In the seventh installment of our series of interviews with young, up and coming, talented Egyptian musicians, we have a chat with Blufrank, a 20-year-old producer, already garnering international praise.
We came across Blufrank, a 20 year old Electronic producer from Egypt, after one of his tracks, TR-808 & A Babe, was featured on prominent online magazine Dummy; a publication shining a light on all things cool and alternative happening in the global music scene. It was a bit of surprise because we assume we know everything happening here but it just goes to show that there are talented and original producers making beats in all sorts of dark corners of Egypt's underground scene. What else took us by surprise was that, 30 seconds into the track, what was building up to a very average House track turned into a scattershot sampled monster of a Groove, underlined by that warm synth sound that stands out in most of his productions. It’s hard to quite put your finger on what kind of direction Blufrank is going for but if we had to take a shot, we'd say he lives somewhere in between 70s Disco, Funk and Minimal House. Either way, we stopped making guesses about the mystery producer and got in touch...
When and how did you get into producing?
Hmmm, I can't tell you when exactly because I went through several phases but I started taking it seriously last summer.
I guess what sparked the idea of me being a producer is the visuals and sounds that I have in my mind, the feelings that I have, the feelings that I want to express, the stories that I’ve lived and the things that I want to do ...
What do you use to produce?
Have you played live anywhere yet? Do you DJ as well?
Nope, not yet, but I will soon and no I don't DJ.
What do you think is the specific element that makes one of your productions a Blufrank track and not just another House or Funk track?
A friend of mine, who knows who I am in real life, told me that when a track of mine gets played he feels like he is seeing everything from an old Polaroid camera. The same friend, and he is the only close friend of mine who knows who I am, told me that my music is music that he can chill and dance to, too. A local illustrator that I know told me that it isn’t just Dance music for clubs, it's music that he can listen to at home. Another friend of mine who is into mainstream music said that my music sounds weird but dance-y.
That’s their opinions and maybe it's true. My opinion is simply putting your own soul in what you make; it sounds like a conventional clichéd answer but, really, if people understand what it means to put yourself in something you make, they will understand what I mean.
From the technical point of view, I don't have a certain "ripped off a tutorial" working flow, so my sounds always have certain mixing and mastering. Plus, I always have my own theme on. Like, you won't find me making a Brostep track all of a sudden because that's what’s trending now. Add to that that I don't treat a track like a filler track, every track I make is a HIT to me, so if I don’t have an idea, I won't be trying to roll up anything for the listeners.
Do you have any techniques or effects you love to use when producing?
I love sampling and I love micro-sampling. I love sampling to the degree that I can compose a whole track without using a sample then add some samples just to feel that I sampled something, to the degree that I sample myself sometimes orI sample any noise made by my friends without their knowing. I sample the street noise sometimes, plus some out of key samples or compositions.
I do not produce well polished tracks because I always felt that the academically perfect studio mastering is really boring and repetitive, it makes the tracks sound like they are full of plastic, so I tend to make Lo-Fi music but really I don't like being called a Lo-Fi artist. I am just mastering and mixing in an unorthodox way, that's all.
Who are your favourite artists/DJs/Bands at the moment?
Who are your favourite local artists?
Now? No one really, all my local musical heroes turned out to be assholes and that's sad. Faced with the harsh life we are living in Egypt, they bent their beliefs for more exposure. Selling out breaks my heart...
Do you have a musical background, play any instruments?
Nope, but my father was a Synth Pop/Disco/Funk/New-Wave/Soft Rock/Pop Rock/Pop fan. You should have seen him with his swagged up Afro and his 70s clothes (including those wide-legged pants). Anyway, he's got a huge ass library full of lots of bands' discographies, lots of cassettes from the 70s and 80s, lots of movies from that era too on VHS, and my father was the one who made the playlist in the car or at home, he was the one who choose the movies that we watched, so that was the musical background to me. With regards to playing instruments, I am currently working on teaching myself keyboard and piano skills.
Why the name Blufrank?
I wanted something original and unheard of ... I wanted something that sounds like a new product, like a name that represents something but you don't know what it is. The mystery behind the name since it's composed of known words but an unknown meaning.
What inspires you outside of music?
Photography, films, relationships, my life, women in general, driving, night-life, good times, experimental ideas, fashion, beaches, the ring-road. When you spend lots of time in traffic, specially on that road, you start to think a lot about your status in life and the things that you want to do.
What do you think of the music scene here?
Fucked up, gang-banged to death… boring, and you always get the feeling that Egypt only has one singer that's making all this muthafuckin’ Habibi/Garahteeny music and of course we won't talk about the bar, which is really low. Add to that the standards are fucked. It's really shameful but I can see some artists are trying to give life back to music.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
In Egypt, doing my thing, being raw as fuck, then leaving it to God.
Keep up to date with Blufrank's releases on his fanpage here