Over recent years, an abundance of independent labels pinpointing specific left-field sounds have begun cropping up over the Arab region. This might imply that music scenes across the Middle East are growing and diversifying, but it also speaks of many artists' frustration in trying to get their music out there and heard, especially by labels abroad. As such, a new generation of musicians have come to realise the power they can potentially harness in creating DIY labels and connecting with a wider audience of listeners interested in everything from drone and noise to gabber and grindcore.
Egypt’s Sound of Noize label is the brainchild of Cairo-based producer and sound engineer, Eslam Salah, and was launched in early 2019 with an aim to provide a platform for artists creating music against the mold. In a short period of time, Sound of Noize has managed to do what all good labels have done: define their sound and have consistent releases. The eight digital records released under the label - produced by both local and international artists - hold in common a kind of garish ambient theme, floating between experimental inflections and field recording, which perfectly match the labels murky, monochromatic visual identity created with long-time collaborators, Nour Gad and Amr Ismail. The tracks are often theatrical scores, some more than 10 minutes long.
We caught up with Salah for a quick chat to delve deeper into his Sound of Noize
What motivated you to start your own label?
I wanted to create a platform for this kind of art, for experimental artists, either visual or sound-based and give them an opportunity to collaborate and produce new projects. We want to create an archive for experimental independent artists to be reached out to by everyone, either for businesses or new projects.
How would you describe the label's sound yourself?
We are trying to reflect on ideas that are locked deep inside ourselves. I’m motivated to produce this kind of music specifically because it has no limits and there is so much space for expression.
What kind of artists do you look for in terms of releases?
Any artist who is interested in experimental art.
Tell us a bit about the artists currently on your roster?
We have released several audio and visual projects with each of these artists: Maged El Sokary, Tarek Hakem, Lamya magdy, Mohamed Gad, Fatima El Rays, Gerorge Zakarya , Francesca Rose, Abdelrahman Adel, Salma Hany, Islam El abawy, Rageh, Nabela Tarek, Kairovert, Mayar Attia, Mostafa Wahed, Ahmed Younis, Atef Khaled, Noiztatic, Shafie Archive, Abosealyiek and mzx.
Which labels do you look up to for inspiration?
I Like ANBA, SLOVVDK and HIZZ in Egypt, as well as Beat Craft in Italy. They’ve proven that, even if your art is different or shattered, you can still build a community for it and make it more powerful.
What would you say are the main roles new independent labels like yourself play in the Middle East today?
They play a very important role in finding and discovering new, indigenous artists who are deeply-rooted in cultures and have not found a space to release their productions or a chance to perform.
What releases do you have coming up that we should look forward to?
We are working now on EP for Islam Elnabawi and some new singles from several artists. At the end of this year, we will release an audiovisual album featuring different artists selected through our platform.