Rihanna with a side of Tabla and Req? How about a version of Pharrell's Happy that's fit for a street wedding? We talk to DJ Ramy Blazin' - the brilliant mind behind some of the best Shaabi remixes we've heard come out of Egypt...
Since the real sound of Cairo's youth, Shaabi, came into prominence on an international scale, there have been many attempts to infuse and blend the scattershot Electro sound with other westernised genres - but no one has done it quite like DJ Ramy Blazin'. The Egyptian producer, whose roots lie in Progressive House, has a special knack for mashing up massive pop hits from Rihanna to Pharell and even Super Mario with Shaabi inflections, drops and loops that are so on it it's akin to comedic timing. Have a listen and check out our Q & A with Blazin' himself below...
When and how did you get into production and what kind of music did you produce when you first started?
I played guitar at the age of 16 but it never felt it enough to just be a guitarist so I started to learn the piano. That still didn't feel like enough for me so I started to produce my own tunes and I've been an Electronic/House music producer since 2007. My first real hit was in 2010; Evanescence - Bring Me To Life Remix.
What kind of songs do look for to do a Shaabi remix, is there a specific beat or just anything popular?
At first I was just remixing EDM tracks for fun but when it got really popular I had to take it to another, commercial level. So I began to remix songs that are more popular on the mainstream charts, starting with Pharell Williams' Happy and the feedback was great.
What is your production process and what do you use to produce?
I use Fruityloops Studio to produce my tracks. If it's a remix with a vocal, I have got to find a clear a capella version, then I start creating basic chords that fit the melody. Then I start adding my own crazy stuff.
What do you think of the Shaabi scene in Egypt at the moment and do you feel it is a sound which will last on an international scale?
Well, I think that Shaabi music is the most popular kind of music being played everywhere now more than any other time. But first let me explain that this Shaabi music is just the old Arabic Maqsoom beat but it's been taken to whole other level. I myself trying to add the part that is missing - the melody not just the percussion and rhythm - and I think that this can take it to the international realm, as I make Shaabi remixes, the same way House music is produced.
Who are your favorite musicians?
David Guetta, Dash Berlin, Inna, Akcent, Edward Maya, Amr Diab and a few more.
What sort of feedback from these remixes have you received from people in the Shaabi scene in Egypt?
Some people tried to feature me but I'm kind of trying to go on my own path and not the auto-tuned vocal style that's popular today.
Where have you played live so far?
That's kind of of a hard question. I could say many but my last event was Victoria College in Alexandria's Graduation.
Do you plan on releasing an album of these remixes at some point?
I'm producing couple of original tracks featuring good names this summer they will be released after Ramadan.
Get more from Ramy Blazin' on his Facebook here.