Ever since I discovered saib's beats, I've been intrigued with the passion, energy and general vibe of the young Moroccan producer. As we're slowly "chasing" all of our favourite producers, it was only natural to invite him for an interview and find out more about his life and inspiration.
I must say - this next few lines were quite insightful and inspiring. It's amazing to see young people like Hamza to push boundaries not only in the music field, but in every life situations. I won't meet most of those people in real life, but the short glimpses of their lives and paths are always like little gems. I hope you enjoy our talk/interview and don't forget to check out the amazing mix saib created for us.
Before we start with anything else, I have to ask you - how many hours a day you sleep? I feel you're a machine for beat production and every track sounds better than the previous one!
Haha, I just have so much free time to create music. Music is a passion to me so time goes by very fast when I'm producing tracks. Dedication and passion are very important for an artist and its growth !
So, now back to the mix you created for us - what was the inspiration behind it?
I really enjoyed making this one. Some of the tracks are my all time favorites including new ones I recently discovered. There's Hip-Hop, Nu-Jazz, Downtempo as well as Jazz Fusion which adds different grooves to the mix
You're from Casablanca, Morocco - to what extend you think your roots have influenced on your beats? A lot of them seem to be inspired by various exotic locations from around the world.
Casablanca has people from different cultural backgrounds, so living there has given me a broad perspective about life and music specially. I grew up listening to different music genres but I was always attracted to Brazilian sounds which reflects a lot on my sounds (people always ask if I'm from Brazil because of that, haha).
I like to push music to the limit by fusing different music genres together,for instance a blend between Traditional Chinese music, a Migos vocal and a groovy beat would be quite the challenge but what would life be without challenges ?
What's the music scene like in Casablanca?
The scene in Casablanca is very shallow when it comes to Music. People here are more interested in pop music, EDM, techno or any song that has a 4/4 signature. Showcasing Jazz Hiphop and Bossa Nova is a very hard thing to do here since the general public isn't interested in this kind of music, and you can't do much alone.
As far as I know, I don't really know Moroccan producers who make similar music, but if you're into Electronic music I'd recommend checking Yasmean and Daox, they're really dope.
Earlier this year you dropped your Buena Vista EP which was an absolute delight and it took over the Internet by surprise. Why Buena Vista? Have you ever been there?
The title was actually a suggestion from Hip Dozer, the guys I released the EP with. It means good view in Spanish which really fits with the idea I had in mind when I was making the EP.
I'm not really good at naming songs or releases so most of the time I ask friends for help or think about the first thing I feel when listening to the songs. I'm really glad people enjoyed Buena Vista, the feedback I got was crazy so I can't ask for anything better.
Besides beat-making, you're also a guitarist. Which came first and do you think it's important for producers nowadays to also play a music instrument?
I used to play the violin when I was 10 but after two years I decided to switch for the guitar which looked way cooler, haha. I used to play blues, fingerstyle music and progressive rock and I ended up focusing on improvisation, bossa-nova and jazz. 3 years ago my brother introduced me to music production and suggested to start recording music on the laptop, I really wanted to make sounds like Nujabes (my phone had the full Nujabes discography and I was really into Japanese Hip-hop at the time), so I started messing around with Ableton and here we are now!
Playing a music instrument definitely helps you have your own signature on your tracks just like FKJ, Masego or Tom Misch, but you can also make great music with sampling and still have originality if you're creative enough.
What's your current home studio setup? Would you mind take a picture for us and walk us through it?
Making music at first was just a hobby so I had the minimal equipment for that: a laptop and my Samsung headphones. I kept working with these and released Ipanema and other EPs before getting a Maschine Mikro MK2, a soundcard to record my guitar and studio monitors.
I also have a Roland SP-404SX that I want to use for beatsets but I still never had the chance to use it properly. I believe that you don't need tons of hardware to make great music, so I still make everything with my good old HP laptop, play drums on the Maschine as a midi controller and use my headphones when it's late at night.
How does your average day looks like? Is music a full-time job at this point?
For now I'm on holiday, so I can make music whenever I want. But usually the average day consists of going to class, watching anime, making music and sleep a lot. I don't go out very much because I feel there is nothing to do in Casablanca, so I spend most of my free time working on music. Next month I'll be travelling to China to study mandarin for a year and then get a master degree in computer science which is my actual major.
Making a living off my music would be the dream but I don't wanna risk it for now. Living in Asia will give me more opportunities to perform compared to Morocco but I'm still keeping it as a hobby for the moment. Besides, I really like studying computer science, specially when it comes to Machine Learning, Business Intelligence and Data Mining, I still want to know more about this field and eventually get a degree while making music.
What inspires you when it comes to producing music?
I get inspired a lot by Anime soundtrack music, believe it or not, but the best music comes from there. Artists like Yoko Kanno, Shiro Sagisu, Yuji Ohno and Nujabes are my all time favorites. Furthermore, it depends on the mood I'm in : sometimes I feel funky so I start recording a groovy track, and sometimes I feel mellow so I look for jazzy samples. I also live on the 6th floor and the view from my bedroom is very nice, which helps me a lot in the creative process. Oh, and I almost forgot, drinking Moroccan mint tea while making music is very important too!
Have you had a chance to tour and play live around the world already? If you could pick any place, where would you like to perform?
I still never played live, but playing around the world and sharing my music would be crazy. I'm super excited to go to China and discover the Asian continent because people there really like my music . I'll eventually get more chances to perform live and probably make an Asia tour. Playing in Japan, Brazil or the US would be awesome.
I bet you've made a lot of Internet producer friends from around the globe. Who are the people who you look up to and support you along the music journey?
Indeed, I like how music unites people and connects them from all around the world. Getting support from artists like Flamingosis, Brock Berrigan, nymano is absolutely fantastic, we also talk to each other from time to time so everything feels like a giant family. I'm still growing as a musician, and looking up to these guys is definitely helping me improve my sound. I also have my family, specially my brother, who's always helping and supporting me in music and life in general.
What's next for saib in 2017?
I recently released my album Bebop which will be my last release from Morocco before heading to China. I'm planning to release another album and two EPs probably in 2018. The album will have physical copies which is really exciting. I have a lot of unreleased tracks on my laptop so I'm waiting for the right time to plan each release.
Thanks for the interview! Any last words of wisdom?
Enjoy the little things in life, spread love and love yourself. Thank you for having me and thanks to everyone who listens and supports my music. I never expected having so many people from all around the world enjoy what I do, I'm really grateful for that and can't wait to see what's happening next.