Music unites. This is not just a common saying, rather, it is what happened for two days at Dar Al Athar Al Islamiyya in Yarmouk Cultural Center. The Red Bull Music Academy has brought together artists from different parts of the world to Kuwait in order to share their passion and participate in the second Red Bull Music Academy Session Kuwait. The academy gathered musicians, composers, producers and vocalists from Kuwait and gave them the opportunity to be part of workshops, talks and share their experience with some of the most talented international and regional musicians.
One of the notable attendances during the sessions and the live performance of Kuwait Rising Music Festival was Samer Etienne Chami aka Etyen – Music producer and Electronica musician from Beirut.
When did you start a career in music?
I put out the first Etyen EP and started performing about three years ago. Before that, I was playing in bands as a guitarist and singer. I eventually started recording by myself and then producing – I realized I was good at it and thought this is what I wanted to do. When I went to London, I enrolled in sound engineering and mixing courses and once I returned to Beirut, I released my first EP Happy New Year.
Was music an intrinsic passion or did you have to learn it?
I have taken courses in sound engineering and mixing – as a child I learned to play the piano, which rather formed an important base for me. I come from a family that has a deep connection to music – my father was a musician and I have always been musically involved. I taught myself guitar and a bunch of instruments growing up and there isn’t a time I can think of when music wasn’t my main passion.
How do you feel about being part of the Red Bull Music Academy session?
This is not my first time participating in a RBMA event. A month ago, I took part in RBMA Bass Camp Dubai and it was fantastic! I have participated in many other Red Bull Music Academy events in Lebanon in the last few years. I met Zahed Sultan, the host of the event in Beirut during a Red Bull Music Academy special event in Beirut last year that we were both playing, and this is how I got in here. It is a great opportunity to be here, the interaction with the audience is great.
What inspires you as a musician?
Nature inspires me a lot. For instance, I was part of a musical residency in seclusion in the mountains of Saratoga, California along with other musicians – this was the most inspiring time of my life! I say nature because I truly believe that music is a part of nature; everything around you speaks and produces sounds; the trees, the wind, the running water. I am also influenced by people’s ideas (that speak to me) – philosophers, novelists…etc., and my own experiences, obviously.
Other than nature, what gets you wanting to create music?
Heartbreak or any human experience exchanged with someone else, like love and friendship – it all inspires me to create music.
How long does it usually take you to put together a track?
It really depends, sometimes inspiration will be flowing through and the idea develops and matures without me even thinking about it. I have done tracks in a day, others over weeks where I leave it and then go back with a fresh outlook. I think it is important to let ideas simmer in your head but also take initiative and let yourself go when you feel inspiration coming.
Who did you grow up listening to?
I listened to lots and lots of different stuff. My favorite band growing up was Sigur Ros – an Icelandic post ambient rock outfit. I went through many phases and was really into Radiohead for a long time. As an adolescent, I listened to a lot of rock, from progressive to classic to punk and so on.
Are you currently working on something new?
I am currently working on a billion things. Releasing 2 EPs this year besides 6 or 7 different collaborations with artists internationally. Music videos, new live concept, so much really, you will have to follow me on social media to stay updated!