We get (naturally) high with Tamer Auf - the brains and the beats behind Audio Damiana.
This week we caught up with Tamer Auf whose Audio Damiana series of events has been spearheading the Deep House movement that has taken over Cairo’s clubbing scene recently. The advertising executive has had quite enough of the corporate world, and is dedicating his life to his art. The art of forcing you to dance, that is. Read on to find out exactly what ‘Damiana’ does, how deep Tamer’s house is and why you should be listening out for the upcoming talent that is DJ Tree…
When did you start DJing?
I used to DJ back in school at school dances and 2 years ago I went pro.
What is your day job?
Advertising. I just resigned a week ago, but I’ll still be there for two more months. I’ve hated it for the past 7 years and now that I have this happening for me I want to see what happens.
How do you describe your style?
Deep House and Tech House.
How deep is your House?
Everyone’s been jumping on the Deep House movement recently. What do you think of that?
Well a few months back I kind of had a problem with that because I’d been playing Deep House for a while but no one knew me. Then everyone started playing Deep House, people who already established their names.
People say there are two kinds of DJs; those who play for themselves and those who play for the crowd. Why do people shit on the crowd pleasers so much?
I don’t know. Maybe because they don’t like the music and they don’t like the fact that the general public are so into commercial stuff.
So explain why is your organisation called Audio Damiana?
Basically, damiana is a plant that is known as a natural aphrodisiac. We liked the name, and everyone can get it.
Would you say your music gets a lot of women in the mood?
It’s sexy music and the scene is sexy so…
What’s your favorite venue to play in Cairo?
None to be honest. I like playing in Cairo but I don’t have a venue I’m thrilled about.
We noticed you picked an abandoned venue for Audio Damiana recently. Tell us about that.
It used to be called La Veranda. We were looking for something raw and edgy but we couldn’t play in a warehouse because of permits involved. It’s old and abandoned and already had a license so it was perfect.
Did you purposely not have chairs that night?
Yes. We wanted to make sure people danced all night.
Deep House has a reputation for being linked to drugs. What’s your opinion on that?
It’s part of the underground music scene everywhere, so I’m not surprised that it’s the same in Egypt.
Do you think it enhances the experience?
Maybe for some people it does creates a better vibe, I don’t know.
What other DJs on the scene do you admire or respect?
My favorite Egyptian DJ is actually living in New York now, Ahmed Samy.
Who do you think is shit?
I’ll keep that to myself!
How easy is it to become a DJ in this country? Do you really need a deep knowledge of what you’re doing or can anyone pretty much do it?
I think today, anyone can do it given the equipment available. It’s a lot easier than before. But then again, there isn’t a big scene, so if you’re a good DJ and there isn’t much happening it’s still going to be tough.
What’s the weirdest thing that’s happened to you while DJing?
I was asked to play the Happy Birthday song. I said no, and the guy who requested it called the waiter over!
Do you think there’s hope for the music industry in Egypt?
I think there is. There are a lot of DJs and good producers in town and I don’t see a reason why there shouldn’t be hope. We’re actually starting a label at the end of 2013. We’re building contacts with DJs and the labels they represent so it’s easier for us to get good producers and get musicians from other labels out there.
It seems like it’s the same rotation of DJs every single place you go in Egypt. Have you personally seen any new or upcoming talent? Who’s the next big thing?
I hope it’s one of my guys, we’ll see.
What do you hope to accomplish with Audio Damiana nights?
We have plans for more events in Egypt and we are doing something in Miami very soon. Luckily, we have friends everywhere and we want someone in each country to handle Audio Damiana, just to spread the brand as much as we can. Immediate next steps is the US with New York, Miami and San Fransisco being our main targets. In Cairo, we’re just going to do it once or twice a month for now.
What’s in store for the next Cairo party?
We’re flying FinneBassen in from Norway and he’ll be joined by DJs Shaggy, Misty and Hafez all in one night.
Are you going to get chairs this time?
We can get you one chair. Someone requested a wheel chair actually, so yeah.
A lot of DJs listen to other things other than what they play. Do you do the same?
Right now I just listen to Deep House and Tech House. But I used to listen to different things a long time ago. Mainly electronic music.
What music can you not stand to listen to?
What do you hate about Dubstep?
It’s too noisy for me. I tried a few times to listen to but it’s just too over the place.
If you could play with an inanimate object what would it be?
If you could play in any city, what would it be?
What’s the best gig you’ve been to?
Cinky Beats in Sinai in May 2011.
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
I’ve ALWAYS wanted to touch a book and know everything in it.