The ever changing Egyptian music scene has long been crafting innovative tunes across a multitude of genres, that’s why when we hear something that takes us aback, it’s exciting. Enter Pink Seasalt, the Egyptian indie rock band creating a new wave with their dreamy collage of eclectic tunes.
Earlier this year on March 10th, at Memphis Records’ Tidal Dream Festival, the band showcased their talents with a mesmerizing purple-hazed live performance, drawing Beatlemania-esque fangirl screams, chants and stealing the hearts of all the festival’s attendees.
Founded by the Egyptian guitarist, music producer and songwriter, Mahmoud Hafez, Pink Seasalt has since been quenching rock music enthusiasts’ thirst for true homegrown rock music. Mahmoud, who has been playing guitar since he was 14 years old, studied music production and performance at LCCM in the pulsing heart of the music scene, London.
Recalling this time, Pink Seasalt’s Mahmoud Hafez shares with us how it affected his way of making music, ‘Definitely affected my music a lot, in a sense, it helped me explore a certain sound more, and understand what I’m doing… the guitar is my drawing board, it is where everything starts’. He says. ‘I am a very curious person and I like to know what I am doing. So, it really helped calm down that curiosity. I was also surrounded by an amazing group of musicians all the time, the environment itself was very helpful. And you know, London’s music scene is insane, so it was a very good experience, I am glad I did it’. He adds. After finishing his studies, Hafez knew he wanted to make his own music and start his own project. Hence, Pink Seasalt was brought to life.
The band released their debut album, ‘Out of Luck’, which they have been working on for four years, last Friday, May 5th. Heavily inspired by international music producers such as Mac DeMarco, Tame Impala, and Unknown Mortal Orchestra, the lead singer of Pink Seasalt preferred bedroom recordings when approaching the making of the album. ‘Out of Luck’ was created in bedrooms across London, Cairo, Paris, and Alexandria. So, it has travelled a bit’. Hafez jokingly shares.
Mixed and mastered by Daniel Bebawi, the eight-track album takes us on a journey of self-discovery, love and heartbreak, featuring a whopping list of tracks sweetly blending 60s psychedelia, Alt Rock, Neo Soul, Folk and World Funk. Honing on universal themes such as nihilism, self-doubt, and imposter syndrome, Out of Luck struck a sensitive cord, relating stories of nightlife, short-lived love affairs, and homesickness.
Opening with a bittersweet note ‘Expectations’ unlocks the code of making peace with one’s childhood. Through its reflective, wry and affective lyrics, adorned with a tranquil guitar solo swiftly, the artist embraces his imperfection in the chorus ‘Cause I grew up with so much expectations..and I was in such a rush to grow. And I found out in my isolation that in imperfections is where we grow’.
Meanwhile, ‘Shorts Full of Sand’ nurses the emotional whiplash that comes with short-lived flings. The song sets a mood with a slow melancholic guitar riff accompanying Hafez’s both musing and reminiscence over a lost summer affair. ‘Shorts full of sand and dirty expensive shoes..’, the creator of Pink Seasalt sings in the opening verse.
‘Tremolo’ though, as the name suggests offers a quivering neo-soul guitar that fully captures the anxiety surrounding intimacy in relationships. With the R&B singer, Sya Sanon as the backing vocalist, the lyrics are enveloped by hymn-like harmonies, which almost feel like they came straight out of a gospel choir. Sya Sanon’s angelic vocals make consistent appearances throughout the album in other tracks such as Out of Luck, Road Trips, Shorts Full of Sand, as well as Spirals.
In track 6, ‘Riddles’, the piece of cake hidden among the rest of the tracks, nevertheless a wind-knocking standout, the multi-instrumentalist artist Mahmoud Hafez flexes his self-taught killer guitar tricks in a plethora of dreamy guitar solos. Think of a Jimi Hendrix minus the acid.
The last track ‘Road Trips’, weaves world music influences through its procession and rhythms with quite soulful funk rock guitar and purely jazzy trumpets throughout the end. In hindsight, signing off on a very good note.
Pink Seasalt will host a launch party for the album at Cairo Jazz Club in Agouza on May 25th.
‘Out of Luck’ is now available on all streaming platforms for you to hear and get lost in.