We hit the 'ahwa' with the dynamic DJing duo, Amr Emad and Mostafa El Sherif - AKA Disco Misr - to find out how they seamlessly blend Deep House and Nu Disco with Arabic Pop, Shaabi and more, making a style that's all their own...
Disco Misr have been making waves with booking after booking, as more and more partiers, party throwers and venues have been looking for their unique sound. From their recent Gouna gigs, to their TIU parties and the most recent edition of B-Side, it seems that the duo, made up of Amr Emad and Mostafa El Sherif, are unstoppable, and will be around for a while. You may not know it, but Disco Misr have been around for a while now, performing under different names until they settled on a sound and style and named it Disco Misr two years ago. Despite being unknown, "a lot of people come up to us and ask us who we are and how long have we been around, and if we're affiliated with Disco Misr the radio show!" laughs Emad. "While it's always a great pleasure for us to meet new fans and see the crowd's reaction, we always feel slightly disappointed being affiliated with that show, because not only was our name stolen but our tracks as well, or the ideas behind them, are being ripped off and done 100 times worse than any interpretation we could have had." We meet the guys at our local ahwa ahead of their Cairo Jazz Club debut on October 23rd.
Disco Misr was born because the guys were sick of Electro/Progressive House which was already dying, full of noise, and a little lacking in melodies and rhythm. Deep House and Nu-Disco were getting big at the time, and that's when the guys decided to add their touch to it, and infuse it with some Shaabi, 80s/90s Arabic Pop classics or even film samples. "If were to describe our sound I guess it would be something along the lines of oriental fusion," says Emad, while El Sherif adds: "While it's safe to assume that we will always include Deep House or Nu-Disco as the backing sound, we always try to keep things fresh. If I were to describe what makes our sound special, I would say it's the element of surprise; the crowd is never safe to assume what we have planned for them... Underground, Commercial, a Pop piece or a movie sample. We even surprise each other on the day of the gig, keeping ourselves on our toes. Sometimes Amr or myself will be working on a project all week without the other person knowing and on the day of the gig we will present to each other the idea, and love it and decide to play it then and there. And in that same sense we get all different reactions from our guests, some feel nostalgic, while others sing along with some even laughing to childhood jingles."
The boys really doubt that their sound is a fad, as to them they see a pool of endless Egyptian pop culture that can be incorporated into their music and, seeing as how they are currently monopolising the market and the demand for this sound, they reckon they will be around for years and years to come. "Our sound is also evolving, like with the B-Side gig recently we completely stayed away from our Deep House and Nu-Disco roots and moved to something more Nacelle- friendly, which is funk infused Arabic tunes, so we're always able to change and adapt to what the situation is and what the crowd desires," says Emad. "And that's what makes a great DJ. Obviously a lot of research and great mixing skills are key but, more importantly, is having something different than what everyone else is doing or offering. The trend of Deep House and Nu-Disco is ending in Egypt as we speak, so we're trying to revive that in a sense before the loop ends by adding that certain element to the usual grooves and beats of the genres," says El Sherif.
When it comes to their favourite parties the boys believe in booze, booze and more booze rule, saying that the most fun parties they DJed at were the ones where there was free booze or open bars, because it's the social lubricant that Egyptians seem to require loosen up to start dancing singing along to even enjoying the humorous side of Disco Misr.
In terms of having local or international influences, the duo seem to have none at the moment or ever, really, because no one does quite what they're doing in terms of music. If course they like a lot of DJs and international acts, even aspiring to hopefully one day reach the professional level of Goldfish, but in terms of idols or inspiration, they just draw from a number of elements and not necessarily this DJ or that producer. With an endless pool of material to draw from, it would be safe to say that the boys won't be running out of steam anytime soon.
Before we ended, the boys wanted to reiterate that "We have nothing to do with Disco Misr the radio show! We had the name way before, and it seems like they're always using material that's very similar to ours, and in a time frame that's oddly close to the stuff we're putting out. But to the trained ear it would be very easy to distinguish the difference between our work and their work."
Follow up with everything Disco Misr through their Facebook page here, and their Soundcloud which can be found below.
Photography for CairoScene by Ahmed Najeeb.