An Interview with Remix Artist Subliminal

A blog about arabic electronic music, an interview with remix artist Subliminal.

I stumbled across this remix of Baba Zula’s track “Havada Sarap” by Turkish-born, Berlin-based DJ and producer Subliminal aka Deniz Koyu (who incidentally is also Turkish). The remix manages to retain the original’s laid back, rootsy atmosphere while also injecting it with a dose of dancefloor energy. It’s a perfect blend of traditional and contemporary sounds and a great track to get you in the mood for your weekend.

Subliminal – Havada Sarap (Baba Zula Remix) (YSI)

Subliminal – Havada Sarap (Baba Zula Remix) (zShare)

I was curious to find out if Subliminal had any more Arabic or Middle Eastern influenced tracks in his arsenal so I got in touch with him and he kindly obliged me with an exclusive mix featuring some of his unreleased work. It’s a superb selection of tracks that kicks off with his own rendition of Baba Zula’s “Havada Sarap” before moving onto some amazing new material from the likes of Sultan Shakes, The Living Graham Bond, Munk and more. There are

Subliminal is a remix artist who uses samples of arabic music in his work, and he has been making waves in the underground electronic music scene for some time now. Here is a short interview with him:

What are your main musical influences?

I’ve always been into electronic music, since I first heard The Prodigy’s “Charly” when I was about 11. After that I started getting into jungle, then drum n bass, and then hip hop and pop. So it’s all those genres that have influenced me. Arabic music has been there as well, since my dad used to play it at home all the time.

How did you get involved with arabic music?

When I was working on my first album, I was using samples from lots of different genres and artists – one of them happened to be an old arabic record by Ahmed Fakroun that my dad used to play. It fitted so well with the beat that I put it in the track – and suddenly the whole thing just took off. People really seemed to love that track, so I thought I’d carry on using arabic samples in my next album as well.

Was it hard work finding the right samples?

It’s not very

Subliminal is a remix artist whose work is featured on the new album entitled “The Dub Invasion.” The tracks include Arabic electronica and hip-hop as well as samples from Arabic music. Below is an interview with Subliminal about his work, the album, and Arabic music.

Q: You were born in Israel, but your family came from Iraq and Yemen. How did that influence your musical tastes?

A: I grew up listening to traditional Iraqi music and Israeli pop music. My mom played Iraqi music around the house. In Israel, the radio plays a mix of Western pop music and Israeli pop music which is similar to Greek pop but with Hebrew lyrics. When I was teenager, I listened to rock bands like Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. But traditional Iraqi music is still my favorite kind of music to listen to today.

Q: Why do you remix Arabic music?

A: I think it’s important for Western audiences to hear more about Arab culture than just news reports about war or terrorism. Some people have never heard any Arabic music besides classical Arab belly dancing music. Remixing Arabic songs gives Western listeners a chance to hear authentic Arab voices singing about their lives in modern settings.

Subliminal is the first Arabic artist to turn Arabic music into something new. This is an interview with him, translated from Arabic.

What do you think of the term “mashup” or “remix”?

I prefer to call what I do “electronic interpretation.” It’s not just mixing two songs together – it goes beyond that. I like to take a song and turn it into something different. For example, I took a traditional Tunisian song and turned it into electro-swing; I took another song and turned it into drum-and-bass, and so on.

Why did you start doing this? Was there any specific inspiration?

It started as a hobby, actually. I was in university at the time, studying engineering, and I had a band playing rock music in English. But I was also always interested in electronic music, so I started experimenting with remixes and using some of our band’s own original songs.

In 2007 we began doing shows with my remixes as part of the show. We were very successful with these shows, but because my friends weren’t really into this kind of music we stopped performing them together. So now I perform alone or with guest DJs or singers who sing on top of my tracks.

Subliminal is an Arabic artist that we discovered through his amazing remixes of Middle Eastern classics. He has been making music for 10 years and is a pioneer in the Arabic electronic music scene. We recently got to know him better through an exclusive interview with him.

Subliminal is a Jordanian-Palestinian DJ/Producer who started producing electronic music back in 1999. He always had a passion for music, he told us that it was when he first heard Chemical Brothers’ Hey Boy Hey Girl, that he knew what his future would hold for him.

He has played at many events around the world including Dubai, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Beirut, Amman and even reached out to European crowds in Amsterdam and Copenhagen. Subliminal also hosts a weekly radio show on Jordan’s Beat FM called Subliminal Sessions where he plays the latest progressive house tunes combined with tracks from his own label Sublime Records.

He also runs his own record label Sublime Records which focuses on bringing underground talent to the surface by spotting rising stars and giving them a platform to gain exposure. The label has already released over 20 singles since its inception in 2009.

Subliminal is a DJ and remix artist who divides his time between Tel Aviv and New York City. He has performed alongside many of the world’s most popular DJs at events around Israel, Europe and the US, including performances at Ministry of Sound in London, Space in Ibiza and Twilo in NYC.

In 1999 he was named by Israel’s largest paper, Yediot Aharonot, as one of the country’s top ten most important music figures. Subliminal has also been on the cover of Time Out New York, The Wire (UK), XLR8R (US) and Ha’ir (Israel).

Subliminal is a frequent guest on TV and radio shows around the world. His mixes have been featured on BBC1, BBC Radio 1 Xtra, NPR, MTV, WNYC New York Public Radio, Israel Army Radio and Israel’s Channel 2 TV.

He also runs two record labels: subatomic sound system and subatomic UK LTD.

Just last month, Subliminal released a new album of remixes (called “Weirdo”) on the Wired CD. Subliminal’s approach to remixing is quite radical. He slices and dices the original music, tossing in samples from other songs, ambient noise, or anything else he has handy. The resulting music is often strangely beautiful and surprisingly listenable. It’s also not what you expect from a remix artist.

The following interview was conducted by email in May 2000.

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