The Egyptian producer has been performing at venues and festivals across Europe over the past year along side some of the biggest names in the industry, garnering a cult following with his eccentric sound that lives somewhere between chaabi and garage, metal and experimental electro. It's Oriental dance music on crack. It's infectious, enigmatic and totally original. Having only performed in Cairo once before, we've taken it upon ourselves to try and learn a little more about the one they call Rozzma. Check out his latest video for single Sheyaka and the interview below:
Where in Egypt are you from?
Why the name Rozzma, what does it mean?
Rozzma is stacks...stacks of money. Lots of it.
What's the symbolism of the Pharaoh mask?
What's the symbolism of the Pharaoh mask? It’s not just any Pharaoh mask, it’s Tutankhamon’s mask. It’s entirely made of 22.5 karat gold. In 1323 BC, I’m sure that was a big deal. Anyway, the actual mask exists in the Egyptian Museum but we broke its chin a few years ago and had to super glue it. Long story short, I feel like it deserves a bit more attention.
It's a very fresh sound. How would you describe your own music? How do others - promoters, media etc. usually go about labeling what you do?
I describe my sound as rave bass from a non-existent rave scene in Cairo. It’s really funny though how others label it as ‘World Music’ ’Electro Chaabi’ or ‘Oriental Electro’. Sometimes it sounds like an item on a Falafel store menu.
Where is your music best listened to?
In a big venue with a serious amount of sub.
Over the past year you've performed all across Europe but rarely in Egypt. Why is that?
I never really marketed the project in Egypt properly because it’s too futuristic for Egypt. But also, I’m using this marketing technique where I’ve been trying to gain as much foreign exposure as possible and then presenting the project to Egyptians as something that’s already credible abroad. It works with Egyptians because we have this ‘3o2det el khawaga’ or Foreign Fascination Complex.
How did you become such a popular booking in specific European cities?
Hard work and sh*#t loads of emails.
Favorite gig so far and why?
Dour Festival 2016, because (a) I got to hang out with Peaches backstage (nobody reading this article will probably know who Peaches is), (b) I got to play at F*#KING DOUR FESTIVAL, (c) The Belgian crowd is probably the craziest ever.
Any weird stories from tour?
There was one gig I played in Switzerland where there were only 7 people, including the promoter and the bar staff. I also chilled with Busy P once and he liked my track.
Does it give you any kind of nationalistic satisfaction to export a sound that is born from Egypt or is it simply a case of fulfilling your own artistic needs?
I just do this because I can and I love it :))
What does your live set up look like?
So many cables that EgyptAir wouldn’t let me fly once.
Do you think electro chaabi is a trend, or a sound that's here to last?
I wouldn’t know because I’m not really part of it. I hope it keeps developing though.
Which artists are you inspired by locally and abroad?
Locally: Abyusif - ZULI - Aya Metwalli - Youssef Abouzeid -
Abroad: MIA - Kanye - SHED - Peaches -
Can you enlighten us on your lyrical inspirations? What are the lyrics usually about?
My lyrics come from imaginary situations where I envision myself out of the studio in any social context. I don’t ever leave my cave, like ever. So nothing that I write about comes from any real experience. It’s just all pure fantasy. And swag of course...
Any upcoming gigs or releases to look out for?
I’m currently finishing my debut EP titled Donya Fakka. It will definitely be out before the end of the summer.