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Neo Soul lovers, this one’s MADly for you!

MAD Blog Nu Soul MusicIn popular culture, Neo Soul is considered a relatively new genre that arose in the 1990s and quickly gained popularity among lovers of pop, jazz and R&B.

Neo Ninj is an up-and-coming dynamic French Neo Soul duo paving their way in the French music scene, hoping to break barriers and go global! Get to know more about how Neo Ninj started and what they hope to achieve in the future.

How would you define yourselves and what do you do?

We are a french neo soul band based in Paris. Alex plays bass and I, Nelly, sing and produce the tracks. We sing in both english and french and try to develop a world full of science fiction, glitch art and old school hip hop.

What pushed you to start Neo Ninj?

I’ve had different bands throughout the years but this time around I was looking for new musicians and new people to start a whole new, different project with. I met Alex at a fusion jazz music festival in Miami and we just started hanging out regularly. When we were both back in Paris, he listened to some of my first songs and liked them right away; after that I happened to hear him play bass at a private event and I liked his style and sound… And that’s how it all started!

Where did the name originate from?

A friend of mine used to call me “Ninj”, short for “lil ninja”, because I’ve always been full of energy and fond of action movies. I thought “Ninj” alone would be short for a band name and I wanted to add something extra to it; “Neo” came up while I was watching The Matrix one and I thought it would fit perfectly!

How has your experience as Neo Ninj been so far and what’s your take on the French music scene?

We’ve been blessed to be living in a city that is so diverse and that is home to so much incredible local talent. We’ve been having lots and lots of fun so far and it doesn’t stop there; we’re trying to collaborate with artists from different fields, mainly designers and other musicians to produce impactful and beautiful pieces.The french music scene is really vast and interesting, but we also listen to a lot of ‘western/american’ music mainly due to the weight of their impact in neo soul/RnB music!

What are your future plans?

We are currently working on our first EP and we’re releasing a new music video very soon. We’re also aiming  to shoot new music videos, building a trustful team to work with and maybe starting a label here in Paris (or somewhere else!)

Women in (M)usic, (A)rts, (D)esign

Women's Day Blog MAD It’s the twenty-first century and we’re all still fighting for the things we believe in, in art, in music, in design and in life. We’re still fighting for basic needs, we’re still fighting to have our voices be heard, we’re fighting for equality but more importantly, we’re fighting for human rights. There’s always an underdog and it’s not unnatural that these people constantly fight for their rights. This month, it’s women who are fighting; in the end, human liberty should be always be regarded, regardless of sex.

Speak up, speak up.
During MAD’s Artist Meet Up in Beirut, Lise Yacoub discussed the importance of women’s vast inclusion in the art world. Today more than ever, women all over the world are standing up and speaking up about the rights that they deserve, their inclusion in political, social and other fields as well as their equality among many other issues. Today more than ever, it’s important for every woman to do so.

Back to roots.
Before Women’s History Month was celebrated, the more popular International Women’s Day was designated on March 8 of every year to celebrate all the powerful and influential women who have, and continue to, fight for women’s rights. This dates back to the 1900s, when the day was originally proposed in the US and continued to spread among other countries throughout the years. It was officially recognized by the United Nations in 1975 and is celebrated every year worldwide through demonstrations and events.

So what is Women’s History Month?
Historically, Women’s History Month first started off as Women’s Week in the 1980’s. By 1995, March was officially declared as Women’s History Month in the United States. The month aims to raise awareness and knowledge about women’s contributions throughout history. The end goal is to recognize the different efforts put in by women, all of which have contributed in making social, political, environmental and other kinds of advancements and changes.

How does it link to women in arts?
Although it is said that women tend to be more creative than men, the representation of women in art fields remains to be minimal; even if that weren’t the case, the number of women artists striving to “make it” while their male counterparts have already “made it” is pretty high. Statistically, more male painters have their artworks portrayed in galleries than women. In the music industry, less than 30% of women ever make it to the top charts and in design, studies have proven that women are still the minority. Unfortunately, this reflects global insights.

Now what?
It’s our duty to always encourage all women: sisters, friends, girlfriends, acquaintances, colleagues, etc. to continue the fight to be heard, to be given equal opportunities and to be free. This happens by recognizing women’s history month and that women deserve to be as “out there” as men, in the workforce, in their freedom to express and in their basic needs.

Happy Women’s History month to all our artistic sisters!

 

Get To Know The MAD Gang: Rima & Lise

MAD CEO COO Sisters WomenYin & Yang, Farha wou Marha, the MAD sisters are inseparable.

Who is who? You never know! A complementary duo who thrives on exciting projects, mixing fun and business and traveling the world with a huge appetite!

If I were a song, I would be
Rima: Arc-en-Ciel – Polo & Pan
Lise: Stand by me – Ben E King

If I were an artist, I would be
Rima: Sia
Lise: Nina Simone

If I were a book, I would be
Rima: Harry Potter, just because we could use a bit of magic in this world!
Lise: La Valse aux Adieux – Milan Kunder

If I were a dish, I would be
Rima: Steak Frites
Lise:  EVERYTHING -“Joey doesn’t share food”

If I were a dessert, I would be
Rima: Île Flottante
Lise: Chocolat Liégeois in France i.e Chocolat Mou in Lebanon

If I were a spice, I would be
Rima: Herbes de Provence
Lise: Paprika

If I were a sport, I would be
Rima: Yoga or Tennis (depending on the mood!)
Lise: Dance (which I hope will turn into boxing soon)

If I were a period in history, I would be
Rima: Very happy to be born in this era so, I’m just gonna say the 90s
Lise: the 80’s, the most liberating and diversified era in Music, Arts & Design

If I were a movie, I would be
Rima: The Greatest Showman
Lise: Underground by Emir Kusturica

If I were a series, I would be
Rima: Friends
Lise: Friends (they don’t call us Farha wou Marha for nothing!)

If I were a verb, I would be
Rima: Love
Lise: Love

If I were an adjective, I would be
Rima: Joyful
Lise: Passionate

If I were one of the five senses, I would be
Rima: Touch
Lise: Touch

If I were a flower or a plant, I would be
Rima: White Rose
Lise: Gardenia

If I were one of the five elements, I would be
Rima: Air
Lise: Fire

Get MAD with day none!

DJ Electronic Engineer MAD BlogWorking in his domain as an engineer, Sam Ghobril combines his passion for what he does with his passion to produce music to become day none. If you’re a believer in the Lebanese music scene and a music lover, you will want to read on and get to know more about our latest MAD talent Sam and day none!

So, tell us a little about yourself: what do you do and how did you start playing music?
I’m currently an engineer working at Anghami and I’ve always been pretty involved with technology. When I was in high school, I discovered that I could combine my passion for tech with my passion for making music (having been a classically trained pianist). I first began messing with Logic Pro, a digital audio workstation, until eventually turning to Ableton Live, another kind of audio workstation and sequencer, and really diving into the possibilities of that piece of software.

Your life is very tech-oriented, so why stick to the same pattern and choose electronic music?
I feel that it began because of my familiarity with technology. It allowed me to quickly begin seeing my ideas turn into songs. Also, electronic music allowed me to make songs using nothing but my laptop if needed, which is hugely liberating. However, a lot of what I do relies on organic sounds and “classic” instruments. I record a lot of guitar, piano, and ukulele sounds that I play into my laptop, as well as a lot of random organic sounds such as environmental sounds, doors, tools, and more, manipulating them into something that’s sonically pleasing.

What does the name “day none” refer to/how did you come up with it?
It came from my frustration with delaying things until the first day of the week, month, year, etc. I realized that that never really justifies anything and all I have at every moment is now.

Who inspires you when making music and what’s your creative process?
Some of my favorite artists that I always refer to are Nicolas Jaar, Jamie xx, Four Tet and DJ Koze. I feel the emotions they’re able to convey through sound to be truly inspiring. I also love drawing inspiration from different forms of art, mainly modern art. As for my creative process, it involves a lot of experimentation. I could start with a sample from vinyl or a synth sound that I create, or maybe even a drum pattern, and then the track grows organically from there.

What’s your biggest fear and your biggest accomplishment so far?
My biggest fear is that my improvement stagnates. So far, listening back to older tracks of mine, I always notice an improvement and that really keeps me going. I don’t want to reach a point where that’s not the case. As for my biggest accomplishment, I’m not really sure, but the simple fact that I’m still making music and still performing is something that I don’t take for granted, and I just wish that nothing forces me to stop pursuing that passion.

What do you have to comment on the music scene in Lebanon and being a part of it?
I feel we have a lot of really great artists, and a lot of innovative music being made. However, I feel artists need more platforms to be able to reach wider audiences. I’m sure there’s a lot of music that we don’t get to hear simply because there’s no spotlight on these creations, or because some musicians have given up in frustration.

Where do you see day none and yourself in the near future?
Ideally, I hope to be able to reach a point where I can sustain myself through my music, be that through DJ gigs or a reasonable record label deal. In the very near future, I hope to be throwing a release party for my upcoming EP, and that I’m able to make the EP what I envision it to be.

Get To Know The MAD Gang: Bruno

Bruno Team Founder DJ

If I were a song, I would be: J’ai dix ans – Alain Souchon

If I were an artist, I would be: Madonna

If I were a book, I would be: Apologie de Socrate – Platon

If I were a dish, I would be: Boeuf bourguignon

If I were a dessert, I would be: Paris Brest

If I were a spice, I would be: Espelette Pepper – A non spicy spice

If I were a sport, I would be: Boxing

If I were a period in history, I would be: Now

If I were a movie, I would be: Les tontons flingueurs

If I were a series, I would be: Columbo

If I were a verb, I would be: Act

If I were an adjective, I would be: Persuasive

If I were one of the five senses, I would be: Taste

If I were a flower or a plant, I would be: Eucalyptus

If I were one of the five elements, I would be: Fire

Get To Know The MAD Gang: Tala

Tala MAD Gang Blog Community Manager

Someone who’s passionate about writing and all things digital. A foodie, series-lover, music-appreciator, moment-relisher, cat-owner and partly a positivity-spreader!

If I were a song, I would be: Song for you – Rhye / Habits – Tove Lo

If I were an artist, I would be: Yayoi Kusama. She’s accomplished a lot throughout her career while focusing on her passion, something I aspire to do one day

If I were a book, I would be: 40 Rules of Love – Elif Shafak

If I were a dish, I would be: Vegetable lasagna

If I were a dessert, I would be: Any form of chocolate. You are what you eat!

If I were a spice, I would be: Cardamom

If I were a sport, I would be: Snorkeling. I’ve never tried it but it seems peaceful and liberating

If I were a period in history, I would be: 1920’s [minus the sexism]. Gatsby party, yes please!

If I were a movie, I would be: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

If I were a series, I would be: Friends. Perfect mix of everyday drama and humor

If I were a verb, I would be: Thinking. It’s the most important thing to do before acting

If I were an adjective, I would be: Balanced

If I were one of the five senses, I would be: A tie between sound and sight. I love to listen to everything around me and take it in but I also like to observe as things happen

If I were a flower or a plant, I would be: A palm tree. Resilient and also the meaning of my name!

If I were one of the five elements, I would be: Void

How MAD are As Per Casper!?

As Per Casper MAD Blog Interview

She has always had a passion for music and singing. Despite having a successful career in finance in a multinational company, Carla Saad was adamant on pursuing her passion, music, which is why she left her job in 2014 to dedicate her full focus on As Per Casper. Read on to find out WHY, HOW and WHAT!

I read somewhere that you quit your fulltime to pursue As Per Casper, how come?

I was growing more and more weary and frustrated as my mind struggled to disconnect from the ‘corporate‘ to tap in to the ‘creative‘. I found myself dissatisfied with my profession despite my success and achievement. Something was always missing; it didn’t feel like me and not pursuing my passion was slowly becoming disruptive. I had just turned 30 and I remembered realizing that this passion, the one that keeps me up at night sometimes and the one that has been a vital part of my life ever since I could speak, surely deserved my full focus. Somehow, everything fell into place once that realization happened. Shortly after, I was introduced to Frank Kafka’s work and his words as quoted below, that he had written over 100 years ago, simply summed up my experience.

“It is easy to recognize a concentration in me of all my forces on writing. When it became clear in my organism that writing was the most productive direction for my being to take, everything rushed in that direction”, “Naturally, I did not find this purpose independently and consciously, it found itself, and is now interfered with only by the office, but that interferes with it completely…. My development is now complete and, so far as I can see, there is nothing left to sacrifice; I need only throw my work in the office out of this complex in order to begin my real life.

The Diaries of Franz Kafka, 1910-1913

How did As Per Casper come to life?

I had made a new friend at football, Sebrina, who had mentioned that she was a musician. It took a jam session or two for us to realise and appreciate the musical harmony between our voices and styles. An impressed friend taking part in the first ever Sikka Art Fair, a contemporary gathering of young talents, in 2011 had recommended us to management and we got in. We needed a name and fast. Casper had already been my nickname at that point as Sebrina deemed me the whitest Arab she had ever met and with a quirky suggestion from one of our other friends, As Per Casper came into play and still is.

How is the music scene in Dubai and the Middle East?

I have been around the scene long enough to see it go through many stages. From there being no platforms for original music to be showcased to having several initiatives come into play, introducing Dubai (& Abu Dhabi) to the amazing local talent and exposing the local talent to an audience. As Per Casper has gotten to where it is as a result.

The scene continues to see regular shifts and I believe it’s due to the following:

  • The UAE’s turnover in expats which brings with it shifts in interests and musical tastes as well as the need for continuous reestablishment by bands.
  • It is also very much dictated by the brands in the market. For example, renowned sports brands associate more with the hip hop scene and back it up accordingly by collaborating with artists; events like Sole, establishments like D3, brands like Adidas all provide opportunities for artists in this category. This boosts that specific genre as a result.

The scene is what major players/influencers shape it to be. They mold and make it into what they want. I felt that tangibly when I co-founded the Rock Camp for Girls UAE in 2013 to encourage more women to enter the music scene at an early age, and that did indeed happen. So it’s up to us as artists to pave the way.

As of today, I believe musicians continue to be seen as entertainers instead of artists and that’s a shame as the original content coming out of the region is powerful and deserves to be heard and recognized.

What are you future aspirations/plans for As Per Casper?

We want to reach further and more. We want our music to be heard regionally and internationally and for that to happen we need to be present in these areas. We want to go on tours, perform for audiences, connect with them directly and not behind a screen or on social media platforms. That’s why we are in the process of booking gigs outside of the UAE.

Final remarks?

Thank you for your interview and interest in our story and journey. We need people and organizations like you to help us carry our music forward!

 

Get To Know The MAD Gang: Quentin

MAD Team Gang Quentin Rock Community Artist Marketing

Someone who wants to work in the music industry and loves partying, chilling with his friends, going to concerts and playing guitar just as much as saying stupid things and making jokes.

If I were a song, I would be : Saramona Said by Violent Soho or Society by Eddie Vedder

If I were an artist, I would be : PUP (a canadian punk-rock band), the weird mix between punk and super nice people (canadian style!)

If I were a book, I would be: Le miracle Spinoza by Frédéric Lenoir

If I were a dish, I would be: The duck pie (tourte au canard)

If I were a dessert, I would be: Tarte à la praline

If I were a spice, I would be: Wasabi

If I were a sport, I would be: Rugby

If I were a period in history, I would be: The 70’s/80’s

If I were a movie, I would be: Fight Club

If I were a series, I would be: Community

If I were a verb, I would be: Party

If I were an adjective, I would be: Insane

If I were one of the five senses, I would be: Sound

If I were a flower or a plant, I would be: A Japanese cherry tree

If I were one of the five elements, I would be: Air

Get To Know The MAD Gang: Nermine

MAD Gang Nermine Project Manager

Someone who gives deep appreciation to little things and loves to be herself rather than being someone else as she considers anyone else is already taken. She’s a fire sign and loves everything to be on fire.

If I were a song, I would be: Je Veux by Zaz

If I were an artist, I would be: Frida Kahlo

If I were a book, I would be: The Fault In Our Stars – John Green

If I were a dish, I would be: Sweet and sour

If I were a dessert, I would be: Apple crumble

If I were a spice, I would be: Cinnamon

If I were a sport, I would be: Swimming

If I were a period in history, I would be: 1990

If I were a movie, I would be: Me Before You

If I were a series, I would be: Money Heist

If I were a verb, I would be: Dance

If I were an adjective, I would be: Bubbly

If I were one of the five senses, I would be: Hearing

If I were a flower or a plant, I would be: Gardenia

If I were one of the five elements, I would be: Fire

Get To Know The MAD Gang: Karim

MAD Gang Team Karim Article

Full time joke-maker. Sometimes, you can say I’m a DJ.

If I were a song, I would be : Quand tu allais on revenait – IAM

If I were an artist, I would be : Georges Moustaki

If I were a book, I would be : L’etranger  – Albert Camus

If I were a dish, I would be : Bazella wou roz

If I were a dessert, I would be : Ice cream!

If I were a spice, I would be : Curry

If I were a sport, I would be : (We’re playin’) BasketBall

If I were a period in history, I would be : Cold War

If I were a movie, I would be : The Godfather 1

If I were a series, I would be : Ozark

If I were a verb, I would be : To “Do”

If I were an adjective, I would be : (Cause I’m) Happy

If I were one of the five senses, I would be : Touch

If I were a flower or a plant, I would be : Cactus

If I were one of the five elements, I would be : Air