We catch up with the talented Student DJ Competition winners ahead of their first EP release on the 2nd March, to give it a listen and discuss their music since their fateful first place position.
Proving that there is most certainly life after Student DJ, current reigning champions of the decks, the young Youssef Aguizi and Yehia Fahim, are about to release their debut EP Square One on Electrum Records. We first spotlighted them in our first ever Boys & Their Noise series of interviews with up and coming artists and they soon had Cairo in a dancing frenzy over the course of Electrum's Student DJ competition last summer. They've been gigging everywhere since, becoming a staple in Cairo's evolving House scene. This EP we expect will mark the beginning of some great things to come.
The EP kicks off with In The Mood, as catchy congo steps quite quickly lead you into a head-bobbing, deep groove with a zest of Funk that's quite unexpected from the House duo. The guitar melody and French brass that come in give this cool on-a-beach-about-to-get-the-party-started-vibe before all the elements kick back in together for a fitting intro to what's to come in the rest of the EP. That being said, it possibly drags on a bit too much without reaching the right sonic climaxes. A super lush ear-perking arp'ed sample brings in the next track, Pixel Deep, which leads into a catchy bass line with fleeting saws for a groove that should be accompanied by an obligatory fist pump or two. In the same track you also get a sense of what sets Aguizi & Fahim apart; always trying something a little different to the standard House mixes, as delicate piano bars break up the smooth khabt.
The third track, Please No More, takes a more ambient turn with ethereal synths whipping through the majority of it, and undecipherable vocal samples coming in intermittently. In the final track, Sold Out, typical Deep House vocals bleed through a heavy 4x4 beat before the fluttering bass line takes centre stage towards the end of the track.
The most noticable point of the EP, aside from ther obvious knack for a dance groove, is the quality of the production value for two guys who are still very young and learning. We caught up with the Aguizi & Fahim to talk about the process of creating Square One and how things have changed since Student DJ Competition...
How do you feel you've grown as DJs and producers since winning Student DJ Competition?
We've gained a lot of experience after we won in both our live mixing and productions.
How have your tastes in music changed since?
It didn't change that much I believe, but we started to listen to a more variety of music, and see which ones the crowd love so we can play them more often.
What were you both listening to most whilst making Square One?
We've spent a lot of time in producing this EP, actually. The first track was made when we were at the Student DJ camp in Gouna. Since then we've been listening to literally all kinds of Deep House music in order to grasp as many ideas as we can for our upcoming music
Why is it called Square One?
We wanted to come up with a name that relates to something like the beginning or the start since it's our first EP with Electrum, so they gave us a list of names to choose from, and we chose Square One.
It can be notoriously hard to collaborate in Electronic production, how do you guys work together?
Well, sometimes when we're free, we both sit together and work, but on regular basis, one of us starts an idea and the other finishes it.
Which elements do you usually layer first in a track?
We start off by creating the main melody/chords and harmony, and then layer them.
Did you purposely try to make each track have a different feel with inspirations from different genres or did it come naturally?
It came naturally, and that's good because we don't like to limit ourselves in one style.