Thursday, 28 February 2013

Adham Shaikh Interview

I first came across Adham Shaikh’s music on the Dakini Records compilation “Tribal Matrix 2” which includes his track “Kundalini Fuel”.  Digging deeper it transpired that he had been releasing music for some considerable time before that release. I’ve followed his uploads on Soundcloud and have been constantly impressed so it’s high time he featured on the Sun Is Shining.

1)     Firstly thank you for taking the time out from your busy schedule to complete this interview. Could you tell us a little about yourself and how you started your musical career?
My name is Adham Shaikh and I am a global bass producer (world fusion) exploring the relationships between sounds of the old world and the new, fusing electronics with traditional instruments from around the world.  Explorations of dance, dub, world, chill-out, down-tempo & funk.  I started playing classical piano from the age of five and studied classical piano and then composition for a few years at university. But the discovery of synthesizers at fourteen really changed my path and began my love affair with all things electronic.

2)     With HMV going into administration after 92 years it certainly high-lights the change in way people are purchasing music. As an artist who combines the traditional sounds of the past with the more modern electronic sounds do you still prefer the analogue synths or are you embracing the new technology to the point of music apps on your mobile?

The whole "industry" has changed and certainly the way we were making music in early 90's with multiple synths, drum machines, sequencers, outboard fx and big mixers has evolved to compact possibilities in just a laptop with software. I have stayed with the tech and find myself especially on film projects working entirely in the computer with software samplers, software instruments, virtual fx and virtual mixing.   Even when I play live I have two ipads running synths and touch osc with laptop … amazing.  

I love analog synths though and still have a few of my favs from over the years a Jupiter 6, prophet 5, mks 80 and ms 20. Nothing sounds as pronounced and thick, I often record these into the computer as audio tracks.  But for song writing, speed of recall and accuracy of tuning (I work on lots of projects in different tunings) the soft synths and computer are often more than enough.

3) You have also released music with the sitar player Uwe Neumann as the DreamTree Project. Could you tell us more about this and will there be more releases in the future?
The DreamTree Project is a musical magic carpet ride featuring the classical sitar stylings of Uwe Neumann. I met him a number of years ago after his performance at the Montreal jazz festival. I approached him to see if he was interested in bringing the raga toward the dub music form.  To explore a light classical raga form with dance beats and big bass, aimed at bringing the raga to the electronic festival and a new audience. Who perhaps appreciate bass, as well as good vibrations? We are working on another album, but it's taking some time as we both also have busy solo careers to answer too.

We had a number of great performances last year and have developed some new material and hope this year to get more of it down on tape!

4)     You also produce scores for film and television how would you compare this to the music you release yourself?

Indeed, for the past ten years or so I have been exploring and developing music for film, both scoring to picture and licensing. A lot of the music that I write for film is a lot more ambient, and varied in style, for example one of my most recent projects for National Geographic where I was scoring lots of animal movement using tribal rhythm and drumming, with sound design layers and guitar layers (both midi and local guitarists).  You can hear examples of my film music on a recent release "Resonance" that is about to get re-released on ambient down-tempo label White Swann in the U.S. in the next few months.

5)      You’ve played numerous festivals all over the world. Do you have a particular favourite and where can fans see you this year?
It’s difficult to choose a favourite as they all have such unique experiences. Some notable festivals are Water Women festival in Ecuador.  Such an amazing location with a profound indigenous presence, amazing ceremonies and music (It’s the most profound festival that I’ve been too). While Luminate festival over in New Zealand combines lush countryside, super friendly people and good vibrations. Basscoast and Shambhala festival’s on the West coast of Canada and the Beloved festival in Oregon (sacred world music/electronic festival) has an amazing vibe with amazing music. Still up there in ranking the Samothraki dance festival in Greece in the early noughties with a volcano, warm ocean , 5.1 surround chill out , amazing artists, amazing food and little hotels.  Keep an eye on my web-site for current and forthcoming live performances.

6)     You released a re-mix album last year of 2010’s Universal Frequencies is their any new material in the pipeline?
I’ve got a few things going on this year. White Swann as previously mentioned are re-releasing Resonance (along with bonus tracks) as well as a best of compilation in a chilled yoga style due out in the fall.
There’s also volume 2 of Refractions featuring the Kaya Project, Desert Dwellers, Spoonbill and Drumspyder due for April the 20th. A solo album/ep on Wonderwheel for this year which features some of my more Latin influenced tunes and a solo ep through SonicTurtle this fall consisting of new bass heavy music from my new side-project  Basswhallah.  These are heavy ethno bass tunes, far heavier and harder than the tunes I release as "Adham Shaikh.”


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