cornerstone of my musical tastes but I found Reggae through my dad. His favorite was Peter Tosh whom he always claimed was the original Bob Marley but Gnawa Diffusion was the most fun for me. Gnawa Diffusion were important because they were examples of North Africans who made it, who leveraged something they loved to escape the tyranny and did so by spreading love and open-mindedness. In a way, listening to that helped me form a road map that I would later follow to find my place in Germany.
Including Rumi who has me guided into my inner journeys.

You told me you left your home in 2009, by that time you must have been around 22. What happened in the time right before and in what circumstances did you found yourself in?

I left home as soon as I finished my technical degree in hospitality. I had waited years to enter the program because although I had passed all my entry exams, I was soon reminded that professional advancement comes at the cost of terrible corruption and bribery. In the end, an envelope of cash stuffed inside a fancy boxed scotch did the trick and I spent the next two years learning the ins and outs of the industry, which set me up for adventure later.

Where did you first go after leaving Morocco and how did you spend your life in the upcoming years?

A friend of mine calls me a ‘hustler’ because I work hard and enjoy cultivating different opportunities for me and my family. This is how I was able to move to Dubai where my eyes were opened again to the diversity of culture and thought outside of Morocco. My qualifications and the few languages I’d picked up along the way, helped my guide every kind of tour you can imagine wanting to do in the city. I rode bikes hungover at sunrise, mixed drinks in high-class bars and played music until morning, which meant chill moments like watching my clients dive from cliffs into beautiful pools while I sipped water in the shade, were important. In the years after I worked in Hong Kong and Istanbul, collectively these years were transformative.

You arrived in Germany in 2015, where had you been right before and what made you fell the decision to keep on moving?

Relatives of mine married Germans and I enjoyed the way they thought about society but their stories reflected euqality that was not possible in Africa.

What challenges did you face after arriving in Germany?

Arriving in Germany was challenging. Immigrants imagine their future in a new country to be the same as that of natives. Every society faces struggles in designing immigration law and treatment of migrants, Germany has been no different. While it was hard, at times facing overt racism from individuals who carry power over my life, the music scene in Dresden rallied around me. One of our most famous clubs, TBA which sat underneath Neustadt train station and sadly closed in 2019, held an entire club night to raise money to help me gain residency so that I could marry my Tini. Other clubs have also tried to help me during my immigration but are continuously undermined by individual local government officials. It’s been shocking, actually. They will change my status at will to invalidate job opportunities for me, yet use my lack of employment and fiscal contribution as justification for deportation. It’s hard to be creative in this system but I’m determined to get out the same message I learned from amazigh Kateb : love, unity and equality for everyone.

What does home mean to you?

Home will always be wherever my wife is because we share a deep love for creativity and each other.

What does Dresden mean to you?

Dresden and I have a complex relationship. The challenges I’ve faced here have overshadowed some of the best years of my life. I have found friends of so many nationalities, talents and goals that it’s hard not to feel excited about what Dresden as a community of artists is planning next. With Eywa e.V., an association that me and my friends founded, we want to support a global spirit and toleranz in our society. I’m optimistic though, we have plans that extend beyond music and parties, we aim to integrate differences between people into artistic visions that benefit our community. Kashay Productions is my music label which was founded in 2020. Many artists around the globe joined the project, and we started with a podcast series in which we present a new episode every two weeks. Regarding that our artists play and share their music from around the globe I’m hoping to take advantage of the creative energy to bridge the massive gaps between different races I found still in East Germany.

Da Simurgh · Oum - Daba (Da Simurgh Remix)

How would you describe your connection to the Dresden culture and music scene?

I think my relationship with Dresden’s culture is best illustrated by how long it takes me to return from the grocery store. There are so many artists I’ve had the pleasure of working with it can be tricky to avoid friends on the short walk home. Dresden is now a part of me, like so many places are, but this is special because it’s the first time I’ve had the support from my environment to push my own creative goals forward and that means everything to me.

Where and how was the mix recorded? In what state of mind have you been in?

I recorded this mix in my living room, while my wife and friends were chilling. I was in the creative state of zen that I get in when I’ve got an idea.

What have you been up to recently?

I’m working on Kashay releases as well as on Eywa e.V. upcoming projects.

When and where did you start doing music and how has it evolved over the time?

I started playing music in Essaouira 11 years ago, where I was using my laptop to entertain guests in restaurants. Eventually, patrons asked me to create playlists for them because I was playing music they had never heard before. I loved that they had a good time even though it was new. I incorporated lots of different genres and styles until eventually, I began mixing my own music. The style of music I’ve made over the years and now reflects the journey I’ve made in my life and all the people and music I’ve found.

What made the biggest impact on your style of music?

The biggest impact was the different countries I had the chance to live in. I saw many kinds of people, cultures, music genres, and scenes. I was influenced by many rhythms and harmonies that the world can offer. Besides moving into a scene here in Dresden that has a fascinating variety of competent talents, DJs and producers, that blows the mind.

What are your projects for the next time?

Besides Kashay and Eywa I have plans for new songs all the time and spend a lot of my energy producing new music and collabs.

Finally, what’s the song where you feel like being home?

There is not one specific song that makes me feel like being home, because home is not only related to a place for me. From all of my songs that brings me there I choose : Whirling Flames by Shastro.