With great honour we present Damascus-based talent, Walashi. Taking care of an ethnic & oriental influenced 80th instalment in our TGMS Future Stars series.
Connect with Walashi on Soundcloud | Facebook | Instagram
Where are you from (city/area) and what makes that place special?
I am from Damascus, Syria. The cradle of civilization. What makes Damascus stand out is that despite the war and the tragedies the citizens keep on going. There is love in the air. There’s a strong sense of a unified community and no matter the circumstances, people naturally help each other out. We have our borders always open even when almost everyone closed theirs. Furthermore, the culture and history are brilliantly abundant for that I believe our ancient ancestors’ spirits are protecting Damascus.
In spite of everything, people are optimistic. They are using their humour to lighten up their situations, they are working regardless of any factor. They have hope even when the majority is showing no support and we feel the love in our homes, memories, experiences, families and values. Our collective love for the country is what keeps us going and believing everything will be peaceful again.
How do you see the electronic music scene evolve in and around the city or country?
I have been living abroad for the past 7 years. I recently moved back so a lot of things changed here ever since. Obviously, due to the war, there has been a lot of sad alterations. The way I see the electronic music scene here right now is abandoned or non-existing. There were a couple of underground clubs and electronic music venues but I didn’t have the chance to experience them as they closed prior to my arrival. On the other hand, the art and music scene is evolving positively. I feel like I came here at the right moment to connect with creative minds to develop the electronic music scene. Especially, creative individuals are truly motivated to initiate their talents and ideas on this. Moreover, we want to blend other forms of art with music, to enhance the electronic music scene and I believe there is true potential. Patiently and step by step we are starting, but it is challenging due to the country’s situation and lack of tools.
So, we have a vision to make a change here. We are working on projects to develop the electronic music scene and there is a high demand but the resources are limited. I believe soon the events here are going to be viral. But it will need time. And with time our wounds will heal and transform into art.
It was not easy what we all went through. This war unexceptionally affected everyone and it’s time to move on and come back better than ever. What is interesting also is that most of us fled during the war and now many are returning. This way we can create art from what fundamentally inspires and influences us here with what we packed in our experience luggage from foreign countries. I believe this will bring out another level of creativity.
How has your music been influenced by other artists, musicians, or life in general?
To the greatest scale! First, since I was a baby the only way they would stop me from crying or to keep me distracted is by switching on the stereo to high volume and I would just dance. As I grew up, music has always been a driving force in my life. I loved to listen to various types of music such as folkloric, jazz, old Arabic, world music and ethnic. I enjoyed operas and orchestras. I am always enthusiastic about exploring new genres. Countless musicians have influenced my music from Sabah Fakhry to Satori. From Nina Simone to Morphine. When I hear or find new tracks or sets I can be influenced right away. Other forms of art also play a role. When I look at a painting or a sculpture, for example, I try to convey its melody. Also, of course, the voices of nature have an essential influence.
Sufism and the mantras I heard in India also were a boost of influence. It fascinates me how the simplicity of the music and chanting divine words can have such immense energy that connects people together to a spiritual level beyond ego. Plus, the tunes are so catchy I cannot resist not singing along or dancing. Every moment and place is a birth of influence and inspiration. For me, music and poetry complement each other. When I read poetry its music to my heart and when I listen to music its poetry for my soul. Everything has its influence. Every moment inspiration is born.
Where does your passion for electronic music come from?
Nicolas Jaar, the musical genius! His tracks and sets are spellbinding and enchanting. His sets are extremely weird and outwardly yet so compelling and captivating, putting a grip on my attention. He never fails to surprise me. I mean when you listen to his sets you can never predict what’s coming next or what is even going on at some moments. His creativity is uniquely rare. His artistry and brilliance are boundless. I believe he is incredibly talented. His music is from another dimension. I fell instantly in love with his art. It was love at first sound. My admiration and respect for him are endless. My passion for electronic music was born.
Oceanvs Orientalis’ “Asfour” intensified my love for electronic music. This song especially means a lot to me, it’s an Arabic song and the original version is an isolated vocal track … no instruments. I can deeply resonate with the lyrics and the singer’s mystical voice penetrates into my heart, I used to feel her speaking directly to me. Then when I heard OVO’s version I was mind-blown how these tools, machines and programs have the capability to combine a solitary vocal sound with brilliantly creative beats, loops, and melodies. My passion for electronic music amplified.
One of the earliest events (I think the second party) by The Gardens of Babylon. It opened all imaginable portals I had and after that night my whole life changed drastically. The atmosphere and concept accumulated to what I conceive as a perfect event. It was just so magical I couldn’t believe this was real. I was deeply imbued with their music selection which was sensational and entrancing. The DJs were phenomenal. That night my love for on electronic music grew even more. It was mystic, melodic, meditative, mysterious, spiritual, ethnic and shamanic. Those sounds are intensely alluring, especially when composed or reworked with electronic elements. My passion for electronic music expanded.
strong>How would you describe your sound and style?
This is a tricky question, I think it’s very hard for me to label it. It is really intuitive for me, also each set I made so far are kind of different than each other yet invariably there is a similar aura. First, I have to mention that my life is a bipolar rollercoaster. So, it really depends on which mood, what I am going through or what my intentions are to deliver. But consistently, my main motive and aim are to evoke feelings.
My purpose is to combine ancient sounds, blend dulcet vocals, merge oriental, ethnic and tribal melodies with electronic beats along with fusing insightful flowing philosophical messages that can enlighten the awakening of our soul. I always like to add a touch of wisdom: some philosophical phrase or quote or short poem or script from guided meditations and so on. I like when the mix I record spirals through different dimensions and realms, connecting us to our all-pervading universal essence.
“Walashi” literally means “nothing” in Arabic. “Through Walashi’s music, you can dissolve the veils that hide you from your true self … no self. “
Right now, I am only mixing or DJing. However, I have an urge to fill by starting music production, collaborating and experimenting with musicians. My goal is to create a live performance setup. I believe this path will allow me to express myself more and connect with people to a significant extent.
What can we expect from the mix you made us?
It is downtempo, more ambient mix with melodic sounds and vocals. Also containing diverse instruments with variations of moods. It’s a mysterious vibe and a bit out of this realm. I was going through an emotional journey, so it kind of conveys my feelings into sound the time I recorded it. The draft name was “If feelings made sound”. Then at the closing of the mix, to elevate the mood, I finished with a track I find ridiculously funny.
How does love sound like?
Wow, this is so trippy because as I mentioned earlier, while I was recording the mix my intention was to express my feelings through sound and the draft name was “If feelings made sound”. This is crucially an extraordinary synchronization and I am so happy you asked this! Truly overfilled with joy and awe!
The sound of the force that manifests the universe
is the symphony of love.
Birds, bugs and trees dance to the notes of love.
Earth whirls to the chords of love.
The rhythm of love is one’s beating heart.
The harmony of love is one’s breathing flow.
The consonance of love is what bridges
the seen and unseen in unison.
The voice of love deciphers the mysteries of life.
All melodies are translations of love.
Welcome to the orchestral tutti of love.
This podcast sounds like love.
Thank you, Claudio!